July 1, 2013
Distance: 28.2 miles Climbing: 2506.6 ft Descending: 5036.1 ft
We woke up pretty early today and enjoyed the view we had overlooking the red tile roofs of Cetinje as we ate breakfast. We continued climbing and eventually made it to a park rangers gate. We didn’t realize we were on a route through a park and were a little worried we’d have to pay a fee. The casually dressed ranger just waved us on. We did stop to ask where to find water and he told us there was a very good spring in 4km or so up the road.
Up we went passing a few out of business restaurants and small holiday rental cabins. There wasn’t much traffic or signs of current human existence which was becoming a theme. Eventually we came upon the spring, which was cold and delicious. A woman and her daughter also stopped for a drink and told us the spring was famous. Apparently, there is a song about a girl who seduced a young man with water from that very spring. The water was good, but not as sexy as advertised.
As we approached the intersection of the paved road and a gravel lane, I knew we were in for trouble. There was a small sign indicating the route to Kotor was, of course, on the gravel road. Chandler checked the GPS and discovered we had 6 miles in this direction or we could go all the way back to the town we had been in last night to take the highway. Of course, we chose not to turn around and proceeded on another one of Chandler’s infamous “shortcuts”.
The road started out badly with a bed of loose of angular gravel, making it difficult to ride the bikes uphill. We ended pushing our bikes through the trickiest part for the first mile or so. The gravel path eventually turned into an extremely rocky road, which Chandler reminded us of a gentle mountain bike trail. We tried to pick relatively smooth lines, but it was still slow going and jarring on our heavily loaded frames.
After about 3 miles, assuming we had another 3 miles of unpaved road, we suddenly popped out onto asphalt. As a huge tour bus rumbled past us, we knew if we had just stayed on our original road, we wouldn’t have had such an adventure. Oh well. The shortcut took out a few miles and was certainly more memorable than a regular paved road.
We immediately forgot about the mountain bike path when we headed downhill, turned the corner and saw the view. The fjord is the deepest in Europe and certainly one of the most scenic.
After a snack and few photos it was time to head down to town. The road down the mountain ended up being a series over over 20 switchbacks. My hands and arms got cramped from maintaining a firm grip on the brakes. We saw quite a few people cycling up the hill for exercise and I was so happy not to be in their shoes.
In Kotor, we went straight for the old town. This area is surrounded by thick stone walls. Our hope was to get a room at the hostel, but it was full. Luckily, the guy working the front desk had a cheap alternative for us. Just around the corner, in a quieter area, a woman rented out rooms in her house for even less than the hostel beds. The ceilings were so comically low in her attic annex that we ended up showering on our knees, but we had WiFi, a nice patio and were right in the center of the old town. We walked around town a little, had a pizza and worked on the blog before heading to bed. We decided we’d take the day off tomorrow for some rest and to explore the area.