Monthly Archives: September 2013

ISLAND HOPPING IN CROATIA

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YEP I GOT MY POLICE PHOTO (that’a out of the way)
As you know I met up with two wheel travel, Carolyn and Tyler again. I wanted to knock off a week of travel using optional transportation: train, bus or ferry. The train ticket person said it would take 5 train changes. She advised against going by train, really? The bus was complicated too. So there’s a ferry from Pula to Zadar, but “NO BIKES ALLOWED.” This is a very short sighted rule. When you consider the effects of climate change, encouraging cycling helps promote real “ECO” Tourism. Biking is slower and you stay longer in a country, that’s good tourism. So while we were swimming I suggested to Tyler that we go back to the bike shop and get some boxes for their bikes and take the ferry.

20130929-123709.jpgPULA HAS A CONCERT ARENA LIKE NIMES, FRANCE DID, AN OLD ROMAN ARENA.

20130929-123824.jpg6:00A.M. BREAKING DOWN THE BIKE FRIDAY (check out the arena in the background)

20130929-124202.jpgTHE BOX METHOD SEEMED TO TAKE LESS TIME OVERALL THAN THE BIKE FRIDAY. (but I still like the Bike Friday)
There are many great reasons to travel this time of year: no crowds, mild temperatures, cheap acomadation (I got a room for $18 a night). The roads aren’t real busy if your biking.

20130929-125216.jpgTHERE WERE LITTLE FRUIT STANDS ALONG THE ROAD (enlarge and check out her mustache)

20130929-125358.jpg IT’S DIRECTIONS TO A BIKE LANE, (couldn’t find it?) BUT CUTE BIKE LOGO ON THE SIGN.
The Croatian coast makes me think this is what Spain must have looked like 15-20 years ago. Biking at times has been a little dangerous. I’ve only been run off the road twice in 6 months, HERE? twice in one day. If your considering bike touring on a future vacation, PLEASE get a mirror for your bike.

20130929-125952.jpgMY BIKE FELL OVER AND BROKE THE MIRROR, I HAD A CUSTOM MIRROR MADE ($7), AND IT BROKE ON THE FERRY RIDE THE NEXT DAY (this photo) AND MY NEW MIRROR. I only went an hour without a mirror, both times, That’a how important they are!

20130929-131902.jpgA SIGN TO WARN OF WILD BOARS AHEAD

20130929-134804.jpg THIS IS “BOBAN” WHO SAVED HIS VILLAGE IN THE EARLY 90’S BY RAISING HIS ARMS AND GIVING THE VICTORY SIGN TO THWART ONCOMING TANKS. HE ONLY HAD A COUPLE OF FARMERS WITH RIFLES BACK IN THE WOODS.

20130929-135704.jpgA PICTURE WITH ME WAITING FOR CAROLYN AND TYLER (a first).

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THIS IS A PHOTO OF SOME POLLOCKS SMOKING FLAVORED TOBACCO IN THE MORNING. I sometimes set my tent up without the rain fly. He asked me what do I do when it rains? Like Tyler said “It’s a submarine” or “I crawl underneath it” I thought he was joking, but I don’t think he knew some tents have rain fly’s. So during the night a cat got into my stuff. Tyler said he threw rocks at it and then tried to wake me. Next day at lunch I couldn’t find my cheese? CAT GOT IT! It was kinda funny because the next morning the cat came around purring and very friendly. The cat knew something I hadn’t discovered yet. It was a brand new block of un-opened cheese.

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THE VIEWS FROM THE ROAD WERE (ARE) AMAZING!

20130929-141118.jpgPING PONG NET MADE OF ROCKS!

20130929-141213.jpgLOTS OF “GREEN” CARPORTS MADE OF, GRAPE, KIWI AND OTHER VINES.
So we met several other cycling tourist, shared a campsite and had a great pot luck meal for 7. (2 french, 1 Scotland, 4 Americans).

20130929-141631.jpg IT WAS THREE COUPLES AND ME (I left on my own the next morning) But not before taking this photo of our lovely camp host Sanja.

20130929-141928.jpg ALL THE WORLD MAKES ME A FASCINATED COMPULSIVE CHIC (something like that)
The group campout was awesome, good people, good food and a good time had by all. I head off on my own to the ferry in Split, Croatia to go to the island of HVAR

20130929-142236.jpg I WANTED THAT SHIRT NOW I MUST FIND IT IN DUBROVNIK

20130929-142438.jpgFORTRESS FORTICA IN HVAR IS A MUST SEE ATTRACTION. THE VIEWSARE SPECTACULAR!

20130929-143351.jpg HVAR HAS SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE!
I stayed at DINKS PLACE in Hvar. I had the hostel to myself one night, private kitchen and bathroom, $20.

