Tag Archives: Montenegro

Video – The Theth Round

Dont forget to set to HD

Glad we took the blue pill ;) What a day that was – incredible!

Albania blog entry two will com this weekend…

Next destination: Albania, Theth or a test period for the next big trip

Shkodra Lake, Albania, Camping, www.RTWbyBIKE.com

Hey long time no hear… sorry for that!  One reason for that probably is we are planning already our next trip: about 12 month from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, starting May 2018. Another exciting period we are looking forward to! Kerstin’s motorbike was pimped during this summer: a big tank, a proper engine-protection and brand new aluminum cases; besides the usual maintenance. Ready to go for the next lesson: On and off-road in Albania, let´s go first to Theth!

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From Hamburg to Montenegro

We took the car-night-train from Hamburg to Austria, Vienna and Kerstin was woken with a kiss from Sascha and got a birthday present. What a wonderful start of the day and the trip! For the evening we planned to meet Stefan and Christina in the west of Austria, 2up on an BMW 1150GS ADV, to spend the evening celebrating Kerstin’s birthday and as well to spend the next three weeks together on the road. Stefan we met already two years ago in Montenegro and we had a great time together.

25th August we started all together driving south. Via the Wurzen-Pass we passed Slovenia and spend the 1st night somewhere at the Croatian Coastline between Rijeka and Zadar. Our goal was to reach quickly a place called `Piva Monestery´ in Montenegro where we were stuck 2 years ago, when Sascha´s motorbike was suddenly out of power. At that time we stranded in this wonderful place next to it there we met wonderful people which we wanted to meet again.

The coastal road was crowded so we picked a route via Bosnia-Herzegovina. A good decision traffic wise but the last 40 km in Bosnia-Herzegovina towards Montenegro was more off than on-road; the border crossing was just a tiny oneway wooden bridge and we reached our target just with the last day light. (Sascha: That was a crazy ride, Kerstin in the front then me and then Stefan with Christina. The “street” got worth and worth, only some asphalt every 10 meters, in between big potholes, all in all maybe 3 meters wide. And Kerstin? Kerstin was giving it a go, unbelievable, she went up to 80km/h, Stefan and I had a hard time to follow. Busses and Trucks in every direction. What happened, suddenly she was going much faster than on any highway before? Ok let´s follow, I kept it quiet on the intercom to not disturb her concentration, but then I just had to ask:” Is your acceleration wire stuck? What happened? She answered: ”I need to keep close to that local driver in front of me, he knows the way and it looks like that he knows each and every pothole here! ME: ”Hmmmmmm, Ok, I will switch the intercom off again, give it a go baby!”

Note: just when we arrived at our accommodation we got a phone call from Joachim with whom together we spend the night in the car-train cabin. He had a business appointment in Vienna and the plan was to meet with his son Jannik, they had the plan to explore Croatia on their motorbikes. We told him how beautiful Montenegro is and spontaneously they decided to come to Montenegro. He called with a fevered voice: “They asked for a green card!!!! I do not want to settle or work here!!!”  We were a little bit irritated. In fact they both had no green card and Jannik even did not have his motorbike title with him! Now they were stranded at this little border cross and Montenegro’s customs did not want them getting in and Bosnia’s customs did not want them back… What to say?!? Finally they made it and we spend three days together in this lovely place. We toured Durmitor National Park and joined once more the yearly celebration of the `Piva Monestery´. It is the largest Serbian Orthodox church constructed during the Ottoman occupation in the 16th and 17th centuries and noted for its frescoes.

From Montenegro to Albania

Now it was time for Albania. We said good bye to Zelnik and his family as well to Joachim and Jannik and drove to Plav, close to the Albanian border, where we camped next to a lake looking at the Albanian Alps. From here we wanted to go to a camp site at the Shkodra Lake next day.  The same route we took already 2 years ago. We remembered that about 500 meter after the border the gravel road started and we reckoned to reach the camp early evening. But hey! It was a perfect tarmac road now and so we had a nice afternoon at the lake.

