Kiwi Dreams - Europe & Morocco 2014

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by young1, Apr 17, 2014.

  1. young1

    young1 Been here awhile

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    Not the most enjoyable of rides today, at the start it was hot and there were queues of cars. Montenegro drivers are similar to Kiwi drivers, if there is a slight gap between you and the car in front, well they will have it.

    The views were stunning, but due to the above and lack of places to stop I didn't take many photos.

    This is just before Kotor. The beaches are gorgeous but I am afraid all of the tourist development is ruining them. Having beaches covered with loungers is not something we are used to back home.

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    The road to Kotor, a nice windy single lane in places road with people swimming and sunning most of the way along.

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    The ferry that saves quite a few kilometres. And if you were in the car behind me I am sorry if let the cars alongside us off first, I hope it didn't delay you too much (you were the #%^# who pushed in front of me to buy the ticket weren't you...)

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    Goodbye to Montenegro, all the immigration guy did was open my passport and stamp it, no looking at it or anything

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    And hello Croatia. I was cheeky here, it was so hot I didn't want to stop in the sun, I noticed the bus in the bus lane move off so I went there. The immigration guy quite righty pointed out that I wasn't a bus, but I said to him that I was hot. I told him that I would go back to the right line, then he put his hand out and BINGO I was through (after a discussion about his brother living in Melbourne!)

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    My first view of Dubrovnik

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    What a gorgeous sailing ship

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    The view of the wall from where I am staying

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    Tonight I am doing a 3 hour sunset sea kayak trip. After riding alongside the ocean seeing people enjoying the water I want a turn in it.
  2. Blader54

    Blader54 Long timer

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    If you walk around the inside of the city wall you should be able to find a passage through the wall leading to a tiny bar on the outside overlooking the sea. Very nice. Also, if you like calamari you are in the right city! When we were there we took a nice day trip on a motorsailboat to some of the islands along the coast. Looking forward to the next episode!
  3. young1

    young1 Been here awhile

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    I saw that bar, and the hole in the wall, from the kayak :-)
  4. young1

    young1 Been here awhile

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    I am sitting at a little table in the shade with a coffee and paper and pen. About to have a look at where I plan to go over the next week :-)

    Kayaking last night was fun, nine of us and the guide. Unfortunately the photos not so good, hard to take from a rocking kayak. Here is some of the group

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    Unfortunately there are also crowds in the water, this cave was a popular stop point. We swam and snorkelled from the beach.

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    We paddled past this beautiful cruise liner. What a great way to travel. Last night five of us from the kayak group had dinner together and this ship went past, all the masts etc were lit up with lots of little lights!

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    Today I will have a look at the city and swim :-)

    Best news is that my riding pants are being "decontaminated" at the local dry cleaner.
  5. young1

    young1 Been here awhile

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  6. iny46

    iny46 Adventurer

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    Take some pics for me please

    Last year Jan and I missed that road 😁
    We had to turn back north at Biograd because
    Of too much heavy rain

    Enjoy the magistrale
    The best part is along the island of Pag
    From Starigrad to jablanac
    In karlobag you should take a side trip just a few
    Kilometres to Gospic. It's a great view over the islands.

    Best regards
  7. young1

    young1 Been here awhile

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    Is there another town that is as pretty as Dubrovnik? This place is stunning with the harbour

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    The buildings inside the wall

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    And little bays / beaches to swim at

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    It is crowded with tourists and they do that well to, even to people in the choke points at the city gates (and at pedestrian crossings) to help keep everything flowing smoothly. There is a large bus park near the city gates with what looks to be well planned procedures to get cruise ship passengers on to the right buses.

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    It is very clean, no signs of graffiti, I had the felling that if I sat down on the footpath for more than five minutes I would have been swept up.

    However with all of the above it felt to me a bit like Disneyland, built purely for tourists. I wonder if anyone actually lives within the walls now who isn't involved with the tourism industry? It is almost one big restaurant, the little alleys are full of tables and chairs and the shops are all there for tourists.

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    There is no missing the war history though, this sign is at the main entrance showing the buildings that were damaged by shelling between 1991 and 1992.

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    Don't get me wrong this is a beautiful place. But after seeing the "working" towns of Fez, Essaouira etc it does feel like a town now only existing for tourists. Saying all of that though I would like to return with Leanne.