20130929-143449.jpg DINK IS SHOWING ME HOW TO FLASH THE TWO FINGERS INSTEAD OF MY USUAL THUMBS UP SIGN. (what?) NICE NEW CROATIAN SOCCER SHIRT, JEFF.
So I want to go to another island, KORCULA. The ferry from Hvar doesn’t allow bikes. But if I ride to STARI GRAD there is a ferry twice a week that I can put my bike on without taking it apart. This worked out good. Stari Grad is a Unesco protected village and one of the oldest cities in the Mediterranean, 2400 years old. So I decide to bike over the mountain to Stari Grad.

20130929-143954.jpgTHE VIEWS FROM THE ROAD NEVER CEASE TO AMAZE ME.

20130929-144109.jpgTHE STONE WALLS, HOUSES AND DRIVEWAYS ARE AMAZING
Your not suppose to ride your bike through the tunnel, I have one question “How do I get to the other side?” I rode and this photo is taken after I biked it. Motorcycles sounded like semi-trucks in the tunnel.

20130929-144242.jpg THE TUNNEL IS ABOUT A MILE LONG.

20130929-164323.jpgTHIS IS A SQUARE IN STARI GRAD

20130929-164925.jpgFORTRESS TVRDALJ had a fish pond in the court yard which is tied to the sea to exchange the water.

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20130929-165729.jpgBEING AN OLD CITY, THERE IS A NON-EXISTENT SEWER SYSTEM, SO KEEP YOUR DOG OUT OF THE OCEAN NEAR TOWN.

20130929-170818.jpgTHIS IS MY FERRY TO THE ISLAND OF KORCULA, THIS REMINDED ME OF A BOND MOVIE.

20130929-171046.jpgTOP DECK ENTERTAINMENT ON THE FERRY
I sat with this French couple on the ferry, they were making the worlds largest sandwiches (American style).

20130929-171407.jpgTHEY COUNTED THE SLICES OF HAM IN THE PACKAGE, I’M NOT SURE WHY? SO THEY BOTH GOT THE SAME AMOUNT OR THAT THERE WAS AN EVEN AMOUNT FOR ANOTHER SANDWICH?
I am at the island of KORCULA. The weather forecast is for rain 100%. An apartment cost $2 more than camping, easy apartment. So here I am working on the blog. (good boy). It’s Sunday and the town is closed.
We’re all caught up now, time fo some more adventure after the rain storm tomorrow. FORECAST: 7 SUNNY DAYS IN THE 70’S F OR THE LOW 20’S C
NEXT? DUBROVNIK IS IT REALLY AS GREAT A CITY AS THEY SAY? WE’LL SEE.
THE UPDATED WORDPREES IS HAVING SOME BUG ISSUES SO THIS NEXT STORY BELONGS AFTER MY PHOTO OF WAITING FOR CAROLYN AND TYLER (sometimes it’s there sometimes it isn’t?)

20130929-174855.jpgTHIS IS A PHOTO OF SOME POLLOCKS SMOKING FLAVORED TOBACCO IN THE MORNING. I sometimes set my tent up without the rain fly. He asked me what do I do when it rains? Like Tyler said “It’s a submarine” or “I crawl underneath it” I thought he was joking, but I don’t think he knew some tents have rain fly’s. So during the night a cat got into my stuff. Tyler said he threw rocks at it and then tried to wake me. Next day at lunch I couldn’t find my cheese? CAT GOT IT! It was kinda funny because the next morning the cat came around purring and very friendly. The cat knew something I hadn’t discovered yet. It was a brand new block of un-opened cheese
THANKS FOR READING, REMEMBER YOUR COMMENTS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME IF THEIR GOOD I’LL POST THEM AND YOU’LL BE FAMOUS (KINDA)
RIDE YOUR BIKE
JEFF
CROATIAN PHOTO STREAM IS HERE ENJOY!

LAST DAY IN SLOVENIA, FIRST DAYS IN CROATIA

Everyone who reads this blog knows how much I sLOVEnia. The PEOPLE, NATURE AND HISTORY were all tops. I love to bike and if you do too? For adventure touring and cycling,skip Amsterdam and come here, it’s one decision you won’t regret.
I made a special connection in Slovenia, it was a very difficult decision to leave. I really want to finish this trip in Istanbul. As I write this I’m still torn.

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A SPECIAL VISIT FROM A SPECIAL PERSON, NATASA IN IZOLA.
This is a bike blog that involves everything that can happen while bike touring. Get on your bike because amazing experiences await you too.
I loved my stay at Izola and that was one of the reasons I stayed 5 days here.

20130921-090527.jpgUROS WAS LIKE A BROTHER I CAN’T WAIT TO VISIT AGAIN SOON.
I rode off with no idea what route I was going to take? I wanted to stay off the main road so I just followed the coastline. The images were very telling. A day earlier I was sitting along the shore and noticed nearly everyone was in a wheelchair. UROS told me there was a state sponsored home for the handicapped to come visit the beach. All the walkways were wheelchair friendly. I asked to take this photo from the front, NO.

