A cycling tour of the Balkans: two wheels, three countries, four days

Rocking my bike from side to side, I crested the final rise and the landscape opened out before me. A high-altitude meadow freckled with cows rolled down into a shallow bowl surrounded by savagely contorted, parallel slabs of limestone sticking straight up from the earth. Beyond was 2,523-metre Bobotov Kuk, the highest point in Montenegro’s wondrous Unesco-listed Durmitor national park. Behind me were yet more staggering views, across glacial lakes to rows of mountain peaks, deep river gorges and pine forests populated by wild cats, bears and wolves.

Courtesy of The Guardian.

Novel Places – Dubrovnik


A light breeze carried the salty scent of the sea. Though the warm sun shone down from a cloudless, blue sky, Adam pulled his jacket around him as a chill worked its way up his back. The house looked abandoned. While all the other buildings on the street had been repaired, a hole still gaped in its red roof, and jagged broken glass adorned most of the darkened second-floor windows.

Google Map Fail

EDIT:  Apparently Google Maps fixed the problem.  Now I guess you’ll just have to trust me.  You trust me, don’t you?

So I’m writing today, and for the scene I’m working on, I need to know roughly how long it might take to get from Dubrovnik, Croatia to Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.  No problem, I think, I’ll just go to trustworthy Google Maps to find out.  It gave should have given me this:

See anything wrong with the map above? Note that according to Google Maps, one shouldn’t take the conveniently located highway between the two cities.  Apparently that’s for sissies.  No, the preferred route is to take the ferry to Bari, Italy, drive to Brindisi, Italy, take the ferry there to Paxi, Greece, take another ferry to Parga, Greece, drive through the Albanian cities of Durrës and Shkodër, into Montenegro and through its capital of Podgorica before finally entering Bosnia and Herzegovina and arriving in its lovely capital.  For the record, that’s six countries, six languages, three alphabets, 885 miles, and 28 hours to travel between two cities that are roughly 150 miles apart.

I sure hope Google fixes their algorithm before they take over the world.  Of course, that could be their evil plan.  Get everyone lost and then swoop in to fill the vacuum.  There’s a conspiracy we sould be trying to spread.