90 Days on the road - India To UK in a rush

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Indirider, Jun 30, 2017.

  1. spmarfatia

    spmarfatia Adventurer

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    Thanks buddy. Much appreciated!

    what route are you heading up north? I have overlanded in the region you are going through now. try to visit lake plitvice in Croatia if you can. Also, Croatia is super beautiful.

    are you taking ferry across Adriatic sea or drive to north Italy? (if you drive, you will have to by pass southern Italy..)

    I don't know the situation in Kosavo now, but it wasn't possible when I was there a few years ago, but Bosnia was possible and it is beautiful! (I should add, my car was broken into and everything, that I left in the car, was stolen in Sarajevo. But I don't hold them accountable. Could've happened in any other 15 or so countries I visited during that trip.)

    wonderful trip!
    Good luck.
    #41
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  2. Indirider

    Indirider In search of Butter Chicken

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    Hey i did this trip last year in same timelines,as i live through everyday these stories are going on flashback and the outcome is this RR :)
    And i feel quite happy to share this here,among like minded group of people.

    Cheers
    Biru
    #42
  3. Indirider

    Indirider In search of Butter Chicken

    Joined:
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    Ride to Skopje was quick and i went straight to Millennium cross.Sole intention was to climb on the top of Mount Vodno and admire how beautiful this part of the world looks like from the top.You cannot take your bike all the way up,there is a cable car which charges approx 2 Euros for the return journey.Not only the mesmerizing view of the Skopje town but the Millennium cross itself was a wonder to me,It was pretty HUGE.I have a bad habit of wasting time staring at beautiful things,this time i bought some coffee while i was at it.

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    Most people around the world know "Alexander The Great",and most of the people were fascinated by his bravery and immortal stories.Specially in Indian history books there is significant mention of his tales as he invaded India in 323 BC.Since this bloke was from Macedonia,i had great interest in finding some history lessons spread around Skopje.
    As i arrive in the city center,the first thing i notice is the huge statue of Alexander The Great.But makes me remember the words of guide in Persipolis,Iran "Alexander The Great,Great for some,bad for some..What nobody will look in the future is how many NORMAL lives ruined and destroyed.Wars,Conquests are glorified in the name of sacrifice of thousands of innocent lives.Nothing has changed much and nothing will,then we had gold to make us rich and now we have fuel"

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    Old stone bridge across vardar river in Skopje
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    Archaeological Museum Of Macedonia in Skopje
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    Turkish Mosque in City center skopje,reminder and remainder of Ottoman Empire.
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    Memorial House dedicated to Mother Teresa
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    Sts. Constantine and Helena church,skopje
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    Porta Macedonia is a triumphal arch located on Pella Square in Skopje.There was some demonstration few days ago and this was spoiled with colors by the unsettling mob.

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    A part from the history,what kept me occupied was these statues and art work on the streets,lots of them.Just like we have seen in Ohrid,makes me wonder how different these statues we have back in India.

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    Super fun day admiring many beautiful sights,sometimes it gets difficult for your eyes to take them all in one single day.I was thinking of staying for night,but plenty of day and sunshine was left.I decided to cross over to Kosovo and stay in Prishtina.Meanwhile, my bike started to give some trouble with the battery.Warning light for low battery was coming and going,i was trying to keep my bike at higher revs for better charging.I was not ready to accept that this issue was really happening,i thought it could be a technical glitch.

    Cheers
    Biru
    #43
  4. spmarfatia

    spmarfatia Adventurer

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    Oh, so this the second time you doing this trip?

    if yes, also again on motorcycle?

    Cheers!
    #44
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  5. DC950

    DC950 Microadventurer

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    Biru,

    the Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia is not Alexander's Macedonia. There isn't much territory there that was his and the people are Slavs who settled there around 600AD for the most part. The Greeks refer to them as Bulgarians, which is fairly accurate. You have to go to Greece to see Alexander's Macedonia.

    Anyway, I love this report and am going to make my half Macedonian Greek kid read it!

