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18 octobre 2014 6 18 /10 /octobre /2014 21:43

The Balkans is a region in Eastern Europe that has been long time in our heads. We always wanted to cycle in these countries we heard so many stories about...

especially during the war in the 90´s: places like Vukovar, Mostar, Mitrovica, Sarajevo, Dubrovnik, Srebrenica, Pristina or the names of Rugova, Radic, Tudman, Mladic, Radovan Karadzic, Nano, Milosevic remind us the tragic Yugoslav wars that lasted from 1991 till 1999: ethnic conflicts fought on former Yugoslavia accompanied with the breakup of the country.

However the Balkans is not only a war story but also a rich heritage of cultures/civilizations/religions that once upon a time were living together in peace.

After a short flight we start cycling in Split, Croatia. Nearby Trogir is a very nice surprise with a little old town. However we feel Croatia very touristy. The Adriatic and the “jadransko magistrala” shows us (eg at the Makarksa Riviera) great cycling with little traffic and bays to bath in crystal water. Although there is all over houses and rooms to rent we manage to wild camp and profit from the nice weather in the middle of October.
After a short flight we start cycling in Split, Croatia. Nearby Trogir is a very nice surprise with a little old town. However we feel Croatia very touristy. The Adriatic and the “jadransko magistrala” shows us (eg at the Makarksa Riviera) great cycling with little traffic and bays to bath in crystal water. Although there is all over houses and rooms to rent we manage to wild camp and profit from the nice weather in the middle of October.

After a short flight we start cycling in Split, Croatia. Nearby Trogir is a very nice surprise with a little old town. However we feel Croatia very touristy. The Adriatic and the “jadransko magistrala” shows us (eg at the Makarksa Riviera) great cycling with little traffic and bays to bath in crystal water. Although there is all over houses and rooms to rent we manage to wild camp and profit from the nice weather in the middle of October.

In Dubrovnik we get a shock with all the tourists coming out of the big cruise boats, showing off in the streets of the Stari Grad. Definitely not our highlight, Dubrovnik old city might be one of the greatest fortified citadels but the crowd of tourists and the absence of local life (Croatians living inside the Old City) make it a place without soul.
In Dubrovnik we get a shock with all the tourists coming out of the big cruise boats, showing off in the streets of the Stari Grad. Definitely not our highlight, Dubrovnik old city might be one of the greatest fortified citadels but the crowd of tourists and the absence of local life (Croatians living inside the Old City) make it a place without soul.
In Dubrovnik we get a shock with all the tourists coming out of the big cruise boats, showing off in the streets of the Stari Grad. Definitely not our highlight, Dubrovnik old city might be one of the greatest fortified citadels but the crowd of tourists and the absence of local life (Croatians living inside the Old City) make it a place without soul.
In Dubrovnik we get a shock with all the tourists coming out of the big cruise boats, showing off in the streets of the Stari Grad. Definitely not our highlight, Dubrovnik old city might be one of the greatest fortified citadels but the crowd of tourists and the absence of local life (Croatians living inside the Old City) make it a place without soul.
In Dubrovnik we get a shock with all the tourists coming out of the big cruise boats, showing off in the streets of the Stari Grad. Definitely not our highlight, Dubrovnik old city might be one of the greatest fortified citadels but the crowd of tourists and the absence of local life (Croatians living inside the Old City) make it a place without soul.
In Dubrovnik we get a shock with all the tourists coming out of the big cruise boats, showing off in the streets of the Stari Grad. Definitely not our highlight, Dubrovnik old city might be one of the greatest fortified citadels but the crowd of tourists and the absence of local life (Croatians living inside the Old City) make it a place without soul.
In Dubrovnik we get a shock with all the tourists coming out of the big cruise boats, showing off in the streets of the Stari Grad. Definitely not our highlight, Dubrovnik old city might be one of the greatest fortified citadels but the crowd of tourists and the absence of local life (Croatians living inside the Old City) make it a place without soul.
In Dubrovnik we get a shock with all the tourists coming out of the big cruise boats, showing off in the streets of the Stari Grad. Definitely not our highlight, Dubrovnik old city might be one of the greatest fortified citadels but the crowd of tourists and the absence of local life (Croatians living inside the Old City) make it a place without soul.
In Dubrovnik we get a shock with all the tourists coming out of the big cruise boats, showing off in the streets of the Stari Grad. Definitely not our highlight, Dubrovnik old city might be one of the greatest fortified citadels but the crowd of tourists and the absence of local life (Croatians living inside the Old City) make it a place without soul.
In Dubrovnik we get a shock with all the tourists coming out of the big cruise boats, showing off in the streets of the Stari Grad. Definitely not our highlight, Dubrovnik old city might be one of the greatest fortified citadels but the crowd of tourists and the absence of local life (Croatians living inside the Old City) make it a place without soul.

In Dubrovnik we get a shock with all the tourists coming out of the big cruise boats, showing off in the streets of the Stari Grad. Definitely not our highlight, Dubrovnik old city might be one of the greatest fortified citadels but the crowd of tourists and the absence of local life (Croatians living inside the Old City) make it a place without soul.

