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Balkans motorcycle ride

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I was not planning a ride in Europe as I had to travel to India however with time on my hands I found rather than fly direct to India I could go via Europe for same price. That got me thinking about riding the Adriatic coast which has been on my wish list for a long time. I found a great fare with Qatar airways to Zagreb which was close enough to put a visit to the Dolomites within reach. The idea of that combo was too tempting so I pulled the trigger as the Americans say on the airfare with just a rough plan.

To be fair I had looked at possible routes in the region before. When I was in Sicily last year I toyed with the idea to ride the area but could not get airfares there at reasonable price despite being close. So for this trip I knew I could rent a motorcycle from Rocker Moto in Zagreb and booked a Honda Transalp 700. It was fitted locking luggage and insured for all EU and Balkans countries – something that you need to examine if renting from elsewhere. A week of renting is a lower rate and I thought that would be enough but added one more day as I did not want to rush. 

The route was more or less straight forward as I wanted to ride the Croatian coast and then the Dolomites so that leaves no time to be going off too far south or east and I had decided Romania is far enough to be a separate trip perhaps with Bulgaria and maybe Greece sometime in the future. 

When planning what roads for this ride I turned to the excellent Motorcycle Dairies site. I met the guys that built this motorcycle roads site in Andalucía on my ride there. It’s a superb resource. (but you might want to turn off the user added content that tends to be less impartial and slows everything down)

Balkans motorcycle ride first appeared on Motorcycle Paradise September 2017


Prelude.

Thailand.

On the way I stopped one night in Bangkok – just like the famous song. Did you know it was written by Benny Andersson, one of the B’s in ABBA and that the song was banned in Thailand. The government claiming it caused a misunderstanding of the Thai culture.

I very nearly missed my flight from Bangkok. I had been having a few beers in the afternoon prior and as happens in Bangkok a few waitresses wanted to be my friend despite explaining I was catching a plane. I let time slip away while having a laugh as I don’t have much of a social life in Japan rarely going out and then realised I better get a move on.

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Leaving the hotel I tried at first to use Uber to the airport but the drivers would simply cancel after about 15 minutes waiting thus I lost 1/2 a hour there. I then tried to get a taxi on main road but it was gridlock in evening traffic. A motorcycle taxi stopped and said no way I will get out of this mess so hop on and he will take me to the airport link train station. Seemed a good idea but I had a medium size suitcase. So that was interesting zipping along on wrong side of road with no helmet balancing a case. Wish I had a photo. Arriving at the station I thought this was a good idea but there was a sea of people. The trains were all full arriving and nobody could get on, I mean more crowded than Tokyo peak hour with security stopping you from boarding. I waited a while but it was clear nobody was going anywhere so back out of that station to the road. By now I had lost a couple of hours and it was still a long way to the airport. I was thinking I now need a miracle to make my flight. The taxi driver did a terrific job but I still arrived after check in had closed. Fortunately Qatar Airways looked after me, both checking me in and then giving me a express pass through immigration. I even ended up being given a upgraded seat in the exit row as mine was already allocated when I failed to show. Great airline experience and the sort of thing that is very rare in this day and age. 


Qatar.

I stopped over two nights in Doha, Qatar to break up the journey since I have the time and wanted to take a look. I have not spent a lot of time in the middle east region in my travels. I previously visited Egypt when I was young which was terrific. You could still go into the tombs then in the valley of the kings which was quite an experience. The climate in Qatar this time of year was a bit challenging for me, 43 degrees in the day made sightseeing difficult. But great hospitality and food. I have been inspired to try look at where else in the region I can go in the future to do a ride. Stand by for something really different if I can arrange that - but in the winter of course!


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Above the beautiful Museum of Islamic art and below a watermelon salad as a entrée to cool you down was a brilliant idea and start of another fantastic dining experience whilst in Doha.

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Croatia.

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Arriving Zagreb the airport seemed to be brand new and I cleared immigration in a few minutes, very nice compared to some places you arrive. Nice taxi downtown, a near new BMW, friendly chap was pleased I was visiting Croatia and gave me some tips and the fare was quite reasonable too. (sorry but I am more used to taxis in SE Asia that are rolling wrecks with million miles on them and rude drivers that won’t turn the meter on) Took a walk around the old town which was really nice however all the shops were closed except few cafes being a Sunday which reminded me of my former town Brisbane before weekend trading some years ago. I unfortunately have come down with a head cold/flu. I am wondering if it was a chill I got from going in and out of air conditioning in Doha often wet with perspiration during the high temperature of the day, but then it might simply be from flying as planes seem to always be full of people coughing and sneezing.

