Western Balkans – Day 2 – Blue!
We started the day early – off to breakfast at 7 a.m. It was surprisingly good and we had a good start in the day. We packed our stuff and at 8:15 we sat on the bikes and wanted to set off – I started the motor, released the clutch – and heard a terrible sound from the front! I remembered that I had tested my lock yesterday and had put it around the front wheel. Well, the cracking sound resulted in a damaged front fender that was totally broken and even ripped out of its screws on the left side. Fantastic! Only two meters travelled and already a damaged bike! We assessed the situation – this looked bad. I came up with the idea to fix everything with some gaffer tape – not beautiful, but effective. But there is another advantage when you travel with the best mechanic on this side of the Mississippi: Stefan came up with the idea to heat a screwdriver with a lighter and to burn two wholes in the plastic of the fender, fixing it to the underlying fender frame with zip ties. A very bold idea…
And it worked! Wow! Rock stable. With only 15 minutes delay, we headed off. On the motorway and off to Slovenia. But before, we filled up and wanted to purchase a vignette for the Slovenian highways. Only possible online. For the next 10 minutes, I arranged to book with my smartphone two vignettes for us. The weather was splendid today. We passed the Karawanken mountains in the tunnel and rolled through Slovenia. Easy going, we were not in a hurry. Around Ljubljana there was some heavy traffic that required some filtering. We had decided not to ride the whole day on motorways but to do some shortcuts on secondary roads. The first one was rather slow – lots of traffic and little chances to overtake. We passed the Croatian border, did a short break and descended to Rijeka on a good motorway. There, the Adriatic Mediterranean welcomed us with fantastic weather. Hot, but not too hot, blue skies and fantastic views. Soon we left the motorway behind us and rode on the coastal road No 8. There was still quite some traffic but the views were fantastic, postal card quality. In Novi Vinodolski, I had to stop and take some pictures.
In Senj, we had to fill up and combined it with a short break. I needed a snack, enjoying the great view from the petrol station. After Senj, the road turned into a fantastic ride: little traffic, gorgeous views, mostly good tarmac and nice bends. A scenic motorbiking dream. I rode a bit faster to occasionally stop and take pictures. This was so much better than the motorway!
Shortly after picturesque Karlobag we stopped for a break for a scenic view. This road made it directly into my top ten of motorcycle roads. The 150 km between Senj and Zadar are highly recommended!
It was quite hot, above 30 degrees, but when riding it was ok. Even the best flow has to end and near Zadar we joined the motorway again. The next hour was rather boring and I checked whether a detour along the coast would cost us a lot of time. It would so I dumped the plan again. With 30 km to go, we exited and took a road to the coast, descending to the blue coast again. With our today’s destination (Split) in sight, I spotted a larger-than-life ad of Bauhaus, the big DIY shop. I set my Sat Nav to this location as I had a cunning plan. When putting the rear wheel back in the bike, I realized that the rubber dampers in the rear wheel are quite worn, resulting in a large play. Not always fun to accelerate. In the shop, I purchased a rubber mat, a cutter knife and some clue. Should I get too annoyed by the play, I could add some rubber to the damper.
Some minutes later, we would arrive at the rented room – so we thought. But the place was located in a small street that seemed to be inaccessible for motorized traffic. After some turns, I walked to the place and met the landlord. We could push the bikes there and check in. We were shown the locked parking later. It is a nice room in an old building, one of the few that was left a few days ago, considering the centric location. After the shower and the washing of the riding underwear, we walked through the old town, that is dominated by the old palace of the Roman emperor Diocletian:
What was a bit off-putting was the sheer quantity of people in the streets. How does this look like in August???
In the end we place that our landlord recommended to us – a very authentic place, not so touristic like many others. Not fancy, but the food was very good. We had octopus salad for starters and sea bream and Cevapcici for main course. Simple, but very tasty.
The price however was not traditional, but very much adapted to the new reality in town. Wow.
We walked back through the harbour promenade, wondering where all the people came from. Party time!
Today, we went through Austria, Slovenia and Croatia. Tomorrow, we’ll make a detour through Bosnia. A new country.