Numerous people have told me about the Parenzana trail from Trieste Italy through Slovenia to Porec Croatia, on the beach. It’s a old railroad right of way, so I thought how hard can it be?
I enjoy seeing live music every so often, in Slovenian? Not often enough. While doing a search for concerts near here, I found out that one of my favorite bands were playing in Zagreb, Croatia. Natasa couldn’t get off work, but I really needed a music fix, and especially from one of my favorite bands, THE RAVENONETTES. On my bike trip I played ALY, WALK WITH ME, nearly every morning. The lyrics of “Aly, Walk with me in Portland” reminded me of my home of Portland. Before I left, I wrote them on facebook and requested they play this song.
I took the bus to Zagreb, about an hour or so away. I went early in the morning so I could spend the day exploring Zagreb. First, the tourist office at the bus station in Zagreb, pointed to the English map and said nothing else, she had nothing to share about her city. She said the tram cost 6 kuna. So I boarded the tram and find out you need a pre-paid tram card to ride, that would have been some useful information I could have used. I got off the tram at a place that looked like a town square.
I only brought a day pack with me, but was still able to buy a 1/2 kilo of awesome dates and figs. I walked around and came across this pretty spectacular church.
If you’ve read this blog, you may know, I’m not a big fan of walking. I always prefer my bike, but walking does offer opportunities the bike does not. There are signs everywhere, pointing in every direction, to some museum or monument.
I use to have a handicrafts business for 10 years so of course I chose the Croatian Art and Craft Museum.
The furniture was really exquisite.
I made it to a small room on the third floor, all clocks. Of course I asked the person who was working alone up there, “what time is it”, I kinda flustered her. I had to explain the question was for fun, she laughed. Check photos for more museum art photos.
After walking around the museum for hours, it’s time for lunch. While walking (yes walking) to the museum I passed a must visit restaurant; I was talking with the coat check lady and told her where I was going for lunch, she that’s her favorite place in town.
I stayed and talked with the owner for awhile. He lived in California for 6 months and thought bringing mexican food to Croatia could work. He is about to open a second location and then start trying to serve breakfast. Breakfast around here is coffee, cigarettes and maybe a piece of bread. It might take awhile before Croatians realize how important breakfast really is. I met a Portuguese student who was there with her visiting mother and little brother, she said her friends brought her here when she first arrived for school. She also said her friends were going to see the Raveonettes too.
I was going to ride the tram to the concert, but the restaurant owner showed me how I could walk the park all the way to the show. So a walking I go……………………………….
i wanted to show up early for the Raveonettes show, hopefully I could catch the sound check.
The Raveonettes are from Denmark, they sing their songs in English, but during the sound check they were speaking Danish to the sound board guy.
I didn’t buy a T-shirt, because at my age I already have a t-shirt for nearly everyday of the year.
I was there early, so I was able to stand right next to the stage. There were 5 photographers swarming the front of the stage. I finally told one, that he had enough pictures and needed to move along so we could enjoy the show, it worked.
It was a “GREAT” show. So now I’m down by the river and far from the bus station. I was starting to walk to the bus station, then I asked some folks if they were going by the bus station. YES, holy shit was I lucky.
My bus was suppose to come by at 2am, so at 2 am I boarded the bus and thought, I better ask, wrong bus, that was close. My bus was over an hour late. But it worked out, when I arrived back in Ljubljana, the first morning bus back to Skofja Loka was only a 10 minute wait.
I GOT MY MUSIC FIX, I’M GOOD FOR A LITTLE WHILE
THANKS FOR READING
NEXT? SKOFJA LOKA PART III
Slovenia’s central European location allows you to visit 4 different countries with just a couple hour drive. I biked through Rovinj, Croatia last summer and only spent 1 afternoon there. I thought it was a must re-visit kinda place back then. Natasa got 2 days off work combined with the weekend, 4 days of vacation. We put a 3 hour maximum of “willing” to drive to our vacation spot, Rovinj was perfect, 2.5 hrs.
