Scenic drive through Montenegro with visits to Kotor and Budva. Kotor was interesting but found our guides English a little disjointed so difficult to follow and left insufficient time to explore Kotor. Budva has been taken over by Russians (literally) but Old Town was OK. Tour rep Jelena was pleasant and helpful but driver seemed to keep arguing with her along the way and was overly regimental with visit timings. Montenegro is difficult to do independently without stopover and probably best to stick with organised tour but as an independent traveller found it a little disappointing.
Inauspicious start when told it would be 12km ride (in 2.5 hours) as I could have walked it carrying the bike in that time, but super Mario teamed me up with 'Iron Man' Matet for a more interesting 26km hillier ride. Matet was an excellent guide and a decent fellow telling me about his volunteering work as a Mountain Rescue helper. He was also making efforts to promote outdoor tourism locally and showed me bike maps on signposts that had been put up (excellent idea).
Not even a puncture to halt my progress (apparently commonplace on dry roads) could detract from a good half day out.
Tour was followed by trip to a mill, which was interesting and also wine tasting at vinery. Even though I am a real ale drinker and also suspicious of these 'linked' visits, I can still appreciate a quality wine when I taste one and ended up buying a bottle which will make a nice gift for a friend.
During my ride with Matet I also mentioned that I liked cycling through pine forests for the smell of the pine and he recommended his hometown Cavtat as a place having lots of pines. As the minibus had to pass Cavtat on the way home, I asked the driver if he could drop me there and I would then bus on to Dubrovnik later under my own steam. Initially this caused confusion but I was cleared for drop off, which was handy as saved me time in making a special journey for Cavtat.
Good day out overall and lucky to be able to ride with the Iron Man.
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