Tag Archives: bike tour

WHO NEEDS A CAR WITH A TRAIN AND A BIKE! KOPER, PIRAN & IZOLA

carefree

A couple winters ago the Slovenian winter storms damaged the train route from Ljubljana to Koper, at the coast.  I heard they repaired the problems and you could now ride the train all the way to Koper.  Last time I went to the coast I borrowed Natasa’s car, this time I’m taking the train.
The train was 30 mins. late leaving because it was waiting for a train from Germany to make a connection. I got to sit up front with the guy driving the train, we spoke some English too! I only had 10 minutes to make my train connection. I missed my connection and ended up putting my bike on the bus the rest of the way to Koper (for free).

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10 MINUTES AFTER I ARRIVED IT STARTED POURING RAIN, BREAKFAST AND COFFEE TILL THE STORM PASSED-RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME.

30 minutes of rain stopped, I then headed to Piran, Slovenia.  I rode past Izola, but was planning to go there after Piran.

I’m so lucky to be in good enough shape to enjoy all these biking adventures.  Speaking of luck someone did a study and said luck doesn’t just happen.  Talk to the people around you, be truly interested in them, share your knowledge and insights with others. Talk to people in the bank/post office line.  I do this all the time, it drives Natasa crazy Slovenians are somewhat reserved.  She’s always saying how lucky I am, there’s a reason.  One more thing, put your cell-phone down and talk to the person right next to you, the world will be a better place.
In Piran I  stayed at the Val Hostel   it was super awesome, right in the heart of the old town. For only $22 euro I got a private room with a sink (bathroom/shower down the hall)  and a super breakfast.  I highly recommend anyone to stay there.


I had 2 days in Piran, so ventured into the hills with my bike.  Lots of dead end google map routes, i  finally got to the top,

I wanted to take a different route back to Izola, it was different all right. I climbed so many hills I couldn’t count them all.  The tunnel saves so much time (climbing), I get the tunnel thing now, holy shit.

I love Izola and the HOSTEL ALIETI. This is my 3rd time here,  They are so friendly to me, it’s like home.

I (we) decided I could  stay an extra day so I could attend the Sweets Festival in Koper.  It’s Slovenia and it’s sweets, I could only imagine.

It only rained for a 1/2 hour the first day.  I swam nearly everyday, ate great food, chocolate  and now it’s time to get back to Skofja Loka.  I grabbed the bus back, to bring the bike the driver wanted enough money for a coffee, 1 euro for the bike.
I had a gardening business for 25 years, so I had to get a picture of this kids shirt, on the bus.

PUSH IT PUSH IT

PUSH IT PUSH IT “REAL GOOD”

carfree2 carefree1

I’m putting this picture here because I’m going to Paris, Dec. 7-14.  One to visit Paris and the other to attend the World Climate Change Conference–as a protester because we all know like every other Climate conference, never an agreement or reduction, just an agreement to meet again.  Meat and meat production causes over 50% of greenhouse gases, please avoid meat and especially beef.  Go watch the movie COWSPIRACY , it’s on Netflix now.
SIX EUROPEAN COUNTRIES GOING CAR-FREE
Thanks and have a great day.
Jeff

and here’s a new band DIIV

EUROPEAN VACATIONS AND A SLOVENIAN BIKE TOUR: JEZERSKO-LUCE-KAMNIK

We’ve gone on several vacations this year, but none compare to my solo bike tour around Slovenia.  First we spent a week in Croatia on Murter Island, just laying in the shade at the beach.  It was very hot all day.  Natasa & I got up before sunrise and rode bikes to the bakery then to a coffee shop along the dock, we rode about 25 km each day.  Our next vacation we camped overnight at the same campsite where we first met.  We biked up to the Fuse Lakes in Italy (photos).   Then we biked to Lake Bohinj  and went swimming (photos).  Then Natasa and I visited Zagreb, Croatia for a couple days.  I think Zagreb has more museums than any city of it’s size.  We visited “The Museum of Broken Relationships”, “Torture Museum” and “The Contemporary Art Museum.”  We biked along the river and through JARUN Sports Park that had signs with photos and accomplishments of Croatian Athletes, Drazen Petrovic  played for my Portland Trail Blazers.

Those were nice vacations, but nothing beats a bike tour.  So Natasa’s  4 weeks of vacation was over and she’s back to work.  When I flew back from America this last time I grabbed the airline magazine that had a bike ride reviewed.  The ride is done by some in one day, but I decided, I could make it a 4 day,   I love having time to explore an area, meet people and maybe go swimming too, this trip was all of that.
I had a bike ride from my house in Portland, Oregon, that looped Mt. Hood and ended with a visit to Bagby Hot Springs, where cedar logs are carved out to make the baths (another thing I’ll miss in Oregon).  I really like the idea of riding from home, no car, bus, train or plane, just biking.  This ride does that too, I was able start and end my tour in Skofja Loka.  The ride is about 120 km, so some easy 30-40km. days.