We got an Air B&B apartment for 3 nights $150. While driving down the street looking for our place, we noticed nearly every house had an apartment for rent. We probably didn’t need to book ahead. We unpack the car and bike into the old town (photos).
We decide to bike north along the coast, to see what we see.
Natasa wants to visit Brijuni National Park (photos), I don’t know anything about the Park. It’s only a 30 minute drive, 15 minute boat ride and tourist train ride around the island, I can do that.
Tito spent 6 months a year on the Brijuni island, there’s a museum dedicated to him. While walking through the museum and looking and reading everything, I became infatuated with Josip Broz Tito. (if you’ve got the time read the link, he’s amazing). He had many visitors to the island including Castro and Stalin.
After our miniature train tour of the Island, we decide to rent bikes. The train took us by some places that, with a bike, we can spend more time visiting.
Tito had a collection of animals given by heads of states from other countries.
The train acknowledged, but didn’t stop at the Dinosaur Exhibit, so by bike, we stop
Right next to the footprints is this
The ferry leaves in 15 minutes and were way north on the island. We race back, return the bikes, hop on board, the sun sets as we reach the mainland. Were beat, it was a long day.
Yesterday back in Rovinj they were setting up an elementary grade school “art” exhibit, of “what they wanted in the city” and today it’s up.
When I biked through Croatia last year, it was with two vegetarians, Carolyn and Tyler of Two Wheel Travel Blog. We kept passing roadside BBQ’s, I kept requesting we stop for the BBQ Pig, it wasn’t going happen. So I told Natasa, I really want to have the BBQ pig, when we go out.
The Rovinj Farmers market was run like a Mafia market. There were maybe 15 vendors who all had nearly the same products at the same prices. I wanted to buy the Lavender Soap, but not at the fixed Mafia price. I made an offer to one vendor then another, both refused my deal. I finally found a willing seller and paid a price I felt was closer to what I felt the soap was worth.
We had a good time in Croatia, it’s so great being so close to so many different countries all with there own cultures and foods.
NEXT: As promised “WHERE THE HELL IS SKOFJA LOKA?” It’s gonna be BIG!
Thanks for reading.
I was in Portugal and spotted this Policeman who looked like the “terminator” cop. I wanted to get a photo. I asked if I could, then his friend said yes, I just wanted terminator, but OK, I took this photo
PORTUGUESE POLICE PHOTO WITH THE TERMINATOR COP AND HIS FRIEND
I take the ferry to Spain, there were 2 policeman who were giving me directions to the phone store , I showed them the Portuguese photo then they offered to have their photo taken.. I said “Heck Ya.” This was the start of collecting policeman photos in every country I visited.
THE SPANISH POLICE WERE SUPER FRIENDLY AND HELPFUL
A friend (?) from France wrote and told me to look out for Spanish cops. I sent him this photo and asked, “these guys?”
I’m biking around France, shopped at a farmers market and spotted 2 policeman. I asked him for photo? No. I show him the Spanish photo, he walks away. He joins his partner across the street, then he waves me over.
THESE ITALIAN POLICEMAN NEEDED NO CONVINCING TO HAVE THEIR PICTURE TAKEN.
Slovenia was a real task, I had to compromise some with this one. First, there are hardly any police around! I had always tried to get 2 policeman together, that wasn’t going to happen here.
THIS IS THE SLOVENIAN PARLIAMENTARY BUILDING “POLICE” GUARD. THAT’S THE BEST I COULD DO. There are really no police to be found and not 2 together for sure.
The Croatian policeman shot was just about as difficult as the Slovenian. I hardly ever saw the police here either. But when we were dropping off bike boxes at the ferry dock, I spotted several armed “dock” police.
THIS IS THE CROATIAN MARITIME POLICE, AGAIN IT’S THE BEST I COULD DO.
The Montenegro police photo was totally by “accident.” I was only going to be in Montenegro for 24 hours, so my chances were pretty slime. The bus I was riding in got in an accident, so the police arrived to take a report.
