And we're off!
Kind of. It took us forever to get out of Medulin. First Neda's GPS lost power, so we had to trace the fault. Turns out all this plugging and unplugging of the batteries every season has taken its toll on the devices tied into the battery terminals. The GPS power cable had shorn itself off at the ring terminal, so I had to cut and re-splice the lead. We have a few devices tied into the battery. I'm planning on getting some kind of external fuse box so the terminals don't look like the top of a palm tree...
And then my rear bulb burnt out. Add another 15 minutes to find where I hid the replacement bulbs I bought last year...
Thankfully, there is so much daylight now that we're in the Northern Hemisphere. While in SE Asia, near the equator, we only got 12 hours of sunlight a day regardless of the time of year. But here, the sun doesn't set till 8PM and the days are only going to get longer! More time to sleep in in the mornings! Sweet!
Pula has basically been our European home base and we've already spent quite some time roaming all over Istria. So we hit the highway till we were off the peninsula and rounded the curve past Rijeka. The coastal roads were a great way to get accustomed to our BMWs again.
Stopping in the pretty town of Senj for a late lunch
The minute we parked, a group of Italian bikers spied our license plates and had a million and one questions for us
Thankfully, Neda can speak Italian, so she spent several minutes explaining where and what we've done over the last four years! Apart from our license plates, I think they were also marveling at how much stuff we were carrying!
Cevapcici, skinless sausages - traditional Croatian grilled meat
I can already tell I'm not going to lose any weight while we're traveling down the Adriatic!
Main square in Senj
Back on the coastal road south out of Senj
The weather is beautiful: sun shining, blue skies, high teens - really pleasant riding weather. The same kind of conditions we've had all week while in Pula. We've timed our arrival back to Croatia perfectly! I think we've lucked out a bit too because all of the reports from Western Europe are of heavy showers. Our Belgian friends haven't even brought their bikes out for the season yet! It really feels like the RideDOT.com rains lost our scent when we hopped on a plane and flew to SE ASia. And now those rainclouds are wandering around the wrong part of Europe looking for us. Haha!
Fingers crossed that we may finally have broken the rain curse...
Beautiful coastal scenery
South of Senj, we cut inland through an awesome twisty road through Vratnik
The roads here are narrower and twistier than the main roads on the coast. I know Neda is starting to get more comfortable with her bike because she pulls away from me at each corner. I have to put the camera away and focus on the turns in front of me if I want to catch up to her! :)
Natural motion blur!
We want to visit Plitvice National Park, but it's too expensive to find a place right in the park, so we are staying in Korenica, which is about 20 minutes south of it. One nice thing about having our own transportation is that we can find cheaper accommodations further away from tourist places and just ride in the next day.
We rented a small apartment outside of town
The owners helped take all our luggage up to the second floor and we were a bit embarrassed that all the dry bags smelled like cat pee. Those damn cats! Still can't get rid of the scent! :(
The next day we rode into Plitvice Lakes National Park. Neda had been here once before and she really wanted to show this to me. Unfortunately, there was a lot of hiking involved. But I was told there would be great pictures. After much haggling and bargaining over how much mileage we were going to hike, we shook hands on a number. I managed to talk Neda down to 10 kms (she originally wanted to do 18!). I can live with that, as long as the scenery is good...
I was not disappointed.
There are literally a million waterfalls in Plitvice Park. Well, maybe not literally... But there's a lot.
The hiking trail takes us past a few large lakes. There are actually sixteen lakes in total and because the limestone which they're on have eroded at different rates, the whole area is teeming with waterfalls and cascades. You can't walk 10 feet without seeing a new waterfall!
I had too many pictures of waterfalls, so I had to make a collage, otherwise this blog post would have 50 pictures of waterfalls
Neda is just happy because she got me to hike!
Cool sinkholes in one of the lakes
Another collage. So many cascades of different shapes and sizes!
Our cameras were firing non-stop with all the beauty surrounding us
Best of all, there are so few tourists around. Plitvice is one of Croatia's most visited attractions - every year over a million people come to see the lakes and waterfalls. We're early enough in the season that we're avoiding the rush, but late enough that the weather and the colours were vibrant to make the hike worthwhile (at least for me...)
And more waterfalls!
The park has done a really nice job in providing a mixture of groomed trails and raised wooden pathways
Some of the paths take you up high so you can get an aerial view of some of the falls
Some of the footpaths were closed due to them still being flooded by the late spring runoff
These will be fixed and opened later on in the season
Another collage. We had taken so many pictures, it was hard to choose just a few for the blog
I counted, and between Neda and I, we have taken over 500 photos for the day
10 kms go by very slowly when everything around you is so interesting!
Even these little bugs on the water were fascinating
At the end of the day, we climbed back on the bikes. I was exhausted and the camera felt 10 lbs heavier because of all the pictures I took. Still, it was a great way to kick off our Adriatic coast trip!
Rain, rain, please stay in away!!!