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Duran Duran still playing – who knew.


I had it in my trip plan to pick up some generic drugs in Bangkok, cold and flu tabs are very cheap there but I completely forgot (distracted at pub). I hope this mistake does not bite me too hard. I have no spare days here to rest or see a doctor if needed. Going to the 24hr chemist in town all I can get is some useless cough drops and multivitamin type cold and flu tablets. I am too used to being able to buy strong medicines without a prescription in SE Asia and have left myself unprepared by not picking some up in Bangkok. Feel like a real amateur on this trip so far, making plenty of rookie mistakes.


The Ride.

Croatia to Serbia.

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I took a taxi to Rocker Moto instead of Uber after my experience in Thailand to start my ride. I had two routes for today one fast and one slow depending on how long it took me to get underway but given my condition wasn’t 100% I elected to just take highway straight to my hotel in Serbia.

After paperwork was done I transferred my gear into a couple of bags to put into the panniers and top case. Bit of a change from my usual system of one large bag on rear seat. I was going to bring that again but thought why not use the luggage provided. Yeah - well to be honest I prefer my one bag on rear seat system with stuff not needed in hotel left in panniers rather than having stuff spread over three smaller bags. Todays ride was just highway but not boring as new to me bike and roads and scenery. Toll road all the way but cheaper than Japan’s expressway and 130kph speed limit with most cars doing 140kph. I could cover the ground easy and took plenty of breaks to rest and drink water as I was feeling exhausted.

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Simple lunch was easy to find along the highway.


Border crossing number one was painless Croatia to Serbia. It was quick and much easier than any airport immigration. I changed some money at the border as not sure if I would need cash or not but Serbia like Croatia is setup to use credit cards everywhere so even the toll booth took my card. Initial thoughts on the Honda Transalp – for me it has a short fuel range, about 200kph to last bar on gauge. On the highways with 130kph limit it is revving high so perhaps that consumes the fuel. In first gear you need lot of revs to get it rolling smooth so I guess all a bit different to my touring bias FJR. Not as smooth an engine as the Gen II CBX500 I rode in Thailand but still fine. A comfortable saddle and better than average wind deflection thanks to a extended screen. Power is ample for me. Wish it had a gear indicator and an overdrive gear but once off the highway it is fine.


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First night on the road staying in small town of Sabic. Had a look around town and old fort but decided to just rest in the hotel room and try get on top of the flu. Had a simple dish of pasta at the hotel and some nice local Serbian wine which surprised me then tried to sleep.


Serbia to Bosnia Herzegovina

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Cool start, 18 degrees, I had to put my liner in but soon settled to nice riding weather. Some easy roads south through Serbia today. Parts of it reminded me of Australia, low scrubby bush. Many half built abandoned buildings and I wonder if that is connected to the previous war or the state of the economy.

Not always photogenic landscapes but interesting all the same being my first time here. The small towns had real charm to them. I unfortunately am missing all my photos from Serbia due to a mishap I will elaborate on later, it is a shame I have nothing much to show you from Serbia but it was enjoyable ride and a nice place I’d like to see more of. Below is the only photo that I have of the countryside.

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Tried to get lunch 3 times but no food being served where I stopped. The petrol station cafes were oddly void of food, only beer or coffee. Finally I stopped at a large restaurant even though I did not want a big meal or spend a lot of time eating. The food seemed to be lots of meat grilled with potatoes. I ordered some baked item which wasn’t really to my liking but it gave me some energy along with a fresh squeezed orange juice to keep me going. My own fault for not researching, maybe I should have stopped at hotels and sought a in house restaurant? I popped a couple of cold and flu tabs and rode on.

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Shortly after this I was shocked to find my route over the border to Bosnia Herzegovina was closed for road works. Not just a short while but total closure for the day in what looked like some simple road sealing. I tried the road anyway in case bikes could get through like usually happens in SE Asia but this just wasted time I needed to detour. The good thing is I got to ride I think one of the best mountain roads in Serbia next - the bad thing is no photos as those were also later lost.