In between we make a short visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), probably the country that most suffered during the war. Croats, Serbians and Bosniaks were fighting in a conflict that is not resolved yet. The Dayton Agreement brought some peace but it is still not over and anytime the thin line that separates the Srpska Republic, Brčko District and the Federation within the same country can explode once again.
In between we make a short visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), probably the country that most suffered during the war. Croats, Serbians and Bosniaks were fighting in a conflict that is not resolved yet. The Dayton Agreement brought some peace but it is still not over and anytime the thin line that separates the Srpska Republic, Brčko District and the Federation within the same country can explode once again.
In between we make a short visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), probably the country that most suffered during the war. Croats, Serbians and Bosniaks were fighting in a conflict that is not resolved yet. The Dayton Agreement brought some peace but it is still not over and anytime the thin line that separates the Srpska Republic, Brčko District and the Federation within the same country can explode once again.
In between we make a short visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), probably the country that most suffered during the war. Croats, Serbians and Bosniaks were fighting in a conflict that is not resolved yet. The Dayton Agreement brought some peace but it is still not over and anytime the thin line that separates the Srpska Republic, Brčko District and the Federation within the same country can explode once again.
In between we make a short visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), probably the country that most suffered during the war. Croats, Serbians and Bosniaks were fighting in a conflict that is not resolved yet. The Dayton Agreement brought some peace but it is still not over and anytime the thin line that separates the Srpska Republic, Brčko District and the Federation within the same country can explode once again.
In between we make a short visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), probably the country that most suffered during the war. Croats, Serbians and Bosniaks were fighting in a conflict that is not resolved yet. The Dayton Agreement brought some peace but it is still not over and anytime the thin line that separates the Srpska Republic, Brčko District and the Federation within the same country can explode once again.
In between we make a short visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), probably the country that most suffered during the war. Croats, Serbians and Bosniaks were fighting in a conflict that is not resolved yet. The Dayton Agreement brought some peace but it is still not over and anytime the thin line that separates the Srpska Republic, Brčko District and the Federation within the same country can explode once again.
In between we make a short visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), probably the country that most suffered during the war. Croats, Serbians and Bosniaks were fighting in a conflict that is not resolved yet. The Dayton Agreement brought some peace but it is still not over and anytime the thin line that separates the Srpska Republic, Brčko District and the Federation within the same country can explode once again.

In between we make a short visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), probably the country that most suffered during the war. Croats, Serbians and Bosniaks were fighting in a conflict that is not resolved yet. The Dayton Agreement brought some peace but it is still not over and anytime the thin line that separates the Srpska Republic, Brčko District and the Federation within the same country can explode once again.

We feel very good in this country, enjoying the Ottoman Old city of Mostar with the famous Stari Most (a 500 years old bridge blown up during the war by the Croats and rebuilt using the same technique) and the crossroad town of Sarajevo where the Ortodox (Serbs), Catholic (Croats) and Muslims (Bosniaks) seem to be living peacefully. The signs of the war are still evident in the facades of the houses, the hills around the city and parks are full of graves that remember us the period when the city was besieged (93-95) and the people who died in the conflict. The locals still live in the past sitting in cafes with music from the 80´s but all in all Sarajevo is a cosy city that has witnessed so many events in history: Winter Olympics in ´84, Franz Ferdinand assassination, the start of the WWI.....
We feel very good in this country, enjoying the Ottoman Old city of Mostar with the famous Stari Most (a 500 years old bridge blown up during the war by the Croats and rebuilt using the same technique) and the crossroad town of Sarajevo where the Ortodox (Serbs), Catholic (Croats) and Muslims (Bosniaks) seem to be living peacefully. The signs of the war are still evident in the facades of the houses, the hills around the city and parks are full of graves that remember us the period when the city was besieged (93-95) and the people who died in the conflict. The locals still live in the past sitting in cafes with music from the 80´s but all in all Sarajevo is a cosy city that has witnessed so many events in history: Winter Olympics in ´84, Franz Ferdinand assassination, the start of the WWI.....
We feel very good in this country, enjoying the Ottoman Old city of Mostar with the famous Stari Most (a 500 years old bridge blown up during the war by the Croats and rebuilt using the same technique) and the crossroad town of Sarajevo where the Ortodox (Serbs), Catholic (Croats) and Muslims (Bosniaks) seem to be living peacefully. The signs of the war are still evident in the facades of the houses, the hills around the city and parks are full of graves that remember us the period when the city was besieged (93-95) and the people who died in the conflict. The locals still live in the past sitting in cafes with music from the 80´s but all in all Sarajevo is a cosy city that has witnessed so many events in history: Winter Olympics in ´84, Franz Ferdinand assassination, the start of the WWI.....
We feel very good in this country, enjoying the Ottoman Old city of Mostar with the famous Stari Most (a 500 years old bridge blown up during the war by the Croats and rebuilt using the same technique) and the crossroad town of Sarajevo where the Ortodox (Serbs), Catholic (Croats) and Muslims (Bosniaks) seem to be living peacefully. The signs of the war are still evident in the facades of the houses, the hills around the city and parks are full of graves that remember us the period when the city was besieged (93-95) and the people who died in the conflict. The locals still live in the past sitting in cafes with music from the 80´s but all in all Sarajevo is a cosy city that has witnessed so many events in history: Winter Olympics in ´84, Franz Ferdinand assassination, the start of the WWI.....
We feel very good in this country, enjoying the Ottoman Old city of Mostar with the famous Stari Most (a 500 years old bridge blown up during the war by the Croats and rebuilt using the same technique) and the crossroad town of Sarajevo where the Ortodox (Serbs), Catholic (Croats) and Muslims (Bosniaks) seem to be living peacefully. The signs of the war are still evident in the facades of the houses, the hills around the city and parks are full of graves that remember us the period when the city was besieged (93-95) and the people who died in the conflict. The locals still live in the past sitting in cafes with music from the 80´s but all in all Sarajevo is a cosy city that has witnessed so many events in history: Winter Olympics in ´84, Franz Ferdinand assassination, the start of the WWI.....
We feel very good in this country, enjoying the Ottoman Old city of Mostar with the famous Stari Most (a 500 years old bridge blown up during the war by the Croats and rebuilt using the same technique) and the crossroad town of Sarajevo where the Ortodox (Serbs), Catholic (Croats) and Muslims (Bosniaks) seem to be living peacefully. The signs of the war are still evident in the facades of the houses, the hills around the city and parks are full of graves that remember us the period when the city was besieged (93-95) and the people who died in the conflict. The locals still live in the past sitting in cafes with music from the 80´s but all in all Sarajevo is a cosy city that has witnessed so many events in history: Winter Olympics in ´84, Franz Ferdinand assassination, the start of the WWI.....