THIS ALBANIAN POLICEMAN PHOTO WAS TAKEN MY FIRST 5 MINUTES OF WALKING THE STREETS
The Greek policeman photo should have been of at least 2 policeman. Of the four policeman, only this one agreed to a picture.
HOT TURKISH POLICEWOMEN WITH MACHINE GUN–YEP HOLY SHOT
It was fairly easy to get all the 10 countries I visited policeman photos, but one Morocco. When I asked maybe 10 different policeman the answer was always the same “IT IS FORBIDDEN.” So I pretended to be adjusting my music while taking a few pictures:
Croatia was one of my top destinations that I was really looking forward to visiting. Croatia lived up to my expectations, perfect weather, miles (kilometers) of beaches, affordable accommodation and yes, very appreciative and welcoming hosts. English was spoken, nearly everywhere, I was never frustrated trying to get my needs met. I rode with TWO WHEEL TRAVEL Carolyn and Tyler, again. It’s great to travel with experienced touring cyclist, that being said, I still prefer to travel “alone”. The freedoms traveling alone like choosing your accommodation, food, riding distance, basically everything is in your control (as best it can be).
I crossed into Croatia late in the day and stayed in a casino hotel, as their only guest.
LAUGHING WITH EVONNE IS SOMETHING I’LL NEVER FORGET,
It’s amazing that such a simple thing as crossing a border can change so much: the people, landscape, food, customs. Croatia was definitely it’s own country. I camped at one of the many “NATURE CAMPS”, (nudist camping). It was the closest camp to town, so twist my arm? If you want to see old men who’s balls hang lower than their penis (I looked), then this type of camping is for you.
THIS CAMPER HAD ONE HUGE BALL, LOOKED LIKE IT HURT!
My laid back attitude towards biking long and hard has caused some discomfort. Like the day it turned dark in Rovijn and I had to sleep along the road with a street light in my eyes all night. But it also encourages you to get up early and have breakfast on the pier. I thought Rovijn was one of the nicest cities I visited in Croatia, wish I had stayed longer there.
I THINK HE’LL GET NOTICED NOW!
After camping with 6 other touring cyclist in Trogir, I headed to Hvar Island. I stayed at DINKS PLACE
THEY CAN BRING BOATS ON A BOAT WHY ARE BICYCLES SO DIFFICULT?
It was a long ride from Karcula to Dubrovnik, after many failed hitchhiking attempts it finally pays off. It only took 6 months to get my first ride. I had heard so many good things about Dubrovnik I could hardly wait to get there. But then the travel burn-out factor hit me hard. I felt like Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, I didn’t want to get out of bed.
CARRYING ALL MY GEAR UP THESE STAIRS WAS THE LAST BIT OF ENERGY I HAD (it’s twice as far as you can see)
I spent 4 nights in Dubrovnik, walked the city walls, bought my Pirate shirt and ate some great food. The chilly mornings are a reminder that I need to go SOUTH! Biking on the islands or country roads is fine, but big city traffic and a non-existent shoulder requires I take the bus out of town. For geography challenged Americans (including me) Montenegro is the next country.
I recommend visiting Croatia if you get the opportunity to. Especially if you like wine and olives, their everywhere. The history, people, climate and geography (biking, swimming, boating) offer something for everyone. I don´t recommend the causal cyclist attempt biking here unless their experienced.
ALL THE CROATIAN PHOTOS ARE HERE
Sorry if you feel rushed through the next couple blog post I really want to write about where I am now, ALBANIA
RIDE YOUR BIKE, CLIMATE CHANGE IS REAL, ALL CURRENT AND FUTURE GENERATIONS WILL BE EFFECTED. LET´S LEAVE A SUSTAINABLE PLANET THAT ALL THE PEOPLE OF THE WORLD CAN LIVE ON.
NEXT? 24 HOURS IN MONTENEGRO (not enough)
THANK YOU FOR READING
I was waiting out a rain storm on Karcula Island. One thing about old towns is the old sewer system. Sewer gas smells frequently permeate the air. My room had that, but with all the amenities that helped me ignore the occasional odor. I offered the landlady a little more than 1/2 what I was paying, she refused, the weather cleared so I caught the ferry to the mainland.
