Monthly Archives: August 2013

LIVING LJUBLJANA: A DAY AT THE MUSEUMS (part 2)

I leave my host families house and ride back to Ljubljana. I went to the Slovenian History Museum the day before, it also included another history museum at another location. There are 3 museums at the complex of remodeled military buildings. I see this mural at the entrance of the Modern Art Museum.

20130901-103951.jpgI FOUND AFTER COLD WAR BEING REPLACED WITH GLOBAL WARMING, AS THE NEW ISSUE TO BE DEALT WITH.
I find my museum and what a find, for a small country, Slovenia has lots of history.

20130901-104236.jpgI FOUND THIS KNIGHTS PLEDGE REGARDING CHARITIES IMPORTANCE OF BEING A TRUE KNIGHT VERY REVEALING.
I found the knight masks to be very intimating and artistic.

20130901-142337.jpgRESEMBLES THE HANNIBAL LECTER MASK

20130901-142528.jpgI´M AMAZED AT THE METAL WORK, CONSIDERING THE TIMES.
There is so much history here, makes me realize how America was and is the New World.
After the History Museum I head to SLOVENE ETHNOGRAPHIC MUSEUM
Makes me happy when museums include the bicycles role in helping shape a culture.

20130901-142928.jpgTHE REAR WHEEL IS LIFTED OFF THE GROUND,
WHICH SEEMS THAT IT IS ALLOWING HIM TO PEDAL AND TURN THE STONE WHEEL.
I was walking around the museum and saw this “costume”, I´m thinking what is this about?

20130901-143542.jpgTHIS IS USED IN A CELEBRATION CALLED KURENTOVANJE
Kurentovanje is one of the most ethnologically significant Slovenian carnival festivals. It is celebrated in Ptuj on Shrove Sunday in the afternoon and visited by more than 100,000 people every year. The main figure, called Kurent or Korent, wears a massive sheepskin garment and a chain with huge bells around its waist, resulting in the noise the function of which is to “chase away winter”

Interesting Slovenian Proverb

20130901-144822.jpgI FIND THE SLOVENIANS SO WARM & WELCOMING. FOR A COUNTRY THAT IS STRUGGLING, THEY ALL SUPPORT ONE ANOTHER.
I rarely see a homeless person as compared to my hometown, Portland, OR. It seems that people have a good support system here, both family & government.

20130901-181715.jpg COLLECTION OF CARVED WALKING CANES
So the recommendation to visit this museum was a good one. The other recommendation was MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART.

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This next “ART” project was a little over the top. It expresses a time of desperation faced by the people here.

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20130901-183716.jpgTHIS PIECE SPEAKS FOR ITSELF.
It seemed like 1/2 of the art projects involved using a T.V. monitor.

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The museum poster rocked (got a few extras) I want them to be a surprise, so no photo, sorry.
After 6 hours of museuming, it was time to get back to Skofja Loka.
Thanks for reading
Jeff
NEXT? What´s going on in Skofja Loka?

I WANTED TO SHARE THIS SPECIAL EMAIL I GOT TODAY FROM FRANCE

Hello,
I am Christian DALMASSO and you will find below a message from Anna, a cousin of mine:

“Hello Jeff,

I am Anna TOSELLO the artist you met in Tende, south of FRANCE.
I would like to thank you for having bought my painting and I wanted to let you know that I am delighted my work ended in Portland USA.

Sincerly,

Anna.”

You will find attached the picture of the painting you bought and one of Anna (who stands on the left).

For your information, Anna TOSELLO lives in ITALY in a little village called LIMONETTO, and for my part, I live in

CANNES, French Riviera.

If you want to answer Anna you can send a message to my mail box.

Regards,

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LIVING LJUBLJANA WITH A GREAT FAMILY AND MORE! (part1)

I was camping in France next to a family from Slovenia. I was somewhat apprehensive about travel in a former east block country. I asked them if I could visit them in Slovenia, they said yes, cool. I told Anusa that “I`m pretty entertaining” (selling my visit), she responds with, “Oh no I`m married”, her husband, Matjaz, speaks up and says, “that`s not what he meant”. Maybe a language or cultural mis-understanding, but all is good and they give me their address.
After many many stops I finally find a window of time to visit. I decide to ride my bike from Skofja Loka to LJUBLJANA, Slovenia´s capital and largest city. I thought of just taking the train, but the bike is just to much fun. It´s not the destination but the journey that is so fun. Natasa tells me “it´s simple”, till the road splits with no sign. I wonder around town lost, I finally ask a couple of lycra cyclist and they set me straight. I head back to the scene of the confusion, while riding a cyclist who passed me in the other direction, pulls up next to me and asks about my trailer. After talking, he asks where I´m going? Ljubljana, that´s where he´s headed too and offers to show me the way, that´s easy, YES! We ride gravel roads, over railroad tracks, cut through a farmers field. We pass through this small village and tells me this is where he was born. Now I know why he knows all these shortcuts.