The Theth Round

The plan for the next day was to make the well-known `Theth-Round´ which is about 145km in total and approximately 45 km off-road – this is what we thought… and estimated that we will need about 6-7 hours. Everybody was excited in his own way. Sascha was just looking forward having a day full of fun. Stefan and Christina I guess were just animated and I, Kerstin, well I was not really sure how to feel about this up-coming exercise… Actually I do like off-road but I had no real experience with alpine off-road tracks with serpentines, cliffs and honestly I do not like going down-hill that much. But hey! I was intent on doing my best and that I will be able to make it.

To make the whole story short. We started late, around 10am and we were slow (Sascha: hmmmm was indeed a bit strange, I woke up at 5:30 to go to the bath room. I met the neighbors with their “Fully Adventure Stuffed Land Roved Defender for 40grant+”:

Sascha: “Hey what´s up in the middle of the night?”

Them: ”Just leaving for the Theth round!”,

Sascha: “? So early???”

Them “Yep, it´s a hard trip!”

Sascha: (wondering)”Yeaaah right”

They: “When do you leave?”

Sascha: “Don´t know, breakfast around 10 and then we go – I think – let´s see”

Them “:O”

Sascha (going back to sleep): “OK, C U on da road”.)

Me, Kerstin, I felt more comfortable with slower speed and Stefan as well asked for more breaks after a while. The track had very steep parts with big washed out rocks and deep gravel parts. Here and there Kerstin had a downthrown (but nothing too serious) and always jumped back on the bike with help from the others. After about 35km off-road at early afternoon we were all sweated and thankful that it will come to an end very soon when we reach tarmac again. At that stage we met another biker who was doing the Theth round the other way around. Actually we were asking the same questions each other like `Is the road becoming better this direction? Does it will end and becoming tarmac again soon?  And probably we had the same thoughts: `You should better drive with us in our direction as the part coming now is horrible and you might turn late! ´ In the end we were all a little bit shocked that we still have to make another 40km off-road – no matter which direction; we wished good luck to each other and each one continued the planned direction. Now it was clear we will most likely having trouble to make it back to the camp site before it is getting dark.

In the end of the day we needed 12 hours+ for the complete Theth round, Kerstin crashed 7 times and Sascha and Stefan twice each. The last 3 hours we had to drive in the dark which had the advantage that you could not see the steep cliffs anymore and now oncoming vehicles were earlier visible thanks to their headlights… but truth be told, it wasn´t the plan to drive this track in the dark and we were all very happy when we reached the camp at 11pm.

We enjoyed the late dinner and a couple of drinks and the plan for the next day was: licking our wounds and fixing the motorbikes… Details will come soon.

Maybe one more personal thought here: Me, Kerstin, I am having days I am driving ok and others, well others… Or let´s say I drive Sascha crazy pretty often. Of course you have better days and such which are not that well; and often you know it from the first second when you hop on the bike.  After that first week we had some discussion about my `driving style´. Hmmm, it is not that easy to evaluate. The expectation is high and Sascha as well is worrying about me if I will be prepared to manage the upcoming trip. And for him it is even more stressful not only managing his own way but as well looking always after me. It costs him a lot of energy and for example he would have made the Theth-Round easily in the planned time (Sascha: “Doable in 6-7 hours” without me and probably without any fall (Sascha: ”Don´t know about that one…”. I know I still have to learn a lot – but I started to practice driving motorbike when I was older already (42 in fact). And some things you just take that much easier if you are younger. Nevertheless I am really willing to make my way and as well to make Sascha feeling proud.  In the end I have to learn to trust in myself and I only can hope Sascha will trust in me as well and he can imagine doing everything a tiny little bit slower – but doing it together with me. (Sascha: ”Will do!”)

I have to say `Thank you!!! ´ for all the patience help and motivating words (only sometimes I would like to ask as well to let me try finding `my way´:). As well I want to say THANK YOU A LOT Stefan and Christina – not only for the good time but as well for the patience – I know there were times I “drove” everybody crazy (except myself around the turns:).