20130921-092330.jpgSO I GOT THIS PHOTO FROM BEHIND (notice the flag attached to her chair)
Back on the road, I’m riding as slowly as possible. I really realize when I cross the border it’s goodbye Slovenia. That’s how I got here by leaving amazing people and places to explore the new. I must keep telling myself that. I’ve heard about Slovenians salt beds andI had to go on the tour (to kill more time here)

20130921-093224.jpg IT SERVED A PURPOSE FOR ME, WASTING TIME.

20130921-093618.jpgTHE VIEW OF IZOLA RIDING UP AND OUT
I rode through this tunnel and took this photo from what I thought was the middle?

20130921-093948.jpgFOR A TUNNEL, IT WAS WELL LITE AND DRY
Riding past these “docks” was cool.

20130921-094715.jpgTHE DOCK STILL WORKS!

20130921-094907.jpgTHIS BOAT PROBABLY DOESN’T WORK (ANYMORE)
My last chance at the 2 policeman photo in Slovenia

20130921-101649.jpg HE SAID I COULD TAKE HIS PHOTO WITHOUT HIS HEAD, ONLY FROM SHOULDERS DOWN, NO THANK YOU
WELCOME TO CROATIA

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so it looks like rain, serious rain, I check out an abandoned house, NO. There’s no hotels or rooms around only the Zypher Casino. I go ask, $55 or 40 euro. A little hash in the morning and you don’t leave till 1pm, you sometimes have to pay the price.. The clouds are spelling trouble. I opt in, It’s late and I tell the kitchen I just want a plain salad. I shower and it’s CNN World on the TV. First in english TV in almost 6 months.
They said breakfast was included, I’m the only one staying at the hotel. So I say to the barista “So it’s you and me for breakfast?” A resounding “NO” mmmmm OK. no. So later I’m wheeling my bike around back and start talking with the slot machine repair guy. I tell him the breakfast story and we both laugh some. I ask if he will take my photo in front, he agrees and I say I want the barista in the photo too. She all the sudden appears at the back door. So he asks her for a photo of us “having breakfast together”. Holly Shit, we all 3 laugh for 5 solid minutes.Way too funny. We’re friends now, she sees I’m just here to laugh and have fun.

20130921-110340.jpgSHE INSISTED WE TAKE ANOTHER PICTURE, WE ALL CAN’T STOP LAUGHING, EVONNA THANKS FOR THE AWESOME TIME AND LAUGHS

20130921-110438.jpgTHE BARISTA BOOTH MADE HER LOOK TALL, BUT THEN SHE STEPPED OUT BEHIND THE COUNTER, NOPE.
So it rained and thundered hard ALL morning, good call on the hotel. Not a cloud in the sky when I ride off.

20130921-111246.jpgSOME VILLAGE?
The Casino host said if I stayed there I get a free bicycle map. Since I haven’t found a SIM card for my phone, I think this is my first mapping with an actual map. So the only camping is at a NATURIST CAMPGROUND (nudist camp). I find a site and set up. Within minutes I’m visited by a fellow camper, yep nude. It said so on the sign and it’s true, nude-everywhere.. So I’m trying to get the camp WIFI to work and the buxom blonde comes by, “Can you Help me?” Yep just out of the shower and no clothes on. So at dinner I see her again and say “I didn’t recognize you with your clothes on.” We both laugh.

20130921-114201.jpgI HAD TO
So everyone is strutting their stuff in the buff around the campground. Then I go to use the bathroom, I’m a little confused.

20130921-114554.jpgYOU CAN WALK DOWN MAIN STREET IN THE BUFF BUT PLEASE DON’T LOOK AT ME PEEING? OK
It was a little chilly in the morning, so everyone was clothed for a coffee and pastry send off

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THE AWESOME ROADS WERE JUST THAT.

20130921-115502.jpg AWESOME!

20130921-115749.jpgI LIKE TO “BIKE” MARKETING
I couldn’t find the offical campground so I slept in the tall grass on the side of the road.

20130921-120109.jpg THE STREET LIGHT WAS ON MY FACE ALL NIGHT
Early the next day in Rovijn I eat breakfast at a dock side cafe and explore the town.

20130921-120637.jpgTHIS IS MY FAVORITE BIKE PHOTO (so far)
I asked this nun if I could take her photo, first she said no, then I told her how beautiful she was in Spainish.

20130921-120917.jpgSHE SAID YES AND EVEN POSED

20130921-121112.jpgROADSIDE BBQ, HAVEN’T TRIED YET BUT SOON
I try to avoid busy roads, the first thing about bike touring and cars, avoid them. take the longer route

20130921-194639.jpgI THINK 1 CAR PASSED ME ON THIS ROAD.