Took me ages but eventually I crossed the border and enjoyed some great riding in Bosnia Herzegovina, the scenery was delightful, beyond my expectations.

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Quite a lot more photos were as you guessed lost but I am happy I took these on both phone and camera to have them now.

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The afternoon was wonderful riding into Sarajevo although the level of police radar traps in Bosnia Herzegovina is beyond anything I have seen before. Every town had a police car with guy manning a hand held radar. I presume the police are being paid by commission on the fines. Drivers in Bosnia Herzegovina might deserve it though. The technical term I would use to describe their driving style is ‘bat shit crazy’. Suicidal overtakes I am used to in Thailand and Taiwan. Mad speed I have seen in Italy. But here they take both up a level. No wonder the road sides are full or large gravestone memorials.

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Sarajevo was unfortunately a huge disappointment, I did not think it was major tourist hot spot being ex war torn city but it was so full of tourists I could hardly walk, literally like being in a crowded train station. Every shop is a Turkish kebab or shisha smoking cafe. Tourists of this level attract lots of conmen and I saw some pickpockets working the area. Staff in shops were jaded and arrogant. My hotel was tired and dirty with staff who were rude.

However excellent wine was cheap and I bought a sim card with 300mb data for just 50c which was ample for communication since no wifi in hotel.


Bosnia Herzegovina to Montenegro

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Motel Medan, Sarajevo – avoid at all costs. The proprietor held my passport to ransom demanding monies above the room fee before returning my passport to me.

Just further on that in Europe hotels want to record your passport details this is required but some places hold your passport until the next morning giving back at payment time. They never examine the rooms before check out like they do in Philippines so it would be far simpler to collect the money at check in and not hold the passport but this is just the old fashioned way I guess. I really hate handing over my passport to strangers in a hotel who may not secure it very well or watching them flick through the pages seeing where I have been which is none of their business.

The morning was ruined a little after the rip off at the motel. I tried to put it behind me however I sometimes dwell on little things like this. Some nice roads soon cheered me up. The riding was good all morning in the hills (sadly many photos lost) not easy to capture so here is simple shot taken when I took a break to hydrate as still with head cold/flu.

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I stopped at a nice town thinking to get some bakery items then wandered into a pharmacy to ask about stronger medicine and was referred to doctor ‘ just around corner and up road’ well I rode up and down, parked and walked around but could not find any doctor. I then forgot to get food but I did get some better cold flu tabs.

The road to the border started out good but then deteriorated to a one lane track and I was a little concerned if this border would be open but there were two other riders ahead of me as I got closer so that made me think it would be fine.

At these borders there are two immigration queues. First one to exit the country you are in then one to enter the next country and in-between there is 1 to 2 km of no mans land. The exit queues are usually not long but the entry can take awhile as happened at this one.

Below, looking back at the Bosnia Herzegovina exit border gate while queued at the Montenegro entry gate.

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Fortunately I had a bottle of water as it had become very hot in the sun. I had to apply sunscreen liberally as I could feel myself starting to burn.

Crossing into Montenegro I had no Euro money and there was no exchange at this remote border. I wanted to get a sandwich or something but had no choice but to ride on. Not long after the border I soon forgot about eating as the scenery was incredible.

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My route took me next through the Durmitor national park to view some dramatic landscapes.

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My photos don’t do justice to these 2000m high plain stone landscapes. I wish I had picked up something for a picnic lunch as that seat would be a fine place to sit awhile.

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After a steep descent from here the road became a beautiful wide and well surveyed ride. The sort that you could have some fun on but alas more police were there to spoil things. Fortunately everyone flashes their lights to warn you. I arrived at small town and had to to get fuel so looked but no ATM , fortunately I could use my card at the old fashioned petrol station.

Wonderful roads all afternoon, excellent surface, open expansive views, but void of any shops or even petrol stations. Eventually I got to a place with a ATM and got some cold drinks and a banana and apple as a belated lunch break. On then riding what I can only describe as one of the most perfect motorcycle roads I have ever ridden. The M23 running west from Podgorica is like a racetrack sweeping through dramatic rocky outcrops sitting elevated with grand views all around you. It was a joy. Alas the photos from this afternoon have also been lost .

My approach into Kotor was from the opposite side over the top of the rocky mountain that is the towns backdrop. This afforded me wonderful views.

