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Old 01-30-2013, 08:12 AM   #16
Wal2
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another good read like your 1st one, i hope to be in Basel/Bruderholz in Mar/April,,,be good to have a coffee.......
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Old 02-01-2013, 02:49 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by francs View Post
Sutjeska monument (Tjentište).
For the picture.
Great RR.
100 points for you Sir!



Google Maps didn't route over the BiH-MNE-Border so the map is only from the montenegrin border onwards.


Größere Kartenansicht


This monument is the Valley of Heroes monument in Tientište, built in Yugoslav times as a WW2 memorial.



The monument is placed on a hill next to the road and looks very impressive. The golden times are over (it hasn't been cleaned in a while), but having some overgrown moss patches really make it more interesting in my view. There are many more of those alien looking monuments all over ex-Yugoslavia: Yugoslav World War II monuments and memorials



It is a hot day and we take a break in the small bistro near the road.



We chat a bit with the owner of the joint and order some Ćevapi (or Ćevapčići). You get this at almost every place that serves food and it's a nice and cheap snack. Although I think it is a bit dry on a hot day (no sauce is serverd unfortunately).



The road after the turnoff to the montenegrin border gets worse and worse - sometimes it's only gravel. Other than that, it's a nice single lane road through the Tara canyon.



Between the borders...



While the bosnian side of the border was rather 'casual' with joking officials, the montenegrin side was more stiff. It is obvious from the first second, that Montenegro want's to polish it's image and they are eager to joing the European Union. Montenegro separated from Serbia and Montenegro (which became Serbia) in 2006 through a referendum and is now trying to re-establish the country as the tourist destination it once was. They didn't even bother to create their own currency and use Euros instead.
We are handed some road safety flyers with accident hotspots marked on a map (usually a good indication for nice moto roads ).



The road leads us through the Piva canyon.





This one is close. We can not only smell the burning wood but also hear the cracking noise of the raging fire.



There seems to have been plans of building a highway through this gorge, but that must have been along time ago.





The whole valley is full of smoke coming from the forest fires.



We are looking for a camping spot for quite a while now, but there has been no possibility to turn off the road for stealth camping. We ride to the next town, Plužine, to look if there's a camp site. Although it is a week day, many people are outside and on the road, talking and having fun. While stopped, a woman approaches us and tells us about the apartments she rents out. We ask her if she knows a camp site and she points us to one - I really appreciate her being more honest than many swiss hoteliers.

We end up at the KAMP EVERGREEN camping. There are no other guest and we have quite some space to choose for our tents. There are some apple trees which we are allowed to eat from and the host shows us the water hose (aka washing room) and the water hose hanged to a tree (aka shower). It's got everything you need.



After pitching our tents we get something to eat in the camp site restaurant. They seem to have the biggest and loudest sound system in town, blaring balkan techno and pop at full volume. When the host sees the camera lying the next to me he grabs it and makes multiple pictures of us eating. He is a funny guy, too bad we couldn't really talk with him.



The camp site also seems to offer a private beach so we want to check it out in the morning.



It's short decline through the woods and then there's a rocky section further down. Seems to be better when the water level is higher.



But hey, at least I find Gandalf down there.



Time to head into the mountains on this beautiful day.



A narrow roads goes through the mountain and up the steep hill. Quite a nice ride.





After a while we reach a plain with a few farmers living there. It's a trip back in time, we meet young guys riding horses to get to the field. It seems to have been a long and hot summer, the grass is dry but has a very golden look to it.





Entering Durmitor National Park.



This place is stellar.













It's a lot of fun taking pictures at such an impressive place. It let's me view my surroundings in a different light and I catch myself taking more notice of details around than I probably would without the camera.

While I am trigger happy, Andi tries to befriend a cow. But with no avail, they don't seem to be familiar to be petted by humans.



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Old 02-02-2013, 07:22 AM   #18
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Finally finished the video of the trip - it got a bit longer this time but I hope you enjoy it anyway.




P.S. In case you're wondering, I changed the thread title to something less cheesy, thanks to GB.

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Old 02-02-2013, 08:11 AM   #19
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Fantastic!! You really captured the spirit and beauty of your adventure.
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Old 02-02-2013, 09:23 AM   #20
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Great Video! love it. Im going to this area in may and its great to read your report

That ferry in Albania where is it to/from? i cant find it on my map.
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Old 02-05-2013, 03:56 PM   #21
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count me in

You've done it again. Your pictures of wide vista's and skyscapes are really top notch.
You have the making of a landscape photographer!