20130828-094208.jpg A SPECIAL THANKS TO JANEZ SKVARC FOR SHOWING ME THE BACKROADS TO LJUBLJANA.
I´m going to meet Tyler and Carolyn of TWO WHEEL TRAVEL. I´m at the farmers market, yep, BLUEBERRIES!. We finally hook-up and head to the hostel for lunch and conversation. They´re renting their house out in Portland too. They have an appointment so it´s quick, I hope to meet-up with them before I leave Slovenia.
I visit a rock shop trying to buy a local rock, but no. She tells me that it´s illegal to sell gems or rocks from Slovenia. OK? whatever.
So I´m ready to ride to my host families house. It´s east of town 8km, the bike path ends. I´m getting a little discouraged, I´m thinking of turning around, but in my mind I know these kind of encounters always yield great experiences. I keep riding and I´m still thinking of turning around, no keep riding. I pass back and forth by their house (not knowing it was their house)then I hear a voice calling my name. Apparently Anusa brother was in the bar across the street and alerted her to the fact that I was close by and lost.
Since I have no kids etc., visiting families is always special for me. This visit is even more special, Anusa mother lives with them. She´s 80 something and tends the garden, takes care of the chickens and baby sat when the kids were young.

20130828-101227.jpgGRANDMA TAKING CARE OF THE GARDEN
Matjaz is busy organizing a Goulash Cook-Off, where his band will also play. So me and Benjamin cut some wood and make a fire for a BBQ. We have a special sausage that´s from Bosnia and vegetables from the garden (I can´t believe all this, it´s so awesome). I knew I shouldn´t turn around!
They have remodeled their basement, where I will be sleeping. Shower, sauna, kitchenette, and exercise room. Let me just sat I´m glad I got a new sleeping pad. I´msleeping on the hardwood floor.
The next day they suggest I just take the bus into Ljubljana, I think about, good idea. I visit the History Museum of Slovenia. They had a great rock collection that included this stone table.

20130828-104103.jpgTHE COLLECTION IS A HUNDRED YEARS OLD

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The parliament building is next to the museum. Don´t let the images from the west slant your views of former east block countries.

20130828-104658.jpgTHE FULL NUDE BRONZE CASTINGS TOOK ME A LITTLE BY SURPRISE
I´ve been in the country 2 weeks and have only seen 2 policemen. I´ve seen more parking patrol (uniformed) officials writing tickets than policemen. There is NO free parking here, I mean almost none. So I interrupt the policeman who is “guarding” the parliament building, he is playing on his computer, we make some small talk. It´s my first encounter with a policeman, yep I need the photo for my every country policemen photo.

20130828-105451.jpgI KNOW IT´S ONLY ONE POLICEMEN BUT I FIGURE I BETTER GET IT, JUST IN CASE I CAN´T GET 2 POLICEMEN TOGETHER.
I grab the bus back “home”. Matjaz band is playing this week-end, so the band mates come by and load up the equipment. I tell them how disappointed I am that I wasn´t able to see them play. Wait a minute , they pull out their instruments and start Jamming.

20130828-112113.jpg MATJAZ (guitar), SAYS THEIR POLKAHOLICS, HE IS SO FUNNY. HERE´S THE VIDEO
Anusa gets me up for a quick Polka lesson. I´m not that quick a learner, she can tell and sets me back down!
Anusa is a school teacher and school is starting. They wake me early for coffee, I was so asleep I forgot where I was.

20130828-112849.jpgI COUPLE OF AMERICANOS AND I´M READY TO RIDE.
The night before we looked at photos from their trip 16 years ago across America Washington DC to San Francisco. But not before a stop in Las Vegas where Pika was conceived.

20130828-113319.jpgPIKA: MADE IN AMERICA AND BORN IN SLOVENIA! (thanks for the photo)

20130828-184052.jpgTHIS IS MATJAZ AND BENJAMIN SAYING GOODBYE. What a GREAT family, we had an awesome time hanging out. I was really impressed by all the places they have traveled to. People who travel seem to have life experiences that other travelers like myself find very interesting.
I noticed this while riding to there house but was so anxious to get there, that I took this photo on the way back to Ljubljana.

20130828-184951.jpgTHEY GROW INDUSTRIAL HEMP HERE. I THINK THIS FIELD WAS FOR SEED? The rumor is that you can find the good stuff in the middle of the tall fields.

