Those of you who are paying attention (no? not you?) will remember that Monica Piercy is also cycling from Greece to Portugal but that she is about two months ahead of me. On a purely selfish basis, this is extremely useful indeed as she can feed me with tantalising snippets of information that will be relevant for my own trip starting on the 1st July. She has just emailed…
“I went through the middle of Greece and picked up the border crossing into Albania via Gjirokaster. The road on both sides of border is good here. But I have been told that the closer you are to the sea the better – so your more coastal route from Athens north into Albania will work. Mountainous of course. Avoid Tirana if you can – nothing to see really, lots of traffic. Go to Durres instead. You have to use the dual carriageways as they provide the best road surfaces – if your map is directing you to a rural road…it’s a track. Highly recommend going into Montenegro via Shkodra. The lake is awesome and the roads good. Once in Montenegro worthwhile taking the route to Podgorica – not for the capital itself but so you see the lake in more detail. There are two routes north after that – back to the coast – there’s a Warmshowers guy who can host you in Budva or if you want epic photos the mountain route that brings you above Kotor. There is another route for cars only – it has a tunnel cyclists can’t access. From Kotor in season there is a ferry to bring you round to close to Dubrovnik – but there’s also a commuter ferry every ten minutes for one euro fifty at the narrowest part of the bay – I’d take that. In Croatia… stick as close to the coast as you can for the great cycling and great views. Then go inland when you tire of lorries coming too close and you need to camp. What’s your route into Trieste? And I’ll skip onto Spain… Only one word so far…headwind. Killing me.”
Monica’s report reads like a dispatch from the front line. I love it! Read more about Monica’s cycle on her website.