    DC
    #45
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  6. Indirider

    Indirider In search of Butter Chicken

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    Kosovo border was a busy one,or maybe the inefficiency at play.Bought insurance at the border,india was not there on the list :D.So they put it as Italia and manually changed it to India,but most professional looking insurance document so far :D

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    And the hold up at the border.
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    Was feeling bit hungry as i crossed over to Kosovo.Pulled up for a coffee and nice & soft cheese spinach pie.

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    From the border till Prishtina,road was quite busy and filled with traffic.Lot of summer traffic passes from this little country i assume.I booked a hostel for the night stay around city center.The place where i stayed in night looked pretty quiet during the night,only to find out in the morning that i am staying in right in front of the vegetable market.Had a hard time getting my bike out next morning,i was being stared occasionally for bringing the bike inside the market but i did not had any other choice :)

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    I did not intended to stay longer in Kosovo and headed straight towards Montenegro border.But not before having a icecream and little walk around the town.

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    Dumped the remaining riding boot i was carrying in Prishtina.Which leaves us with a agenda to buy new set of boots to cope up with the cold in Alps and rainy weather in UK.I took the route towards Peja and beyond to cross over to Montenegro.Bought the motorcycle insurance at the border for 10 Euros with validity of 15 days.

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    Landscapes completely changed as i entered Montenegro,got a rainy welcome as i crossed the border.But it sorted out after couple of kilometers.Next on the card was Durmitor National Park,I continued towards Zabljak.Planned to stay there for the night but got bit late in the night,have to blame the landscapes around.I had to stop at every nook and corner to take the photos.

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    I crossed Tara canyon just when it was about to get dark,By the time i reached Zabljak,It was pitch dark.The hostel room i booked was been already given to some other blokes.But the owner arranged accommodation for me in his friends apartment for the same price.I had a good company of an old lady over beer.We shared stories in whatever English i can speak and whatever english she could understand.But we laughed over everything as we were speaking and living the language of beer :)
    A brief good bye in the morning and i was off to ride around Durmitor National park.Spot my friend waving good bye :)
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    But before that a quick walk to the Black Lake (Crno Jezero).Unlike the Morskie Oko Lake in Poland,This was just 5-10 min walk from the parking lot,so easily manageable for lazy bikers like us.
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    Extremely happy to be surrounded by such natural beauty :)
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    Cheers
    Biru
    #46
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  7. Indirider

    Indirider In search of Butter Chicken

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    Hey,Thank you so much for the insights.Another reason to go back to Greece again ;)

    Hey,Ride happened last year during the same time July to Oct 2016.Writing the RR an year late :)

    Cheers
    Biru
    #47
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  8. Indirider

    Indirider In search of Butter Chicken

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    Next up was Pluzine via Prevoj Sedlo mountain pass.I could easily quote this day as the most beautiful day so far.Fantastic views on the both side of road.Winding narrow roads,Mountains all around covered with green grass and the silence and beauty of the nature was absolutely divine.

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    Met a couple from Bled,Slovenia who invited me to their place for stay.In return i promised to cook some spicy Indian food for them.I wish i had taken a picture with them,good to keep as memory :).We kept meeting one and more times on the road all way until Pluzine.
    As you start climbing down towards Pluzine,there are many small tunnels cut through the rocks.There were some hairpin bends too,passing through these rock faces with absolutely no lights,narrow and completely dark.In one such tunnel found one motorcyclist on his GS slipped in one of the hairpin bend.While his friends were ahead,he was struggling to get the bike up.To my surprise he did not switched off the bike after the fall,maybe panicked in situation.I took my off helmet put it on the road 50 mtrs before the motorcycle to alert the oncoming traffic and then helped the GS go back on his feet.Bike was indeed quite heavy :D
    A quick thank you and he was off to catch up with his herd.i did not get much chance to ask if he is OK and not hurt.
    Lave Piva as i descend towards Pluzine.Totally gorgeous.

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    Spot the tunnels i have been talking about :)
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    And a panoramic perspective.
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    Cheers
    Biru
    #48
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  9. Ruud109

    Ruud109 Dutch in Barcelona

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    Nice report and great pictures! Keep it coming!