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I´m heading to Ljubljana for 6 hours of museum-ing now.
Thanks for reading
Jeff

RIDING TO AND LIVING IN SKOFJA LOKA

Finished posting to the blog at Bohinj Lake and head off. Following the bike path along the river drops me past my turn-off. I can tell somethings not right, so I stop and ask, sure enough I have to go back 7km. I get a phone card, some food and off a bike walking I go. It`s not long till the climb starts

20130822-090008.jpg Then this super hot cyclist, Lucy comes flying by me up the hill, (she*s not carrying her house). I yell to her can you take me a walking photo?

20130822-090458.jpg I show her which route I*m doing, she suggest I take the route that she*s doing. She says my route turns to gravel. So at the cross roads I see a brand new Porsche take my original route. I*m thinking if he takes his Porsche how bad can the road be?Soon enough we be walking, up a gravel road! It*s getting late and I find a Hotel Under the Stars! yep, stealth camping. I don*t have enough water to make breakfast, so it*s a salami and cheese sandwich and coffee of course.
I*m riding along talking out loud to myself as a fellow cyclist pulls up along side of me. I bite my lip and start talking with him. I learn he was a professional cyclist and was just doing a loop from his house. I tell him someone suggested I visit DRAZGOSE the site of a famous war with Nazi Germany. Jure, the cyclist, says there*s an interesting WAR MEMORIAL of the battle and he will show me.

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20130822-093448.jpgTHE IMAGES AND TILE WORK WERE AMAZING. IT*S ALL VERY SMALL TILES TOGETHER TO FORM THE IMAGES.
So I ask Jure if he would like to go for coffee? He suggest we go to his house, that*s easy YES!

20130822-093833.jpgBUT NOT BEFORE A PHOTO OPPORTUNITY.
Thanks to him I was able to visit the war memorial, I wouldn*t have known it was there. But thinking back the women who suggested (Katherine) I visit Drazgose said she loved history and this was an important site to see, thanks.
So I haven*t been able to find fresh blueberries anywhere, it seems they take ALL the Blueberries and make Schnapps with them. Holy Moly Jure comes out of his house with this

20130822-094530.jpgFRESH HOMEGROWN BLUEBERRIES FROM THEIR GARDEN–AWESOME!
Jure*s wife comes home with the kids, says she hasn*t spoken English in 5 years, but is doing great. We talk and laugh alot, They offer to wash my clothes and ask if I need a shower? I ask them, DO I? as I sniff my arm pits. They are so fun and welcoming, I*m wondering if they need a roommate? They insist I stay for lunch, twist my arm OK I*m staying for lunch,that was easy.

20130822-100058.jpgBARBARA, JURE, BLAZ, VALENTINA, VITA, ANA (Jure please send me your email and address)thanks
The Slovenian people are so warm and welcoming, I*ve traveled around the world 3 times, never have I felt so much Love from a country. The I sLOVEnia is so mutual.
So I*m back on the road off to Skofja Loka

20130822-104712.jpgBIKING LOW TRAFFIC ROADS IS GREAT, WHEN A CAR DOES COME BY THEY ALWAYS TAKE A WIDE SWATH AROUND ME.
I told Natasa I would be there about 1pm, it*s 3 now. I have to make time for unplanned events, they happen EVERYDAY.

20130822-105204.jpg NATASA AND SARA HAVE AWESOME VEGETARIAN LASAGNE COOKED AND READY TO EAT, I*M FEELING GUILTY FOR BEING LATE.
Natasa buys me a hotel room across the plaza from her place. I*m like OK? So I buy the second night. We walk to her parents house and she says her Dad is working on the hedge. I tell her I*ve had a landscaping business for 25 years so I*ll come by in the morning and help.

20130822-112251.jpgHE WANTS TO SET UP LADDERS, BUT I*M TALL ENOUGH TO JUST WALK IT TO TRIM THE TOP

20130822-112639.jpgWE GO ON A HIKE ABOVE A CASTLE AND TO THE RUINS OF ANOTHER CASTLE

20130822-112838.jpgCASTLES ARE ALWAYS AT THE TOP OF THE HILL AND THE VIEWS ARE AMAZING
We get back to her house for dinner and there*s a special treat from her Mom. Yep, Blueberry Cake

20130822-113139.jpgSO I BUY SOME BLUEBERRY ICE CREAM AND TOP IT WITH BLUEBERRIES, BLUEBERRY HEAVEN!
All three of us are having a good time together, they offer to let me stay with them in their apartment, all is good. Upon moving in, like all hotels, Natasa demands my passport, (she wants to see my birthdate and I don`t think it`s to send me a card!) I can`t stop laughing., but no passport and I`m still able to stay, it was close.
I spend several hours visiting the CASTLE MUSEUM. I want the early image of the castle on fire, no luck or post card. There*s no photography allowed but they said I could take one photo.