Subscribed to this report. Keep up the good writings.
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Old 02-06-2013, 02:14 PM   #22
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From the top of Montenegro (Durmitor NP) to Kotor Bay


Größere Kartenansicht

I forgot one shot from the top of Durmitor, a panorama

(click for bigger picture)


We encounter a lot of free roaming farm animals on the beautiful road through the mountains. Only a few years earlier this was a gravel road.

We descend to Žabljak and further down the road to the western entry of Tara Canyon



The Đurđevića Tara Bridge is the only way to cross the Tara Canyon for a while, but we stay on our side. It was built from 1937 to 1940 and was then the biggest vehicular concrete arch bridge in Europe. Still a very impressive piece of architecture. Unfortunately I don't remember who the guy in the foreground is...



Who doesn't enjoy landscape photography?



The road through the Tara Canyon is winding and beautiful with little traffic. It's impressive to know all of this has been done by a comparatively small river continuously washing away more ground.



Sneaky self-portrait.



At the next town, Mojkovac, we take a break in a small café. When we arrive our table is quickly cleaned and a boy of around 12 years greets us with perfect english to take our order. The waiter soon brings our drinks without saying a word. He looks like a mob boss, but maybe he was just trying to look important.

The main road to Podgorica, Montenegro's capital.



Traffic is insane on this twisty two-lane road and there are many shops offering their towing service.



This little fella joins us on our break. Or maybe he is mourning his friends on my visor?



It just gets better and better. At one point, we fly by a cop on a bike way too fast and when we greeted him he just waved back laughing.



On our way towards the coast we have to go through Podgorica. It's an utterly hideous city, dirty and smelly. Sorry if I paint a wrong picture, we only rode through it in short time, maybe there are also some nice parts.

Better head out and back into the mountains! In Virpazar we take a right on a one-lane road through the Skadar Lake National Park.



Some very nice gravel roads left and right of our route invite us to come back one day. How I sometimes wished to be on a dual sport. The freedom on a bike in Eastern Europe is already greater than at home with lax traffic rules enforcement, especially for bikers. But having the possibility to pretty much ride everywhere you please must be heaven.



The sun gets lower and lower. Combined with the dampness this puts a layer of golden light over the landscape. These are moments when you scream into your helmet out of sheer excitement.

These HELL YEAH moments when coming around a corner to a new amazing view, that is what it's all about.







The Kotor Bay on the other side of the mountain is submerged in orange light and makes for sunset colours way before the sun actually sets.



Montenegro so far in this trip has been very kind to us. We met amazing and hospitable folks in the mountains and got to ride through these beautiful landscapes in perfect weather. If this were man-made you'd probably call it kitsch.
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Old 02-06-2013, 02:20 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by JohnnyTh View Post
That ferry in Albania where is it to/from? i cant find it on my map.
It's the Koman ferry, going from Koman to Fierze. I will post some more info later when we reach Albania. Be prepared.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Rango View Post
You've done it again. Your pictures of wide vista's and skyscapes are really top notch.
You have the making of a landscape photographer!
Thanks Rango. But I just like to go to beautiful places where it's rather easy to take a good shot. I admire those who can make captivating pictures no matter what the subject is. Long way to go for me.
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Old 02-07-2013, 01:52 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by AlpineGuerrilla View Post



The Đurđevića Tara Bridge is the only way to cross the Tara Canyon for a while, but we stay on our side. It was built from 1937 to 1940 and was then the biggest vehicular concrete arch bridge in Europe. Still a very impressive piece of architecture. Unfortunately I don't remember who the guy in the foreground is...




.
Lazar Jauković, he bild the bridge and he mined it in 1942 (WW2), he was shoot and buried on the spot.

You took the "wrong" road from Podgorica to Virpazar, you should go via Rijeka Crnojeviča.
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Old 02-10-2013, 06:41 AM   #25
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Größere Kartenansicht

After riding along the Bay of Kotor we finally find a campsite and pitch our tents. The next day, we take a ferry over the Bay to the south.



The road along the montenegrin coast is wide and has a lot of chaotic traffic. Good thing we can easily ride around traffic jams with the bikes.

We take a short detour through the mountains - much less traffic here.



Back at the coast, we find this small bar and decide to stop.



Breakfast for winners.



Since I only have a big map of the whole balkans with little detail, I decide to just ride along the coast towards the albanian border. The road has less traffic than before and gets smaller and smaller. This can't be right.



There is only a border crossing about 20km inland and not here at the coast, so we turn back.

