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Photo by Josephine Flohr, Elephant at Camp, Namibia

I haven't been everywhere...
but it's on my list!


Photo by Josephine Flohr,
Elephant at Camp, Namibia



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  #1171  
Old 2 Sep 2016
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Neda is reunited with the rest of her clothing!

We haul all the luggage off the motorcycles and bring them back in to the apartment to enumerate the contents.

Stuff that we had sorely missed while in Asia was hastily unpacked. Neda took out all of the clothes she left behind in Europe and spread it out on the bed and flopped happily onto the modest pile. You know, like how rich people sprinkle $100 dollar bills on top of their bed every night and fall into it before they go to sleep - like in all the Instagram photos we see.

We have 10 days worth of clothing again, and we feel wealthy beyond belief!!!


We pay a visit to Neda's grandmother and she feeds us

After we took off all the luggage, we've been taking the bikes out and running errands and visiting friends and family around Pula. The bikes feel sooo much lighter without the bags on. We are slowly getting used to the weight. I never thought I'd say this, but the seating position on the GSes is soooo low - compared to the dirtbikes. The CRF seats were 3 or 4 inches higher than the GS. I feel like I'm sitting inside the bike, whereas on the CRF, it felt like I was perched on top of it like a horse. It'll take some getting used to again.

However, I do like having over 100 horses at my command within the grip of my right fist once again. BRRRRRM!!!!
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  #1172  
Old 2 Sep 2016
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We rode our steeds to the local autopraonica (Car Wash) and gave them a good scrubbing down


This is for everyone who has been ragging on me about my dirty windshield. I did this for you.

It's nice being in Europe, but one reservation Neda had about departing Asia was all of the delicious food she'd be leaving behind. "Everything is going to taste so bland in Europe!", she lamented.


Then in Pula, one of the first places we visited was Neda's favorite bakery to get some Burek


Mmmm... chowing down on some delicious Bosnian cheese pastries

Then after, we went to the grocery store where Neda loaded the cart with Istrian prosciutto, Istrian truffle spread, Istrian olive oil, fresh fish caught that morning just off Pula's coast. She literally skipped down the aisles of the market like a kid in a candy store.

Yeah, you really look like you're missing Asian food, Neda...

Then we loaded all the heavy groceries in the panniers of the bike and wobbled all the way back to Medulin.
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  #1173  
Old 2 Sep 2016
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We are only in Medulin for a few days, but to re-pay Iva back for her generosity, Neda does some yardwork

I'm working on the blog. It's months behind and it's tempting just to let it slide and go outside to enjoy the nice sunny weather in Istria.

But we stay in the apartment most of the time. Medulin is sooo crowded! Foreign tourists have invaded Istria and cling to its streets and beaches like flies. I remember when we were here back in October before we left for Thailand, the streets were absolutely empty. The local restaurants and stores, which were boarded up in the Autumn have flung open overnight, as if the doors and the windows and the signs behind them were spring-loaded. Now we can't even find parking for our bikes amidst the German, British and Russian-plated cars and SUVs clogging up the laneways outside Iva's apartment.

We spend most of the time just relaxing in the apartment, away from the tourists.


Iva's apartment is not the land of Milk and Honey, though...

We... well actually Neda, has been victimized by the neighbourhood cats who hang out in Iva's back yard. Every morning, she finds footprints on the seat of her motorcycle. They like sleeping under the bike cover because it's sheltered and warm in the night. However, they've scratched up our seats pretty badly.


Neda's Nemesis #1


Neda's Nemesis #2

I'm also very allergic to cats, so we keep shooing them away from the yard, but they keep coming back.

And then one day, we go out to grab some stuff out of our drybags, which we've left in the corner of the yard. Only to discover that the cats have peed all over the bags, either in a display of territorial behaviour, or maybe just to get back at us for chasing them away every day...

Cat pee is a sharp, acrid smell that permeates and invades the furthest corners of your nostrils. Thankfully, the dry bags do their job and keep the contents safe from the smell. But the outsides of our bags... such a stink! Then on another day, we walk out to the bikes and found that they had peed on Neda's seat as well. She is pissed!!! No pun intended. I've never heard her swear more in my life.

All-out war has been declared.


