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No.7 – Podgorica / Montenegro

Aug 12, 2013 | Blog, Bulgaria, Europe, Montenegro

My buttom bracket is damaged, but sadly the two mechanics I found were realizing after an hour fiddling around that they don’ t have the right part for it.

I finished my time in Bulgaria with the visit of the impressive Rila monastery.
The last couple of days I was more integrated into the Bulgarian way of life. Family and neighbours, kids and friends are getting together every night to have a late meal. They drink and smoke and nibble for hours. Tomatoes, cucumber and feta cheese as salat, Cevapcici, Hamburger, ham and bread. You can easily say it is every night the same.

It’ s way too late for me to eat, but different country, different culture. The next morning no one seem to go to work and they are still in bed while I am on the road again.


Of course I haven’ t seen any bandits, well I didn’ t expect anything else. Instead people warned me about the bad folks in Kosovo and Albania. It seems like it is all over the world the same, it’ s always the neighbour who is the bad guy.

To get to Macedonia I had to cross another pass. Officially I have to register within 24 hours at the nearest police station, which I did. I was a bit too much to ask for the officer that I couldn’ t tell him my departure date. But finally he managed to fill out the registration card.

The first night I pitched my tent in people’ s garden. To my surprise the next morning a police man was already waiting to register mme, while the old lady served us breakfast. He asked too may questions. Someone must have told him that I am in town. The registration card gave him a bit of confusion.

Macedonia is different. People seem to work. In Macedonians western part there is a strong infuence from Albania. Many Albanians live here, the Albanian flag can be seen everywhere and signs are even in two languages. It looks pretty moslemic to me. It is Ramadan, people are fasting from 2 a.m. to 8 p.m. No food, no water. Hard to imagine how this is possible when it’ s above 40 C.


The next pass and I was in Kosovo. Of course no one asked for my registration card.


I already realized in Macedonia how many cars are registered abroad, mainly Germany, Switzerland and Austria. But what you can see in Kosovo is unbelievable.
There is a terrific amount of traffic, every second car has a number plate from a german speaking country. Brand new houses, great furnitures and supposedly they work as mechanics or cleaners somewhere between Geneva and Hamburg. I have never seen somewhere else so many luxury brand new Mercedes and BMW like I did here. There seems to be something wrong here.

I visited a Unesco listed monastery which is protected by the NATO. I had to leave my passport at the soldier to be allowed to enter.


 curious little kids

The Rugova Canyon sweetened my time in Kosovo for a bit, but I couldn’ t find anything special in this showing off captalists. I like the silence and the nature, so I was totally at the wrong spot.


Also between Kosovo and Montenegro the border is on a mountain crest. 1300m differences in altitude before I got a stamp from acrumpy officer. Too bad that I lost the height pretty quickly again, so I was back into the heat.

In Berane I let my wheel centred. The garage was a big mess. It took hiom more time to search for his tools than to do the job itself. It was 3 Euro, but it just lasted 2 days before my wheel wobbled around again. And of course he didn’ t have a buttom bracket.
It was already dark and I haven’ t had a place to stay yet. Kindly a retired couple invited me home. But the next day they asked for 5 Euro. That was quite disappointing.

I left the main road and cycled or better pushed my bike up to 1900m into the Biogradza National Park. It was another really bad gravel road but the scenery was breathtaking and there was no one else. I enjoyed the silence, the views to the jacked mountains and the bright stars in the night.

At the Tara Canyon I met a tandem couple going around the world and a german cyclist who is just doing the balkans.

I am on the tourist trail. What I missed beforehand because I had no one to talk to for weeks, is getting a bit too much here. All of a sudden there are tourists everywhere. In Durmitor National Park there is already a bad influence of tourism. I wasn’ t allowed to fill up my water bottle in the toilet of a restaurant, prices are twice as much and 1 hour internet is 2 Euro and no one seem to feel the need to friendly anymore.


In Zabljak the main town of the park, I woke up one morning noticing a weird sound around my tent. I was awake right away after I saw a dog chewing my saddle into small pieces. I was shocked. My good worn saddle. No other part of the bike is more important than this.
Where should I get a new one? The post from back home seem to need more than a week to deliver.

I taped it as good as could and will see how it goes.


I went hiking for a day and didn’ t regret it. It was really beautiful, pretty much like the Alps.


The day after was the greatest day so far. I cycled through the peaceful National Park route heading towards Pluzine. The road bends it’ s way along massiv limestone rocks and enters into a brilliant road which leads to the green shimmering lake of the Pivsko Canyon. Wow, that was absolutely stunning.

After nearly 100km my back and my bum were pretty sore, well no wonder with this destroyed saddle.


 I shared my place for the night with a polish cycle fella.

I just had only one thought in mind, where I could get a new saddle. I chose the shortest way to get to Podgorica. But I didn’ t leave the Ostrog monastery on the side, which lies dramatically wedged in a rockface up on a steep hill.


In Podgorica I was absolutely lucky and found excactly the same saddle I had before. I aso replaced my back light which I got stolen in the Ukraine. And finally I found a mechanic who replaced my buttom bracket, even if it is not the right part, I hope it’ s gonna last for a while.
I will stay a few more days in Macedonia before I head off to Albania.
km 5090


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