When I first tried to put a little meat on the bone that is the Eurovelo 8 (next year’s trip), I made the following comments on the Eurovelo 8 section of the website about travelling through Albania & Montenegro;
“I could avoid Albania & Montenegro altogether! How? Well, I could take a ferry from either mainland Greece or Corfu to Brindisi, then visit my good friends Basil & Liz (who I stayed with at the end of my Eurovelo 5 trip) who live in Cisternino (only 50 kms from the port). I could then cycle to Bari a little further north from where I could catch a second ferry to Dubrovnic in Croatia.
But that would be cheating and it would be a shame to miss out the potentially most adventurous bit of the journey…”
I have since changed my mind, especially as I will be writing a book about the trip; the chapters about cycling through two of Europe’s lesser-known countries could be some of the most revealing of the entire trip. Tim Maundrell has picked up on my original comments however and emailed some advice;
Hi! This is Tim – I’ve some how stumbled on your adventures through Twitter and your website and I see you are cycling Athens to Cadiz. I also see your call to help, which is why I’m emailing.
Three years ago myself and two friends cycled from Istanbul to Southampton, naturally some of your route will be very similar. The main reason I wanted to get in contact was because I read this on your website ‘I could avoid Albania & Montenegro altogether! How?’ …my response isn’t ‘how?’ but ‘why?!!’
We considered that cycling throught Albania might be ‘a little hairy’ but in hindsight it was the highlight of our trip. Not only is the landscape stunning and the history (albeit, some of it, recent history) is fasinating but the people are so so welcoming. We met and stayed with more people in Albania than in any other countries and we never had any problems, only brilliant stories…It was the one place we all said we would go back too and prehaps explore further.
Touring is popular in Western Europe and the Dalmatian coast so I expect you’ll get lots of advice about these areas (that and your own previous experiences). Albania and Montenegro are great because it’s the path less travelled and I would encourage you to go for it…
Feel free to ask specific questions; I’ll be happy to help as much as possible…
I should be thanking you Tim! That’s great and yes, I will be in touch…