Croatia, Slovenia and Italy 2016
Not sure if I am getting old (don’t answer that) but I was pretty tired after this one. I suspect it was more about temperatures as we had fantastic weather, but which at times got rather warm.
Our tour started off with our usual Hull to Zeebrugge crossing – which I must admit we are getting a little disenchanted about due to its late arrival in Zeebrugge, this means even when on time, we often do not get away until 1045 hrs.
Therefore for next year we are seriously considering using the Hull – Rotterdam route which unfortunately increases the first day’s mileage, but gets in much earlier and is much more reliable.
Our journey across Germany went smoothly; Sunday is always a good day to travel, no Lorries and relatively light traffic saw us around Munich and into Bavaria. Here we were trying a new 4 star hotel – our previous one like most Bavarian hotels was set in a rural village and was rather too close to the local cowshed…. I am pleased to say the new one worked out just fine.
The forecast next day was for Lightening & Thunderstorms, courtesy of the heat, however, these did not materialise and although we had a little cloud, the transit of the Grossglockner was dry and enjoyable. Our overnight stop was by Lake Bled before taking a quick sprint down the motorway to visit the Postojna caves. Everyone is a little reluctant to visit these; I guess we reckon we have seen plenty of stalagmites and stalactites in various cave visits, but the Postojna caves really are on a grand scale and everyone enjoyed the experience especially the run in and out on the train.
Onto Croatia for three nights at a 5 star hotel by the Adriatic, the weather forecast was perfect and everyone enjoyed chilling out for the next two days. Some rode out to Pula to see the Roman Amphitheatre – whilst John and I were busy fixing my wing mirror before checking out a road for next year. The broken mirror was result of the hotel parking barrier coming down when I was not expecting it, I am not sure it would have hit me but the reaction was to duck an grab the brake causing the front end to tuck under and the bike go down. Being a Pan the rubber side protector took most of the damage but as always the mirror pod came off this time being flattened beneath the bike.
I cannot praise the hotel manager enough, who not only accepted responsibility, but had the barrier people there the next day to modify the software, sent his maintenance man to get another mirror made and paid for the cost of a new mirror shroud.
Leaving Croatia we had a smooth transit back into Slovenia, (was not sure if this would be the case after the recent problems) before riding through the Triglav National Park to our next hotel. Again the weather continued to be good, which I think some were relieved about, due to the several cobbled corners you have to ride whilst crossing the mountain road.
The Dolomites were next, more demanding roads but beautiful scenery. Here we stopped for two nights allowing those that wished to join me for a ride-out to Lake Guarda.
Leaving Italy we crossed into Austria via the Timmelsjoch – with the Passo Sella, Jaufenpass and the Timmelsjoch itself I think everyone found this a rather hard day – that’s a serious amount of bends! I was surprised to see the new Motorcycle Museum at the toll barrier of the Timmelsjoch – I could not understand why I had not seen it being built last year – but then realised we had not been able to cross last year due to a landslide.
Our journey continued along Lake Constance, through the Black forest and into France before parting company with those going via the Eurotunnel to catch our ferry back from Rotterdam. With sat nav playing at silly ------- I missed a turn and we ended up riding through Antwerp – I was well impressed with city centre….despite it being a building site, and has someone said it will be nice when it’s finished. Having visited, we all agreed that we can knock it off our bucket list. With my usual generosity I decided not to charge anyone for the free tour.
We arrived back in Rotterdam (the Zeebrugge ferry was in for repairs) having not used our waterproofs in anger – this was even with Mr Rain man Jersey Geoff being with us. At this rate he is going to spoil his reputation.
So the bike is serviced, gear washed and we are ready for our final European Tour. All I need now is a Garmin sat nav which has gone belly up again – why do we put up with such rubbish equipment. I have never understood why we pay £400-500 for a motorcycle unit which does not work half the time when you can go to Halfords and pick up one for less than £100 and put it in a plastic bag – however, don’t get me going on that one.
Yesterday was my birthday I am now officially retired ….. However, cannot see that happening just yet and preparations for next year are well under way. I can tell you that we will be doing this tour again next year at the same time, with a slight modification to allow us to go to the Plitvice Lakes. I hope to have information on all the tours out by the end of October
PS:Just remembered something that happened whilst unloading my bike at the Bavarian hotel. An older gentleman who had been watching us came up and asked if I was British, when I said yes, he said ‘Congratulations on Brexit, soon it will be Auexit’ . I must have looked a bit puzzled, as he explained ‘soon it will be the turn of the Austrian people to vote to leave the EU’.