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Shame there was a forest fire burning to the north and the area was hazy but still the views were mesmerising. Seeing this is an item ticked from my bucket list and I was very happy to have been given fine weather for this view.

The descent was a bit torturous with switch backs that seem to go on for ever. It took a long time even on the nimble Transalp, the front pads seemed to emit a squeal under hard braking and fade, I think the pads maybe needed replacement and this made me slow the descent down even more for another later than planned arrival at my accommodation at almost 6pm. My route today was under 350km and I thought that would be easy riding on European roads. Many main roads are reduced to 70kph or as low as 50kph on open road sections out of town and there are police traps everywhere. I was really surprised how slow going the roads are, even that 4 lane racetrack M23 was posted low speed limit but I saw a bike go past at full speed so was able to tail him and enjoy it.

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I am staying at a guest house tonight and was welcomed with a cold beer. Nice change from last nights rude reception. Was going to look around Kotor more tonight but it seemed far too crowded with tourists already for my tastes so after dinner I called it a day.

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Montenegro to Bosnia Herzegovina to Croatia

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Today I make my way north along the Adriatic coast. I leave early to try beat the heat, the riding is nice while the sun is behind the mountain to the east.

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Next I detour back into Bosnia Herzegovina to see some more mountain landscapes then riding the valley below, all very nice scenery.

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This went well at first border into Bosnia Herzegovina but at 2nd border there was a huge queue at the immigration booth to enter Croatia and traffic was at a standstill. Not sure why nothing has been done to modernize the whole process. These countries are all small and close together and it is 2017 after all but this felt like 1950. After waiting about 30 minutes to progress about 4 car lengths I could see it might take a long time and I asked a guy who was outside his car smoking can I just ride around these cars to the front and he said yes of course you have a moto then go. Lucky I did this as the queue was 2 km long and riding to within 6 cars from gate and sneaking in to queue again I still had another 30 minutes waiting. From the end I estimate it would have been over 4 hours wait in 30+ degree sun. With no water I would have ended up ill.

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Riding up the coast there is another two border points where the coast briefly becomes Bosnia Herzegovina again. I did not want to sit in sun again, the other option was to ride around them via the island road that stayed in Croatia then take a ferry at the end. However with the huge volume of traffic that might be worse depending on how big the ferry is and it’s frequency. I had read these next two borders were quick with all the EU passports waved through so I decided to gamble and ride along the coast. It was both scenic and flowing road mostly 80kph and this proved to be the correct choice as the immigration was fast to clear at both check points.

The Adriatic coast road is very scenic but also very busy road with nowhere to pull over not even space for a bike to stop as the guard rail is right next to the tarmac and the traffic is mostly too heavy to stop except in the few allocated areas so getting photos was not easy. Any pull off areas were on the other side (which I now remember being told by the Turkish rider I chatted to in Tokyo) so if you ride this road then north to south is far better for being able to stop. However with the angle of sun being slightly behind me at many points the views this afternoon were often better looking north so I don’t feel I missed out on anything.

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Everyone rides a GS. I just noticed literally every other bike on this road is a new GS.

I tried to ride up to a high lookout point I had seen photos of but the temperature had peaked at about 33 in the afternoon and I could sense I was dehydrated and nearing a point where I might make some small riding errors from fatigue and the narrow track up the mountain was not a place to be on a motorcycle if not 100% so I unfortunately gave up on the idea.

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Today then I finally arrive at accommodation at about time I estimated to end every day on this ride – about 4pm. After a shower I could enjoy a walk around Makarska which is a pretty town and just the right size. I  enjoyed people watching over a cold beer in the main square. Cutting the last part of todays route was well worth it.

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Later I had the best meal of the ride when by sheer luck I stumbled upon what is one of the best restaurants in town that was booked out except for a small corner table that I got!

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Loved Makarska, perfect Adriatic seaside town for me and wish I had time to stop here longer.



Interlude


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I realise I my posts are too long in this age when nobody can focus on something for more than 15 seconds.

But I’d rather provide lots of content to you than catchy titles and a paragraph of nothing as most click bait blogs do. 

Take a break or bookmark the page and come back another time.

Ok, now back to the ride Smile 



Croatia

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Today is the second day focused on riding the Adriatic coast. I get away nice and early for first time on this tour, it is how I should have been hitting the road every day but other things seemed to conspire to delay my departure until now. I think I have beaten the worst of the flu today, just the cough remains.

