Our first night in Croatia was not a success. It was no longer freezing but we made a rookie mistake by thinking we would be fine with the heavy wind. It was not fine, it was terrible. After a couple of hours we even tried to remove the rain cover to reduce the noice but it still felt like we were in an airplane with turbulence. We should have put up our “backup” tent (which is a ground tent), but it was late and we were reading and we couldn’t put ourselves to it. Next time we will.
The first taste of the Balkan we got on our second day in Croatia. Not along the touristy coastline, but when we asked our camping host for a nice afternoon activity. We drove to Imotski and walked around two lakes, which were formed by collapsing caverns. From the edge of the cliffs, all the way down to the water is over 200 meters and then the depth of the lake is again more than 200 meters.
This could have been anywhere in Europe but once you see the number of 20+ year old Mercedes, Audi’s and BMW’s in the inland towns you know you are in the Balkan. On our last day in Croatia we visited Dubrovnik (a.k.a. Kings Landing – for the Game of Thrones fans). Lots of tourists but it’s fun to see the ‘shaming’ stairs of Cersei, the tower where Tommen threw himself off and the monumental city walls.
Even better was Kotor in Montenegro, the location is just breathtaking. Driving into the country immediately felt more adventurous. It has a different vibe than Croatia. Roads are smaller and have holes. We took a ferry and everybody wanted to drive onto the ferry at the same time. We won, a bull bar helps. If you drive through Montenegro you see Soviet houses but there is also a Mediterranean feel, it’s an interesting mix.
After Kotor we headed into the mountains, first Lovcen National Park and then to the Albanian Alps. The road conditions varied from pretty good to pretty bad. To the mausoleum in Lovcen there was not even a real road. They were making a road. Just bulldosers and stones. Maps.me (our navigation app) said 30 minutes, it was 3,5 hours. But it was definitely worth it. The views were just breathtaking. Especially with the autumn colors. In the Albanian Alps, also known as the Cursed Mountains, Hankie was tested real good and passed with flying colors. We decided to wildcamp so we could enjoy the views while having breakfast. Winter is coming, that’s for sure, at night temperatures dropped again below freezing point.