    Ruud
    #49
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  10. driftr

    driftr Adventurer

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    More please...and happy independence day.
    #50
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  11. Indirider

    Indirider In search of Butter Chicken

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    Some videos from the ride.Pardon the quality of editing,i am too lazy when it comes to making videos.


    Greece


    Albania


    Cheers
    Biru
    #51
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  12. boboneleg

    boboneleg we can rebuild him.

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    Hi Biru, thank you for taking the time to write this report, some great photos and videos :clap
    #52
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  13. Indirider

    Indirider In search of Butter Chicken

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    While descending down towards Pluzine i met this guy from Serbia,who is now settled in Montenegro.He was in process of constructing a guest house and a restaurant.I stopped for quick lunch as i haven't eaten properly in a while.As we get into further conversation,he tells me that he has read most of the Hindu Scriptures like Bhagwad Gita,Mahabharata,Upnishads etc.I had total respect for this dude,being a Hindu i haven't even read a single line from all these holy scriptures.To defend myself,i would say it depends on personal inclination and interests as well :D

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    Food was quite delicious though.The tomato soup and the rice stuffed capsicum was killer stuff.
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    I headed South towards the Adriatic sea,Bay of Kotor to be precise.Could have gone straight from Niksic to Kotor but, its all over the internet that the road from Cetinje to Kotor is something which should not be missed.Specially the aerial view of the Bay of Kotor from one of the view point enroute.But,what was more interesting was the 18 hairpain bends stretching over 8 Kms as you descend down towards Kotor.They call it Kotor Serpentine.

    But before that i took a brief stop at Lovcen,It was slight detour from the road leading to Kotor.
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    There is a nice Mausoleum which sits at the top of the second highest peak Jezerski Vich in Lovcen National Park.This tomb belongs to one of the Montenegro’s greatest hero Petar II Petrovic Njegos.Around 461 stairs takes you to the top,was almost out of breath :D

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    It was almost dark when i reached the view point i was talking about,but there was still some sunset left here and there for me to take a photo and two.So that i could show off it here :)

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    It went completely dark when i started to take those hair pin bends,but it was fun anyway.I had booked a hostel in advance and the GPS location turns out to be incorrect.I did few rounds of the entire town before i could reach my destination for the day.Hostel was in pretty good location,very peaceful and as you cross the road you can take deep dive in the Bay of Kotor.Kotor looked like a busy place,but comparatively cheap and very beautiful surrounded by hills,history and sea,you cannot fail to notice lot of tourists due to the same reason maybe.I was also reading about history of this place and how much strategic importance this place had during the world wars.

    I quite liked this place and decided to stay for couple of days.Most of the time i was here,i took some rest,washed my clothes,hiked up to the St John's castle,did some bike maintenance,beer'ed up my soul and
    floated around in the bay of Kotor like a frog.

    Kotor old town
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    View of Kotor town from the fortress.
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    My sworn enemy - stairs
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    Ruins of Kotor Fortress and the valentine proposal on the wall.You get to see lot of this in Forts in India,where people express their love in historic monuments like these.Shame :(

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    Kampana tower,Old town fortifications.
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    More from the old town Kotor :)

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    Cheers
    Biru
    #53
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  14. Indirider

    Indirider In search of Butter Chicken

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    With few days to rest and chill,Kotor was finally a pack-up.Next up was super touristy Dubronvik,i wouldn't have imagined how much crowded it will be until i was there.I felt like home,where it's crowded everywhere :D.From a distance Dubronvik looked all orange,red and blue to me but what was more interesting for me to visit here was the Game Of Thrones TV series which i have been following.They have used some godly amazing beautiful locations in all of their episodes.I wish to visit all of them one day,but for the starters Dubronvik will do just fine.