I really enjoyed the first couple of hours today. The temperature was not too hot and the traffic not yet heavy and the views from the coastal road were incredible.

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However as nice as this started out the heat arrived in force and the traffic followed suit and by mid morning I was often in traffic jams in small towns and the best part of the ocean road perhaps was to the south.

Tried to find something open for lunch but the restaurants mostly seem only to open for dinner and ‘caffe’s’ as they are called here only serve coffee or beer. Stopped at one of the many mini markets that seem to be the supermarkets for residents but no ready to eat food is sold like fresh sandwiches. Eventually I stop at one of the bakeries. I had already visited one of these and the range on offer was poor reminding me of bakeries in Philippines but this one was very large and it had something other than just breads and there was a shady spot nearby to escape the fierce sun. So I had a cheese and ham type roll and a cake which defies description but seems to be a Croatian specialty and very tasty. Lots of fluids too as it is baking hot 30+ degrees and I want to stay hydrated. 

After lunch I ride along Pag island to see the desert like landscapes and look across the water to the Adriatic coast.  Unfortunately many photos are lost from here. I have just a couple of good photos but hopefully these give an idea, the views here were incredible.

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I was worried about the queue for the ferry as there is so many cars everywhere so crowded with tourists but fortunately I could skip the normal line as motorcycles load separately and it was a joy to escape the heat for a while and feel a cool breeze on the ferry.

Riding north from here the scenery was incredible but then so was the traffic. More or less bumper to bumper. I got tired of it and passed as many as I could but in doing so did not stop for photos until nearly at my accommodation where I had planned to take a ride up the mountain to another good view point. But the heat was oppressive. Even with all the fluids I had been drinking I could fee myself fading and decided to turn around and get off the road now so went straight on to the guest house.

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It was in this dehydrated state that I lost my action cam and one of my buff scarves. Still not sure what happened but I recall taking the scarf off when I stopped to look for the apartment and perhaps placed it on my bag then it fell off as I rode up the steep driveway to the apartment. The action cam I think I knocked off the tank magnetic mount to the ground when dismounting looking for the apartment or upon arrival. I had already done this a couple of times in Japan when getting fuel or at a ferry and wearing ear plugs the sound of it falling off is barely noticeable and in my state of fatigue I perhaps missed it. Real shame about losing the cam as I had been using it a lot on this trip, with such strong sunlight I knew it would have no trouble to photo scenes and I stopped or slowed right down on places like the ocean road where no stopping points were to take many shots with it. I am also using a new camera this trip which I am not enjoying at all and nearly every photo I take with it is poor so in many spots I now have nothing to show. Really stupid as I had been getting good results with my previous LX100 but convinced myself I needed something ‘better’ but less can often be more. Oh well if losing the cam is the worst thing that happens on this trip then I guess it is not the end of the world.

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Had a nice relaxing time watching the sun set with a spicy pizza and couple of beers. Feeling at peace. (did not know cam was lost at this point)

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View from my apartment of the little village of Sveti Juraj.

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Croatia to Slovenia to Italy

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Sunrise and time to leave the beautiful Adriatic coast today.

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A little more riding along the coast this morning then onto the highways to blast north to Italy. Things went well enough leaving Croatia. I had another queue at the border to Slovenia and started to bake. I could not find the motorcycle’s green card at the checkpoint. I started to panic thinking oh no I have managed to lose this as well as the cam, I am turning into a stupid fool. The immigration guy was chatting to me having been to my home town Brisbane before waving me through not checking the bikes insurance but I was wondering what will I do at the next border. No time to stop on the Italian autostrada it was a nightmare traffic jam. All the service areas were overflowing with cars so I pushed on to get past this then stopped. I had one more look for the green card and found it was inside my passport! Phew, this is a big relief to avoid a difficult situation and a personal reassurance that I have not turned into a demented old man just yet.

I had a pre packaged panini from a gas station for lunch with a tall sports type drink but it still felt good sitting in shade at gas station fed and hydrated and knowing the green card was not lost.

