The Adriatic Islands and Coast

Part of the 202020 Velomobile Challenge

The Quattrovelo #5. For more information about the Suntrailer see this link.

This is a report in pictures of my trip by velomobile (bicycle) along the eastern side of the Adriatic Sea. The big question when I started this leg, was whether I would be allowed to cross all borders, even out and back into the EU. Rumors spread that several cyclists had to make major detours and were often denied passage because of the covid restrictions. My goal was to visit all the countries along the Adriatic Sea.

All photos in this blog entry are taken with my mobile phone.

Croatia

I did arrive at the Adriatic Sea the 26th of August. You can read more about it in previous entry.

I very quickly had to realise that life in this part of the world is not different to other places. If there are natural resources to take advantage from, then those are used to the maximum, often without taking considerations on the effects. This is a beautiful area and perfect for caravan campers, but I felt a bit disappointed since I was more looking to find prestine nature, not Disney-like camping resources. The more untouched areas where on the small islands away from the main roads.

Rab.
Prizna.
Simuni.
Zadar.
Leaving Zadar.
Split.

I made a separate blog entry with images from Split.

Leaving Split.
Blato.
On Korcula Island.
Camping in an olive grove.
The mainland.
Trpanj harbour.

Bosnia and Hercegovina

I had to make a very fast transit in Bosnia due to the corona restrictions. No unnecessary stops or overnight stays where allowed in the corridor along the coast.

Personnel from the Croatian border control in front of the Bosnia and Hercegovina flag.
At the border again.

Back in Croatia

Dubrovnik.

Montenegro

The backside of the welcome sign.
The police at the border.
Kamenari.
Perast.
She was photographed by her husband. Many people like to pose in front of the QV.
A crew member on the ferry.
A pipe is on the way.
A lot of climbing everywhere along the Adriatic coast.
I choose tent or tarp depending on the temperature.
In the far background the town Bar that I past without stopping and one of many ascents.
Sheep also prefer the shade when it’s hot.

Albania

At the border.
I borrowed the stop sign from the police who takes the picture.
These cops asked me to email the picture they took with my phone camera, but unfortunately I got their wrong address.
I always have nice meetings with the police.
I have a very tuff climb ahead before reaching the campsite.
Before the sun is down I will have climbed higher than the clouds.
I had to pitch up the tent in the dark.
A resting day in Llogara park.

Elevation loss 2500 meters
Elevation gane 1700 meters

I have never worn the brakes as much as I did this day. As soon as I released the brake levers, the speed was directly up to 80 km per hour. Although I often stopped to cool the brakes, they overheated. In one place I drove down about a thousand meters in a little bit over 10 kilometer, it was really steep to say the least. The brakes worn so much that I didn’t have a parking brakes in the evening.

1200 meters down to the sea.
Himarë.
It is difficult to cool down the brakes when thermometer is showing 30 degrees Celsius.
Looking nice but not my preferred type of place.
A restaurant in the middle of a water spring.
I wasn’t all alone on the road.

Sarande

I reached the town of Sarande the 12th of September 2020. My plan was to take a ferry from here to Corfu in Greece. But the ferries where cancelled because of corona. So I decided to rest before continuing over the mountains to a main border crossing.

Following are some photos from Sarande.

So close and so far.
Remains from the V and VI centuries.
Remains from the last war.
I had the opportunity to do maintenance and repairs on the velomobile in the shade of the grape plant.
This mechanic helped me loosen a bolt that had broken when the rear axle expanded due to the heat on the downhills.
The workshop.
To Kakavie, the main border between Albania and Greece.
After having crossed the coastal mountains I reached to the main road that follows a wide valley.
The Albanian side of the border.

I arrived at the border on the 15th of September, the last day of restrictions according to the Greek official website. The staff asked me to return next day to see if there had been some changes. So I did, but the answer was the same:

”You are welcome to Greece but you can not enter through this border control. You have to travel through North Macedonia and enter via Bulgaria.”

Imagine cycling to south Sweden and they tell you at the border, welcome, but you can’t enter here. You have to cycle to the north of Finland from where you can enter to Sweden … Where is the logic?

But I knew what I was getting myself into, so I couldn’t complain. There was a small possibility of maybe taking a ferry to Italy and from there to Greece. The problem was that I probably had to spend several weeks in quarantine.

This is as far as I was able to enter Greece.
This picture taken at the border symbolizes how difficult it was to enter Greece.
Back to Vlora. Note how close Igoumenitsa is from Sarande and Kakavia.
Unfortunately a very common sight by the roadside in this beautiful country with extremely friendly and nice people.
The beach boulevard in Vlora.
There are many future plans in Albania.
Most buildings in Albania are relatively new, but I like photographing old buildings.
I did get a ticket to Italy but still didn’t know what restrictions I might encounter. This is the border control at the Albanian harbour.
The ferry I went with had previously gone between Sweden and Finland.
The harbour in Vlora.

Italy

I arrived in Brindisi at midnight. The staff at the border was extremely friendly and very interested in my velomobile. When I told them that I am cycling from Nordkapp to the southern most island in Greece, they where very helpful and explained that I’m allowed to enter Italy for some hours without being in quarantine as long as I leave the country as soon as possible. I promised that I would buy the first available ticket to Greece as soon as the Biglietteria Merci Traghetti Tirrenia (ticket office) opened. No paperwork was required and into Italy I went. 🙂

I made a 40 km night ride in the old town of Brindisi and its surroundings. I had to spend some time before the ticket office opened. Finally I stretched out my sleeping pad near the ticket office and slept three hours out in the open.

One had to go through a lot of digital bureaucracy before it was possible to buy a ticket to Greece. Digital forms to be filled in with username and confirmation email. I really felt sorry for some older people who did not understand either email or digital forms. They remained weeping in Italy without tickets.

The harbour entrance to Brindisi.
The helipad on the ferry.

All of a sudden I was back on the place I was a week ago. Then I saw this ferry from Sarande, now I saw Sarande from the ferry. 🙃

When arriving to Greece I was tested for covid and had to remain 24 hours in one place.
I spent my 24 hour quarantine in a camping.
I am in Greece! 😅

To be continued.


Edit: Honza Galla, chief editor at Recumbent News, has just written a very flattering article about our meeting at the Azub factory. The text is especially interesting for velonauts. Link to the article in Recumbent News.

5 reaktioner till “The Adriatic Islands and Coast”

  1. Hi Alve
    What a trip!! It’s nice to read about everything and you take great photos!
    Safe riding!

  2. Hello Alve
    Very exiting, well thought out and daring trip, I think. You are a true adventurer 😉 And lovely pictures. I’m looking forward to reading about your mono-solartrailer too, which looks like clever engineering, minimalistic, lightweight, low drag but with tilting and everything
    Have a nice trip home and be safe 🙂
    Are you using flashing backlight too at your trailer ?

    Kind regards
    Kjeld from Denmark (Strada)

    1. Thank you Kjeld!
      Yes, I have installed the same light on the Suntrailer as the one I use on the back of the velomobiles. It is a light mainly used at daytime since it is so strong. The one on the trailer is connected directly to the panel.
      Regards

  3. Hi Alve and Co-202020!
    Such a great idea of this 20^3 challenge . I love it and which I were Uon road now in southern countries! I discovered it by surprise, thought I will speed 20 seconds on it but I red your blog during 20* 5 minutes and I think I will need 20*20 days to prepare such a trip for the next coming years : I hope Inless than 20!!!

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