Oh If Only It Were Summer: Budva To Near Ostres - Lookin For John Fairweather - CycleBlaze

January 9, 2014

Oh If Only It Were Summer: Budva To Near Ostres

I've been on the coastal highway all morning until around eleven; whereupon, the road splits and I set-off up a road on the left switch-backing up the steep hillside inland. I had planned to remain by the coast but, there is a tunnel listed on the sign for the road ahead. I'd been through a short tunnel the day before with neither a safe shoulder or walkway, so most probably this would be the same and what if there is no alternative way round.

I begin to see I'm here in the wrong season. Montenegro like most of the Balkans is a place to cycle in Summer. There are places like the Tara river canyon which I'm missing because, I won't venture into the country's rugged interior in January.

I rise up over the coastal range of hills under clear sky and weak sunshine, looking inland upon a drab grey-brown landscape off to distant snow-capped mountains. It would definitely be better in Spring or Summer.

The main point of interest ahead is lake Skadar which my road descends to. It's somewhat of an inland sea being the largest lake in the Balkans.

The road continues on towards the city of Podgorica to the north east of the lake. The road I want is a small road outlined on the map in green for scenic itinerary and skirting the western shore.

I stop to lunch in a village at the beginning of this road. It straddles a river flowing into the lake's reedy corner and half a dozen men are fishing from the bridge.

If only the road is as it appears on the map: flat. But it's anything but. At least there's no traffic as the single-track road climbs and twists around the hillside above the shore. By three o'clock, I'm riding along a terrace high up on a near vertical slope, looking down upon a network of small fields and farms along the water's edge. I meet a shepherd who calls his barking dogs back. For a moment everything looks fine until looking over at the dirty brown haze of traffic smog low over the lake beneath the hilltops opposite.

I keep going until nearly four-thirty; by which time, there's level ground to the side and, I pass in through a gap into a small enclosure surrounded by high dry-stone-walls where I camp.

Sight from nine thirty stop.
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Going up in the world with lake Skadar just visible in the corner.
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Today's ride: 61 km (38 miles)
Total: 9,050 km (5,620 miles)

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