Hit the road again
Our new carbon rims are assembled. Iljadica-Rapo helped us wonderfully. However, we cannot leave yet. We have to stay in Sibenik for 4 more days because we are waiting for a new lens for our camera.
Enough spare time to buy new sandals for Linda. She has wet feet in her Keen sandals. Teva sandals may not be as safe due to the open front, but they dry faster.
We also use the extra time to refine the route on Komoot and we make a bilingual promotional video for our XPLORid foundation. The Dutch version will be promoted on Geef.nl before and during #givingtuesday on December 1.
Linda is having problems with her left hand for a while. She has a cyclist's hand. Ben adjusts her grips and Linda puts on her new gel padded gloves. The gel layer in the new gloves is glued. This quickly comes loose due to the gear switching. Iljadica-Rapo will send a better pair (sewn) to our postal address in Greece. Awesome! Unfortunately, Linda still has sore hands. The Vakantiefietser offers to try a different handlebar. He will send an Ergotec handlebar with a back sweep of 12 degrees. Hopefully this is the solution for her sore little and ring finger.
Glad to be cycling again
We cycle along the sea on a beautifully landscaped path at Bilo (Primošten). The dark blue sea on the horizon and the turquoise color on the coast look like paradise.
Water and rest
You should drink 150 to 300 ml for every 15 to 20 minutes of cycling. We cycle (without breaks) 5 hours a day, that’s 4.5 liters of water. We agree that from now on we will carry 5 liters of water per day. We also introduce a siesta and in the evening we review the next day's route to decide where to stop based on the number of kilometers and climbs.
Whenever we have a siesta, we have a flat tire. Ben jokes that he fears a causal relationship between siestas and flat tires. 😉 It takes a lot of effort to remove the tire from the carbon rim. They are tighter than on the previous rims. We are considering other tires. Idworx advises us to ride tubeless and will send us a tubeless kit and the latest version of our tire, the Schwalbe Almotion. This one has more profile on the side. It’s absolutely fantastic how Idworx helps us and contributes to our journey so far.
We cycle on
On our route before Trstenik we cycle through the vineyards. We have a view of the Adriatic Sea and there is hardly any traffic. This is how we dreamed about our world bicycle tour.
After 30 km we arrive in Dubrovnik. The old town is very beautiful, but we are the new tourist attraction of the city. 😉🤣 Next the road goes through a deserted area. Barely a house and no shop to be seen. At the border control of Montenegro, there are only 2 policemen and the two of us.
In Montenegro we start a very long climb. It is hard. Some hills are very steep. We both have to push. Sometimes we push 1 bicycle up together. After 2 hours of climbing and pushing, we arrive at a path that is only accessible on foot. What a disappointment. We have to go back and replan the route.
We look at the alternatives. Unfortunately there is no other way inlands without having to climb gigantically. We choose to continue along the coast. When we arrive in Budva, we are surprised: it is a completely walled, beautiful old fortified town.
The mountains in Montenegro are bigger than those in Croatia. They are also greener. However, no more pine trees at the beaches.
After only 2 days in Montenegro we arrive in Albania. The mountains are gone. It is quiet everywhere and there are no tourists. We have to cycle on the motorway for two days. There is no emergency lane: we cycle on the right white line. The road is straight forward with a lot of traffic. That’s boring and we have to be very careful. Especially when the cars overtake each other or when a truck passes by.
Fortunately, the locals are making up for everything. The people are very open and hospitable. The “Kanun” is a very old custom in the Albanian culture. According to this custom, a house from the Albanian belongs to god and to the guest. It is customary to receive your guest at any time with bread, salt and an open heart.
At a bar we are spontaneously invited to have a drink by a father with his 2 sons. We meet Olsy at a minimarket. As we drive off, Olsy gives us another bag of grapes and pears. When we are looking for a hotel for 2 nights, we come across a terrace in a side neighborhood of Durres. Altie, Alex and Mario invite us for a beer. We can also stay 2 nights in Altie's house, but this time we politely decline this gesture.
Fortunately, when we are off the highway, there is less traffic, but the road surface is very bad. We have to zig zag around the gaps. It becomes better in Vlore. There we ride on a cycle path along the coast. The beaches in Albania are sandy. We like the thatched parasols the most.
As soon as we cycle out of Himarë, the bays become smaller and more pristine. This is the last chance to hit the beach before heading into the inlands of Albania. It is time for siesta and we didn't swim in Albania yet. We leave our route and cycle to the bay. We see a beach resort and thatched parasols. The sea has a very beautiful shade of blue. In the afternoon we enjoy the sea breeze and the high waves.