We feel very good in this country, enjoying the Ottoman Old city of Mostar with the famous Stari Most (a 500 years old bridge blown up during the war by the Croats and rebuilt using the same technique) and the crossroad town of Sarajevo where the Ortodox (Serbs), Catholic (Croats) and Muslims (Bosniaks) seem to be living peacefully. The signs of the war are still evident in the facades of the houses, the hills around the city and parks are full of graves that remember us the period when the city was besieged (93-95) and the people who died in the conflict. The locals still live in the past sitting in cafes with music from the 80´s but all in all Sarajevo is a cosy city that has witnessed so many events in history: Winter Olympics in ´84, Franz Ferdinand assassination, the start of the WWI.....

Entering Montenegro (historically the region much closer to Serbia) we enjoy a lot cycling along the Bay of Kotor, not because of the many Russians in their yachts but because of the natural landscape and the nice old city of Kotor (much worth visiting than the one in Dubrovnik and with real local people inside!!).
Entering Montenegro (historically the region much closer to Serbia) we enjoy a lot cycling along the Bay of Kotor, not because of the many Russians in their yachts but because of the natural landscape and the nice old city of Kotor (much worth visiting than the one in Dubrovnik and with real local people inside!!).
Entering Montenegro (historically the region much closer to Serbia) we enjoy a lot cycling along the Bay of Kotor, not because of the many Russians in their yachts but because of the natural landscape and the nice old city of Kotor (much worth visiting than the one in Dubrovnik and with real local people inside!!).
Entering Montenegro (historically the region much closer to Serbia) we enjoy a lot cycling along the Bay of Kotor, not because of the many Russians in their yachts but because of the natural landscape and the nice old city of Kotor (much worth visiting than the one in Dubrovnik and with real local people inside!!).
Entering Montenegro (historically the region much closer to Serbia) we enjoy a lot cycling along the Bay of Kotor, not because of the many Russians in their yachts but because of the natural landscape and the nice old city of Kotor (much worth visiting than the one in Dubrovnik and with real local people inside!!).
Entering Montenegro (historically the region much closer to Serbia) we enjoy a lot cycling along the Bay of Kotor, not because of the many Russians in their yachts but because of the natural landscape and the nice old city of Kotor (much worth visiting than the one in Dubrovnik and with real local people inside!!).
Entering Montenegro (historically the region much closer to Serbia) we enjoy a lot cycling along the Bay of Kotor, not because of the many Russians in their yachts but because of the natural landscape and the nice old city of Kotor (much worth visiting than the one in Dubrovnik and with real local people inside!!).

Entering Montenegro (historically the region much closer to Serbia) we enjoy a lot cycling along the Bay of Kotor, not because of the many Russians in their yachts but because of the natural landscape and the nice old city of Kotor (much worth visiting than the one in Dubrovnik and with real local people inside!!).

Montenegro is our highlight for cycling in this Balkans loop and the little road along Lake Skhoder a delight. Almost exiting Montenegro local people start to greet us and wave with the hand....it is clear evidence that the Albanians are there!
Montenegro is our highlight for cycling in this Balkans loop and the little road along Lake Skhoder a delight. Almost exiting Montenegro local people start to greet us and wave with the hand....it is clear evidence that the Albanians are there!
Montenegro is our highlight for cycling in this Balkans loop and the little road along Lake Skhoder a delight. Almost exiting Montenegro local people start to greet us and wave with the hand....it is clear evidence that the Albanians are there!
Montenegro is our highlight for cycling in this Balkans loop and the little road along Lake Skhoder a delight. Almost exiting Montenegro local people start to greet us and wave with the hand....it is clear evidence that the Albanians are there!
Montenegro is our highlight for cycling in this Balkans loop and the little road along Lake Skhoder a delight. Almost exiting Montenegro local people start to greet us and wave with the hand....it is clear evidence that the Albanians are there!
Montenegro is our highlight for cycling in this Balkans loop and the little road along Lake Skhoder a delight. Almost exiting Montenegro local people start to greet us and wave with the hand....it is clear evidence that the Albanians are there!
Montenegro is our highlight for cycling in this Balkans loop and the little road along Lake Skhoder a delight. Almost exiting Montenegro local people start to greet us and wave with the hand....it is clear evidence that the Albanians are there!
Montenegro is our highlight for cycling in this Balkans loop and the little road along Lake Skhoder a delight. Almost exiting Montenegro local people start to greet us and wave with the hand....it is clear evidence that the Albanians are there!
Montenegro is our highlight for cycling in this Balkans loop and the little road along Lake Skhoder a delight. Almost exiting Montenegro local people start to greet us and wave with the hand....it is clear evidence that the Albanians are there!
Montenegro is our highlight for cycling in this Balkans loop and the little road along Lake Skhoder a delight. Almost exiting Montenegro local people start to greet us and wave with the hand....it is clear evidence that the Albanians are there!