20130921-195037.jpgMY BIKE FRIDAY ROAD FINE ON THIS EVEN WITH THE TRAILER
They had a stone built structure at the side of the road called a KAZUNE.
.

20130921-195818.jpgIF I HADN’T BEEN RIDING MY BIKE I PROBABLY WOULDN’T HAVE STOPPED
I met uo with 2 wheel travel again. Carolyn (one of the wheels of 2 wheel travel) we shared a banana split.

20130921-200333.jpgI COULD HAVE EASILY EATIN THE WHOLE THING
This was the moon rising that evening.

20130921-201526.jpgWE WERE AT AN AMAZING CAMPGROUND AT THE END OF THE ROAD CALLED CAMP STOJA
All the Slovenian photos are updated and HERE
HEY, THANKS FOR READING IT’S BEEN FUN, IF LIKE THE BLOG TELL ME. A BLOG POST LIKE THIS AVERAGES 5-8 HOURS OF WORK.
TILL NEXT TIME RIDE YOUR BIKE TILL THEN! OK?
JEFF

FINAL THOUGHTS ON SLOVENIA

WOW! There´s so much to say (surprised?). I skipped Italy to come here, best travel decision ever. I spent 5 weeks here (so far), the longest time and in the smallest country. I didn’t know much about the country, but I know the little country on the block, tries the hardest and they didn’t disappoint.
Before I dig into all this I have to give two thumbs up to HOSTEL ALIETI in IZOLA and a big thank you to TWO WHEEL TRAVEL for bringing me here. I’m having a difficult time getting back on the road.

20130915-082912.jpgHOT CHOCOLATE CROISSANTS EVERY MORNING PREPARED BY MAJDA OR HER SON UROS^.
If you come to Slovenia, remember that the small towns have hidden Gems, that only you can discover.
I arrived by train to Travisio, Italy. I was trying to get the train to Lake Bled, but was told it’s faster to bike there. Since I didn’t have a SIM for my phone. I didn’t have a map so I just kind of rode where people told me to go. I just kind of fell on to this awesome bike only bike path. My first stop was the petrol station, where I was warmly greeted and gifted a Slovenian Flag for my bike, I fly it proudly.

20130915-084357.jpgTHANKS FOR THE SLOVENIAN FLAG!
I head to camp KAMNE for my first Slovenian campground. I talk in my “international” english, Anna asks me to just speak in plain english, “please”. Slovenia’s tallest mountain MT. TRIGLAV is right across the street.

20130915-092259.jpgBARBARA AND ANNA RUN A GREAT CAMPGROUND.
Thought it was a one night visit, nope, several days. The local tourism people put on a history slide show of the region. One of only 3 they do during the summer. They served regional appetizers and blueberry schnapps which is super strong.

20130915-101806.jpgI HAD THE PRIVILEGE OF MEETING LOCAL CELEBRITY, HISTORIAN AND AUTHOR, FRANC (he’s pointing to himself in the photo).
I get Natasa’s address, which turns out to be a big part of my Slovenian visit.
I take the backroad to LAKE BLED.

20130915-102507.jpg I BIKE THROUGH TRIGLAV NATIONAL PARK. The route contains many points of interest to stop and explore. Slovenians have really reached out to attract tourist by helping them discover the highlights of the country. Bled is a tourist town, but there’s a good reason, it’s beautiful, the CASTLE, CHURCH and a bike path that connects it all together.

20130915-104108.jpgPICTURE TAKEN FROM CASTLE TO ISLAND CHURCH
You can swim in Lake Bled, it’s actually quite warm. The traditional costumed performance by local artist was awesome.

20130915-104213.jpgWOW! SHE’S HOT
Then my 23 mile 24 hour bike journey, again through TRIGLAV NATIONAL PARK.

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20130915-104657.jpgIT’S NICE THAT THE CHURCH OFFERS ACCOMMODATION FOR THE HOMELESS.
Slovenia is trying to attract active tourist, there are many bike routes along rivers, lakes and secluded forest.

20130915-105318.jpgTHE BIKE ROUTE SIGNS CAN BE A LITTLE CONFUSING AT TIMES.
LAKE BOHINJ was a little quieter than Lake Bled.

20130915-105752.jpgTHIS IS ONE OF 2 ELECTRIC BOAT TAXIS, THEY ARE JUST BEAUTIFUL BOATS

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THE WATERFALL HIKE WAS FUN (even for me). I HITCHHIKED UP AND WALKED BACK!

20130915-105946.jpgVIEW FROM VOGEL SKI TRAM OF LAKE BOHINJ
I rode gravel backroads and found myself stealth camping again.