I hid inside and watched Neda cursing away while trying to rid our bags of cat pee

You don't want to get in Neda's way when she's mad.
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  #1174  
Old 2 Sep 2016
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But other than that, our short time in Medulin was quite nice. For once, Neda is able to go outside during the day and her brain doesn't melt like it did in the soaring temperatures of SE Asia. She is much more used to the Nedaterranean weather here.


Also, she takes the opportunity to spend as much time with her friends, going out to concerts and parties


The Pula Girls, Iva and Tajana, help plan our European motorcycle trip

We are really looking forward to riding around Europe this season. I hope the weather holds up for us. Fingers crossed!
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  #1175  
Old 7 Sep 2016
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Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/312.html



And we're off!

Kind of. It took us forever to get out of Medulin. First Neda's GPS lost power, so we had to trace the fault. Turns out all this plugging and unplugging of the batteries every season has taken its toll on the devices tied into the battery terminals. The GPS power cable had shorn itself off at the ring terminal, so I had to cut and re-splice the lead. We have a few devices tied into the battery. I'm planning on getting some kind of external fuse box so the terminals don't look like the top of a palm tree...


And then my rear bulb burnt out. Add another 15 minutes to find where I hid the replacement bulbs I bought last year...

Thankfully, there is so much daylight now that we're in the Northern Hemisphere. While in SE Asia, near the equator, we only got 12 hours of sunlight a day regardless of the time of year. But here, the sun doesn't set till 8PM and the days are only going to get longer! More time to sleep in in the mornings! Sweet!

Pula has basically been our European home base and we've already spent quite some time roaming all over Istria. So we hit the highway till we were off the peninsula and rounded the curve past Rijeka. The coastal roads were a great way to get accustomed to our BMWs again.


Stopping in the pretty town of Senj for a late lunch


The minute we parked, a group of Italian bikers spied our license plates and had a million and one questions for us

Thankfully, Neda can speak Italian, so she spent several minutes explaining where and what we've done over the last four years! Apart from our license plates, I think they were also marveling at how much stuff we were carrying!
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  #1176  
Old 7 Sep 2016
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Cevapcici, skinless sausages - traditional Croatian grilled meat

I can already tell I'm not going to lose any weight while we're traveling down the Adriatic!


Main square in Senj


Back on the coastal road south out of Senj

The weather is beautiful: sun shining, blue skies, high teens - really pleasant riding weather. The same kind of conditions we've had all week while in Pula. We've timed our arrival back to Croatia perfectly! I think we've lucked out a bit too because all of the reports from Western Europe are of heavy showers. Our Belgian friends haven't even brought their bikes out for the season yet! It really feels like the RideDOT.com rains lost our scent when we hopped on a plane and flew to SE ASia. And now those rainclouds are wandering around the wrong part of Europe looking for us. Haha!

Fingers crossed that we may finally have broken the rain curse...


Beautiful coastal scenery
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  #1177  
Old 7 Sep 2016
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South of Senj, we cut inland through an awesome twisty road through Vratnik

The roads here are narrower and twistier than the main roads on the coast. I know Neda is starting to get more comfortable with her bike because she pulls away from me at each corner. I have to put the camera away and focus on the turns in front of me if I want to catch up to her!


Natural motion blur!

We want to visit Plitvice National Park, but it's too expensive to find a place right in the park, so we are staying in Korenica, which is about 20 minutes south of it. One nice thing about having our own transportation is that we can find cheaper accommodations further away from tourist places and just ride in the next day.


We rented a small apartment outside of town

The owners helped take all our luggage up to the second floor and we were a bit embarrassed that all the dry bags smelled like cat pee. Those damn cats! Still can't get rid of the scent!
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  #1178  
Old 7 Sep 2016
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The next day we rode into Plitvice Lakes National Park. Neda had been here once before and she really wanted to show this to me. Unfortunately, there was a lot of hiking involved. But I was told there would be great pictures. After much haggling and bargaining over how much mileage we were going to hike, we shook hands on a number. I managed to talk Neda down to 10 kms (she originally wanted to do 18!). I can live with that, as long as the scenery is good...


I was not disappointed.

There are literally a million waterfalls in Plitvice Park. Well, maybe not literally... But there's a lot.

The hiking trail takes us past a few large lakes. There are actually sixteen lakes in total and because the limestone which they're on have eroded at different rates, the whole area is teeming with waterfalls and cascades. You can't walk 10 feet without seeing a new waterfall!