Montenegro is our highlight for cycling in this Balkans loop and the little road along Lake Skhoder a delight. Almost exiting Montenegro local people start to greet us and wave with the hand....it is clear evidence that the Albanians are there!

Albania which has been isolated for many decades under a strong dictatorship from Hoxha and the “Sigurimi” is now slowly opening up and leaving behind its Communist past. It is the country where we feel the most welcome. Wherever we go local people greet us spontaneously, they come to talk to us in German or Italian and they are always very generous offering us grapes, pears, apples..... Long time we did not have so much generosity, direct contact and humanity since Asia and the Muslim countries.... It is paradoxical to have found such a big sign of hospitality in the poorest country of Europe. Not many tourists, no big facilities for mass tourism, a country where they still throw the trash in the streets, where you can still see chariots of horses transporting goods, little shops opened till midnight, more Mercedes cars than in Germany, old men playing domino and chess in the parks, local people drinking in the cafes... . We are happy to have found a country where life exists for everybody and not only for wealthy tourists as it was along the coast in Croatia and Montenegro.
Albania which has been isolated for many decades under a strong dictatorship from Hoxha and the “Sigurimi” is now slowly opening up and leaving behind its Communist past. It is the country where we feel the most welcome. Wherever we go local people greet us spontaneously, they come to talk to us in German or Italian and they are always very generous offering us grapes, pears, apples..... Long time we did not have so much generosity, direct contact and humanity since Asia and the Muslim countries.... It is paradoxical to have found such a big sign of hospitality in the poorest country of Europe. Not many tourists, no big facilities for mass tourism, a country where they still throw the trash in the streets, where you can still see chariots of horses transporting goods, little shops opened till midnight, more Mercedes cars than in Germany, old men playing domino and chess in the parks, local people drinking in the cafes... . We are happy to have found a country where life exists for everybody and not only for wealthy tourists as it was along the coast in Croatia and Montenegro.
Albania which has been isolated for many decades under a strong dictatorship from Hoxha and the “Sigurimi” is now slowly opening up and leaving behind its Communist past. It is the country where we feel the most welcome. Wherever we go local people greet us spontaneously, they come to talk to us in German or Italian and they are always very generous offering us grapes, pears, apples..... Long time we did not have so much generosity, direct contact and humanity since Asia and the Muslim countries.... It is paradoxical to have found such a big sign of hospitality in the poorest country of Europe. Not many tourists, no big facilities for mass tourism, a country where they still throw the trash in the streets, where you can still see chariots of horses transporting goods, little shops opened till midnight, more Mercedes cars than in Germany, old men playing domino and chess in the parks, local people drinking in the cafes... . We are happy to have found a country where life exists for everybody and not only for wealthy tourists as it was along the coast in Croatia and Montenegro.
Albania which has been isolated for many decades under a strong dictatorship from Hoxha and the “Sigurimi” is now slowly opening up and leaving behind its Communist past. It is the country where we feel the most welcome. Wherever we go local people greet us spontaneously, they come to talk to us in German or Italian and they are always very generous offering us grapes, pears, apples..... Long time we did not have so much generosity, direct contact and humanity since Asia and the Muslim countries.... It is paradoxical to have found such a big sign of hospitality in the poorest country of Europe. Not many tourists, no big facilities for mass tourism, a country where they still throw the trash in the streets, where you can still see chariots of horses transporting goods, little shops opened till midnight, more Mercedes cars than in Germany, old men playing domino and chess in the parks, local people drinking in the cafes... . We are happy to have found a country where life exists for everybody and not only for wealthy tourists as it was along the coast in Croatia and Montenegro.
Albania which has been isolated for many decades under a strong dictatorship from Hoxha and the “Sigurimi” is now slowly opening up and leaving behind its Communist past. It is the country where we feel the most welcome. Wherever we go local people greet us spontaneously, they come to talk to us in German or Italian and they are always very generous offering us grapes, pears, apples..... Long time we did not have so much generosity, direct contact and humanity since Asia and the Muslim countries.... It is paradoxical to have found such a big sign of hospitality in the poorest country of Europe. Not many tourists, no big facilities for mass tourism, a country where they still throw the trash in the streets, where you can still see chariots of horses transporting goods, little shops opened till midnight, more Mercedes cars than in Germany, old men playing domino and chess in the parks, local people drinking in the cafes... . We are happy to have found a country where life exists for everybody and not only for wealthy tourists as it was along the coast in Croatia and Montenegro.
Albania which has been isolated for many decades under a strong dictatorship from Hoxha and the “Sigurimi” is now slowly opening up and leaving behind its Communist past. It is the country where we feel the most welcome. Wherever we go local people greet us spontaneously, they come to talk to us in German or Italian and they are always very generous offering us grapes, pears, apples..... Long time we did not have so much generosity, direct contact and humanity since Asia and the Muslim countries.... It is paradoxical to have found such a big sign of hospitality in the poorest country of Europe. Not many tourists, no big facilities for mass tourism, a country where they still throw the trash in the streets, where you can still see chariots of horses transporting goods, little shops opened till midnight, more Mercedes cars than in Germany, old men playing domino and chess in the parks, local people drinking in the cafes... . We are happy to have found a country where life exists for everybody and not only for wealthy tourists as it was along the coast in Croatia and Montenegro.
Albania which has been isolated for many decades under a strong dictatorship from Hoxha and the “Sigurimi” is now slowly opening up and leaving behind its Communist past. It is the country where we feel the most welcome. Wherever we go local people greet us spontaneously, they come to talk to us in German or Italian and they are always very generous offering us grapes, pears, apples..... Long time we did not have so much generosity, direct contact and humanity since Asia and the Muslim countries.... It is paradoxical to have found such a big sign of hospitality in the poorest country of Europe. Not many tourists, no big facilities for mass tourism, a country where they still throw the trash in the streets, where you can still see chariots of horses transporting goods, little shops opened till midnight, more Mercedes cars than in Germany, old men playing domino and chess in the parks, local people drinking in the cafes... . We are happy to have found a country where life exists for everybody and not only for wealthy tourists as it was along the coast in Croatia and Montenegro.
Albania which has been isolated for many decades under a strong dictatorship from Hoxha and the “Sigurimi” is now slowly opening up and leaving behind its Communist past. It is the country where we feel the most welcome. Wherever we go local people greet us spontaneously, they come to talk to us in German or Italian and they are always very generous offering us grapes, pears, apples..... Long time we did not have so much generosity, direct contact and humanity since Asia and the Muslim countries.... It is paradoxical to have found such a big sign of hospitality in the poorest country of Europe. Not many tourists, no big facilities for mass tourism, a country where they still throw the trash in the streets, where you can still see chariots of horses transporting goods, little shops opened till midnight, more Mercedes cars than in Germany, old men playing domino and chess in the parks, local people drinking in the cafes... . We are happy to have found a country where life exists for everybody and not only for wealthy tourists as it was along the coast in Croatia and Montenegro.
Albania which has been isolated for many decades under a strong dictatorship from Hoxha and the “Sigurimi” is now slowly opening up and leaving behind its Communist past. It is the country where we feel the most welcome. Wherever we go local people greet us spontaneously, they come to talk to us in German or Italian and they are always very generous offering us grapes, pears, apples..... Long time we did not have so much generosity, direct contact and humanity since Asia and the Muslim countries.... It is paradoxical to have found such a big sign of hospitality in the poorest country of Europe. Not many tourists, no big facilities for mass tourism, a country where they still throw the trash in the streets, where you can still see chariots of horses transporting goods, little shops opened till midnight, more Mercedes cars than in Germany, old men playing domino and chess in the parks, local people drinking in the cafes... . We are happy to have found a country where life exists for everybody and not only for wealthy tourists as it was along the coast in Croatia and Montenegro.

