dinsdag 3 september 2013

GR2013 Day 23 & 24: Povljana & Postojna

After the harrowing encounter yesterday I thought it to be best to take it easy. Just go to the town of Mostar in the morning, see the Old Bridge, and find myself a Bosnia sticker on my way towards Croatia.

The camp site was a nice find, so it turned out. It wasn't all too big, but it was right beside the river, and the sign at the main road said bikers had a 20% discount. Proprietor Tarik was a really nice guy as well - he rode a motorcycle himself as well.

Before long, the entire field was packed with as many nationalities as there were guests. I already had British and German neighbours upon arrival, then a Czech couple arrived, a Spanish couple, an Italian couple, a Slovenian family... it was becoming quite the little international enclave.

The next morning, I was - ofcourse - first to rise, and first to pack. "Ah, bikers are always the first to leave", according to Tarik. I suppose it's in our blood...

Time to head to the nearby city of Mostar.

Traffic was light this morning, which was to be expected. And also Bosnians don't really nitpick when it comes to road regulations, which was a nice continuance from the past few days.

That really cuts the Mostar!

I've got a lot more horrible puns, like that one. Here's the Old Bridge!

On my way back, I encountered this group of Italian bikers. Judging by their accumulated stickers, they'd seen quite the collection of countries already.

Ah yes, stickers! Time to go the the nearest petrol pump, and try my luck!

But after getting a round of applause from a passing by toddler...

I found something else. Dutch people will know it when they see it.

Time to run for the border!

But first, Bosnia made sure I didn't just remember it because of the attempted murder the day before.

And yes, I am convinced that one day...

....I'll be returning. I just saw the South-East of the country this time, and I reckon there's lots more where this came from.

It wouldn't be long though until I'd be near the border.

Now, I've got a riddle for you. At one point, I encountered a traffic jam, so I guessed I'd be close to the border.

With my timelapse, there's 30 seconds between each of the pics, and I was moving at about 30 kph. Can you guess how long the queue was?

Let's just count the number of pictures it takes for me to get to the border.

This is 1.

That's 2.






Picture #8

(most traffic actually was at a standstill, resulting into people just getting out and having a walk)




And twelve!

By this point, I chose to enter the line as I figured that if I'd move to the very front of the line, people would lynch me.

Before long, I was joined by an Italian couple on a GS. At one point though, I came to see that my earlier decision to not go to the very front was a wise one - we were passed by a Romanian couple on a Harley who went to the very front of the line... and the border patrol proceeded with asking them to unpack EVERYTHING on their motorbike.

The Beast's stealth mode with Karmic countermeasures had yet again been triumphant.

But coming to this borderpost, I really couldn't understand what was the hold up. Sure, there were two checkpoints - one out of Bosnia, and one into Croatia - but when I approached the window the officers merely glanced at the front of my passport and waved me onward.

Hey, I'd been waiting in the boiling sun for 90 minutes, in full riding gear, walking about 600 pounds of motorcycle... so at least have the decency then to CHECK MY FRIGGING PASSPORT.

I gave my Italian compadres a project sticker, which was immediately applied to their bike. Apparently, they'd been trying to ride the world in 20 years. Not all on this same bike, but they were eating up the miles at a steady pace. Very nice!

Time to split.

(I told you I had plenty more of bad puns)

The roads were quite fun. I was originally expecting to be on the motorway, so this was kind of a letdown.

If you look in the distance though, you can see that the end of the highway is still under construction.

Before long though, I reached the bit that was already completed.


At the next petrol pump, I got several surprises

No.1: at this particular company they hire girls to wash the windscreens of cars if people want to. 

Too young for my taste though.

No. 2: my reputation had preceded me, resulting into people taking photographs.

(or maybe it was The Beast... I don't know what that thing is up to when I'm asleep)

No.3: Milk! I'm a downright unadulterated milk addict, but it seemed nigh impossible to get some decent stuff anywhere at all. The first time I'd encountered any was in Greece, and this was the second time. Time to indulge on calciuminated goodness!

Continuing my ride north, I marveled at the level of engineering in this tollroad.

Mountains, valleys...they were just moved to make way for a ribbon of asphalt.

I even started making lame innuendo jokes again!

Arrival in Zadar sadly also brought the return of something else...

Greek tarmac. The front wheel lost grip during braking a number of times.

There even was some more Montenegrin ridged asphalt. Ugh.

Thankfully, the road towards Pag made it all worth it. Still, I was getting tired, and the vast number of tourists on these roads blocking a nice clean run slowly sapped away at my patience.

It was time to find a place to spend the night, sooner rather than later.

I therefore chose to cut my route short, and spend the night in Povljana. Finding a hotel of some kind seem impossible for some reason though.

I was tired, annoyed and because of the many tourists here already getting fed up with Croatia... but the person I was greeted by at the reception of the camp site changed everything. Let me introduce you to Manuela.

She was really enthusiastic upon hearing about the trip and project, and moreover, quite the change from the usual kind of receptionist I encountered. And I made sure she knew it was a welcome one!

The next day, I planned to just gun it towards Slovenia. Nothing too complicated - just follow the coast, and go North from Rijeka.

The town of Pag was up first. Quite the nice bit of scenery.

And quite nice roads too. Not too crowded and all that.

Verrrry nice indeed!

Soon enough, we had to cross a small body of water... as is usual in Croatia.

And we did so by ferry.

Seems not too long ago we were on that other ferry.

The road at the other side pretty much painted a picture of things to come.

You're stuck behind a camper for miles on end.

Then, you overtake it...

...spend 2 glooorious minutes in freedom...

...after which you're stuck behind a caravan.

This went on for pretty much the entire coastline.

And it was a real shame too...

...as these roads had some real riding potential.

But no, I was always stuck behind someone driving under the speed limit.

Let me explain to you what I'm on about. Please note the look and make of the car in front.

And here we are, just coming to a halt at a roadworks. There's 25 pictures in between, and there was an 80 kph speed limit. God, it was torture. And this went on until the highway at Rijeka, basically. Such a waste of good driving roads...

No, I think it was safe to say Croatia (safe the camp site receptionists) had not really been my cup of tea.

So here we are, the Slovenian B&B! The cam batteries needed some juice (that's why the first miles into Slovenia are missing), and so did I. The first few miles in Slovenia looked tremendously beautiful (almost akin of Austria) so I decided that tomorrow, instead of seeing Venice, I'd see more of Slovenia instead and head into Austria.

In the B&B I spoke to an Italian couple, who were amazed I'd come such a long way, and congratulated me on completing a life's dream.

Well, not quite. Almost there.