    Tomorrow I head to Sarajevo via Mostar. I was going to do that over two days but will now do it in one and the day that I catch up I will have as an extra day in Split.

    Unfortunately the weather forecast is not the best (typical my riding pants are spotless now - I don't want to get them wet!!)
  8. young1

    young1 Been here awhile

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    Today's update is in two parts

    I got away early this morning to beat the heat and it worked. The border crossing into Bosnia was not busy and I was through quickly

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    I find these signs at the borders very useful. They did not have them in Montenegro or Macedonia and I still don't know what speed I was meant to be doing there. In many instances towns only have a sign saying the name of the town, and not a speed limit sign like in NZ, so you have to watch for those and slow down to the correct limit

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    I didn't know what to expect scenery wise from the ride. My route took me close to the Montenegro border, at the start I was riding through kilometres of quite scrubby bushes

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    Then the geography changed and it became a lot like the wonderful road I was on in Montenegro. Bosnia also has long tunnels, entering this one felt like walking into the beer chiller at the bottle store back home (actually the temperatures were good today, the highest I saw was 28)

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    I then entered the Sutjeska National Park, beautiful scenery and roads (not good for a car though, there were no passing lanes until I reached Sarajevo). I climbed quite high

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    I saw this in Montenegro too, advertising as biker friendly - nice :-)

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    This gorge went for quite a few kilometres

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    And into Sarajevo. These are still signs of the war, from early 1990s on many buildings, the worst buildings with bullet and shell holes I couldn't stop to take photos of. I saw one window that was surrounded by hundreds of holes, I wonder who had been in there. It is hard to believe now that the city was was under siege for four years!

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    I wanted to see the spot where Prince Ferdinand and his wife were assassinated in 1914, which led to World War 1. Yes Leanne I have been shopping, how do I put this...... some parts of my clothing get a hard time sitting on a bike seat (over 14,000 kms so far), and needed replacing lol

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    Luckily the rain held off, it only started when I was walking in the city. Tomorrow I head to Split via Mostar.
  9. young1

    young1 Been here awhile

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    I also went to see this memorial exhibition. Srebrenica was the 1995 genocide of more than 8000 mainly men and boys during the war

    Some of the pictures, to me as a father, I found disturbing. I find it difficult to imagine that this happened during my lifetime.

    That is enough words, a couple of photos, the wall of names of the dead and missing.

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    Cameras weren't allowed in the exhibition

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    Powerful words

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  10. Blader54

    Blader54 Long timer

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    In split you may enjoy exploring the remains of the "retirement palace" of the Roman Emperor Diocletian. One of the few Roman emperors who did not die in office, he retired here to a massive palace. As I recall, he was Dalmatian. Pretty fascinating. If you have time you might want to hit Plitvice Lakes after your time in Split. A deep limestone gorge/valley with a big series of stair step lakes. Each lake has a small waterfall into the one below, and some of the dissolved limestone accretes there, where over time it turns into marble. A UNESCO world heritage site, the park can get pretty full of tourists so I'd advise either going early or late in the day if you would like to avoid crowds.

    As you approach the park you may pass small roadside tables selling farmstead cheese. We found it delicious and bought a bunch to snack on over the next couple of days.

    When we were there we stayed at a hotel called "Winnetou" that looks like something out of the American wild West or maybe British Columbia. The owners were very nice and explained that back in the 60's and 70's several "Euro-Western" films were shot at the lakes. One film was "Winnetou", if I recall correctly. They also said that the area was the scene of a lot of fighting during the civil war and they packed up and moved to western Europe for safety and then returned and rebuilt the hotel.

    Loving the report!
  11. young1

    young1 Been here awhile

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    First BIG news, Bosnia-Herzegovina is a civilised country, my first for a while. How do I know this? They have......

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    Lucky kids hmmmmm

    It was a nice ride today; beautiful scenery following a river / lake to Mostar, then I took the back roads towards the coast (and border crossings - Croatia just waved me through), a 50 km blast on a new motorway before I turned off to ride through the Valley of the River Cestina (you may have seen the post where it was recommended) then I followed the coast into Split.

    I suppose as I was going to stop in Mostar for lunch, today should be bridge day. In actual fact I saw some beauties that helped frame the awesome countryside that I was riding through.

    A railway bridge

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    And Mostar. I am learning that as soon as a town / city etc calls an area "The Old Town" it will quickly be over run by tourists and there will be shops selling the same trinkets (but with the town name changed) as the last town.