Albania which has been isolated for many decades under a strong dictatorship from Hoxha and the “Sigurimi” is now slowly opening up and leaving behind its Communist past. It is the country where we feel the most welcome. Wherever we go local people greet us spontaneously, they come to talk to us in German or Italian and they are always very generous offering us grapes, pears, apples..... Long time we did not have so much generosity, direct contact and humanity since Asia and the Muslim countries.... It is paradoxical to have found such a big sign of hospitality in the poorest country of Europe. Not many tourists, no big facilities for mass tourism, a country where they still throw the trash in the streets, where you can still see chariots of horses transporting goods, little shops opened till midnight, more Mercedes cars than in Germany, old men playing domino and chess in the parks, local people drinking in the cafes... . We are happy to have found a country where life exists for everybody and not only for wealthy tourists as it was along the coast in Croatia and Montenegro.

It is time to cycle in Kosovo, for us it seems we are still in Albania. In fact we see lots of Albanian flags since the majority living there are Albanians. A country created in 2008 after the intervention of the UN in the conflict between Serbians and Albano-Kosovars in 1999. Kosovo still has a strong presence of the UN (KFOR) and is clearly a military base for the US in Eastern Europe. We feel very welcome and the locals always try to help and encourage us in the steep climbs.
It is time to cycle in Kosovo, for us it seems we are still in Albania. In fact we see lots of Albanian flags since the majority living there are Albanians. A country created in 2008 after the intervention of the UN in the conflict between Serbians and Albano-Kosovars in 1999. Kosovo still has a strong presence of the UN (KFOR) and is clearly a military base for the US in Eastern Europe. We feel very welcome and the locals always try to help and encourage us in the steep climbs.
It is time to cycle in Kosovo, for us it seems we are still in Albania. In fact we see lots of Albanian flags since the majority living there are Albanians. A country created in 2008 after the intervention of the UN in the conflict between Serbians and Albano-Kosovars in 1999. Kosovo still has a strong presence of the UN (KFOR) and is clearly a military base for the US in Eastern Europe. We feel very welcome and the locals always try to help and encourage us in the steep climbs.
It is time to cycle in Kosovo, for us it seems we are still in Albania. In fact we see lots of Albanian flags since the majority living there are Albanians. A country created in 2008 after the intervention of the UN in the conflict between Serbians and Albano-Kosovars in 1999. Kosovo still has a strong presence of the UN (KFOR) and is clearly a military base for the US in Eastern Europe. We feel very welcome and the locals always try to help and encourage us in the steep climbs.