BOAT RIDES ARE ALWAYS FUN, BUT THIS ONE WAS ONLY 15 MINUTES.
I’m feeling the pressure (and colder weather) to get this show down the road. It’s about 100 km to Dubrovnik, maybe a full hard day of riding, it’s 2pm. The bus was the next morning. So I ride out of town and try hitchhiking, nope. So I ride (walk) several mountain passes.
IT’S LOOKING LIKE RAIN
I stick my thumb out again, an empty 12 passenger van pulls over. He speaks no English, but we both agree Dubrovnik is both our destinations. Bike is loaded in the van and I’m just smiling as it’s pouring down rain. We drive by this walled city called STON CITY
THE STON WALLS are known as the Great Wall of Croatia, they are about 7km (4.3miles) long.
I’ve got my computer out, map out a Hostel and he drops me 2 blocks from the Hostel. I’ve been told if your staying in DUBROVNIK, you must stay in the OLD TOWN. So I move to a hostel that is in the old town. When I first arrived it was an easy walk on shiny marble, using the wheel chair friendly walkways. Then this happened:
THERE ARE MANY BOAT TRIPS TO THE LOCAL CAR-FREE ISLANDS.
Dubrovnik is a great city but I’m burned out. I just want to sit in my room, no castles, no museums, no boat trips. I’ts been 6 months and I have no energy. My brother asked me “do you ever take a break?” NOW.
I decided that I could muster up the strength to take a walk
THIS IS A PIECE OF ART CALLED “SUMMER TIME” (yep, has bikes)
The old city has a walkable wall, the advice is to wait until the cruise ship people go back to their boat. The cruise ships can carry thousands of people and there are many cruise ships in port.
THISIS A PHOTO OF A BOMBED HOUSE BY THE SERBIAN AND MONTENEGRO ARMY IN THE EARLY 90’S.
THERE’S A VIDEO HERE OF THE ATTACK.
KAYAKERS SHOT AT SUNSET FROM THE CITY WALL.
Leslie invites me to join her for dinner. One thing about traveling “alone” is eating dinner out by yourself, I HATE IT. So she’s vegetarian and that works just fine for me. It’s a Bosnian restaurant, I’m OK with that (I hadn’t seen the video of the war yet!)
There’s a performance of traditional Croatian Singing called KLAPA. Klapa singing is perhaps the most widely known type of traditional music from Croatia. Originating in Dalmatia and performed on the Adriatic coast and the islands, klapa songs celebrate subjects such as the sea, fish, wine, homeland, and loving Dalmatian mothers.
TRADITIONALLY NO MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS ARE USED ONLY SINGING. USUALLY MEN ONLY BUT THERE WERE QUITE A FEW WOMEN SINGING TOO (SEPARATELY!)
It’s time to leave Dubrovnik and get this show down the road. You can see the highway from the road, big buses and trucks and the usual no shoulder. Two Wheel Travel left a few days earlier by bus, I opt for that too.
THANKS FOR READING THE BLOG, A LITTLE NICER THAN THE LAST POST? FOR THOSE WHO THINK I’M ON SOME EXTENDED HOLIDAY, THINK AGAIN, THAT’S SOME OF THE STUFF THAT HAPPENS TOO. I’VE BEEN NEARLY KILLED AND RUN OFF THE ROAD 4 TIMES. SO IF YOU THINK I’M LAYING BY THE BEACH WITH AN UMBRELLA DRINK, I’M NOT.
ALL THE CROATIAN PHOTOS ARE HERE
NEXT? FINAL THOUGHTS ON CROATIA
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.
THE 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.
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.
MY 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!
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
THE 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.
FORTRESS TVRDALJ had a fish pond in the court yard which is tied to the sea to exchange the water.
THEY 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?)
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
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
CROATIAN PHOTO STREAM IS HERE ENJOY!