Maybe another personal thought here: Me, Sascha, driving for 30 years plus all around the world in all conditions. It´s hard to adjust sometimes, even harder to understand why something looks that clear to me is not directly understood ;) It makes it harder when I have to look ahead what’s coming – plus I have to have on eye on the mirror at all times to see what´s happening behind me. But to say the least it has been done before and it will be done in the future. And I am sure after the first 10 to 20 thousand kilometers I don´t have to look so much in that rear mirror anymore! One of the most important tips is still, and will ever be: “GAS GAS GAS!!!” (Especially when off-road, I am not talking about speeding here. The right hand gives the stability on the bike in the dirt, it´s not the breaks it´s the acceleration! As soon as you learn this you got it all sorted! And the rest is just floating with the traffic… Theth showed us our limits, or better where we got room for improvement, but as always If you have to do it, you got to do it! And Kerstin did it just great, sometimes I thought “oh oh, what now – and she jsut said, let´s go ahead, we do not hava achoice anyhow! SO GO!!!!” Love you, my dear! ;)

(click on the foto for full screen view)

Ps.: Still working on the video files… (1TB+…) but it will come soon… kind of… Cheers and Thank you for following!
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Balkan August, September 2015

Finally we made it, the map of the Balkan Trip is ready.

(Small downside, all other maps of the RTW-Route Section have to be re-done ;°°°°(

We used the motorail train to get from Hamburg to Vienna and back…

Balkan Trip 2015, 3/3 – “Four-Some”, how NOT to keep good intentions and another motorcycle outage…

011__MG_1688_BLOG… Stunning Albania, Mostar´s relicts of war and the coast line of Croatia

We chose a nice little winding route leading direction Plav, Eastern Montenegro. As a group of four now, together with Stefan and Tobias; we had to find out how it will go. We thought maybe it is just a pain for them or too boring as Kerstin was still in a “training mood”. We promised each other that we will all agree immediately to split again if anybody has not fun anymore. So far it was working really well and we were all in good spirits. From time to time Kerstin waved them through so they could speed up and have some fun. Half of the way to Plav there was a gravel turnoff directing to a 2.641m peak where we wanted to meet. Kerstin wasn’t sure yet if she would like to go a gravel dead end just for a view and a “nice ride”. The sun was shining and the mood was good and all the others were encouraging her – and so she went and could finally enjoy the beautiful view when we reached the top.

Actually it became clear that we worked pretty well as a group and we had a great day driving together. Later this afternoon we came close to Plav. From this point we had the option to go back to where we came from, OR to continue crossing the border to Albania… Tobias and Stefan looked at us and were explaining that they had some “ground rules” before they left for the trip. One of them was “Not to drive to Albania”… another was “Not driving real off-road tracks” (OK they departed from that rule already in Bosnia Herzegovina). After a look on the map you may reckon that behind this little border crossing there is: No tarmac. Kerstin got a little Panic-Attack. Steep twisting gravel tracks in the Albanian Alps!!! But all three boys were promising immediately that she will make it and that they will be patient and supportive and that she should not worry… We looked and smiled at each other. Let´s go. Why not!

In Montenegro you can´t be sure to find the camp spot which you saw on the map or the GPS. Pretty often it does just not exist. So was our first try. Shortly before the border to Kosovo we turned back. There was one camping supposed to be directly in Plav at the riverside. What we found was a renovated Guesthouse with a Restaurant situated next to a big meadow. We stopped, asked for an ice cream and as well if we could maybe put our tent onto the meadow. We were welcomed friendly and they showed us the bathroom facilities of the restaurant we could use. Lovely! Sascha and Tobias left for shopping while Stefan and Kerstin pitched the tents next to an apple tree and arranged a table and benches. We all had a refreshing swim in the river nearby and afterwards we were cooking and having some drinks with the view to the Albanian Alps in the background. The place we want to go the next morning J

When we had coffee and a proper self-made breakfast we were all a bit excited and everybody was maybe a bit lost in his own thoughts. Kerstin worried if she will manage it and in private hoping this little mountain border will just be closed. She was never ever driving a road like that before. And it was in Albania; just three weeks ago there were two tourists in a jeep killed up in the mountains in this area (I think we did not mention that towards Tobi and Stefan at that time). Anyhow, you never know when something like this would happen. And as Sascha would say: “The lightening hits you while you are on the toilet if your time has come”. What were Stefan and Tobias thoughts? Not sure… they were acting against their rules. I have to ask them!!! And Sascha – Sascha was probably just excited. After all; this section was on his agenda from the beginning anyhow and now he was just happy that it will happen J