I had too many pictures of waterfalls, so I had to make a collage, otherwise this blog post would have 50 pictures of waterfalls


Neda is just happy because she got me to hike!


Cool sinkholes in one of the lakes
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  #1179  
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Another collage. So many cascades of different shapes and sizes!


Our cameras were firing non-stop with all the beauty surrounding us

Best of all, there are so few tourists around. Plitvice is one of Croatia's most visited attractions - every year over a million people come to see the lakes and waterfalls. We're early enough in the season that we're avoiding the rush, but late enough that the weather and the colours were vibrant to make the hike worthwhile (at least for me...)


And more waterfalls!
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  #1180  
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The park has done a really nice job in providing a mixture of groomed trails and raised wooden pathways


Some of the paths take you up high so you can get an aerial view of some of the falls


Some of the footpaths were closed due to them still being flooded by the late spring runoff
These will be fixed and opened later on in the season
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  #1181  
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Another collage. We had taken so many pictures, it was hard to choose just a few for the blog


I counted, and between Neda and I, we have taken over 500 photos for the day


10 kms go by very slowly when everything around you is so interesting!


Even these little bugs on the water were fascinating

At the end of the day, we climbed back on the bikes. I was exhausted and the camera felt 10 lbs heavier because of all the pictures I took. Still, it was a great way to kick off our Adriatic coast trip!

Rain, rain, please stay in away!!!
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  #1182  
Old 7 Sep 2016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lightcycle View Post
we were a bit embarrassed that all the dry bags smelled like cat pee. Those damn cats! Still can't get rid of the scent!
Pray for rain & go for a ride
Those pics of the waterfalls.....simply brilliant
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  #1183  
Old 9 Sep 2016
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Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/313.html



We are headed back to the shore, where we'll spend most of our trip following the coastal road southwards. Neda has been dreaming of riding along the Adriatic Sea through Dalmatia ever since we started riding motorcycles, so this leg of our journey has been a long time coming.


This is the last we'll see of the mainland for a while. Lots of sea in our future!

Our riding days are pretty short these days - only an hour of riding today. Partly to give our butts time to recover from the horrible dirtbike seats in Thailand, but also because there's lot to take in along the Adriatic. Our destination for the day is the coastal town of Zadar (pronounced ZAH-dar, not like RADAR).

As usual, we find a cheap place outside of the city. I'm so thankful Neda is able to chat with the owner in Croatian and organize the check-in while I offload the bikes. It's been a while since one of us could speak the local language while traveling. It makes things so much easier and less stressful!


Our place is cheap because there's been a history of UFO sightings in the neighbourhood and tourists are afraid of being abducted by aliens

That's actually the Zadar cupola (dome) sports stadium just outside of our apartment.
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  #1184  
Old 9 Sep 2016
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After six months of eating out in SE Asia, we are back to making our own food every day. Much more healthier!


The main draw of Zadar is the old city

Zadar has much of the same familiar, Roman architecture as Pula. It seems a bit more cleaner and taken-care-of than Neda's hometown. Tourism is such a big industry in Istria and along the Adriatic coast, that there is a struggle amongst all the towns and cities for government funding to maintain their old historic centres.

I recall sitting in on many conversations with the Pula girls and they're always complaining that Rijeka gets the lion's share of the funding, leaving their hometown to rely solely on the drawing power of its beaches.


Practicing for the Dalmatia Cup 2026

Zadar marks the beginning of Northern Dalmatia. It's not as recognized as the major cities further south, like Split and Dubrovnik, so it gets fewer foreign tourists. Also, it's still early on in the season, so the pedestrian-only streets of the historic centre aren't as crowded. Which suits us just fine.

Our apartment would probably be a lot more expensive and also booked up if we had visited a month later.
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  #1185  
Old 9 Sep 2016
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Five Wells Square

In the 16th century, Zadar was under siege by the Turkish. They withstood the attack by building a huge water sistern with five wells lined up in a row. The wells are no longer functional, but the square is now popularly frequented by local skateboarders.


Still quite busy, despite being the start of the tourist season

I can't believe the weather we're having. After so long riding through burning season in Thailand, it's so unusual to see brilliant blue skies overhead! We are lapping up the good weather like thirsty dogs. With our luck, we never know how long this good fortune will last.


Narrow streets of the historic centre. Pula has nicer cobblestones, though...
I say this within Neda's earshot.
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