20130915-111327.jpgLITTLE DID I KNOW WHAT AN IMPORTANT PART SKOFJI LOKA WOULD BE WHEN I TOOK THIS PHOTO
The people are a big part of Slovenia, no matter where I was or what I was doing, the people were amazing.

20130915-111706.jpgFELLOW CYCLIST JURE SHOWS ME THE WAY AND INVITES ME TO LUNCH WITH HIS FAMILY.
I told Natasa I would be in about 1pm ooops it’s 3pm and

20130915-112138.jpgLUNCH IS SERVED
I grow Blueberries at home (6 bushes) and I needed a blueberry fix and I got one. Natasa’s Mom made a blueberry cake

20130915-121958.jpg AND I ADDED BERRY ICE CREAM TOPPED WITH FRESH BLUEBERRIES. YEA BABY!
I visited Ljubljana and stayed with a local family. BBQ, music, culture, gardens, grandma and an awesome family.

20130915-122813.jpg I GOT A PRIVATE SHOW FROM SKALA
The museums of Ljubljana were all world class. I learned about the History and Culture of Slovenia and realized how “NEW” America really is.

20130915-123911.jpgPHOTO FROM ETHNOLOGY MUSEUM
There are 10,000 known caves in Slovenia. I had the privilege hiking SKOCJAN CAVES .

20130915-124442.jpgNO PHOTOGRAPHY IS ALLOWED IN THE CAVE
I got to live in SKOFJI LOKA for 3 weeks, “are you still here”? “when are you leaving?” This was an awesome time and then some.

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The BEE CULTURE of Slovenia is fascinating. They paint stories on the bees entrance.

20130915-130359.jpgTHIS BEE TRUCK WAS SPOTTED WHILE DRIVING
I love the community garden concept and visited the ones in Skofji Loka 4 times.

20130915-131505.jpgTHERE IS LOTS OF SPACE AVAILABLE FOR MORE GARDENS.
I said earlier that it’s the people that make a country, not the beach, not the mountains, not the history, nothing, it’s the people. And things happen, when you expose yourself to the world.

20130915-132111.jpgTHE PHOTOGRAPHER SUGGESTED WE KISS, OK!
I had the privilege of riding with TWO WHEEL TRAVEL from Skofji Loka to Izola. They are gathering information for a cycling book for Slovenia. I got to see how traveling by bike, as a couple can be,

20130915-142153.jpgA ROMANTIC LUNCH DATE IN A LOCAL BUS SHELTER
Now I’m in Izola writing this blog. Reflecting and what an amazing journey I’m on. Holy Shit I’m actually pulling this off, (so far).
Here’s a photo of the local “Italian” market here in Izola. I bought everything to make sandwiches for the week.

20130915-145803.jpgCHEESE DISPLAY.
The economy here is similar to that of every country I’ve visited; high un-employment, low wages, broken business and government models.
Readers Digest did a study where they “lost” 30 cell phones. SLOVENIA came in #1 for honesty, they returned 29 of the phones. I rarely locked my bike or worried about my “stuff”
So this is My Slovenia I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed living it and reliving it by writing this blog post.
Get ready Croatia here I come.
RIDE ON
JEFF

WHERE DID I SLEEP LAST NIGHT? (the whole story)

I posted a story a month ago that contained no details. In Slovenia stealth camping is illegal, a fine of $200 is possible. Since I´ve been here I´ve only seen maybe 10 policemen in 5 weeks. But the name stealth implies, you are not suppose to be seen or heard. So if you get caught you weren´t practicing stealth camping. I haven´t stealth camped that much, some campgrounds have so many amenities: pool, bathrooms, showers, WiFi, and most of all people! why would stealth camp?
When you leave camp at 1pm to head to your 23 mile destination, no problem. Right?

20130914-145721.jpgBUT WHEN THE VIEWS LOOK LIKE THIS, WELL IT TAKES ALL DAY AND MORE!
I realized I wasn´t going to make it to Lake Bohinj. When you show up to camp in the evening, the best sites are taken. It´s best to arrive at like noon, you can get the choice site. Also, rushing to get somewhere, you miss a lot. So if you stealth camp, the next day you have lots of time to explore while you reach your destination.
I had been going down hill for quiet awhile, stopping often to cool my brakes. Checking the time, it´s 7pm, I start scoping out potential sites. I see one that looks interesting, I walk around some and see 2 places where I can sleep without needing to set up my tent. It´s Aug. 14 and the sky is suppose have comets and shooting stars all night. I pick out a perfect spot with a great view of the sky. I can here voices from town, that are close, so I wait till the sun goes down to set up. While walking around I spot what I think is a huge light. I wait till sunset and yep sure enough it´s a flood light for the building.

