The short ride to Kotor was gloriously flat; cycling directly along the coast on small roads. Based on the Germans’ suggestion from yesterday, I bypassed another busy narrow highway with a ferry crossing to the smaller road. Shortly thereafter Bev pulled out in front of me, and I cycled up beside her to chat. She’s a solo cyclist from Wales, so she doesn’t notice hills in quite the same way I do. She asked if I’d cycle toured a lot, apparently I have that “vibe.” We cycled together into Kotor before going our separate ways to our different accommodations.
I hoped to work my way through Montenegro without exchanging currency. The tourist castles and supermarket accepted payment in euros. My host later explained Montenegro has no national currency. Montenegro adopted the German mark in 1996. When Germany moved to the euro, Montenegro followed suit (much to the displeasure of the EU); so much for adding to my coin collection.
Someone asked to see my passport the other day – I have 37 stamps in this passport (and at least four more before I get home). I’d also lost track when Bev asked me – this is my twelfth cycle trip.
The host at the hostel in Kotor also cycles. He suggested a route to Bar. There’s also a challenge route out of here through the National Park across the mountains; he’s ridden back down it after being dropped off at the top by a car. I must be in Bar by 7:00 pm for the ferry, plenty of time to visit Budva and Bar tomorrow before the overnight ferry to Italy. Not enough time for the detour (which I’m actually grateful for).
St. John’s Fortress redefines impregnable. I climbed up the back entrance up a series of seemingly never-ending switchbacks, and hiked partway up the rest of the mountain before realizing I didn’t care about summiting a mountain on foot. I looped back through the fortress before descending into the Old Town in the walled city of Kotor.
Stand By Me plays in the hostel, taking me back to a lonely night in Switzerland on my first tour. Then homesick, I played it over and over on the hostel jukebox.