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The Castle Museum was one of the best Museums I*ve ever been to. If you visit Slovenia this is a must visit, for sure. This is a local bird called a SMRDOKAVRA HOOPOE
I buy and am given (from Grandma) several souvenir art images of SKOFJA LOKA. Their in the Post Office the next day and on there way to America.
ENOUGH FOR NOW
NEXT? I GET LOST RIDING TO LJUBLJANA AND GET SAVED BY A VERY LOCAL LOCAL.
RIDE ON
JEFF

MORE TALES FROM THE LAKES

I was cranking out the last story in a hurry because I had a 56 km (34 miles) day to SKOFJA LOKA. The way things are going I just figure biking somewhere will take forever, so I try to leave early.
I put a map on the last post to show my bike walker credentials. Just to let you know, it wasn`t my first bike walk, plenty of walking in Portugal and Spain, too. But after this walk, I could hardly walk for days, I`ve never been so sore. I subconsciously didn`t ride my bike once while at BOHINJ LAKE. I hitchhiked everywhere, to town to the water falls (I walked back to camp 4km after hiking up to SLAP SAVICA waterfalls.
Hitchhiking was actually super fun, first the 70 year old Slovenian couple from Ljubljana, they spoke great english. Then I hitchhiked back to camp, I got a ride from a guy who did the restoration work for the history museum in the capital in Ljubljana. He said he was 65 and lived in Slovenia his whole life and had never been to Slap Savica waterfalls. He said he decided to get in the car today and drive 1 hour to the waterfall. It was great story, so I told him how I hitchhiked up and walked the trail back to camp. I told him parking was $8 at the falls. So he said he was going to park at the hotel and try hitchhiking to the falls and walk back too. I try to help where I can.
So I go rent a Kayak and while waiting a couple from Israel with their 2 kids are renting a row boat. First he`s sitting backwards, we get him turned around and off he goes, rowing backwards and going backwards. Were kind of chuckling, then I suggest that I go out and help them get straightened out, so to speak. So I Kayak off to help, you know America helping Israel, for whatever reason? I tell him he`s rowing backwards and the boats going backwards, he attempts to straighten out the situation. Then tells me he got use to rowing backwards, but finally he gets the hang of it. I paddle off, good deed done, take some photos from the Kayak.

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So I`m paddling back and I see my boaters taking photos so I offer to take a photo with my phone and email it. They agree and here it is

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I take the Vogel Tram and ride a chair lift too.

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At the top is the launching pad for parasailing, I`m thinking when will this opportunity ever come around again?

20130820-100111.jpgSo I follow the signs to the launch point, but no one is around, maybe thats good?

20130820-100303.jpgIT WAS SUPER SCARY JUST TO LOOK OVER THE LAUNCH POINT LITTLE LONE JUMP OFF!
I take photos of other touring cyclist that I`m going to post at the end of my cycle touring.

20130820-100515.jpgBUT THIS COUPLE FROM MADRID REALLY EXPRESSES THE FUN US CYCLISTS ARE HAVING HERE IN SLOVENIA.
This is a photo of the reception office at LAKE BOHINJ

20130820-100758.jpgCOME VISIT CAMP BOHINJ AND HAVE THESE HAPPY FACES HELP YOU DECIDE BETWEEN A OR B CAMPS.

So these are the few stories I wanted to put in the last post but did`t have time for. I hope you enjoy these stories because I know I LOVE living them. Portland life will never be the same.

I like getting and reading your thoughts and comments, write!
RIDE ON
JEFF
NEXT? YEP 56KM (34 MILES) IN 27 HOURS AND BLUEBERRY HEAVEN

BLED LAKE AND BOHINJ LAKE

It`s the peak of the summer tourist season here and the campgrounds are FULL. Slovenia is Europe’s playground and it`s a rocking. I`ve ridden all bike lanes or backroads to get to BLED LAKE. It`s packed with tourist and there`s a reason, it`s beautiful and historical.

20130816-193235.jpgTHIS PHOTO IS TAKEN FROM THE CASTLE
This is so amazing, I`m not the only who thinks so, CAMPING BLEDis booked solid for 2 weeks. I`ve got a spot (in the sun) but a spot.
To ride your bike around the lake takes maybe a 1/2 hour. It took me 8 hours to finally get back to camp. I spent 3 hours just at the CASTLE. I watched every video on the computer, history, rowing olympics training, geology, earthquakes that required the castle to be rebuilt several times.
I stopped by a local crafts market, I talked to the jeweler, he had jaspers from Oregon, pretty cool. We talked rocks for a little while. Then someone said the Olympic Bronze medal rowing champion owned a Mexican restaurant, called Chilies. I looked and looked and couldn`t find it.
I want Mexican so bad, I look the next day and finally ask this local. He tells me in Lesce, the town next door is the best Mexican. I left my bike at camp and its on the other side of the lake, so I take the bus. I order some chips and salsa

20130816-195744.jpgFINALLY CHIPS WITHOUT DUST ON THEM, SALSA, GUACAMOLE, RANCH AND THAT CHEESE GOO STUFF.
I order a chicken and vegi burrito, finally some(what) Mexican. I take 1/2 the burrito home for dinner!

