My bike is fixed!
I hopped on the back of Stefano's bike and we rode to Italy to pick up my motorcycle. The reason why it took so long is because they noticed my GS was still equipped with the old-style fuel pump controller which is a known defective part prone to failure. So they ordered the new replacement part from Germany and fixed it under warranty, which was really nice of them, since the warranty on my bike ran out years ago!
What was supposed to be a two-day visit in Switzerland turned out to be close to a two-week stay. I thanked Bettina and Stefano profusely for sheltering me while my bike was in the shop. They were so hospitable, friendly and helpful, they made me feel so at home at their place. I really hope to see them again soon.
I left pretty late in the day from Lugano and took the Autostrada all the way from Switzerland to Croatia. 600 kms flew by in a matter of a few hours. It makes you realize just how small Europe is, that you can ride through four countries in a single day. You can't even ride through Ontario in a day!
The days are getting so short! As soon as the sun set, the temperature dropped down to low single digits. The windchill while riding at 130 km/h forced me to put the heated electric liners on. First time since Alaska! We have gear to deal with the cold temperatures, but the imminent snow and ice will surely drive us southwards.
When I crossed the border from Slovenia to Croatia, I used my British passport for the very first time in my life. Since Croatia joined the EU, the guard just glanced at my document and waved me through. And here I was all ready to do my, "Bond, James Bond" impression...
Pretty cool just waltzing through though. I felt very European. Riding into Pula, into familiar surroundings again, I was hit with a sense of returning from a long journey. This was the first time in years that we had left a place and then returned back, as if it was a home of sorts. Neda still has to sort out some of her mom's affairs after she passed away this summer, so we are staying put here for awhile.
Trevor visits us in Pula! Photo by Iva
We first met Trevor at the Horizons Unlimited meeting in California back in October 2012. Since then, we've kept in touch and our paths have crossed on the Stahlratte between Panama and Colombia in April 2013 and now he's in Europe with us, so we're hosting him in Pula while he decides where to go next.
We're all part of a network of Round-The-World motorcycle travelers and it's not unusual to say to someone, "See you in Europe next year!" or "Meet you in Croatia in a couple of months!"...
Day trip to Rovinj
Iva and Tajana once again take up the mantle of Istrian tour guides. But since we have motorcycles this time, Trevor, Neda and I all follow on two wheels. The first stop of the day is the tourist port-town of Rovinj.
Oooh, pretty bottles of olive oil...
Neda pulls me aside and tells me that these aren't the good olive oil, they're the crappy blend that they sell to tourists who don't know any better. "But the bottles are so pretty! It's got the name of the town on it and everything!"
Small Hadron Collider.
Rovinj used to be a fortified town due to the conflict between the Turks and the Venetians. In the 17th century, the gate of the town as well as the walls were pulled down and this arch was erected in its place. On one side of the arch is the head of a Turk and on the other side is the head of a Venetian.
Scootin' around Rovinj
Hanging out with Trevor
Waving to fellow motorcyclists
The geography in Istria is described using colours. There are three main areas: "White" Istria are the mountain peaks, "Grey" Istria is the fertile soils of the interior and "Red" Istria describes the red clay soil along the coastlines, suitable for vineyards. You can see the red soil in the picture above, it's similar to the red earth in Prince Edward Island (Canada).
Our next stops, the ruins in Dvigrad
What remains of Dvigrad Castle, constructed in the 11th century
Dvigrad was abandoned in the 17th century due to a pest and malaria outbreak
The only pests that hang out in Dvigrad now are tourists.
Back on the road!
Some of the trees have already shed their leaves for the season, which reminds me we should be leave-ing soon too...
Neda found a feather duster. And she is whistling to it...?
Our last stop for the day is a little town on top of a hill called Draguć.
Cat watches as tourists clad in motorcycle gear wander around her village
Everyone is so beat from racing all over Istria, we take a little nap.
Except for Trevor, who looks to be attempting to break into this building...
My friends are such bastardos. Since I was the first one to fall asleep, I could hear them in my sleep giggling and taking pictures of me, but I was too tired to wake up and yell at them.
Heading back home, lots of Autumn colours on the way
Neda is so happy to be exploring her old country on two wheels
Tajana poses on the back of Neda's bike
Trevor left after spending almost a week with us. He was off to explore the rest of Croatia. Pula was experiencing some heavy rainfall, so we worried a bit about his trip. But on the other hand, we now had the place to ourselves again! It's been a very social time for us lately, either being guests or hosts for nearly a month now and I was missing some serious Pants-Off-Time. You know, when you walk through the door of your house, and then immediately take off your pants so you can walk around the place in your underwear? I know you know what I'm talking about...
I know you do.