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    Plenty of parking spaces for motorcycles outside the Dubronvik Old town,but cannot say the same for cars.
    Main Entrance
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    Admission fees for the City wall tour was 150 Kuna.I did not took the GOT tour,but every now and then i used to keep bumping on such tours in progress and over hear the tour guide narrating the stories of GOT and how did the GOT crew made the shooting happen with people living inside the city.One such moment was when i saw a tour guide showing naked photos from Cersei walk of shame episode and then pointing at the stairs where it actually happened :) Regular guide tricks to crack people up i guess :D

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    Some more photos from the walking tour i took.
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    Lovrijenac Fortress in the left,standing on a 37m high cliff.
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    What crystal clear water,you cannot miss to notice few souls taking refuge from the heat :)
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    I wanted to stay around but the prices for the hotel and even hostels were sky high.I decided not to go towards Split for the same reason and spend some time in Bosnia instead.Crossed over to Bosnia with ease and moved towards Mostar.On the way i had marked this Kravica Waterfalls to be visited,my GPS on phone messed up a bit and took me into a trail which lead me to the other side of the waterfall.Nevertheless the trail was awesome and so was the waterfall.The entire waterfall area was buzzing with party animals and loud music,bikini clad girls taking bath in the pools and shower under the waterfalls.I am like WTH,i expected a viewing point,set of Chinese(not stereotyping) tourists with selfie sticks and few people with DSLR taking long exposure shots.But this was more like a party place right at the river bed.There were some beer stalls too,i was tempted for few glasses but it would have been a wrong thing to do.Man,i still cannot get that scene out of my head..It's like etched forever in my head as a awesome memory.

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    Cheers
    Biru
    #54
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  15. Indirider

    Indirider In search of Butter Chicken

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    After a smooth ride to Mostar,i went to visit Blagaj Tekke before checking in at the hostel.Basically Blagaj is an old village and the Blagaj Tekke is a Dervish monastery in the side of the cliff. It is at the basin of the river Buna. It is a stunning setting. You can look down into the river and the cave beneath the tekija. You can also take a small raft into the cave. You can walk down the steps to the river where there is a small metal cup attached to a chain so that you can drink from the fresh water. You make a wish and take a sip. Beautiful and peaceful location.But there are restaurants around the place,which can mess up the tranquility of the place sometimes.

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    At the parking lot,i met a Italian guy named Stefano who has been riding around Balkans in a KTM 690 for couple of months and now heading back home.We connected immediately over the KTM brotherhood :).He was staying at a camp site,while i chose to stay at a hostel in the Mostar town so that i can visit some sites around with ease without much walking involved :D.We exchanged our email id's so that we can catch up again somewhere in Italy but somehow i lost the mail id.I met another local guy who was visiting the same place with family,we sat down a bit and shared few stories over coffee and snacks and parted ways.This guy tells me that he is a devotee of Lord Krishna and have visited Vrindavan,India many times.

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    As i begin to leave i met another guy,a local shopkeeper.We begin to chat and as i share my story from Iran to here,he rushes back to the shop and brings me back two handmade fridge magnets.He bids good bye with few words to say "As a token of our friendship" :)

    I stayed at hostel Fig in Mostar,highly recommended as the care taker lady is such a cheerful person.I met some very good travelers from all around the globe.We went for drinking in the night and damn it turned out to be a long one.I had a bad hangover the other day,as it turns out that i tend to over drink when i am in good company.

    I took my time to wake up the other day and went for a walk around the old town.The stone bridge here is quite spectacular.The lady at hostel told me some first hand stories about it.During the war times this bridge was destroyed and it was rebuilt by collecting the stones down from the river.There is a cross on a adjacent hill top,during war times snipers(Croatians) used to shoot the civilians who try to go to the river to fetch water.

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    Streets of Mostar
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    There are some adults who do stunts like jumping in the river from the Mostar bridge for few bucks,keeps onlookers busy and sometimes stand still making it look like they are going to jump any moment.But these folks they don't do it until certain amount is accumulated i guess,but pretty daredevil stuff anyway.I also learned that they teach you to jump from the bridge for a mere price of 25 Euros,i would say idiotic and courageous thing to do. The drop is atleast 20-25 meters and there are high chances you are going to hit the river bed if you are heavy,specially like me :)

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    I went to the other side of town as the hostel owner told me that there is a beautiful church out there.It was a simple church without much decorations,but this tower next to it was long and eye catching.