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I`m back at Bled and trying to get to the church on the island (on the cheap), it`s not working. I close my eyes and pay FULL price ($16). Then it`s another $7.50 for the church and clock tower.

20130816-200538.jpgTHATS THE BOAT CANOPY AND THE CHURCH
The church was actually kinda cool

20130816-200724.jpgTHAT IS THE CENTER PEICE AT THE CHURCH
Some more photos of the church are HERE There are 99 steps up to the chuirch, if you get married there, your suppose to carry your wife to the top. (Make sure she`s light)
Bled is a magical place, but I`m not the only one who thinks so, the walking/bike path around the lake is packed. I`ve been a good tourist, but it`s time to go but not before this traditional show.

20130816-202152.jpgIS CHAIN ON THE END OF A CLUB

20130816-202256.jpgTHEN THIS WOMEN STARTS SHOOTING FIRE OUT OF HER MOUTH, WEINIE ROAST!

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It`s time to go to BOHINJ LAKE, via TRIGLAV NATIONAL PARK. Its only 23 miles. I leave Bled at 1pm and start riding.

20130816-203206.jpgPARK ENTRANCE AND A RELIGIOUS STATUE
TRIGLAV PARK contains Slovenias highest mountain.
Someone warned me about the huge climb taking this route, I`m thinking how bad can it be?

20130817-104311.jpg I`M A PROFESSIONAL BIKE WALKER
Once at the top I took these pictures

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20130817-104801.jpgTHE UNDER SECRETARY OF ECONOMY TOOK THIS PHOTO

20130817-104927.jpgWE WERE TALKING AND TAKING PHOTOS UNTIL THIS COW DECIDED TO WALK BY

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So its 7pm and I`m no where near Bohinj Lake……………..
So the next morning I stop to take this picture

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20130817-105619.jpgTHIS IS MARJAN BRINGING US CUSHIONS WHILE WE DRINK COFFEE.
He has this eclectic coffee shop? It`s got all kinds of stuff inside

20130817-105826.jpg THIS POSTER WAS IN HIS COFFEE SHOP (notice the marihuana photo in corner)
I have to stop and cool off my brakes and rims, it`s super steep. This photo of a women, who rode her bike up to sickle the grass, is awesome!

20130817-110248.jpgI`M LIVING A DREAM HERE

20130817-110506.jpgTHE BIKE PATH FOLLOWS THE RIVER

20130817-110558.jpgI COULDN`T FIND ANYONE WHO COULD EXPLAIN THIS SIGN TO ME?

20130817-110716.jpgI FINALLY MAKE IT TO BOHINJ LAKE, 24 HOURS LATER, YEP 23 MILES IN 24 HOURS!
SOMEMORE PHOTOS OFTHE LAKE ARE HERE

20130817-110931.jpgTHIS IS ALENKA, CAMPGROUND HERO
She sets up every morning to sell bread to the campers

20130817-111106.jpgANOTHER SELL OUT
CAMP BOHINJ sits right on the lake, it is so beautiful here.
I hike to the waterfall one day

20130817-111655.jpgEVERYONE LOVES FALLING WATER, IT`S CROWDED

20130817-111905.jpgTHIS IS FROM THE TOP OF THE VOGEL TRAM

20130817-112253.jpgRIDING THE TRAM DOWN

20130817-112520.jpgI TOOK THIS PICTURE THE DAY I WAS LEAVING
I will miss this little part of heaven, ALL the people at the campground were super awesome. The restaurant at the campground had super regional food and pizza. I was told about the pizza from someone in Bled. It was HUGE, but yes I ate the whole thing.
I`ve got to hit the road.
There are more photos, but I am not able to post them till I reach Croatia, sorry. I hope you understand?
RIDE ON
JEFF
NEXT? I stay with a local family, can hardly wait, but have to ride first.

I sLOVEnia, I`m not alone

This little country of 2 million has won me over. I received an interesting email a couple days ago. From a fellow Portlander, who is also taken by Slovenias charm…..
Hi Jeff,
Tyler Robertson here at Two Wheel Travel. A friend who manages Camping Bled forwarded a link to your blog. I just read a few posts. Nice stuff.

