|Ostrog Monastery, Montenegro|
|'Stari Most' The Bridge of Mostar|
|Local color at the Belvedere Hotel, Dubrovnik|
|Bay of Kotor, Montenegro|
|Pa Emer Camp, Albania|
Dropping back into the central highlands of Montenegro we took a detour up to the Ostrog Monastery, perched precariously in the face of a cliff 900 meters above the valley floor it offers the weary traveller a free bed and a free meal. We hadn’t planned to stay but the resident workers insisted we bring our bikes inside the compound for added security and we soon settled into the quiet bunk rooms after enjoying a simple but delicious dinner. Morning came soon as the devotees arose for morning worship at 530am. We rose with them but chose to watch the sunrise rather than impose further and by eight o’clock, our earliest start yet, we were back on the road.
Albania lay ahead and it has been an exciting change since we arrived yesterday, challenging roads, chaotic cities and a wild variety of vehicles, old and new, somehow all combine to function fluidly in this unique nation. We thought we would encounter conditions like this further along in our journey but Albania has left us oddly satisfied. The rule of the road appears to be the biggest vehicle has the right of way and the use of turn signals is nonexistent. Four lane highways mysteriously become oneway lanes and perfectly smooth asphalt can quickly deteriorate into loose gravel or mud without warning. Every kilometer gained is its own reward and every stop becomes an excuse for locals to gather around the bikes and stare. Welcomes are warm and enquiries as to our intended journey genuine and open. As a young democracy much remains to be achieved but from our limited experience we feel the need to explore more. Sadly our goal of crossing the Sahara no later than December (even that is considered late) is pushing us onwards and our sights are set on Macedonia and beyond. We have met some incredible people along the way, other travelers on adventures of their own, some on foot, some on bicycle, some on a boat and it feels oddly reassuring to share stories and encouragement, there are some who feel as though this trip is a little foolhardy and irresponsible and there have been occasions when we have questioned our own motivations especially when plans go pear shaped. To those who have helped us along the way with kind words and good advice we are forever grateful and to those who doubt our judgement, "Not all those who wander are lost." J.R.R. Tolkein