Balkan Flare – day 12

Wednesday was adventure day. We woke up early and made coffee in the room while preparing our gear. We got the bikes out of the garage and bid farewell to the owner of the house before leaving Ohrid. The weather was quite chilly and it was only 7 degrees so we dressed up. Once out of town the morning sun decided to hide behind thick clouds and it remained like that for the first half of the day. The road quality in Macedonia is bad. You need concentration to avoid the holes and the ride is rather bumpy. It was quite cold in the morning but it didn’t deter us. I was amazed to see there is no irrigation in this country as drainage flows on the streets while a couple of hundred miles south we saw irrigation remains dating back to a couple of thousand years. We had our first break after 100 km in Gostlivar where we refuelled the bikes and had a coffee next to the station. We asked a local mafia type guy for direction on the smaller border crossing and he kept us for about half an hour with his stories about travel, cars, motorcycle accidents and such things. But that’s a different story. 
At the Kosovo border we had to buy a green card for the bike for 15 EUR. Rip off. Once in the country we arrived in a beautiful land that seemingly is worth nothing for the ones who live there. Garbage everywhere in the forests and the villages and roads are quite dangerous partly as a result of the driving and also because there are animals everywhere on the roads. Cows and sheep just out of nowhere wandering on the national road while you try avoiding the gravel spots on the tarmac. We saw amazing waterfalls and beautiful scenery though.
We stopped for fuel and coffee in Prizen before crossing to Albania. Our plan was to take the small old road and find an intersection to get to Fierze and camp there to catch the ferry the next morning. We took the short motorway strip after the border.

Once we turned off to the smaller road we were amazed by the beauty of the view and the whole are. The road is so small you make one mistake and you are gone forever. You have to be aware of the other drivers as well as they care little for their life and the lives of others… The beginning is fine but the road deteriorates as you go along. We stopped to take pictures now and then and even captured some of the 600,000 remaining bunkers in the country.


At one point we overtook a red WV Jetta and a minute later I hear the sound of squeaking tires and a crash. As I turned around I saw the car crashing into Csabi’s bike. I stopped immediately and run towards him. Luckily he was okay but the scene looked bad. I was shouting at the guys. At first they seemed sorry but then they started to claim that it was his fault and we should pay 500 EUR for the damage. The whole car was not worth this amount but they wouldn’t let us go. We stopped the first truck but as it turned out more bandits joined their side. We tried to call the police but they just would hang up as we started speaking English. We stopped another car but the passengers didn’t help. They told we need to sort it out between us. When around 8 other guys joined in we finally paid 100 EUR as we showed them this is all we got (the rest was stashed away) and sped away. 


We didn’t stop at all although we were hungry and thirsty having spent two hours with the bandits in the middle of nowhere. The road just got worse. We went through a small town and then arrived to Buke where the road was closed. They told us to sleep there but we were reluctant so we found a way around. It was like riding on the road of bones. No tarmac. Only gravel and holes filled with water everywhere. At one point a part of the road disappeared into the ravines. It was getting dark but we pushed on. We prayed for the small border post to be open when we arrive there. It was a relief to see cars still crossing. We were waved to ride on the sidewalk and the customs officer checked our papers. everything was okay and we could at last leave the inferno. We stopped right at the border at the only cafe. We got two cokes and sat down. We had to call back the Hungarian consul. We tried to reach him from the scene but to no avail. Csabi’s brother managed and told him the story so he tried to contact us while we were riding. He picked up the phone and informed us that the police caught the guys and they got our money. It seems he was already wanted as it was his 5th felony of this kind against tourists. It was good news. 
The bad news came from the waiter. Seven km of washboard gravel road awaits us in the dark night of Montenegro before we reach normal road conditions. We pushed on and finally arrived to Ulcinj at 10.00 pm. We got swarmed by people offering rooms but we told them to f***k off.
We rode around looking for a hotel and found one right at the beach in the centre for 30 EUR with view to the sea. We sat in the bar and ordered some rakia (local spirit) and beers and chatted about for quit long. We were exhausted but only got to bed after 1.00 am.

Daily trip data:

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