After setting off again the traffic thinned as I turned north towards the Dolomites. I paid my autostrada toll which was only 6 euro. So cheap for such long distance on toll way. Still highway riding next but toll free. I made good time as the speed remained 130kph limit and everyone does at least 140kph. And gasp - no one died, cars did not burst into flames over 100kph. Sorry to disappoint all the safety Nazi's in Australia. Keep drinking the bathwater.

I stopped at a Italian supermarket to indulge in shopping for cheese and wine. This is the wine aisle.

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The approach to the Dolomites region is very scenic and I stopped to soak it up a few times but had to push on as a huge storm was brewing ahead of me despite the seemingly clear skies below.

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I had to leave the beautiful lookout and get to the town below as the storm out of sight to the right of this photo was at lightning and thunder stage. I pushed on and got just a minute or two of rain before arriving at the hotel. It then poured down for a couple of hours. My timing today could not have been more perfect and I am so glad not to be riding the tight switchback roads in a heavy storm.

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Hotel Pordoi, great for bikers, clothes washer and huge hot air cabinets to dry jackets or boots and a secure garage. I managed to wash my riding pants and jacket tonight and get them dry for next day which was great after many days of wearing them in high temperatures.


Italy to Austria

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I had wanted to return to the Dolomites ever since seeing a little of the region on the Edelweiss tour I did in 2010. Today I was up early and on the road in the clean morning air after the evening rain just as the morning sun was hitting the craggy peaks. No way I can capture what the next 3 hours were like. There is not just one or two of the huge monolith rock peaks but dozens and the roads thread their way between them.

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It really is one of the worlds top scenic rides, an awe inspiring experience surrounded by incredible views every way I looked.

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I modified my route on the fly today to reduce the time on the switchback passes after doing the main circuit. I just don’t enjoy those technical type of roads anymore and beside the traffic was already building by about 10.00am so I turned around and just made my way north west out of the area satisfied with what I had seen and not wanting to spoil the perfect ride I had around the Dolomites this morning.

I still enjoyed riding the valley and lesser roads out of the area as they flow much nicer with out all the 1st gear hairpin corners, the views back to the dolomites were also excellent which flew in the face of what I had read about the feeder roads into the Dolomites being boring.

The valley road that connects to Austria is an endless stream of motorcycles in this beautiful postcard type vista below.

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I managed to actually have a proper sit down lunch today. And my favorite ride lunch at that of a burger and coffee. Big difference in prices from Austria to the Balkans, the lunch today cost 18 euros but it was very enjoyable after mostly having pre packaged gas station food on this ride.

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But today still has another highlight. The Grossglockner. This is the very famous mountain pass toll road in Austria and I was going to ride up to the summit and back.

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A few clouds but my luck continues with the weather on this ride and another item ticked off my bucket list at the summit.

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The road itself is well surveyed and not too many 1st gear switchbacks which was a nice change for a alpine road in Europe.  Quite expensive, but I guess you are also paying for no police. Not that I was speeding as I wanted to enjoy the scenery. It reminds me a bit of route 292 in Nagano. Japan has roads as good as with far less traffic but nobody believes me when I try tell them. However I enjoyed all the roads today very much. (yes I do wait for break in traffic when photographing roads in case you wondered)

Coming back down I saw a storm brewing. Like yesterday I had to get a move on to my hotel before the rain arrived but did so with time to spare today.

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Austria to Slovenia and Finish

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Fantastic breakfast at a lovely if somewhat remote guest house I stayed at last night.

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Today I had planned to ride back to Zagreb via the Slovenia Alps. Given how much longer the riding had been taking each day I was unsure this would work. I did not want to have to ride into Zagreb in the peak hour traffic then be arriving at my accommodation late. I decided to follow my route and see how I went. There was a point where I could continue direct towards Zagreb on highways or turn towards the Slovenian alps. The roads along the way in Austria were easy riding, with much more generous speed limits mostly 80 or 90 kph and small towns along the way were very nice. I could have spent much more time here which I found nicer as far as actual riding goes than the mountains.

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At the point of making a call on what to do the decision was easy as the whole region was fog and low clouds thus visibility in the mountains would be zero. A shame as I has made good time up to there with the better flowing roads and could easy have ridden the longer route but I have had fine weather every day up to that point so I could hardly complain.

I went to visit the town of Bled instead having been told this was a very nice place but I found it highly congested with tourists and not so appealing. I could not manage to get one decent photo there so here is one more from the country roads in Austria prior that were so enjoyable.