Stopping at the last gas station before the border, the guy in front approaches us to ask if it's ok to take a picture of the bikes. We agree. A moment later, they are sitting on the bikes, pushing every button and putting on the helmet.



There is a huge queue at the border. It's noon and the sun is scorching hot. We decide to ride past them on the gravel bank on the left side and when we reach the actual border, we are asked by the officials to take the pedestrian crossing - it has shade.



First thing in Albania - getting money. We find an ATM at a gas station but my card won't spit out anything. Only Andi is able to get some money. As I will find out when I get home, brazen countries like Albania are blocked from getting money except if you specially request for the 'unban'. Seems a bit strange, since the bank card I have is especially advertised as "get money worldwide"....

The ride towards the coast is a bad two-lane road and we reach Velipoje. It's some kind of a tourist town with many tourist coaches from Albania and Kosovo. The local kids ride around on scooters with mounted carts to the front.



We stop at a tourist information and ask for a campsite. He doesn't know any but calls some guys to arrange a place to sleep. Some calls and about 15 minutes later, Nikolaj arrives. We follow him on the bike to his home.



Riding around 10-15km/h without helmet. Look at his smug face.




GTA Albania



A shower later and with some fresh clothes we ride back into town. There seems to be a fair going on. We decide to take a ride on those quads. There is no briefing, no helmets and the quads are pretty quick. They just tell us where to accelerate and brake - that's it. This would be an insurance and liability horror in Switzerland.

After some rounds we end up going around the track at full throttle drifting around the track, the guys laugh and we get two rounds extra for free.



We also take a ride on these go-carts. After we're finished we know why we got funny looks from pedestrians when riding the quads and the go-carts - they're for children.

His dad is screaming what we figured out must be "FASTEEEERR, KIDDO!"



When we rode back into the town, we parked our bikes at the tourist info and 'the guy' watched them. They have been 'washed' with a hose but we notice that some buttons have been switched. Seems like there must have been quite some photo-op going on while we were away.



Back at Nikolajs house, we meet two Israelis who have just arrived here. We enjoy a beer together and the host Nikolaj and his wife join us. They both only speak albanian, but we have a lot of fun talking about family and the differences of our countries.

After some time, Nikolaj retrieves his homemade fruit schnaps. It's an honour drinking his own schnaps with him.

Quite a while later, the two Israelis and us start to walk towards the ocean for a midnight drink there. We walk past an almost empty restaurant blaring balkan pop at maximum volume and buy some beers there. Reaching the beach we start to discuss again. Our two new friends, both around the same age as we are, just came out of military. In Israel, every man has to serve for three years, women 'only' two. Wow. That's a lot of time just after you become an adult.

It is full moon, and the air turns the moon to an orange haning in the sky.



This is Nikolaj, our host with a big heart, before we depart the next morning.



We get up early because we want to reach the Koman ferry. There is only one ferry per day and it departs at 9.30h. It's about a two hour ride an we're a bit late so we have to hurry up.

First, it starts as a beautiful two-lane road with kinda OK road surface.



But every now and then it turns to an awful gravel road with lots of bumps and potholes. Not too much fun when you're in a hurry. And on a sportbike.



After a bit less than two hours and shortly after 9.30h we reach the ferry and it's still there - phew.

When I was planning the trip, I saw that there is a car ferry going on this scenic ride. But only a few months before our trip, in June 2012, the car ferry was discontinued because a road parallel to the ferry has been finished, thus making the car ferry obsolete. But I didn't want to just quit it. I saw some pictures of the small boat that is still going and I thought - hell, it's Albania, they will surely take us on board with the bikes. And they do.




Notice in the picture above, it is only an old bus welded into a boat. The seats are still inside and the ship is being steered by the old bus steering wheel.



Let's go!





There is another biker on board, Stefan from Germany. He's on a Yamaha XT 500. It's the guy in the bottom speaking to my buddy Andi.



The ship is loaded to its brim, with food and other goods for the locals.



The ship stops about three or four times at landing places like this.



Usually, no people leave or board the boat, only goods are exchanged.



There are a few small villages and farms in the mountains, their only way to get to civilization is through this ferry that runs once a day in each direction. And in winter, they are cut off. Rough life.



The ferry ride though is very beautiful.









Boarding the ferry wasn't too difficult. The boat was about level to the ground and the platform was properly made of asphalt. But here, on the other side... Well, it's a different story.

It seems they only heaped some gravel there that is now slowly eroding into the water. Two old wooden planks are quickly placed. With the fairing of the Daytona being so low, we have to lift if onto the planks.



The gap is about two meters and with the full bike on it, the wood started to squeak.