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    Hamam is an interesting way of bathing,we had quite few of them in the city where i grew up.As a kid my uncle used take us cousins for a visit and a thorough bath.It was quite amazing experience and different.Do visit this museum if you feel connected in any sense :)
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    Cheers
    Biru
    #55
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  16. Indirider

    Indirider In search of Butter Chicken

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    I looked up on Dangerous roads website for some trail suggestions and Mount Plocno popped up as a good choice on my way to Sarajevo.I booked hostel LIKE in Sarajevo for the night.I checked in google maps and the road was straight forward,not to mention there was a trail ahead of Mt Plocno going towards Sarajevo.Was pretty excited as it has been quite long i haven't been on any trail lately.Though i was slightly concerend and afraid about the Low Battery warning popping up every now and then,also the box set up i had was slightly delicate and slightly tougher trail could break the frame or at-least the welding joints can give up anytime.But,As a wise men said "What you are afraid to do is a clear indication of the next thing you need to do" :)

    Moments where i was unable to decide,to take right or to take left.I took right anyway as the mobile GPS went bonkers.Just like every other situation,when you need it the most..It does what it does best "stops working" :)

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    More photos from the trail until the top.
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    Blidinje Lake in the background.
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    As i reached the top,I noticed that the trails ends there and there is no connecting road ahead as it is shown in Google Maps.However noticed a army post there,met some Bosnian's too who crossed me on 4*4's while i was climbing the trail.These were army lads and they were just there to have some beers which they carried along from Sarajevo . One word for Bosnian's "They are crazy".I was offered a can and i accepted,didn't wanted to be rude.I kept it safely for the evening :)

    I look like a malnutrition-ed midget here :)
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    This view at the top was worth every trouble ;)
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    Took back the same trail and returned to the turn from where i took the right and followed the R419 to exit from Blidinje National Park.I would recommend this trail to fellow motorcyclists as the views from up there were breathtaking and trail was quite fun.

    Bye Bye Blidinje National Park
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    Low battery sign started to frequent as i was inching towards Sarajevo and few kilometers before the hostel,It completely stopped and refused to start.No sign of life in the speedometer.I pushed the last few kilometers to the hostel as calling a towing vehicle would have been more troublesome and hole in the pocket maybe.I would rather spend the money on beer ;)

    Cheers
    Biru
    #56
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  17. BillUA

    BillUA Las Vegas, NV

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    Spectacular!
    #57
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  18. Indirider

    Indirider In search of Butter Chicken

    Joined:
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    The other night i searched some mechanic shops,who can help me out with the low battery situation.Next morning i called them with the help of hostel owner due to language problem,however it wasn't much helpful as they refused to work on KTM.This was a new thing to me,mechanics being specific about working on specific brands of motorcycles.Now i know,why most of the people hang around with Honda,Yamaha,Kawasaki or a BMW instead.Being Saturday most of the motorcycle mechanic shops were closed or about to be closed after half day.I decided to get the battery charged at one of the shops who agreed to charge it as long as they are open.But they clearly specified that this has to be onn my own risk and without actually diagnosing the actual issue.Fair enough for me to keep moving until weekend is over.

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    Shop closed around 1 PM afternoon and i left towards Zagreb,Croatia in hope to find a KTM mechanic who can help me out.I suspected that this could be an issue with Regulator or the Stator coil,which is quite common in KTM 390.But neither i had the required part or skill to change it by myself.
    I reached a town named Jajce and noticed some kind of festival in progress.I could hear lot of music and a lady shouting over mic.I immediately rushed to the place and found out another act of crazy Bosnians.There was a beautiful looking waterfall and there was a queue of guys waiting to take the plunge from the top of the waterfall.This was super cool,First time in my life i had witnessed this crazy act live.That waterfall was atleast 70 feet high :)

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    Small video of what was going on.