I’m actually from Portland too, and currently touring Slovenia with my partner, Carolyn. We love the place. This is our second tour in SLO We’ve been here for about 8 weeks, save a few days in Austria and Italy when the road weaves across and back…

It would cool to cross paths if we ever found ourselves in the same vicinity. Currently we are north of Ljubljana and heading east-ish for a few days then back around to Ljubljana in a week, then south along the Croatia/SLO border.

I couldn’t tell from your blog if you actually got a working SLO sim or not, but if so drop us a call or email when you can.
Talk soon.–
Tyler Robertson
twowheeltravelblog.com
+01.503.898.0764 US

So i`m not alone regarding my experiences here in Slovenia, speaking of alone, I`m constantly being asked if i`m traveling alone? I look them in the eyes and say No I`m with you now, they always laugh. But then, yes is the answer. I explain I had invited 2 friends to join me on this journey and neither of them would or could commit. I told them 2 years before I left what I was planning to do, explore the Mediteraean by bicycle. One bought a sea kayak, he said he couldn`t pass it up, I knew then,he wasn`t coming. He suggested we tour the U.S., sorry no, I can do that when I`m old. The other made plans to hike the Pacific Coast Trail in California and go scuba diving in Alaska. At this time I want to thank them both for not coming. It has worked out better than I had ever expected. Traveling alone has been anything but alone. In Venice I kind of stayed in my room and I thought about why? I couldn`t take anymore stimulus for awhile, this has been a non~stop adventure, I couldn`t take anymore fun, I needed to Chill out for awhile and thanks to air conditioning, I did just that.
Last night down on the lake dock this couple was fishing.

20130815-190542.jpg I WATCHED THEM CATCH DINNER, 3 FISH IN 15 MINUTES!
I talked with a friend recently who said he was in Europe on his own for a month and met tons of people. Then a friend joined him for the 2nd month, he didn`t meet anyone after that. When I come to a small town I feel like a celebrity. I`m constantly being bought coffee or sodas, I get invited to dinner often. Here in Slovenia the invitations are as forth coming and heart warming.

The internet is down at the campground, I hitchhiked into down. But Im going to try and get my GREAT Lakes story done.
Meanwhile
Ride On
Jeff

SLOVENIA SLOVENIA SLOVENIA I sLOVEnia

I skipped Italy to come for summer here in SLOVENIA, wow was that a great decision. I stopped at the duty free shop at the border, she doused me in perfume (I probably needed it) I bought some M & Ms then she gave me some samples

20130810-211331.jpgTHIS IS THE COVER FOR THE SAMPLE, TOO FUNNY.
I needed a SIM card for my phone, they said I could get one at the petrol station down the road. I needed the micro SIM and they didn’t have it. So Im being my usual self and chatting them up and tell them what i`m doing. They hand me a post card that that both sign their names on. It shows their village, ski jump, mountains they wanted me to have a souvenir of their village. I thank them and start to leave, I watch her grab a Slovenian flag off the shelf unwrap it and hand it to me. They want me to put it on my bike, no problem. Then they want a photo for their Facebook page, so I have to take one too.

20130810-213010.jpgTHIS WAS A SUPER SPECIAL MOMENT
They have a very well marked bike path, that passes through town at times

20130810-213415.jpgNEARLY EVERY HOUSE HAS GERANIUMS ALL AROUND THE HOUSE.
It is biker heaven, there are cyclist every where, watch out Portland.

20130810-213742.jpgTHERE ARE PLACES ALL ALONG THE BIKE PATH TO GET ICE CREAM AND BEER/WINE.

20130810-213935.jpgTHIS WAS AN INTERESTING BRIDGE DESIGN

20130810-214433.jpgTHE VIEWS ALONG THE BIKE PATH WERE AMAZING.
I rode the bike path for maybe 20km, I see a tourist information center and decide to stop in. I got a free map of Slovania`s bike routes. She asked how I liked it so far, I`ve been in the country only 2 or 3 hours. But I start telling her about my first 20 minutes and how welcomed I felt. She asked me to write something in the guest book,OK. I ask if she wants me to read it to her, yes. So I start to read it and start crying I`m so happy to be here. I realize these people are so real and sincere, I feel so welcome here. She says I need to ride the highway for about 1/2 a km.

20130810-215606.jpgTHIS ISTHE SIGN ON THE HIGHWAY TO WARN MOTORIST OF CYCLIST
I get to CAMPING KAMNE, I start talking in my international English, she looks at me and says, I speak english. EVERYONE in Slovenia speaks english, its awesome.

20130810-220524.jpgTHIS IS THE VIEW FROM THE CAMPGROUND, SLOVENIAS TALLEST MOUNTAIN.
I had a small hole in the bottom of my one pair of shorts, till the hole got caught on the bike seat while i was getting on.