The narrow tarmac road was leading towards the valley and past little farms. The border was manned and after just showing our IDs, bike-documents and a short chat we crossed it without any problems. Maybe to mention that Kerstin asked if the next 40km will be really gravel and the custom official did confirm it to her regret. The landscape was amazing. Most of the time we were driving at the same pitch what was perfect for Kerstin to get used to it and gaining more confidence. When we had breaks everybody buoyed her up and she had more and more fun. She did not recognize much about the beauty of this area as she was concentrated on the road most of the time. Sascha was calming her down via the intercom most of the time. “You are doing well! – Good on you! – Gas, gas, gas if (it´s sandy!) – All good!” and so forth. The last 10 km were really challenging for her though. Steep hairpin bends were coming up. The first brought her down, the second and the third as well – fair sharing the scratches between her and the bike but luckily without real harm, she always hopped back on the bike after everybody were helping to lift it up again (There was no choice anyhow ;). Yet there was a point she was just too exhausted, sweated, frustrated and tired, she asked Sascha to bring the bike down the next two or three steep gravel hairpins. And finally we reached the tarmac! (Thank you my dear for your patience and all of you for your support!!!) Kerstin was totally exhausted but extremely happy and proud at the same time! (Probably not only Kerstin J)

We were still in the Albanian-Alp-Region where we suddenly recognized on the GPS that the upcoming road is full of hair needle bends going up again – we counted 1, 2, 3, … maybe ten?! And then? – WOW! And a brand new street! We let Stefan and Tobi go in front and their motto was: “full steam ahead”! J They had great fun!!! On the top we enjoyed the view. But now it was slowly time to head direction Shkodra Lake where we wanted to look for a camping. Surprisingly it was really where it was supposed to be. Next to the lake with a beautiful little beach equipped with hammocks, a family restaurant and the best and cleanest sanitary facilities we have ever seen. A recommendable place. We had a swim, and later we went to get some beers and real good local food!

Not far from here, about 40-50 km is the famous top plateau Theth, and we decided to stay another night to explore the region a bit more. Theth is a wonderful village in northern Albania’s Shkodra region. Set among the peaks of the Shala mountains, Theth is isolated, and in times of snow, practically inaccessible. You can make a full round trip with hard off-road parts or as we did just a gentle ride with gorgeous views up to the top with an Alpine Restaurant. Only the last 500m are off-road and Stefan and Kerstin had a Coke together and enjoyed the stunning view to all this peaks while Tobi and Sascha left for a little fun-off-road trip. We had a wonderful day!

Slowly we all had to think of going back – direction home. We had a real good time together so far so we decided to travel together a bit longer. We crossed Shkodra the next day and we were heading into Montenegro again. There were waiting lovey little winding roads, passing mountain villages, olive fields, wild horses and forests. For the night we had a camp in the mountains next to a restaurant just before the famous bends leading down to the Kotor-Bay (Tobi and Stefan had a quick fun right down and up again just before it got dark J).

The next day we wanted to go until Mostar, Bosnia Herzegovina via Croatia and we chose again mainly side roads a very little border cross to enter Bosnia. The landscape was nice but we recognized more ruins, the war left more marks here. Nevertheless it was great. The small roads were in a pretty good condition and we all were enjoying riding here. The later afternoon it became cloudy and actually we were late. Shortly before Mostar we had a stop to check the location of a camp around Mostar and when we wanted to continue Kerstin´s bike said … NOTHING??? A second try … and it started – PUH! Now we should hurry up – it became dark already. The first camp we found was just a green field with a container on it, a not really nice woman with her daughter were sitting in front of it; they wanted far too much money from us. So we said “No thank you. We continue”. But now Kerstin’s bike was saying nothing at all anymore – silence. Oh shit. The camp-woman was smiling at us: ”Ok! Ha – now they have to stay! And I can even take more money!” But Sascha took quickly the bike and pushed it until it started again. “YES!!! Let’s get the ‘fuck out of here!!!”. Meanwhile it was completely dark and Kerstin was not allowed to switch of the bike anymore. The second camp we found was more a luxury resort and the third did not exist. We heard it rumbling and as well we saw lightning in the back. SHIIIIIITT! Finally we ended in Camp `Grotta`! A lovely little place next to a river and owned by a friendly guy and his little cat. We just made it to pitch our tents before the thunderstorm was above us and we came together in the outside bar to have a beer and eat what we could find in our bags. The next day was pouring rain and we had to check out what happened to Kerstin’s Motorbike. So we parked it under the bar-roof. Sascha contacted his mates from the AT Forum to check out what it could be. Fist suspect was a broken Battery; Sascha thought for ten seconds and said no can´t be. It´s new so it must be something else… After 1.5h he decided to just give it a check… And what to say, hmmm, it was the bloody battery! No fluid in it anymore, nothing completely dry! Upps, just listen to the guys from the forum! Sascha took it off and the owner of the place was offering to bring us to a friend with a garage not far away – and to a Supermarket as well if we want to shop some breakfast. How nice! Sascha and Kerstin jumped into his car. Within one hour we got distilled water, breakfast and left the battery in the garage to recharge it after the guy checked it. About two hours later we could pick it up again. But it was still raining, thundering, raining, lightening… Sascha fixed the bike and we spent the afternoon playing dice, drinking beer, chatting, getting Pizza… Not too bad but we were hoping to have better weather for the next day again.