Phew. Adrenaline is rushing through our veins.



There is still a small obstacle - the incline of about half a meter in the background is to steep for the Daytona. But no problem for a bit of manhandling.


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Old 02-10-2013, 07:55 AM   #26
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Hoi zemma!

Good to see you back with a fantastic RR.
Since your first RR you have been a hero for me! Keep up the good work!

I see we went the on same roads in Montenegro but oposit directions.....

Grüße aus Tirol!
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Old 02-10-2013, 01:38 PM   #27
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Cool2 I adore ferries

Adventure on a sport bike!
How many times has it been said before "it's not about the bike"? True words proven again here.

Last year banks here announced they were blocking cards in abroad locations. Before leaving one should check with the bank to unblock the card in the intended destinations, when applicable. Banks were losing lots of money, not because of user's carelessness, but their data servers being hacked.
Too bad you had to find that out in situ. Could you get it sorted out there? In the bank agency?

Travelling will never loose its inconveniences. Reading reports from classical times is educational: few complaints are new or period related. Which closes the circle: "it's about the rider", and you're doing just fine.
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Old 02-10-2013, 02:16 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by AlpineGuerrilla View Post
The gap is about two meters and with the full bike on it, the wood started to squeak.



Phew. Adrenaline is rushing through our veins.


Great presentation, outstanding video and excellent choice of locations I'm taking some notes
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Old 02-18-2013, 12:22 PM   #29
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Added the route map to the last update - apparently forgot it the last time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by francs View Post
Lazar Jauković, he bild the bridge and he mined it in 1942 (WW2), he was shoot and buried on the spot.

You took the "wrong" road from Podgorica to Virpazar, you should go via Rijeka Crnojeviča.
Thanks for the info - I couldn't find out who he was since the sign was all in montenegrin.

Here's a short passage about him on the Wikipedia article on the bridge:

Quote:
A Yugoslav Partisan raiding party blew up the central arch with the aid of one of the bridge engineers, Lazar Jauković. The attack cut the only feasible crossing over the Tara Canyon halting the Italian/Chetnik advance. When Jauković was eventually captured, however, the Italians executed the engineer.
Well, we did take the road through Rijeka Crnojeviča, but I think Google Maps is routing it differently for you. It sometimes does weird stuff when opening routes at different locations. Here's a quick hand drawn route where we went through, from Virpazar to Rijeka Crnojeviča and Cetinje afterwards.

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Old 02-18-2013, 12:37 PM   #30
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Adventure on a sport bike!
How many times has it been said before "it's not about the bike"? True words proven again here.

Last year banks here announced they were blocking cards in abroad locations. Before leaving one should check with the bank to unblock the card in the intended destinations, when applicable. Banks were losing lots of money, not because of user's carelessness, but their data servers being hacked.
Too bad you had to find that out in situ. Could you get it sorted out there? In the bank agency?

Travelling will never loose its inconveniences. Reading reports from classical times is educational: few complaints are new or period related. Which closes the circle: "it's about the rider", and you're doing just fine.
Well I did check if it would be a problem - last year when I went to Russia. It never occurred to me that the Balkan countries could be viewed as worse by my bank institute. Anyway, it didn't matter too much, I still had my 'emergency' credit card, although I borrowed money from my mate because it was easier that way. We had a batch of money that belonged both of us to pay stuff that costs the same for each of us anyway (e.g. accomodation, food & drinks during the day, etc.) - made it a lot easier and faster to deal with.

True about that - it's definitely only about the attitude and not the bike. Fun thing is, most people I told about my trip in advance were excited and some even thought going by motorcycle would be a great way to see those countries. BUT, and I was really surprised by this, only those who rode motorcycles of their own (weekend warriors thouh) thought about it being 'too dangerous' or just simply 'why would you do this?'.

Quote:
Originally Posted by scottyaustria View Post
Good to see you back with a fantastic RR.
Since your first RR you have been a hero for me! Keep up the good work!

I see we went the on same roads in Montenegro but oposit directions.....
Read your RR a few weeks ago and enjoyed it - seemed like we took many of the same roads. It's interesting to see that the fauna in your RR looks a bit less dry than what we encountered, although you were there about a month later. For example, the Durmitor NP was golden or yellow when we were there - in your pictures it looks a bit lusher. At the end of our trip there was a huge storm with a lot of rain over the Balkans - maybe that really brought back the green to the landscape.

Hope you don't mind if I post one of your pictures here for a comparison of colours.

(~ end of August/early September)


About a month later, taken from scotty's ride report






Your bike has a great engine, by the way.

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