20130810-220859.jpgTHERES NO FIXING THESE
So I take the bus to town, to buy shorts and a SIM card for my phone. They don’t have the micro SIM, so I buy a regular SIM and trim it down with some scissors. After a couple of fittings and trimmings I get it to work. I go to a small shopping mall 6 stores. I need some coffee, so here is what I get

20130810-221429.jpgTHIS WAS SANDRA AND AMRA`S IDEA, I SWEAR.
I try to hitchhike back to camp, I take the bus in the end. Back at camp the tourist board is putting on a slide show about this region and serve local snacks and blueberry liquor. This is only the 3rd time they have done the presentation this year. The thing I was amazed to learn is that Slovenia has only 2 million people. Portland it self has 1 million.

20130810-222242.jpgYOU CAN SEE FRANC POINTING TO HIMSELF IN THE PHOTO. HE HAS ALSO WRITTEN 2 BOOKS ON THE HISTORY OF THE REGION.
He has pictures of himself at various events like the Olympics and meeting Prince Charles. But the best story was about the time he wanted to buy a license plate (he collects them) and told the guy in Cuba he only buys authentic plates. The guy said give me a couple hours and returned with an authentic license plate, which he then bought.

20130810-223056.jpgTHIS IS BARBARA AND ANNA, THEY WORK SO HARD, REGISTERING CAMPERS, CLEANING, SERVING BEER AND KEEPING SOME SEMBLANCE OF ORDER AT THE CAMPGROUND.

20130810-223504.jpgIM TAKING THE BACKROAD TO LAKE BLED
It was a partially graveled road but full of unique Slovenian history.

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20130810-223821.jpg I COULD SMELL THE BURNING RUBBER FROM MY BRAKES.
At the bottom of the road was this valley

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There were history markers along the route, since it was only 20km to Lake Bled, I stop at every marker.

20130811-191321.jpgTHIS WAS A SAW MILL THAT ONLY HAD ENOUGH WATER TO RUN IT FOR A COUPLE MONTHS IN THE SPRING (from snow melt) AND A COUPLE OF MONTHS DURING THE FALL RAINS.

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20130811-191637.jpgSOME WILD HISTORY

20130811-191725.jpgTHIS IS THE LEGEND OF FAT STONE, STONE

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There was sign that lead to a trail that went to a spring that was coming out of the mountain. I filled my water bottles, refreshing!

20130811-193035.jpgTHE GRAVEL ENDED AND THIS NICE PAVED ROAD TOOK OVER.

20130811-193130.jpgTHIS IS A TRADITIONAL HAY RACK (with hay). MOST OF THE FARMERS USE BIG CELLOPHANE BALLS TO STORE HAY NOW. THESE WERE TOO LABOR INTENSIVE.
I sLOVEnia

THANKS FOR READING AND COMMENTING I NEED TO FEEL YOUR PULSE TOO.
RIDE ON
JEFF
NEXT? WHY ARE ALL THESE PEOPLE AT BLED LAKE?

A COUPLE OF DAYS IN VENICE, ITALY AND WHY I`M NOT BIKING ITALY

I`ve been on the fence about bike touring in Italy. A tour that I mapped out six months ago looked so promising, from the mountains to the sea. My friends Ken and Heidi are several months ahead of me and are blazing the trail for me. They said they felt the Italians were in-different towards them. Basically they don’t like tourist but they know they need them. I met several Italians who confirmed those feelings. Then I started thinking about standing in front of the leaning tower of Pisa and almost feeling like a victim, instead of a traveler or tourist.

People told me I had to go to Venice, its one of the most beautiful cities. The temperature has been rising the past 3 weeks, its basically hot now. In France II met some folks from Slovenia and felt a connection. I always planned to go but after Italy. I want to visit Lake Bled in Slovenia but during August, while the weather is still summer like. If I did the Italian Tour, that makes Slovenia Septemberish, colder and potentially wetter. So the Italian Touring doubts are starting to settle in.

I left Tende too soon, but anyway. I take the train to Cuneo and attempt to buy a ticket to Venice. Im at a border train station and NONE of the ticket people speak English. Hey Italy, do you want people to visit? We need to be able to buy a train ticket! No one outside Italy speaks Italian, get on the tourist program, ENGLISH. I find a guy who helps me buy a ticket to Venice, I take the train to Venice. I arrive around 11pm, and start looking for a hostel or hotel. The bottom is $65, the dorm rooms have an age restriction 35, I`m close but NO. So after talking with several hotels I stumble into HOTEL S.GEREMIA he has 1 room $65, I ask if he`ll do $55, OK. I get the room, I`m king, private bath, air conditioning, big bed. The room is so nice I almost go back and pay him the difference (notice almost but no) I get up early and head for an ATM, and what do I find?.