    You may remember that the bridge was destroyed in the war but was rebuilt with UN assistance. I reckon some of the other bridges I rode past today were more impressive?

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    What was nice at Mostar is at one of the bars where the road ended (and the old town started) you could park your bikes and they would look after helmets etc. Cost was €2.50, I don't know how "official" it was but it was good initiative. I arrived with a group from Spain (their bikes by me in the photo) and as I left a group from Turkey arrived, one rider on a KTM 1190 arrived suffering from the hot seat problem (for you non riders the new 1190s have problems with heat from the exhaust heating the seat! Hot nuts anyone lol)

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    Andreas I will post pics from the river valley later

    Now that I have cooled down (there were a few light showers today so I stewed in my wet weather gear) I will go and see what Split is all about
  12. young1

    young1 Been here awhile

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    I think I went along the route you suggested. It had rained and the roads were very slippery. I had a couple of moments with the rear slipping out as I headed into a couple of the hairpins, that slowed me down.

    Pictures

    By the way what do you call someone from Slime - Slimey?

    Where the road starts.

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    Looking into the valley

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    Hairpins

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    In the valley

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    There was a really nice estuary near the end of the road. Unfortunately, as so often happens, I rode past the best place to take a photo

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    And the last bridge, in my post above, is the bridge that crosses the river that I had followed

    the blur in the top right of some pics is the lens cover not retracting all the way, it is hard to see that when taking a picture
  13. Frgich

    Frgich Long timer

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    Oh man, I can smell the pine in those pics, keep them coming Mike, thanks for sharing :thumb
  14. young1

    young1 Been here awhile

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    I have sent you a PM, hopefully see you in Zagreb?
  15. Te Hopo

    Te Hopo AKA Deanohit

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    Simply awesome mate, thanks for sharing this all with us
  16. young1

    young1 Been here awhile

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    A day off the bike today, KT stayed parked under the trees looking after some scooters.

    Early start, no need for an alarm clock when this bell, approx 15 metres away starts chiming at 7 am

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    As I sat having breakfast (I found a little restaurant full of locals so that shows it us a good one) the first wave of tourists arrived. I decided that a swim maybe in order so headed out. On the way some of interesting sites;

    Classic BMWs (bit blurry unfort, I must have been shaking with the excitement of seeing them!)

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    Fish market (you don't want to live downwind of this!)

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    And Leanne will be gutted that she missed this (do people really pay money to see this?)

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    There is a big park on a point in the harbour, I carried my towel and walked looking for somewhere to swim. Lots of nice spots but as I was enjoying the walk I didn't stop. It was a good hike, over 3 hours walking. Nice to see cars blocked from entering

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    This is something we have seen a few of in Europe, coming from NZ it is unusual, quads registered with plates etc to ride on the road. In France, I think, we passed two quads in a row of traffic and they were doing 80+ km/hr

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    Can you imagine having enough money JUST to pay the upkeep and staff on a boat like this!

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    Off to Zagreb tomorrow (for two nights) staying in a newly opened B & B run by Frgich (an inmate on this site) see http://www.lobagola.com
  17. GiorgioXT

    GiorgioXT Long timer

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    Excellent report !

    If you come back to the Alps, I could show you some hidden gems of Dolomites .:deal
  18. young1

    young1 Been here awhile

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    I am glad you are enjoying it :-)

    I know my mother enjoys reading each day where I am and what I have been up to.

    We / I do keep a written diary also when we travel, when I get home I will print this blog out to keep as another record.

    Mike
  19. young1

    young1 Been here awhile

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    Thank you :-)

    We have only scratched the surface of what we want to see in Europe. At times it was hard to decide whether to take the left or right turn as they both led to places we would like to go.

    My trip is also coming to an end as my green card runs out two weeks today and the bike will be in London for that. The longest trip I had done on a motorbike before this adventure was less than two weeks!

    Next time when we come back (we will as Leanne missed seeing Dubrovnik) we will take you up on that offer.

    Of course we could show you New Zealand as well?
  20. Jim pedley

    Jim pedley Been here awhile

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    Been fantastic reading all your reports and give me lots of ideas of places to visit . Il be leaving the UK in 6 hours and hope to meet up with you in Hungary enjoy your stay in zagrebe