Mostar is situated on the Neretva River and is the fifth-largest city in the country. Mostar was named after the bridge keepers (mostari) who in the medieval times guarded the Stari Most (Old Bridge) over the Neretva. The Old Bridge, built by the Ottomans in the 16th century, is one of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s most recognizable landmarks, and is considered one of the most exemplary pieces of Islamic architecture in the Balkans. During the Bosniak-Croat war, the city was divided into a western part, which was dominated by the Croat forces, and an eastern part, where the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina dominated. In May 1993, Croat forces began a 10-month siege on eastern Mostar while in the western part of the city forcibly expelling the Bosniak population from their homes and killing hundreds. After the war, the ICTY accused the Croatian Republic of Herzeg-Bosnia leadership for the crimes against humanity and other war crimes during the war, including the destruction of the Stari Most. (Wiki) A visit to this town is really impressive and terrifying at the same time. The relicts of war are visible everywhere still.

The last days were running quickly and we crossed back into Croatia, following little roads until we came to the coastal road. Suddenly motor bikes were everywhere. The coastal road is nice but not comparable to the nice little roads you can find all over. We spent two more nights in Croatia while heading north and the really last two nights we spent together on a very nice little camp right at the top of Istria. Here we recalled what we experienced together, laughing, drinking, cooking and smelling the sea. We enjoyed a wonderful day on the rocks, snorkeling, drinking wine and watching a school of dolphins in the sunset! We really spent a lovely time together and now it was time to say Good-Bye. The next day Tobi and Stefan would go direction north and we direction Vienna. But we are pretty sure we meet again and maybe even driving together again. Hey you two! Thank you for these gorgeous days together, the great company, your patience with Kerstin and your positive vibes! J

Our next aim was to reach Vienna in the end of the day. One more reason why we chose to go back via Vienna and the motor-rail-train was to meet `BigTom´ in Vienna. Since many years we are in contact with him but so far we never met personally. It was time to meet `Big Tom´ who was on the road on his motorbike for years and settled (or trying to :) in his hometown Vienna now. We were really exited and when we arrived in front of his house in the evening he just arrived as well. Our train was going the next evening and the plan to make some sightseeing was not on the schedule anymore. The time was just enough to chat, exchange and enjoy the time which was given together. A big Kiss to you BigTom and we hope to meet you soon again (and your Lady as well of course!).

This time the train was leaving in time. But the atmosphere was completely different. Not only because this was the end of our little journey. While we have been on the road there was a twist in the flow of refugees and the train was packed. We shared the 6-bed cabin with some of them and there was a worriedness and anguish beside the tiredness and the joy about having a place in this train direction Germany. We were caught by surprise and took it as it was – shared our wine and cookies with them and tried to get at least a little sleep this night… But actually this is a different story.

We arrived next morning with one hour delay in Hamburg and were home in a second. A short trip – Many great days and people to remember – Pictures to view. It was a wonderful holiday time! We can definitely recommend Montenegro and we would like to see more of Albania and Bosnia Herzegovina!!! Maybe next year… Who knows!