DAY 1 SKOFJA LOKA TO JEZERSKO
It’s paved farmers fields paths to Kranj, then ride through some small villages and then uphill to Jezersko. I always go to the tourist office, they know? and in this case they knew,  The packaged teas on the tourist desk caught my interest.  The Jezersko tourist office  called and set a time for me to meet the local herbalist, Matej Tonejec..  I felt so lucky to meet him, his family had owned the house for 500 years.  He said in the early 90’s they use to rent rooms.  They use to do eye surgery in town because the weather was conducive to the eyes healing.  So patients and visiting families use to stay. The hospital closed when Slovenia broke from Yugoslavia, the rooms were empty.

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MATEJ NOW USES THE ROOMS TO RUN HIS TEA BUSINESS.

I camped at Senk Farm, the oldest farm in the area.  I was greeted by some chickens.  The food in the local restaurants is good and cheap,  I’m not cooking on my next bike tour.
PHOTOS FROM DAY 1

DAY 2 JEZERSKO TO LUCE

My goal is to leave by 9am.  I made my famous oatmeal and coffee bikers breakfast, I was climbing the minute I left the camp. At the top was Austria and the old border crossings check points that are no longer needed. I met a couple guys in the coffee shop, they said there was a skating event that day.  There were 200 skaters and a few roller bladers.  So I parked myself at a turn and waited, 3 buses of skaters came by, then they close the road for 1/2 an hour and let em’ go downhill.  It’s a skate camp weekend, you pay $200 for camping and 6 or 7 runs a day, including the bus rides up. I walked uphill pushing my bike for an hour and a half.  I met a cyclist along the way who is doing the route in the one day, like in the article.  He caught me walking, but he was in full sweat, so I didn’t feel so bad.  He also had no gear-non and I was loaded for camping.  I crossed back into Slovenia and received a few messages from Natasa.
I was trying to get to this certain campground, so I started getting more serious about riding.  Then I came to the Logarska dolina.  It’s a national park and it cost money to drive in but you can bike in for free.  It’s the end of the day, there’s no way I’m riding with gear up-to the water fall.  Then I notice an electric bike sitting there,  I start talking electric bikes with him and before I know it, I’m riding for free to the water fall (go figure).  It’s basically all uphill, I flew by some Lycra riders, and yelled “watch out for the e-bike”  I met a family of 5 with 3 little ones (2 on bikes)  They rode from the campground to the waterfalls and back, my hero’s.
I opt for my 2nd choice campground, it’s getting too late.  My camping neighbor brings me some hard liquor in a glass, I took a sip in front of him, but that was it, holy shit that was strong.

DAY 2 PHOTOS

DAY 3 LUCE TO NATURAVANTURA CAMPGROUND
Naturavantura was the campground I was trying to reach the day before, but no.  It was a short nearly car-free ride to the campground.  I was welcomed with a glass of the traditional Slovenian blueberry wine.   I knew I had found a great campground.  They had a all the amenities for a great camping experience: tents & cabins, communal kitchen, dinner/breakfast available, hammock area, cold river swimming, and WiFi.
I was invited to sit around the nightly campfire, laying in my tent I thought, OK.  It was just me and the 2 camp hosts.  We sat up till mid-night sharing stories and laughing, I was glad I got up and out of my tent.  I picked up a map that had several local bike rides.  I’m planning on coming back and staying 3 or 4 days exploring the area.

PHOTOS FROM DAY 3

DAY 4  NATURAVANTURA TO KAMNIK

I don’t like to backtrack so they suggested I go further down the road and turn right, OK.  They told me there was a climb going that way, I’m a professional bike walker, so I’m ready for anything.  It was a great ride, till the hill.  I never walked, but there was some serious climbing.  I love going off the beaten path.  I passed some hemp farming and several small villages. Slovenian is known for it’s honesty and what I saw only confirmed that.  I went by a propane storage shed that was locked-with the keys in the lock.

DAY 5 KAMNIK TO VELIKA PLANINA by CAR

Natasa drove to Kamnik to join me.The tourist office suggested I visit Velika Planina.  It was a cable car ride up and an optional chairlift, Natasa made me walk the second half.  It was a traditional high  mountain grazing area in the summer, but now it’s more of a tourist thing, which I’m a tourist so let’s have some fun.  There were lots of people there, but the mountain is big and scattered the crowds throughout the area.  After hiking around we headed back to Kamnik to a local trout farm for lunch,  Ribogojnica-Mihovc

I put the bike on the car and we drove back to Skofja Loka.  I watched the road for bike friendliness, no.  Taking the bus or getting a car ride seems the safest way home, good call.

I hope you enjoy this bike tour, I know I did.

Jeff

NEXT: SLOVENIAN COAST BIKE TOUR USING THE TRAIN