Yesterday I spent some time contemplating whether or not to take a slightly longer route for the next few days than I was originally planning, one that would allow me to pass through more beautiful areas around Shkoder Lake and the Montenegrin coast. To help with the decision, I mapped out how many days I think I need to get to Paris and doing so made me realise that I don’t really have any other option except to just put my head down and ride hard along the quickest route I can find. Consequently, today I found myself sticking to the main road between Shkoder in Albania and Niksic in Montenegro. Even so, it was still a very pretty ride, especially around Skadar Lake just over the border. For the entire day I was surrounded by snow-capped mountains that reminded me just how much of a challenge I will face if I take a direct route through central Bosnia and Hercegovina, just as I planned to do.
I made really good time to Niksic, even managing to power my way quite speedily up the final 25km climb. I thought about bypassing the city and camping, but I decided I needed to some local money and food supplies. I rode into the centre and stopped at the first ATM I saw. This was when I learned that Montenegro is one of the few countries outside the EU that uses the euro, which I was already carrying. Money sorted, I wondered if I should quickly get some food and ride out of the city to camp. By this time the sun was dipping below a mountain on the horizon and I decided I didn’t have enough time to find somewhere suitable before dark. With no hostels on offer, I rode around the city for a while looking for the cheaper hotels marked on Maps.me. Some of them didn’t seem to exist. I enquired at a couple of options before choosing the cheaper one, where I have felt completely at home, the bike proving no issue for the receptionist.
After a hot shower, I went for a wander through the city and when I passed a supermarket and a cafe, I was able to satisfy both my future and present food needs. I enjoyed a minestrone soup and chef’s special pasta dish, finished off with a beer brewed locally. It has come as a bit of a surprise that everyone I have interacted with so far in Montenegro has spoken English (with varying levels of confidence).
|Distance ridden today||115.68km|
|Average cycling speed||17.6kph|
|Total distance ridden||27,760km|