And don´t forget: “GAS GAS GAS!!!”

Balkan Trip 2015 2/3 – Gas! Gas! Gas! – Montenegro

Sequenz 01.Standbild005_DxOMontenegro – Cerna Gora – A real gem for nature lovers and motorcyclists

We were wondering what we would discover in Montenegro. Culturally, scenic and not at last the quality of the roads; Kerstin’s large playground/training facility was opened.

At the beginning of the famous Kotor Bay we turned north and we wanted to reach the Durmitor National Park before the evening. Pretty soon the streets turned to twisty loops; higher and higher into the mountains. The first impression was really good and there was very little traffic. The scenery was beautiful, the temperatures pleasant and Kerstin tried to adapt to the speed of Sascha more and more. And more and more often Sascha called on the Interphone: “You have to go faster! You are going to tilt over in the curve!” Here it was again “Gas!Gas!Gas!” In Niksic we stopped ​​for shopping and late afternoon we were close to Pluzine.

All day we were driving up-hill and suddenly Sascha became very slow and you could hear him swearing. “What’s the matter?” “I do not know! The bike is not taking gas anymore” We stopped, but actually this windy road was not really good for parking at all. Right hand side it dropped away and on the other side there were sheer rock walls. OK there wasn’t that much traffic but still cars and logging trucks were passing. We had a quick look at the bike and at each other – no idea what’s wrong! Sascha tried to start again and it was working. “Never mind, let’s go!” About one or two kilometers further the same thing… the ´Big Lady´ just stopped. “Shit shit shit! BULLSHIT!” A couple on a bike came along and disappeared behind the next turn… But they came back! Of course there was not much they could do, but at least they told us that about 700m further there is a little lay-by with a small wooden honey-sales-stall where we could safely stop. So we started one more time. The Sales-stall was run by a young boy who did not speak much English. There was a bench next to it and Kerstin had a seat for a cigarette and tried to make conversation whilst Sascha was thinking. There was an idea he had what could have happened when he took off the tank last time. Maybe the ventilation hose is pinched off? With all the gears on it would take at least 1 hour to check it. And meanwhile it was late. There was a sign at the sales-stall and it was saying ´apartment´.

In the end we found out the boy in the sales-stall was the son of the family who was renting the apartment and it was just 500m down the gravel road. It was a little valley with a church – a little bit onwards a farmyard with two houses surrounded by hives, plum and pear trees, blackberry bushes, chicken and cows. An idyllic place and the family were welcoming us with the question: “Homemade Slivovice or a beer?” Sascha said: “OK now we are talking (and to help the communication and the international friendship he said: “first a Slivovice and then two or three beers”. Before it turned dark Sascha could solve the problem as it was exactly what he thought. When he took off the tank the last time he pinched the air intake hose and there were no air coming in the tank. But why it just was not enough air in this specific moment: Karma. The AT thought it was a good place to stay, and guess what? She was right! We spent a lovely evening together and stayed in a luxury apartment with a big bed and a fridge filled with local goodies like homemade honey, milk, cheese, ham, eggs…

Maybe this little dispute between Sascha and the `Big Lady´ was just a sign?! A sign to calm down and to realize: `We are not on a run! We are on a journey!! Destiny?! Fortune?! Let’s enjoy and see what is coming along! We decided to stay one more day – why not?! The farm of Zeljko is full off fragrant flowers and embraced by aromatic meadows and orchards. Durmitor is around the corner and we can explore a part of it from here without the gear – and maybe it´s a chance for Kerstin to have the heart to try some ´different´ roads as well…

The next day we enjoyed driving along the Piva Lake. The tunnels here in Montenegro are most of the time just big holes in the rock without illumination at all, the serpentine inside were a particular challenge for Kerstin. Later on we entered the Durmitor National Park from the west taking very little roads. On our map we could see there is a steep way down to a canyon and the path was marked as unpaved, a thin dashed line only. We decided to see if Kerstin can make it. The landscape was really amazing and most of the time we were driving on an altitude of 1500m – 2000m. When we arrived at the point where the gravel should start we were facing a brand new 2m wide paved road. Not sure if it will become gravel suddenly we were going down the bends slowly in the beginning. We met a car half way and they were assuring the road was paved all the way. From now on Sascha was speeding up and Kerstin was challenged to follow – but as well she had more and more fun doing it. It is a gorgeous place to drive. You have nice little bending roads, beautiful views with steep valleys and wonderful plateaus and all this with a pleasant climate. Just before it turned dark we arrived back; perfectly happy and satisfied. What a day!

