Since every moment in Slovenia and Croatia last night was riding through the dark and the rain, I had no idea where I was... and I woke up to this! Hilarious! Yesterday I was in a small snowy mountain town in the Alps, and today I am on the "Sea.. not See".. just to be clear to Austrian readers that it's not a lake out there.. ;-) And warm enough to only wear a t-shirt!!! Hallelujah!!!!! What a difference a day makes!
This is like a huge reward for the last several weeks.. but looking at the forecast, it only reports rain, rain, rain and more rain.. so I enjoy the view while I can..
This is Rijeka, Croatia in the distance.. My location is called Lovran. I set out on foot on my first day, but still with my t-shirt. A very well dressed for winter man stops me on the street, and speaking Croatian, I indicate I don't understand... "Engleski ... Ja ne razumijem hrvatski". With a worried look, he points to my t-shirt then rubs his arm to enact cold?? I say No..! He shook his head and walked on. I've been in very cold for a while, so 15 degrees Celcius was like summer weather to me!! After being aware I'm the t-shirt girl, I look around at others walking on the street, and yep, they all have on winter coats and hats. Oh well!
We had this nice little break with some sun, but I ended up staying here the next 4 days through non-stop rain. It was a great feeling that I didn't have to push and ride through it, I could just stop.. have a look around this small Croatian town, and catch up on my blog and photos. It was nice and exciting at first to rest! But by day 2, I was like, okay, you can stop raining now, I would like to continue.. but I didn't. The family at the hotel was so nice, they made great food, and I was dry.. it is their off season, so I really got looked after as one of two guests at the place. I'm actually very very lucky to have a place to stay. This area is SO TOURISTY in summer, and NOBODY in winter, the majority of the nice big hotels are completely closed.. chains and locks over the doors.. This place however, the family lives inside too, so might as well rent a room when you can, hey?
My bike was happy and secure too..
Now, it's finally a sunny day... I can escape!!! Can't wait to explore Croatia! In Australia I have a couple friends who are from Croatia. One of them suggested I call in to visit an Auntie somewhat close to where I was. So I follow the coast road on my way to a town called Pula. I was loving the view and the gorgeous little church on the hill.
Can't help but to stop a few times.. such a pretty day and a very long time since I could ride along any coastline in decent weather for months!
So I ride into Pula.. and actually need to figure out where I am meant to go. All I know is my friend's Auntie works in an archeological museum, but no idea where as of yet.. Humm Humm, riding around and I literally just run into this! I'm like, "What?? Did I fall asleep and wake up in Rome?" This big beautiful colesseum here in Pula is amazing!! And I just pull the bike right up and park! No big tourist busses, no big long lines to get in.. what's up with this place? (I didn't research where I was going again... but I get a kick out of surprises like this!)
Actually more officially called the Pula Arena, I found out it was built between 27 BC and 68 AD.. For real?? That is incredible!! And I pull up to such an "in tact" part of history on my motorcycle in 2010, no worries?? Far out... I never fail to be completely and thoroughly surprised on this journey..
It is built by the Romans as you might suspect.. and a testament to their construction talent, to this day, they still have events inside, seating up to 5,000 people.. mainly concerts..
I must move on to find Auntie, but wow... wow, wow, wow!!!! I also learned about the underground tunnels for the animals and the Gladiators. Can you imagine.. being here at that time? And would they have imagined a girl riding her motorcycle from Australia here at THIS time? ;-)
Well it made sense that the archeological museum was not far from here, and I found it. Auntie came out to greet me and had me park behind the building.
There are broken bits of stone history all over the back lot.. there is so much, I understand, what to do with it all? I enjoyed my visit.. but while i was looking at the map, I came up with a brilliant idea. I notice I am so close to Italy, why not go spend the night in Italy... literally, "Because I Can"!! So on around the coast I make my way toward Trieste.
That ended up being a bit of a boring ride, and when I arrived Trieste, it was a huge city full of traffic large smoke stacks puffing out serious amounts of sh _ _. After breathing clean air for several days, polluted city air really hits you. I did check on a couple places to stay, and they were not only a little out of budget, but way out. Hmm, I didn't like it here, the sun is going down, and I don't have a plan. I decide I would be far luckier to find something cheap in the hills outside of town. Wandering around those curvy roads in the dark was producing nothing. I finally found a small town with 2 hotels. One is closed... very closed, like dead and vandalised. The other one was small, basic, but again not even a consideration in budget. I rode around in the dark to check out the nearby campgrounds that showed up on my gps. They were closed for winter.. as all I have seen have been. I went back to the hotel because the man spoke really good English and I asked for ANY other idea.. luckily he knew of an old lady that rents rooms, but wasn't sure if she would be at this time of year. He called her on her mobile for me. She wasn't home, but would be in an hour, and agreed to let me stay.
I decide to find dinner while I was waiting.. The restaurants in this town won't even open until 8.. It was only 7, so.. as I was rummaging through a very small disorganized grocery, picking up a tin of tuna and a tomato, the owner recommends I go down the road 3 km to SLOVENIA!!!! As they would be open now and far cheaper food with bigger plates.. sold!! How funny is that!! He says, you don't want to eat in Italian restaurant.. too expensive.. and he is Italian! but I took the suggestion and had a really huge cheap Slovenian meal (As ususal, I couldn't read the menu, and it is not a touristy place, so nobody speaks English. I find my new habit is to just decide in my head what I would like to eat tonight as if I were home and explain best I can. I happened to be in the mood for simple grilled vegetables...and that's what I got!! An awesome massive plate of a gorgeous variety of veggies.. perfect!) And then rode back into Italy 3 km to the house! Hopefully this map will help.
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It turned out to be a wonderful old Italian home, and as soon as I pulled into the gated driveway in the dark, I hear "Mama Mia!!" and I get off the bike and I hear "Mama Mia, Mama Mia!!!" She's a little butterball Italian lady with blonde short bob hair cut, and sweet as could be. She couldn't believe a woman riding a motorcycle, she says, I usually only see men... Mama Mia!! I got a wonderful room, and she laid out all kinds of good food for snacks and hot water for tea. Ahhhhh... I can rest now. (I know it's irresponsible for me to have done this without a plan, but I got to explore Croatia today, eat my dinner in Slovenia, and stay the night in Italy!! I couldn't have planned that anyway.. love it!!)