20130914-152132.jpgTHE LIGHT REALLY WORKS, MY SLEEPING SPOT IS SUPER BRIGHT.
The views from here are amazing

20130914-154348.jpgTHEY THIN HARVEST TREES HERE, I HAVEN´T SEEN A CLEARCUT YET.
My breakfast view was spectacular.

20130914-154643.jpgI MAY HAVE RE-VISITED MOROCCO HERE TOO!
And here is my sleeping spot

20130914-154857.jpg YEP, I SLEPT AT A CHURCH
The pews are half logs, outside on the hillside next to the church. The inside of the church looks like an over sized roadside monument.

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20130914-160147.jpgTHANK YOU GOD FOR THE VIEWS!

20130915-155707.jpg VIEW OF CHURCH FROM ROAD
Since these photos were posted with all the Slovenian photos I have not been able to link them till now. TO SEE ALL THE SLOVENIAN PHOTOS CLICK HERE
NEXT? FINAL THOUGHTS ON SLOVENIA
RIDE YOUR BIKE
JEFF

TOURING WITH 2 WHEELED TROUBLE

My last weekend in Skofji Loka was booked solid; antique and crafts markets, biking, shopping, washing windows, dinner. I started with the antique market at 8am.

20130913-154716.jpgTHIS IS MY SECOND HELMET FITTING THIS TRIP

20130913-154820.jpgI THOUGHT THIS WOULD MAKE A GREAT PIECE OF “ART” ($200)
We finally head out on our one hour bike tour

20130913-155102.jpgIT´S ALSO A RELIGIOUS PILGRIMAGE ROUTE, LITTLE TRIBUTES TO JESUS ALL ALONG THE WAY.
We visit this large church and decide to just lay there in the tall grass and listen to the wind. I feel so lucky to have found my freedom and someone that is willing to share it with me.

20130913-155549.jpgTHATS THE OLD WELL IN FRONT THERE.
Most of the farmers use hay balls instead of the old hay racks. But they have found a new use for the abandoned hay racks:

20130913-155846.jpgOLD HAY RACKS USED AS WEATHERPROOF BILLBOARDS
We find this picnic bench and table along the river, secluded.

20130913-160221.jpgTHIS LITTLE RABBIT WAS SITTING ON THE TABLE, FRONT ROW SEAT!
We stop at the store and buy supplies for Grandmas birthday. We spend an hour trying to save $1. I explain that I would rather spend the euro and have more time together; message received. Our 1 hour bike tour is now on hour 4, I´m starving. We head to the crafts market (again), this time for some vegetarian sandwiches.

20130913-161102.jpgHOTTEST COLD SANDWICHES IN SLOVENIA!
I´m cooking blueberry pancakes (go figure), bacon and “birds in a nest” for Grandpa (doesn´t like sweets for breakfast) (bird in a nest is bread with a hole for the egg, salsa, tomatoes, cheese)

20130913-161609.jpgNICE SMILE SARA :()
Natasa and I agree this is the BEST weekend ever. I tell her I want to go on the walk that we did the first day I arrived. I want to go to her favorite spot, where the 2 rivers meet.

20130913-164508.jpgIT´S TRULY AWESOME AND A NICE SPOT
Walking always reveals a towns hidden gems, like this bee box in a yard.

20130913-164849.jpgTHEY WERE HAVING A BBQ AND SAID IT WAS OK TO TAKE A PICTURE.

20130913-165030.jpgYARD ART
Carolyn and Tyler of TWO WHEEL TRAVEL BLOGcalled and said they were heading to Croatia, me too. So I suggested they come to Skofji Loka and we leave from here, OK. That makes several people happy, I´m staying one more day!

20130913-165516.jpg ONE BIG HAPPY FAMILY
I play the victim and agree to whatever route they decide, just tell me where to turn. The route that Carolyn worked out was awesome.

20130913-173540.jpgIT´S BEEN RAINING ALL WEEK AND THE RIVERS ARE FLOWING REAL GOOD.

20130913-173717.jpgROADSIDE LUNCH STOP

20130913-173824.jpgTHE GRAVEL ROADS ARE QUIET AND VIRTUALLY CAR-FREE.
We pass Natasa´s work and stop by for one more kiss.

20130913-174405.jpg WHERE´S THE BROOM CLOSET? I GOT HIT!

20130913-175057.jpgA GOOD PLACE FOR SOME MINOR BIKE WORK
Were riding, again Carolyn´s routing is great, no rain until we reach the campground, 80 km. I´m dead, I haven´t ridden in a month. It´s thunder and hard rain, ALL night. The next day is the most serious rain I´ve ever ridden in.

20130913-181516.jpgI THINK I´M READY I’M READY FOR THE RAIN, BUT NO!
It´s raining hard we hide under a shelter for a few minutes.There´s talk of taking the train. We decide to keep riding. They ride faster than me, I pull up and their in a bus shelter making coffee.