While we were having a beer with our Landlord Zeljko and his family he was telling us that there is celebration at the church next to the house, the Piva Monastery, the next day where we have to go; we were officially invited. The Monastery was built in 16th century at the spring of the Piva river and although it was a Christian religious center, its construction was approved by the Ottoman rulers, which is an unusual rarity. In 1982, when the Piva Hydro Electric Project created a vast water reservoir, only the Piva Monastery was saved, as it was moved to a new site stone by stone including 1,500 square meters of frescoes. That sounds interesting even though the Monterey do not look that impressive from outside – it is a pretty simple construction out of natural stones. Anyhow, we will stay one more day!

When we had breakfast on our terrace the next morning the last wafts of mist were disappearing and we could hear the choral exercising for the event. It was a magic atmosphere. Those who know the band ´Dead can Dance´ can maybe imagine what we were listening to… Everybody on the farm was preparing themselves and the place became busy very quickly. People were pouring in from all the surrounding mountain villages. We were really impressed from the insight of the Monastery and the frescoes when we entered; also from the ceremony itself and the fascinating singing. About two hours later the feast continued outside. Wine, beer, slivovice and a delicious food box with a trout out of the Piva lake, beans and pastries were offered to everybody and traditional groups started to perform. We really enjoyed this experience with this entire friendly cheerful people. In the early afternoon we left for another ride (this is why we withstand all drinks that morning) and we chose a little road which was actually starting shortly behind the border to Bosnia Herzegovina and leading back to Montenegro along the Tara River. And when we stated at the border control that we only want to enter this road and going back to Montenegro they just waved us through. Truly this is a place where you do not get tired driving around and you relish every second of driving.

The next morning it was time for us to continue, we could stay there for the next three weeks easily but…. We started packing and loading the bikes. Suddenly Zeljkow was calling us: “Come down! Breakfast is ready!” The table outside was loaded with big plates of lamb, salad, fresh local bread and of course his delicious homemade wine and slivovice. This time we had a little sip for the good-bye. We banqueted at least two hours with the family and their friends and of course we left later than planned. So what? These moments are what make it unique. Thank you Zeljkow and your whole family and friends!

We finally left and we were crossing the last time the Durmitor National Park direction Tara Canyon. From here we turned to the south along the Tara River. South of Mojkovac we kept an eye out for a camping spot. There was one supposed to be in the “National Park Biogradska Gora” next to a lake. When we arrived at the spot we recognized it was loaded with cars and people. Some wooden huts were scattered in between the trees up the hills. It was Sunday afternoon and it is a place of excursions for the weekends we found out later. We asked for the campground and the arm of the ranger in the wooden block house was showing around in a wide curve. Choose one. OK! We understood: we are the only ones with a tent. As well we noticed that more and more people were leaving the place. Probably we will be alone as soon as it gets dark. We found a spot for the tent and Kerstin had a quick jump into the lake as there were no bathroom facilities except one pit latrine (after a busy weekend). But they had a fountain with fresh cold spring water! And they left as well two little light spots on. At the time it was getting dark we were prepared, sitting at a wooden table and ready to start cooking with a delicious bottle of Zeljkov´s slivocice. Then suddenly two guys on their BMW’s arrived, Tobias and Stefan from Germany. Quickly we were looking for a place for their tent and later we had time to cook and to chat away. They came via Bosnia Herzegovina, Zagreb, and just explored Durmitor as well.

The next morning we had breakfast and a look at the map together. As we were going the same direction we decided to go together for the time being: direction Plav. A corner of Montenegro in the east and neighboring Kosovo and Albania. Needless to say we clarified that Kerstin is a “beginner” and she sometimes needs more patience. No problem for Stefan and Tobias! But nevertheless Kerstin was not feeling very comfortable in the beginning while trying to follow Sascha and having two bikers on her back…

BUT – more about driving, willful intents and if we continued as a group of four you can read in the next and last part.