Travel Through Croatia on a Harley-Davidson

By Peter & Kay Forwood

Croatia on a Harley (6/6/10 - 12/6/10)
Distance 814 km (567520 km to 568334 km)

This is part of the sixteenth section of our around the world trip.
Complete Trip Overview & Map

Coming from Hungary or read our previous visit to Croatia  

6/6/10 Crossed into Croatia with a passport and motorcycle paper check, no request for greencard insurance. The backroad ride from the Terezino Polje border town to Zagreb was excellent. The newish surface, the hillside timbered scenery, lack of traffic and fine weather all added to the enjoyment. On first impressions Croatia has progressed enormously, like most countries in the region, in the last few years. Of course I use the term progressed a bit cautiously as much of what made Croatia, Croatia, or what makes other countries in this region individual countries, is rapidly being lost, being taken over by the European Union, with its similarity, its conformist, its sameness. EU rules are being applied not only to member states but to those countries planning to join the body. For the traveller, much of the individual country distinction is disappearing, replaced by EU signage, EU freeways. We had been invited toA beer at the Bikers Beer Factory in Zagreb the new Bikers Beer Factory in Zagreb by Bojan, a HOG member of the Pleter Chapter which covers all of Croatia. Even though there is currently no Harley-Davidson dealer in the country the HOG Chapter is still running strongly, awaiting its new dealer. The Bikers Beer Factory is set in a courtyard surrounded by small motorcycle related businesses where when it is fully functioning bikers of all brands can come and enjoy company, a coffee or beer, a light meal, while they get repairs to their motorcycles, buy accessories, or just hang out with like minded friends. On the evening of our arrival there was a slide show by a Croatian motorcycle traveller about his trip to Nepal, and we sat with Bojan, Vlad and friends over a couple of drinks while watching the show.

7/6/10 The primary oil, clutch area, has been leaking oil into the engine for the last 1000 or more km's. It has been increasing lately, presumably the oil seal has failed. As we will be exchanging the current temporary engine for the new one supplied by Harley-Davidson on our return to the UK in a couple of weeks we have decided to simply keep topping up the primary and removing oil from the engine compartment, necessary about every 600 km's,Reputedly the shortest railway in the world, Zagreb which along with bike and clothes washing occupied the morning at the Zagreb campground. The rest of the day was spent with Bojan and Andrea, his girlfriend, who took us on a walking tour to show us their city. The new city, the historical upper town, the shortest railway in the world between the two, the national theatre, and how to ride the city's trams at a great discount.  

8/6/10 Left the campground about lunch time for a short ride towards Plitvice National Park, where along the way almost every home in almost every town advertised Zimmer, Sobe, Rooms to rent, along this busy road. Taking advantage of the warmer weather we sat roadside with a picnic lunch while overlooking the small town of Rakove near Slunj, where highly limestoned water had been channeled through a parkland of canals, through waterwheels, to end in a series of waterfalls, built up in a fan by limestone deposits. Another night of camping, near the national park, the only disappointment for the day an oil leak from the right side rear shock. It was a secondhand shock when we were given it by the H-D dealer in Guam some 65,000 km's ago so no real complaints,Waterfall park near Slunj but hopefully we can get it to limp along to the end of this trip when a new one can be brought from Australia.

9/6/10 With daytime temperatures now rising to 30+ degrees it was an early start for the ride up and over to the coastal town of Senj via the scenic and low trafficked Otocac road. It has been a while since we left the Mediterranean coast in Albania and to return to it on a sunny Croatian day was a reward. The tourist season has arrived here, cars and motorcycles from all the nearer neighbours of Italy, Austria and predominantly Germany, including the ubiquitous Dutch, but we are seeing an increasing number of Eastern European holiday makers as people in these countries become more wealthy. Motorcycles almost predominate the roads. Sport motorcycles, scooters, cruisers, all out in the better weather. We rode onto the Istrian Peninsula, south of Opatija, where the Viennese elite built enormous residences during the Austro-Hungarian empire, many now are upmarket hotels, others lie waiting to be renovated, and where the seemingly modern to do are doing it. The summer beachside entertainment spot just north of Lovran had our attention for theGlary limestone hills a backdrop to Baska evening as tourists and locals played in the calm Aegean waters. Waterslide, waterpolo, paddle boats, beach volleyball and sunbathing were popular. We camped at a nearby campground, a converted cherry orchard, with trees still fruiting, and enjoyed stewed cherries courtesy of the trees. 

10/6/10 A short ride up into the mountains that rise steeply up from the ocean along the coast before heading back through Rijeka and over to the island of Krk where we had managed to internet book an apartment in the small seaside town of Silo for the next two nights, at 32 Euro a night. We had been warned that the island of Krk was over developed, and perhaps by Croatian standards it might be, but we certainly found Silo, at least midweek in June, to be a quiet seaside place, where whilst apartments were the majority accommodation, few were occupied and the pebble and concrete water entry platforms left plenty of space to sunbake. In fact there seemed to be more locals at the couple of bar-bistros in town than tourists.

11/6/10 A look around the island, a couple of coastal towns on our way to the lovelyKrk Harbour town of Baska, where a 2 km long pebble beach fronts a bay beneath barren limestone hills. The waterfront pedestrian area and small fishing and recreation port is lined with old style accommodation, cafe's and restaurants, an ideal place to sit in the shade and shield ones eyes from the stark glare of the barren hills and smooth seas on a hazy day. The city of Krk was busier, although still had waterfront appeal similar to Baska's but as we returned to Silo we found it was more relaxing for our afternoon.

12/6/10 A forecast 32 degrees day and we were on the road by 7 am and heading for Slovenia along the newish motorway. It was an easy exit from Croatia, no paperwork checks.                  


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