It is time to cycle in Kosovo, for us it seems we are still in Albania. In fact we see lots of Albanian flags since the majority living there are Albanians. A country created in 2008 after the intervention of the UN in the conflict between Serbians and Albano-Kosovars in 1999. Kosovo still has a strong presence of the UN (KFOR) and is clearly a military base for the US in Eastern Europe. We feel very welcome and the locals always try to help and encourage us in the steep climbs.

A short visit to Macedonia's capital Skopje makes us discover a nice old city. The country from Alexander the Great and his vast empire in 300 BC or Mother Theresa, relevant figures from a country we would have loved to explore more in detail. Our final destination is Pristina where we take the flight back home.
A short visit to Macedonia's capital Skopje makes us discover a nice old city. The country from Alexander the Great and his vast empire in 300 BC or Mother Theresa, relevant figures from a country we would have loved to explore more in detail. Our final destination is Pristina where we take the flight back home.
A short visit to Macedonia's capital Skopje makes us discover a nice old city. The country from Alexander the Great and his vast empire in 300 BC or Mother Theresa, relevant figures from a country we would have loved to explore more in detail. Our final destination is Pristina where we take the flight back home.

A short visit to Macedonia's capital Skopje makes us discover a nice old city. The country from Alexander the Great and his vast empire in 300 BC or Mother Theresa, relevant figures from a country we would have loved to explore more in detail. Our final destination is Pristina where we take the flight back home.

The Balkans is a region with a rich history not only for the recent war in the ´90s but also for the Roman , Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian, Slav, Greek, Illyrian empires... A rich culture in a crossroad area with diversity in religion, ethnics that got in flame when Yugoslavia started to fall apart (only Slovenia and Macedonia became independent peacefully, the creation of the other states came after a big massacre of innocent people). It is important not to forget history if we do not want to repeat the same errors again.
The Balkans is a region with a rich history not only for the recent war in the ´90s but also for the Roman , Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian, Slav, Greek, Illyrian empires... A rich culture in a crossroad area with diversity in religion, ethnics that got in flame when Yugoslavia started to fall apart (only Slovenia and Macedonia became independent peacefully, the creation of the other states came after a big massacre of innocent people). It is important not to forget history if we do not want to repeat the same errors again.
The Balkans is a region with a rich history not only for the recent war in the ´90s but also for the Roman , Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian, Slav, Greek, Illyrian empires... A rich culture in a crossroad area with diversity in religion, ethnics that got in flame when Yugoslavia started to fall apart (only Slovenia and Macedonia became independent peacefully, the creation of the other states came after a big massacre of innocent people). It is important not to forget history if we do not want to repeat the same errors again.
The Balkans is a region with a rich history not only for the recent war in the ´90s but also for the Roman , Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian, Slav, Greek, Illyrian empires... A rich culture in a crossroad area with diversity in religion, ethnics that got in flame when Yugoslavia started to fall apart (only Slovenia and Macedonia became independent peacefully, the creation of the other states came after a big massacre of innocent people). It is important not to forget history if we do not want to repeat the same errors again.
The Balkans is a region with a rich history not only for the recent war in the ´90s but also for the Roman , Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian, Slav, Greek, Illyrian empires... A rich culture in a crossroad area with diversity in religion, ethnics that got in flame when Yugoslavia started to fall apart (only Slovenia and Macedonia became independent peacefully, the creation of the other states came after a big massacre of innocent people). It is important not to forget history if we do not want to repeat the same errors again.

The Balkans is a region with a rich history not only for the recent war in the ´90s but also for the Roman , Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian, Slav, Greek, Illyrian empires... A rich culture in a crossroad area with diversity in religion, ethnics that got in flame when Yugoslavia started to fall apart (only Slovenia and Macedonia became independent peacefully, the creation of the other states came after a big massacre of innocent people). It is important not to forget history if we do not want to repeat the same errors again.

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16 juin 2013 7 16 /06 /juin /2013 13:45

 

Adios España, Bienvenue à la France! We enter Francethrough Cerbère into Languedoc Rousssilion. The facing wind is quite strong and cycling along the coast is not very pleasant due to the cars. We finally find some small roads that connect beaches and lakes and sometimes follow the not very well marked “velo-routes”. Camping is never a problem and we always find some hidden place in the vineyards, forest, lakes...


