Bay of Kotor. Entering Montenegro for a moment gave me a small reminder of the former east block feeling. On the border, when it was our turn, the customs officer waved us back without giving us a glance and leisurely started a conversation with a colleague, pretending not to be aware of the long line of vehicles waiting for him to do his simple job, just look at their documents, give a stamp and ask for the next one. But no, he used his full power and let all of us wait so that he could enjoy the full benefit of his monopoly. Well, the only thing one can do is wait and behave as the man likes. So, when they were finished, he gave us the uninterested glance and we got through in a wink. The first kilometers immediately showed a difference with the countries we had passed until now. There was rubble along the road, abandoned used cars, unfinished buildings, unattended places of land. It was not dramatic, but still obvious. It's small things, f.i. the toilet in the bar where we stopped for a coffee was dilapidated.
Riding through sometimes chaotic traffic we reached the bay of Kotor. It is a butterfly-shaped bay, 40 k circumference, with a narrow, funnel-shaped, opening to the sea. There is one road along the bay, some villages and historic towns and then steep and rather high mountains. All in all this makes a wonderful setting, much used for calender illustrations and therefore classified World Heritage. We could have skipped the bay and taken the ferry across the bay's opening (maybe 100 m), but we wanted to enjoy the beauty of the bay. Some kilometers further we found a campsite, well, something like it: a small field with 2 caravans and 2 small tents directly on the bayside, the outdoor-shower took its water from a plastic container on top of the concrete 2-squat-toilet house.
This morning we stepped out of our tent directly in the cool water and, to top the cake, when we were having our breakfast a group of dolphins gave a show within 100 meters from our tent. So for us the bay is OK.
Today we rode further round the bay (flat road for once) and visited agreeable and historic Perast and Kotor. The latter, like Dubrovnik but much smaller, completed surrounded by high and thick walls and pressed against the steep and rocky mountain behind it. Now we have pitched the tent on a small campsite again, not bad but not as nice as the former one.
Today we decided not to continue via Skopje. There are at least 2 rather high passes, and this combined with the heat and the road conditions in Kosovo and Macedonia made us decide that it's better to go more south. Now the plan is to pass via Tirana and the Ohrid lake towards Thessaloniki.
We'll keep you posted, as long as there are internet opportunities. This may become less. The last days we regularly had difficulties becoming online. We don't know much about the situation as to this in Albania, but the countries reputation does not suggest the best.