The following day we packed up and headed for the coast. It was a great ride, very quiet on the roads so we were able to enjoy the twists and turns in true motorbiking fashion! We hit the coast at Senj, and began the two hour ride down the coast line to our next stop.
Iain called this “quite possibly the best road we’d done yet”…fine words indeed, considering just a couple of days before he had been questioning why we had to do it! Never question the route planner 😉
Seriously though, the reason I chose this route is because I’ve been hearing for years how awesome it is. So much so in fact, that I was then worried that it wouldn’t live up to all the hype. But, oh man, it excelled. The views, the road…everything was just 100% amazing!
We came across a couple of guys enjoying the fun in a BMW z3, convertible. They saw the “Union Jack” (British Flag) on our windshield and we connected through hand gestures! We passed them but a bit later on they pulled into a gas station where we were and we stopped to chat. One was English and the other came from Washington DC. Turns out he had once ridden a similar bike to ours from Beijing to London! They set off way ahead of us but about 5 minutes later we passed them again…unfortunately, this time, they had been pulled over at the side of the road by the police. I guess their fun ride was over 😓
So after a great fours hours of super fun riding we reached our hotel for the night.
Little did I realise that we had arrived in the Benidorm of Croatia! Party central. I guess you could call it a bad sign when the check in lady warns you that the hotel is full of “young people” and that, while all is quiet now, come 3am it might get a tad noisy! Then, as we’re enjoying a dip in the pool, she comments, “oh yes, enjoy now while all quiet”…hmmm, this could be interesting!
We’ll see how well this all turns out 😉
Hmmm…well it was all a bit of an anticlimax really! I got woken once, at 3.30am, but nothing ridiculous and went straight back to sleep. I woke again at my normal(ish) time, 5.45, and could hear some noise from the pool area but again, nothing crazy, just chatting and some laughter.
When we checked out the poor lady was so terribly concerned with how we had slept. She was super happy when we told her it was all good and we had slept pretty well. Turns out that some “older folk” will complain all night to her and then write a really crappy review for the hotel. All because they didn’t do their research and find out that Novalja isn’t a place to go if you’re looking for a relaxing party – it is Croatias beach party city!
The ride today took us further down the coast to Solin, a small town just outside Split. An uneventful ride, the road was OK but nowhere near as good as we had enjoyed yesterday. We had a few stops in some pretty places on the coast just to rehydrate and take a break but it was super hot (91.5) so we really just wanted to get where we were heading and crack a beer!
We did do a bit of a turn around…and around, as we tried to find our way to a cute looking place we’d seen, it was hard to get to but did make for some pretty pictures as we headed back on the road again. When we stopped for pictures by some roadside vendors, the bikes registration drew some attention and he made some friends while I scrambled around the scrub for the best angle!
Our first blooper with accommodation came that night! The place was tiny, which we knew it would be and it was OK for one night. The girl really had tried hard to put it together well and she had thought of everything to make it comfortable. Sadly, the Wifi and the TV connection were very poor so we couldn’t get the admin type stuff done that we wanted to but hey ho…we’re on vacay. The biggest issue was location. There was NOWHERE to go, at least within walking distance, for a drink and some dinner. There was, however, a Mall which we over looked and Iain ended up taking me on a hot date night at the mall!! We had a beer in one place, wandered around the stores a bit and then had dinner in the food court followed by cake and another beer somewhere else. We really painted the town red!
I was somewhat disappointed as Croatia were playing in the World Cup against Argentina and I had had notions of watching it in a Croatian bar and really feeling the atmosphere. Of course that didn’t happen…however, Croatia beat them 3-0 – bloody fantastic! Fireworks began to go off outside as the game ended.
The best thing was the next day, after about an hour we diverted down a (very steep) hill to a tiny little village to take some pics and stop for a coffee. Sitting in a Croatian café when “Don’t cry for me Argentina” came on the radio was the best laugh yet!
The ride today was back to the spectacular scenery and views from the 1ststage and the road was great again. It was busier as today was a Croatian Holiday, Anti Fascist Struggle Day. This celebration commemorates the beginning of the uprising of Croatian anti-fascist Partisans against German and Italian occupying forces in 1941.
The people sure were making the most of it. At 9.30 in the morning all the little tucked away beaches were busy with families swimming and enjoying the sun.
The holiday did cause a bit of an issue for us though. Iain had been debating on and off about needing a new rear tyre. However, we had been unable to source one in Italy, aside from a tentative link that would have one delivered to our AirBnb in Siena. He didn’t want to rely on that but also didn’t want to waste the tread left on the old one by changing it too soon! Eventually, he decided to quit worrying about the waste and get one while he could. He had found a place in Split, just 10 minutes from our apartment, that carried the tyres. We arrived there bright and early ready to switch out the tyre but…Croatian Holiday = no work today!
Then began an email exchange with a super frustrating Italian tyre dealer who decided to answer only one question at a time instead of the three I had asked, necessitating more email! I guess there was a language barrier too because I asked him repeatedly for the shipping cost and he never did answer that one. Finally, thinking all was sorted and I had given him my card details…he decides to tell me that it’s only payment on delivery or bank transfer! Neither of which we could do of course. On the verge of losing my ass with him I politely emailed that neither option was possible and couldn’t I just call him with my payment. At which point he offered up PayPal as an option. Seriously?!?! He couldn’t have thought of that before!
So, todays ride took me unexpectedly to another country which I didn’t know I was going to! Happily rolling our way on down along the coast road, we came across a border crossing. How could that be? Has we been enjoying ourselves so much that we had just rolled on past Dubrovnik?
No, as it turns out (looking at Google Maps after) Bosnia has a small area of the coast in that region. We were in line for a while as the road was so busy, but it moved fairly well. We found out why when it was our turn. The uniformed officer inside the booth was far too busy…reading his newspaper! He looked up, nodded and waved us one. Top notch security right there!
Ten minutes later we were back in line again as we passed back into Croatia. Most bizarre!
We have been super lucky with the weather so far. Aside from that one day when it just rained, all day, we have beaten the bad weather. Today was an exceptional lucky break. We pulled into Dubrovnik ferry port with five hours to spare before we could load. So, of course, we took advantage to explore a little and sample the local beer! We off loaded our gear to something more comfortable and set off on our way.
Before leaving, I tucked our boots snugly underneath the bike. After a beer (or two) we went to the ticket office and while standing in line, it began to spit a little. Just as we had returned and settled into our restaurant, it absolutely poured down and did so the entire time we were eating. Then, just as we left, it stopped. And we were soooo thankful for that. What in the hec was going in with the passport control, I don’t know but the ferry began to load vehicles, calling all the bikes to the from first. There weren’t that many, maybe twenty if us, but it took 40 minutes to get through. What a daft system that was! But hey, because I had tucked the boots up safely, our toes were dry even if we were getting ticked off – I can’t even imagine how mad we would have been if it had still been tipping down!
Finally on the ferry, the bike was strapped down tightly and we settled in for the ride, quietly ignoring the rumored gale force wind forecast! If they were, we didn’t notice, we slept the night away quite happily waking up in Bari, Italy and ready for the next stage of our adventure 🙂
Follow our posts as we prepare for our 13 week tour of Europe that starts in May 2018!