On the way we visit friends we met before on the road by bicycle and also use the warmshowers´club to find a rooftop for the night. It is always a pleasure to see again “old friends”, to see that life goes on and that it is possible to start again living “inside the society”. Thanks to Janine & Rafael, Jerôme, the family Mercat, Albane – Benoit – Youn and Greg for sharing a nice time on our way back home!


France is a spectacular country for cycling IF you take the small roads. We enjoy a lot the Ardèche region full of small villages and old stone houses. La vallee de la Drôme, le Vercors and the “Col de Rousset” is also an excellent area for cycling. Once in Grenoble we have to change our plans to go through Chamonix, the weather is too bad and some passes in the Alps are still closed because of the snow.


Instead we decide to enter Switzerland through Genève and cycle through Lausanne, “entre les lacs” via Bienne till Reconvilier, Corinne´s home! It is a pleasure to cycle in this country: very good cycling roads, educated drivers and beautiful landscape. It seems all Switzerland is a National Park full of forests, lakes, mountains and green areas. In some places we feel we are back to Patagonia where the nature is so wild, definitely a dream inside Europe!


We also try to cycle in the Swiss Alps but unfortunately the passes around Andermatt still remain closed. This year was specially cold and rainy and there is still tons of snow in the passes. Switzerland is a small country, in total we cover around 700kms visiting Corinne´s friends and family, always very friendly to host us during the cold nights in June. We share together many fondues, raclettes, cheese and chocolates. We even go one day rock-climbing, it is so easy to be in nature in this country! Our visit to Valais is great. We cycle up the Anniviers valley with spectacular views to iconic peaks like Cervino, Obergabelhorn, Dent Blanche, Weisshorn, Zinalrothorn... all big giants of over 4,000mts and with that eternal snow that make them so characteristic. The weather is not as good as it should for this time of the year but we always feel warm with the Swiss hospitality. A last glance near Thun to the Berner Oberland allows us to see from the distance the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau...it feels so good to be back home!!

 

 

Last Pass before home - Pierre-Pertuis and its 827m!2 (4)

  Dernier col avant la maison - Pierre-Pertuis et ses 827m!

 

 


Entrés en France par le Languedoc Roussillon par un week-end d’Ascension, bonjour le trafic !  Les Français et leur camping-car sont de sortie, on se réfugie sur les pistes cyclables catastrophiques dans cette zone de bord de mer ou roulons sur la route et se faisons remettre à l’ordre, le choix n’est pas large pour prendre du plaisir à pédaler ici. Montpellier, on étudie la carte de plus près, histoire de repérer les petites routes et optons pour une diagonale passant par l’Ardèche – le Gars – la Vallée de la Drôme – le Vercors via le col du Rousset – Grenoble – Chambéry, le Lac du Brouget et fonçons en direction de Genève… .

 

En route, de magnifiques accueils – on profite de revoir des amis voyageurs que l’on a rencontré en voyage ces 4 dernières années ou logeons chez de sympathiques membres de la communauté « Warmshower ». Tout grand MERCI à Rafael et Janine, Jérôme, Albane – Benoît et Youn croisés en Inde en 2009, la famille Mercat ayant réalisé un voyage en vélo au long court il y a une dizaine d’années lorsque leurs enfants étaient âgés de 7, 9 et 11 ans en Amérique du Sud. De magnifiques paysages aussi, d’ agréables spots de camping sauvage au milieu des vignes, maisons et châteaux anciens, la France a du charme et on l’apprécie malgré la météo capricieuse. On slalome entre les gouttes, à l’affût des nuages noirâtres.

 

 

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Camping spots au fond des vignes 

 

 

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Ardèche 


 

collage chateau

 

 

 

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  En compagnie de Jérôme qui nous accompagne sur 20km

après nous avoir hébergé sur Aubenas.

Bon voyage au Japon!

 

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  Col du Rousset - Vercors

 

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  Villars de Lans et ses cimes enneigées

 

 

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  Brossage de dents matinal - Lac du Bourget

 

 

Genève et son jet d’eau – des drapeaux suisses, me revoilà sur territoire Helvétique exactement 4 ans après  avoir décollé d’ici même à destination de l’Iran. Greg nous accueille pour la nuit, il pleut des cordes tout comme au réveil, qu’à cela ne tienne, on sera de toute façon mouillés toute la journée. Le déluge nous guette sur Lausanne, on s’offre une montée à nous dégommer les mollets dans les vignes du Lavaux le tout sous un orage de grêle. On se serait arrêtés il y a longtemps normalement, mais c’est sans compter sur l’envie de revoir Louis et Georgette sur Forel. On se fait violence donc, les retrouvailles et l’accueil tant chaleureux que gastronomique en valent bien la chandelle.


 

collage geneve

Suisse!! 

 

 

Dernière étape, le Lavaux – Reconvilier en 110 kilomètres, le vent nous est favorable, la pluie se tient presque à carreau, petit à petit les lieux me redeviennent familiers. On se trouve un parcours sympa « entre les lacs », Bienne est grisâtre comme dans mes souvenirs et on s’enfile dans les gorges du Taubenloch pour une ultime montée couronnée par le col du Pierre-Pertuis si souvent franchi.