20130913-181904.jpgWERE IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE I CAN´T FIGURE WHO USES THE BUS STOP?

20130913-182103.jpgIT´S POURING HARD!
Tyler and Carolyn are great tourer´s, I haven´t ridden with anyone in 5 months, so this was a new thing for me. They insist the extra 7km toHOSTAL ALIETI IZOLA is worth it. I stop and take this photo while riding along the shoreline bike path.

20130913-183159.jpgONLY 75KM TODAY, I´M DEAD (again).
The Hostal is great we get our own room and use every inch to hang our wet clothes. The next day we do some day rides. The views are great

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20130913-185144.jpgSAME PHOTO WITH PEOPLE
The next night we go for dinner. They´re vegetarian and I want some seafood. So I scope out a $8 pasta and squid dinner, too late. They just closed as we walked up, because of no customers. WTF? So Carolyn remembers the name of a highly recommended seafood place.

20130913-185253.jpgTHIS PHOTO WAS TAKEN BEFORE THEY GOT THE BILL, HAPPIER TIMES
The bill comes to $125 for 3, were all in sticker shock, All I I’wanted was my $8 pasta, what happened?
I did take this funny photo of a lemonade stand today too.

20130913-185724.jpgTHIS IS TINA AND NAJA WORKING THE LEMONS!
After dinner the sky is beautiful.

20130913-190738.jpg Then it´s back to the hostel for another exciting night of disco

20130913-191005.jpgTHE MAP READER NEEDS HER REST AND SHE DESERVES IT. THANKS CAROLYN!

20130913-191123.jpgTYLER IS JUST KICKING IT
Carolyn and Tyler want to leave in the morning, I´ve got so much to do, blog, treat clothes, dry my tent and misc. stuff. I tell them I´ll catch up.
I call Natasa and suggest she come visit, score, that was easy. We get a dorm room for 6, to ourselves.
NEXT? Where did on sleep last night? the real story and all the Slovenian photos.
Your comments always welcome
remember to ride your bike!
Jeff

“YOUR STILL HERE?” WHY NOT?

I´m still in SKOFJA LOKA. I know this blog is called JeffsBikeTour, but I got way laid. I´ve been living in the old town part of Skofja Loka. I met Natasa & her daughter Sara while camping on my first night in Slovenia. I asked for their address and Sara eagerly typed it into my Ipad. I couldn´t even pronounce where they lived, or did I know where it was or if I would be going their way?, I figured anything could happen. And it did.
After a few nights at the hotel I´m invited to “move in”. Natasa gives me her bed and she sleeps in Sara´s room. I´m living a dream, we laugh so much together that we buy extra tissue boxes to put around the house to wipe the tears away. One night we are on the couch talking and laughing, just pouring out the tears of joy.
When I come back from Ljubljana, we both devised plans (separately) for exploring Slovenia, amazingly they match. A caving expedition and a castle nestled in a mountain cliff. Slovenia consist of limestone formations, which means lots of caves. Slovenia has a recorded 10,000 CAVES.
I´m pretty excited because I haven´t ridden in a car for months. It´s Saturday and the roads are crowded. Were listening to the radio and its frequently interrupted with traffic reports about accidents or backups, while listening to the I-pod too. I hope Slovenia doesn´t go the way of the U.S. and invest every infrastructure dollar in promoting single occupancy vehicle transportation.. With the looming threats from Climate Change investing in an efficient mass transit system is the future. The U.S.´s roads and bridges are falling apart with no money or plan to fix them. Once you build it, you have to consider the maintenance costs, which obviously wasn´t thought through in the U.S.

We arrive early to the SKOCJAN CAVES and the cave tours are every hour. Within 10 minutes of arriving were hiking to the cave entrance.
I´m a little sore but I´m not sure why? Your not allowed to take photos in the cave. So I´m thinking there must be some good postcards?

20130906-104447.jpgI WANTED SOME PHOTOS INSIDE, BUT NO SO THIS ONE IS AT THE EXIT (nice photo)

20130906-104742.jpg

20130906-104834.jpgIF YOU CLOSELY YOU CAN SEE A LITTLE HOUSE AT THE TOP

20130906-105110.jpgI LIKE PEOPLE PHOTOS BEST, ESPECIALLY THIS ONE!
I head straight to the postcard rack. WTF 2 ok postcards and one passable card (of my favorite formation). (Yes Scott that´s the card I sent you). I can hardly walk now, Natasa is calling me “Old Man”.
We stop for wood fired pizza up this country road in the middle of nowhere. The bathroom is downstairs, I can barely make it. Old Man or what?
We drive up to the PREDJAMA CASTLE. The Old Man comments continue, very funny, I´m die-ing.

