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Updates from Montenegro

Emma and I have now been on the saddles for just over 2 months, and are in Montenegro currently, having cycled around 2400km.

We set off on our bicycles from Berlin on the 8th September, passed through the Sächsische Schweiz into Czechia, through Prague and Brno and into Austria. We then made our way from Vienna to Slovenia, and spent a few days in and around the capital Ljubljana, before heading South East down to the Croatian coast line. We have been roughly follow the coast along the Eurovelo 8 through Croatia and  Montenegro, will go up into the mountains of Albania and then Greece until we move onto the next leg of our journey; Africa. First North East, then South East then Southern Africa. 

We are raising money through a Gofundme campaign for 2 charities that we strongly believe in: the Prince Albert Skills School and The Humane League, as well as to cover our living costs.

We wish to explore a slower, cheaper, and more environmentally friendly method of travel: cycling in the day time and setting up our tents to sleep at night, or where possible meeting and staying with locals. This way we hope to see not only the highlights of the countries we pass through but the simple beauties and realities of the lives lived by people along the way. We also get to better understand the true size and scale of different countries and ecosystems by pedaling every hill in front of us.

We are very interested in food and cooking, and have been trying to use as many local and seasonal fruits, vegetables and herbs we come across, as well as learn about sustainable ways of living and agriculture. 

We are also interested in blurring the bold line humanity has drawn between itself and the rest of nature; attempting to live alongside as opposed to in constant conflict with our distant cousins. In other words becoming more comfortable camping with insects and hopefully more larger mammals in the future. 

The trip has been going well so far. We have been enjoying almost all aspects of it, despite facing some challenges. We are in good spirits and in Croatia were happy to be out of some of the icy cold nights and endless rainy days we experienced in the first weeks of the trip. We have been having some more heavy rain in the South if Croatia and now Montenegro so that's been a bit more challenging. Oscar has also been sick with a cold these last days but we are happy to report that this is the first time in 2 months that either of us has been sick despite the relatively strongly fluctuating temperatures and environments. Emma reckons this has to do with us being around much less people than usual. Our friend Sophie has been with us for the last 6 weeks which was wonderful, she joined us from Vienna until Dubrovnik but has headed home to complete her yoga teachers course.

Our days look something like this: Up at 7am, cook up water for tea and breakfast oats with fruit, then coffee and pack up camp. Decide on the route and look for sleeping options that night. Leave camp by 10 or 11 and cycle till lunchtime where we sit (preferably at the top of a hill) and eat our leftovers from the night before with some bread. Coffee with hot water from the flask and some biscuits. Do grocery shopping for fresh veggies and other supplies. Cycle (with some music for the after lunch energy booster) until 5 or 6pmuntil we find a good natural shelter, campsite or local host for the night. Set up camp, have some form of shower, check out the surroundings. If we have access to water and have enough fuel we'll make some tea and then cook up and eat dinner. Wash dishes, respond to messages, read our books in the tent and asleep normally by 9/10pm because we are exhausted from the day. We have been taking a rest day about once a week to see some other sights like cities or natural areas and try catch up some admin, washing, and also let our bodies rest a bit.

A glimpse of some diverse aspects of the time so far: more than 12 hours without a roof over our heads every day (this is surprisingly not very usual for most of us), long term sore bum from the saddle (hopefully this improves), beautifully slow-changing scenery, big uphills which make you feel like you have a flat tyre, noticing small changes in vegetation and species as we go further South East (the most dramatic change was coming down 900m from the lush Croatian highlands to the mediterranen coastal climate), kind of  sore lower back and shoulders, meeting warm and diverse people along the way and hearing their stories, exposure to the elements (its been 4 °C icy at night), learning some of the histories and languages of the countries we pass through, appreciating small amounts of water and hot showers more than ever, prioritizing carefully every item we carry with us because you feel them all on the uphills, practising talking to strangers, 1 pot veggie  wonders tasting so much better after you've done 60kms and 600m elevation and it was a mission to prepare (but you bought or found some lekker ingredients on the way), attending my graduation ceremony online, being much more concerned with the present moment mostly (but also having the hours cycling through the forest to spend time with a thought), missing your family and friends back home, spending lots of time with my sister (and for the last 6 weeks our friend Sophie), seeing the occasional beaver (you don't get these in South Africa and I think they're pretty cool), loads of encouragement from strangers, endless moral and practical support from our family in Berlin, knowing the money we are fundraising for Prince Albert Skills School and The Humane League is doing good, eating a kilogram of peanuts and and picked apples a day, not knowing what lies ahead.

For now, we'd love to say a big thank you to everyone who has been supporting us in different ways: moral support and encouragement particularly from our family right from the start of the planning process motivated us to get on the road. Financial support for our living costs and the 2 charities has made it possible to get started; we are still raising funds and would

appreciate any exposure you can help us with to reach our fundraising goals.

Thanks for reading, till the next one!

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