I’m now a week into my trip and writing to you from an Albanian campsite. The last few days have been pretty strange, hence the delay in writing another blog post.
Since the Black Forest I’ve ridden through several countries and seen some incredible scenery. Arriving in Lake bled last Friday, I spent a couple of days there after meeting a lovely English couple who were travelling through their retirement, they convinced me to stay an extra day by getting me too drunk to check out of the campsite in time the following morning!
Lake bled is a really nice place to visit though. The town is a little touristy but the lake is beautiful. The roads leading to the Croatian coast were also incredible. Slow in pace, but great bends stretching throughout mountainous scenery. I opted for the longer route, cutting across to Rijeka before taking the famous Dalmatian coastal route.
It really is a bikers haven. 100s of miles of perfect tarmac and stunning coastal scenery speaks for itself. Several parts were so incredible that I had to sacrifice my schedule and go back up.
Unfortunately that’s when the experience turned sour. Camping in a very dodgy place 50miles north of Dubrovnik, I was greeted by a drunk site manager. The place was half under construction and nobody spoke a word of English. After erecting my tent I realised I didn’t have my wallet and the only place I’d got it out was in the reception. So naturally I first started to make sure it was not around, before heading to reception to check. Still no sign of it, so then I started to address what I was to do, on my own and with no wallet. At that point, the drunk Croatian manager pulled up in his car and started yelling at me to get out for absolutely no reason. Naturally I wasn’t going anywhere without my wallet so I used the nearby German couple to translate the situation. They sympathised greatly, but the Croatian continued in a rage, even shouting at them. Eventually I packed up and left, all whilst the guy was inexplicably raging, not before checking reception for my wallet (to no avail)
I finally accepted my situation and after an initial panic, went to the beach and cancelled all of my cards. After a while of sitting there contemplating what to do. One of the managers goons came out and handed me my wallet of now cancelled cards. I really have no idea what the actual reason for the drama was, maybe he found my wallet and tried to rob me or maybe he just thought I was trying to get out of paying. Who knows, but one thing is for sure, I shouldn’t have ignored my instinct. As I arrived and saw the place and the drunken manager I was right on the edge of leaving and finding somewhere else. But I was tired so thought it’d be fine.
While this is an example of huge misfortune and a croatian being a pretty deplorable person, the people in Croatia have been some of the nicest I’ve ever come across. I can’t stop at a petrol station without somebody asking about my trip or the UK. So the extremely annoying scenario is definitely isolated and does not reflect Croatians at all.
In a terrible mood and without any money I was forced to head to Dubrovnik and find a hostel. I randomly picked the Villa Divine because of its relatively reasonable price and high ratings. This turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, making the losing of all my cards a sort of blessing in disguise. Everything about the Hostel is perfect, the staff are great, location and views are ideal and to top it off, I met the best group of people who I had the best few days with.
So while I don’t want to brag about my experience in Dubrovnik, I feel that it is worth remembering that travelling the world can easily take you from your lowest point to your highest. After having no money and being stranded I was pretty pissed off, yet within 24 hours the whole situation had turned round so perfectly with the help of a few nice people. Obviously, I was never gonna give in over a wallet, but I just hope my future self will remember this and be able to remind myself how quick it can turn around. Because let’s face it, Shit does happen. You just have to get on with it. While I did do that very quickly, it took a while for my mood to adjust and as a result, I drove some pretty beautiful scenery in such a terrible grump.
Nonetheless though, I’m still here camped in a really nice 5 euro a night campsite in the north of Albania (camping and Pishina Riviera) having just met up with the rest of the Norwich to Mongolia group. Riding from now in convoy I’m eager to tear up some miles towards Greece and Turkey tomorrow.