20130808-110109.jpgMY ITALIAN POLICEMAN PHOTO, SCORE
I learn something quick about Venice, its a walking city and I dislike walking. Walking is a pace that does allow you to take photos

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20130808-110727.jpgCLIMATE CHANGE SAYS GOODBYE VENICE
Nearly every restaurant serves Pizza. Breakfast is espresso and a croissant, not my idea of a meal to start the day. So I walk by this place one afternoon.

20130808-111124.jpgSOMEONE GOT THE MEMO, AMERICAN PIZZA
MURANO GLASS is something I knew nothing about. Well, again every other shop had blown glass.

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20130808-111721.jpgTHERE SEEMS TO BE A THEME, CLOWNS ON BIKES. HOW SHOULD I FEEL ABOUT THIS?
So I’m walking around, museums, cathedrals, gondola rides (boat) its a little too much. Im not in the mood for any of it. Basically Italy is more of this, its making my decision to skip Italy, that much easier. Oh ya, its f____ing HOT, standing in the sun sweating.
I email someone I met in France, ask if they have room for me? No problem, gives me his address and I take the train to the mainland and bike to the address he gave me. No one is around, its late, so I camp in this field.

20130808-112448.jpg THE NEIGHBORS WERE A LITTLE NOSEY

20130808-112603.jpgI GOT UP EARLY AND WAS OUT OF THERE.
So I decide to bike back to Venice instead of taking the train. What a stupid idea, I made it but WTF. After taking a nice bike lane, Im on the gravel I finally get to the bridge.

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20130808-112956.jpgLOADING UP WATER AND SODA FROM THE MAINLAND TO TAKE TO VENICE. (photo out of order).
I think, if they have a hotel room for $50 Ill stay one more night? if not I’m out of here. I get another great room at the same hotel. WIFI in the room (France its possible).

20130808-113358.jpgIT`S PIZZA OR PIZZA FOR DINNER?
The smart phone disease is bad here. I see this young couple having (what I thought) was a romantic dinner at a sidewalk cafe in Venice.. They are both engrossed in their phones, not talking to each other. So Im talking with the resturaunt worker and tell him the story. His response? People ask him first if he has WIFI, not whats on the menu. I said so basically you can serve shit and free WIFI makes it all good? His response, Yes.
So I go next door to my hotel and tell Enrico the WIFI story. He laughs and chimes in, When people come for a room, he points to the chair and says they would sleep in the chair as long as there is free WIFI, we got a good laugh.
.

20130808-114536.jpgENRICO WAS SUPER HELPFUL AND FUNNY!

20130808-115105.jpgI TRIED TO HIRE ONE OF THESE GUYS TO HELP ME OVER A CANAL BRIDGE MAYBE 50 FT., $10. I DID IT MYSELF.
So the decision to skip Italy has gotten easier with just my few days in Venice.
1. Its only going to get hotter the more south I go, skip Italy
2. The in-different attitude, life is too short, skip Italy
3. Pizza for every meal, skip Italy
4. Tourist attractions that victimize you, skip Italy
5. Slovenia’s summer August window would diminish by the time I got there, skip Italy
6. When a French driver tells me the Italians drive aggressively, rude and impatient, that was the nail in the coffin for Italy, skip Italy.
The decision to Skip Italy was one of the best travel decisions besides coming on this adventure to begin with.

20130808-120657.jpg THE TRAIN LET ME OUT HERE
I tried to take a train to Bled Lake but they said its probably quicker to ride. Thanks for the awesome advice.

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20130808-120938.jpgII GOT ON THIS BIKE PATH ALL THE WAY TO SLOVANIA.

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20130808-121101.jpgI MET THIS FUN COUPLE FROM BELGIUM, BLIJKE AND JAN. THIS IS HIS TREE CLIMBING BUSINESS TRUCK/CAMPER
So theres no tent camping here (caravans are ok) what? Its a $200 fine if they catch you. So I leave my bike and stuff with Blijke and Jan and hike into the woods with my tent and sleeping bag. Though they do allow cows to graze in the woods, what causes more damage, tent camping or cows?
I stop to take this photo the next day

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Before I know it I’m being filmed and questioned by this Italian Family.

20130808-121747.jpgSYLVIA SAID SHE WANTED TO JOIN ME, I TOLD HER TO GET HER BIKE.

20130808-121858.jpgTHE BIKE PATH IM ON IS SO BEAUTIFUL AND NO CARS!

20130808-122014.jpgI NEVER GOT A WELCOME TO ITALY PHOTO SO HERES THE GOODBYE ITALY PHOTO.
Italy photos HERE
Thanks for reading and commenting, again these take hours to write so don’t feel put out if I don’t get back to you. Ive got to do activities so I have something to write about!
JEFF
NEXT? I come to (happy) tears in a Slovanian tourist office.