12-May-2017 -- This is the first out of two reports reaching confluence points during a bicycle trip from Priština, the capital city of Kosovo to Podgorica (Подгорица), the capital city of Montenegro.
At the time of writing, the countries of Kosovo and Montenegro are not yet mapped at the confluence.org site as independent countries. I still hope that this deficiency – as many others - will be resolved one day, but in my point of view, the decadence of the website has already reached the point of no return. Nevertheless I continue to post my reports because I like to share my adventurous visits with the remaining community.
Although Kosovo was declared as free of landmines in 2002, there is still clear evidence of residual mine-fields and unexploded sub-munitions from the war of 1999. Such background information makes it uncomfortable to make long cross-country walks. However, the situation is much less serious compared to the landmine situation in Bosnia or Croatia.
On Thursday after work I took a flight from Zurich via Vienna to Priština arriving there at 10 PM. As usual, I had brought my bicycle with me, such that I could directly cycle out of the airport. After spending the night in the city, I cycled northwards for about 50 km to the city Mitrovica. This town has a large Kosovan quarter and a small Serbian quarter.
After having lunch in Mitrovica, I set off into the mountain ranges north-east of the town. After an hour of cycling upwards, I reached the last village called Barë via Stan Tërg. From there, I left the asphalt road and descended 400 m into a canyon until I reached a bend of the curvy road with a minimum distance of 3 km to the confluence. I was hoping to find a track that would simply follow the valley until I would reach the confluence point, because the point is located in the upper part of the valley. There was an overgrown path which petered out after walking 20 minutes into it. I returned to the bend where I had parked my bicycle.
I examined the satellite image of the area and analysed that once I would get above the tree line it would be possible to reach the point without bush-fighting. So I continued the road upwards until I reached a track at 4 km distance that followed the mountain side across a cattle farm. The track continued, but its bad condition didn’t allow cycling on it. The track didn’t bring me much closer to the confluence, but into a high altitude of 1400 m which was well above the dense forests.
The final approach took another hour and was an exhausting hike with several ascends and descends. With a last very steep descend I reached the confluence point 26 m away from the valley bottom.
The confluence is located on the northern side of the valley on a steep grade. This side of the valley is treeless, the ground is covered with grass and yellow flowers.
Although there is a track and a river following the valley, I still don’t know how the best approach to the confluence would be. When I tried to follow the track downwards along the valley, it petered out and I had again several climbs until I reached my bicycle again. After the visit, I returned to Mitrovica. Since the visit of this confluence had taken the rest of the day, I spent the night in town.
CP Visit Details:
- Distance to a road: 3 km
- Distance to a track: 2 km
- Distance of bicycle parking: 2.2 km
- Time to reach the CP from Mitrovica: 4 hours
- Time at the CP: 3:29 PM
- Measured height: 1196 m
- Minimal distance according to GPS: 0 m
- Position accuracy: 3 m
- Topography: mountainous
- Vegetation: grass, white and yellow flowers.
- Weather: partly cloudy, 24° C (felt temperature)
- Given Name: The Mysterious Valley Confluence
The story continues at 43°N 20°E.