 

Sur le tard, on se hisse à la rue des Molez, le voisinage n’a pas changé d’un pet et nous nous glissons au numéro 13 comme si c’était hier que je sortais par ce même portail. Belles retrouvailles tout en partageant une inévitable fondue au coin de la cheminée, ce moment magique est telle que je l’imaginais. Pieds à terre…

 

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  Retrouvailles familiales


 

P1090805

 

 

… pas pour si longtemps, Joseba ne tient plus en place à l’arrivée des beaux jours, l’envie de voir le mythique Cervin présent sur les plaques de chocolat ne le lâche plus, on file pour une dernière boucle à la recherche de cimes blanches, direction Valais...


 

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  Berne capitale


 

collage-bern.jpg

 

 

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  Kandertal

 

 

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  Transit via le tunel du Lötchberg - Bern / Valais

 

 

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  Montée au val d'Anniviers

 

 

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  La vue espérée!

Besso, Obergabelhorn, Pointe de Zinal et la star qui peine à se dévoiler


 

collage raccards

Cliché Suisse avec un touriste espagnol 

 

 

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  On patiente...

 

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collage st-luc

 

 

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  ... et enfin ... LE CERVIN!!!

 

 

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    Eiger - Mönch - Jungfrau, rien que ça!

 

 

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On est bien en Suisse, quai?

 

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Merci à tous ceux qui nous ont accueillis le long de notre voyage, avec lesquels nous avons partagé des moments inoubliables et à vous tous qui nous ont suivis via ce blog et écrit des messages toujours grandement appréciés !

 

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Photo Greg

 

 

 

 

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2 juin 2013 7 02 /06 /juin /2013 11:54

Back to Europe! From Sao Paulo we arrive by plane to Barcelona where my sister is waiting for us. She gives us a super welcome, we feel at home, not only the city is nice but the food is excellent! We walk through the “Barrio Gótico”, the Sagrada Familia and all the other Gaudi buildings give a special touch to this city that hosted the Olympic Games in 1992.

 

And of course a visit to Bilbao is a must! We arrive to my home city where my mother welcomes us. The walks along the coastline, the beaches of Sopelana, Plentzia and of course the Basque cuisine make us feel very good. Bilbao is becoming more and more touristy, not only because of the magnificent Guggenheim but also because of the riverfront with new emblematic buildings. A land with strong culture, authentic people, own traditions and proud of its roots, this is the Basque country.

 

After almost 3 weeks resting in Spain we plan the route back home to Switzerland. We start cycling from Barcelona through the Costa Brava to France. What a nice coastline with abrupt cliffs and hidden beaches, a dream for cycle touring! We finally say goodbye to Spain and the Creus Cape and enter France through Portbou.

 

 

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Hermita de San Juan de Gaztelugatxe

 

 

Passage symbolique, nous quittons le continent Sud Américain que nous avons parcouru pendant une bonne année pour retrouver notre belle Europe. L’accueil est grand sur le tarmac de Barcelone de la part d'Edurne - la sœur de Joseba, San Jordi bat son plein dans la ville de Gaudi, on la sillonne sous le ciel bleu et température fraîche, nous avons bel et bien changé d’hémisphère.

 

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    Sagrada familia - chef d'oeuvre inaccompli du maître Gaudi

 

 

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Un saut dans la ville de Joseba s’impose, Bilbao nous accueille à bras ouverts tout comme sa maman et nous révèle son look architectural grandiose ! Les virées en bord de mer ou le long de la Ria se font journalières tout comme les excellents gueuletons et moments de convivialité partagés avec les membres de la famille Perez.

 

 

playa sopelana

  Plage de Sopelana située à 2 pas de Bilbao  - paradis des surfers

 

 

playa laga

  Plage de Laga

 

 

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  Plage de Plentzia

 

 

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  Derniers rayons de soleil avant de se plonger dans l'ambiance grisâtre européenne

 

 

collage cena

  Convivialité avec le clan Pérez

 

 

collage comida

Churros - olives - gin artistique,

Bacalao al pil pil - salmonete et anchois frits - fameux pintxos!

 

 

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    Mythique Guggenheim flanqué au bord de la Ria - Bilbao

 

 

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  Mascotte "Puppy" au pelage floral trônant devant le monstre architectural

 

 

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  Brillance titanium

 

 

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  Puente Vizcaya

Plateforme horizontale assurant le transfert d'une rive de la Ria à l'autre

 

 

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  Iglesia - Casco Viejo

 

 

Retour sur Barcelone ou nous remontons en selle lors d’un matin grisâtre, la sortie de la ville se fait au ralenti, alourdis que nous sommes par les kilos accumulés après cette période de pied à terre dégustant les merveilles de la cuisine espagnole et plus particulièrement basque.

 

On longe la côte méditerranéenne, sillonnons la magnifique Costa Brava prête à s’éveiller pour affronter la saison touristique. Portbou – dernier village hispanophone, petite grimpette splendide afin de passer une presque frontière, la France est à l’horizon…

 

 

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    Costa Brava

 

 

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  Camping spot sauvage le long de la Costa Brava,

bon flair pour les dégotter!

 

 

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  Merci à Angel, halias Rodaclown - voyageur cycliste/clown

ayant "sprinté" lors d'un voyage:

Figueiras -> Pékin en 5 mois!

Magnifique soirée à Llança - niché en bord de mer

 

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Cap de Creus

 

3 (6)Adios España- listo para pedalear con la Tramontana de cara!

 

 

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