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I had a long lunch break at a highway service area and still arrived into Rocker Moto Zagreb at 3pm which whilst being early turned out to be perfect as by the time I got everything unpacked and sorted out then a taxi from the shop to the apartment I just managed to beat another afternoon thunderstorm.

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Hard to understand now but when planning this I booked myself to fly out the next day. Pretty stupid as I really needed a rest day and could have easy enjoyed another couple of days in Zagreb not to mention I had left myself no contingency if something went wrong. Made quite a few mistakes on this ride but dumb luck has been on my side. I had amazing accommodation in Zagreb tonight and also when I arrived (in apartment called Grounded Sun previous) and Mango Apartment now. (find them on booking.com) Both are nicer than my home and get 10/10 rating from me. The lovely host at Mango gave me so many great ideas for things to do and eat I really was sorry to miss out on trying all but a couple. The eating drinking pub street that goes on forever is not to be missed if you visit Zagreb, something barely mentioned on the travel wiki’s.


Epilogue.

Long time ago when I first travelled to Europe the travel agent told me don’t focus on the usual western European countries but rather go to the east or to the Balkan countries. Never one to take any good advice I proceeded to ignore this but she was right. The Balkans for me turned out to be really enjoyable and I only saw just a tiny fraction. Now I have two places in Europe I want to return to and I will choose Rocker Motorcycles again when next in this region, actually if you want to ride the Alps then start in Zagreb it really is close and better value that say starting in Munich like I did previously. 

The Adriatic road is perhaps my ultimate ocean road, I know that is a big call but I like it more than the pacific coast road in California or any of the other coastal rides I have done. I was there in the peak summer so had more traffic than usual but it still was amazing. The Dolomites are the most spectacular alpine region in Europe for me. If you go to ride the alps then sure Swiss and French alps are higher but the Dolomites are more special in my opinion.

Shame I lost the photos from the cam and ruined most I took with new camera (still scratching head over that) but thanks for taking the time to read this or look at my photos.

My GPS routes are available on RidewithGPS.com - user name Warren.

More photos available on Instagram – motorcycle.paradise

4 comments

  1. Wow, Oh my. Those photos of the mountain passes and Dolomites are spectacular Warren. Thanks for sharing them. I much prefer mountain roads than coastal road but both are spectacular in their own way.
    Such a shame that you lost your camera and so many potential good photos. What happened to the photos you took with the camera? Where they blurry or something. Post one up to show us what happened. I hate that when you take a bunch of great photos to find out later they were not in focus.

    Some ups and downs with the accommodation which is to be expected I guess. No way would I hand over my passport in a foreign country to a hotel owner. The food looks great as you got into Austria, that pizza and beer looks so good. Looks like you made out good with the weather too mate.
    I’m much like you these days, living in a city of nearly 5 million people I love visiting little country towns where there is no waiting and the people are friendly.

    Mate an outstanding post, you really are living the dream.

    Steve
    The Road to Nowhere

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    1. Thanks Steve, yeah I wish I had all those photos lost but fortunate to still have some at least from the first few days.

      The new camera over exposed everything to the point of being non recoverable in post editing, still unsure why, I thought it was ok then it did it again. Might be fault with lens. Broke my rule of taking untested gear on a tour and it bit me on the arse ha-ha.

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  2. You had quite the trip Warren. To do as much riding as you did feeling as poorly as you did. While the roads sound and look wonderful, the traffic and heat didn't sound as pleasant.

    I always enjoy photos of the Dolomites. A favorite view of mine, hopefully I will see and ride one day.

    I had a Nikon camera that over exposed everything, but it got really great reviews. I think I bought one built on a Friday when folks were in a rush. I took it back and just use my trusty Canon point and shoot.

    Thank you for taking the time to post up about your trip. I enjoyed seeing and reading about it and following along when you post up on Facebook too.

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    1. Thanks Brandy, I was there in the peak tourist season and that made it busy in many places but it also meant I had fine sunny weather all week.

      If I just had brought my mesh summer jacket with me it would have been much easier however I had to pack for this and the Himalaya's where I went immediately after so had lots of winter gear that filled my case.

      The photos I see from things like the iPhone 7 make me think I may just sell my camera when I update my phone next. Manufacturers seem to be in a success bubble not innovating enough and their market most likely will be swept away in a couple of years.

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