20130906-111140.jpgTHERE WAS A SECRET TUNNEL OUT THE BACK OF THE CASTLE TO GET SUPPLIES WHILE BEING UNDER ATTACK.
There are people dressed for serious caving, no thank you, too claustrophobic for me. The castle had some interesting images

20130906-111513.jpgLIKE THE DUNGEON

20130906-111838.jpgTHE CASTLE CONSISTED OF 6 DIFFERENT LEVELS. THIS WAS THE SECRET ESCAPE TUNNEL.

20130906-112059.jpgI LOVE THE BABY WALKER (cage)
I crawl back to the car, the Old Man jokes continue. I drive the car back to Skofja Loka, everyone is speeding.
Were back “home”, I decide to take a shower and investigate the source of my pain. Holy Shit, one of my testicles is nearly the size of a tennis ball. I can hardly touch it. Google here I come, everything that it could be requires seeing a doctor immediately! We were planning a shopping trip to Ljubljana tomorrow, but now I need to tell Natasa. She understands and is supportive (thank you). The blood test comes back, no signs of cancer. The doctor says I have an infection (really!). Take these pills and you´ll feel better in 3 days. Day 4, I can hardly walk again, We make an appointment to see a urologist. He says they need to do an ultrasound on my testicle(s). “Can you please hold your penis out of the way?” I respond “do you have a glove?”
I have a thing called a SPERMATOCELE CYST You can do surgery if it´s painful, but they usually go away on there own. They don´t know what causes them, I suspect all the biking (2600km) I´m interested in how much the surgery would cost? 3,000 euros ($4000). and 2 weeks of recovery I opt for the do nothing option, wait and see. I was reading some blogs about this and one guy said he squeezed the cyst to get rid of it, OUCH!

20130906-140707.jpgNO COMMENT (comment)
Someone tells me about a place where you can collect Slovenian rocks, since it´s illegal to buy them. I show Natasa on the map, we head out, with pain pills, on Saturday. On the way we pass this amazing Bee truck.

20130906-151601.jpg
Some Bee Keepers paint stories on the front of the bees entrance

20130906-151835.jpgTHESE ARE SAMPLES OF BEE BOX PAINTINGS ON WOOD THAT WERE IN A SOUVENIR SHOP.
I didn´t know we were going to an established park called Iški Vintgar Gorge. We hike for awhile and stop to look for rocks. Natasa collects heart shaped rocks and finds a few interesting rocks for my collection.

20130906-165330.jpgAM I DREAMING?
Back in Skofja Loka, I´m making my rounds, bakery, post office, tourist office, Deli, they all say the same thing to me:”YOUR STILL HERE?” It´s obvious that I am, next question “HOW LONG ARE YOU STAYING? ” I can´t answer that question because I don´t know the answer. I´m having a super awesome time, enough said.
So it´s the first day of school here and a tradition called FAZANIRANJE a tradition of painting your face, during the first 2 weeks of school.

20130906-170920.jpgWHEN I FIRST ASKED FOR A PHOTO THEY HID THEIR FACES AND SAID NO. THEN I TOLD THEM I WAS A TOURIST, THEY EAGERLY AGREED TO HAVE THIS PICTURE TAKEN (?)
So I was left alone one evening and decided to see what goes on at the community garden on a Sunday evening.

20130906-171700.jpgTHE GARDENERS CARRY WATER FROM THE RIVER AND FILL THE BLUE BARRELS FOR WATERING THEIR GARDENS.
As I´m walking along the river I see these kids playing cards. I walk pass them and think I really want that photo.

20130906-172050.jpgTHATS THIS PHOTO, NICE TO SEE WHAT SMALL TOWN KIDS DO ON A SUNDAY EVENING.
One evening Natasa and I decide to visit a local art show. There was a presentation of historical musical instruments from the local area. The photos are from paintings on the walls of churches.

20130906-203418.jpg (sorry no video)

20130906-203707.jpgTHE VIDEO OF HIM PLAYING THIS INSTRUMENT CAN BE SEEN HERE I played this one after the presentation.

20130906-203943.jpgTHE VIDEO OF HIM PLAYING THIS INSTRUMENT CAN BE SEEN HERE
I hitchhike to Natasa work in Gorenja vas. I get a ride with these 2 guys who are headed to do Paragliding. Paragliding a big sport here, one I almost did. The town is known for it´s covered bridges. I took this photo of a pedestrian bridge with the church in the background.

20130906-213653.jpg PRETTY ARTISTIC HUH?
I walked over to this motorcycle bar, there were 7 classic Harley Davidson’s in the parking lot.

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20130906-215042.jpgSEE THE MOTORCYCLE ON THE POLE?
We´re going on a bike ride tomorrow, checking on the nut.
Thanks for reading. I enjoy writing this blog and living my dreams.
until next time (it´ll be awhile)
RIDE ON
Jeff