    I forgot to mention that while crossing from Croatia to Bosnia ,I wasn't asked to buy any motorcycle insurance at the border.
    As i posted updates about my travel in Facebook,one of my friend suggested to visit Plitvice lakes national park in Croatia.And taking his advice to visit this place was one of the finest thing i did.As i approaced Croatia-Bosnia border i bid final good bye to my stint with Balkans,whatever part i saw in the short span was filled with wonderful experience,wonderful people and cheap stay/food/beer.Back again in Croatia,Plitvice was not so far away from the border.I reached at the entrance of the park and found myself surrounded with lot of bikes at the parking lot,it's a joyous feeling to see all these fully loaded motorcycles out there for adventure or not perhaps.Also assures me that i am not the only one hitting all tourist joints ;)
    Bonus Point - Motorcycle parking was free :)

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    I wasn't aware that Plitvice National Park is such a popular place.You don't see such long queues in European countries where there is hardly any population,but summers can bring lot of tourists from around the world i guess.My experience being an Indian helps me to patiently wait and let my turn come to buy the tickets.

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    Ticket price was around 25 Euro which included some boat ride and train ride to reach and return.A part from the ticket, you are also provided with a comprehensive guide and walking trails map to follow.It take couple of days to completely explore this place,an Italian biker tells me.Well,i try to see as much as i can in the given time and be on my way to Zagreb.
    Entire area which can be easily visited and is open for tourist like us is divided in two parts.Lower and Upper lakes,16 lakes which can be clearly seen.As the water flows further down from the lower lake,it forms Korana River.I don't know about the number of lakes there,but i was more intrigued and awestruck by the colors of these lakes.Blue,Grey and Green from what i saw.As the water flows from the upper lake to lower lake,it forms numerous big and small waterfalls.This is the most of it i remember and describe from the trip,i will let the pictures do further blabbering.

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    Sometimes the walking path can get busy as people stop and admire the beauty of lakes and waterfalls blocking the way.Have patience and keep yourself busy :)
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    One lucky duck you have to be,to hang around forever in a place like this :)

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    Small video dedicated to Plitvice Lakes National Park.


    Cheers
    Biru
    #58
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  19. Indirider

    Indirider In search of Butter Chicken

    Joined:
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    Location:
    On The Road
    I reached Zagreb by evening and settled in a Hostel close to the city center.Did not had any trouble with the battery from the last time i charged it,except few warnings every now and then.I decided to ignore it until i reach the capital of Slovenia where i spoke with one of the mechanic who promised to help me to fix the problem.While most of the adventure riders stay away from the hustle bustle of the capitals and touristy towns,my affection towards historical buildings,old city centers and comfortable accommodation keeps me pinned around these tourist areas.So this ride is more of a Travel journal rather than a Adventure,because adventure takes you out of your comfort zone and makes you realize that you are doing things which you don't imagine to do in your life everyday.With that note in my mind i grabbed some beers from a Pub and went walking around the Zagreb city center.

    Museum of Broken Relationships.Well,don't drag your past and ruin your present.Fix it or leave it :)
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    St. Mark's Church is a must visit landmark in Zagreb that is the unofficial symbol of the city. The mosaic roof with tiles displaying the town crest are beautiful and unique. The square is also pretty with government buildings around. They say on weekends there is ceremonial changing of the guard with traditional uniforms and horses.

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    Cathedral of Zagreb,This Cathedral building is very beautiful and has very impressive architecture.
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    Stone Gate is a Old passage/entrance to Zagreb's Upper Town with the famous image of the Virgin Mary, People say that in 18th century there was a huge fire in the town and this image remained intact. In honor of this event and faith,people come here and light a candle to pray for love peace and harmony.Small place but significant value and history.

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    St. Catherine's Church
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    More from the short walk around the town.
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    I loved these statues and art installation all around the city center :)
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    Cheers
    Biru
    #59
    NaMi, B10Dave, BillUA and 4 others like this.
  20. Fat Toney

    Fat Toney Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2004
    Oddometer:
    7,745
    Location:
    Washington State
    Great report!!
    #60