Days 19 to 22 – Vienna, Austria to Biograd, Croatia. With Hungary and Slovenia thrown in.

Leaving Vienna fairly early to beat the traffic we took the motorway. Bad move, it was pretty chaotic with 4 lanes at 130k limit. We stuck to the slow lane 🙂

70ks south we took to the B roads and crossed into Hungary without any fuss or ‘who are you?’, then back into Austria and once again into Hungary at this place which had once been a border control point but now was a dump that sold bad coffee and cigarettes to those heading into Austria.

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We travelled on and crossed into Slovenia. There didn’t appear to be any rhyme nor reason to that crossing either although some people were stopping – we just kept riding  waiting for the sheriff’s department to catch up. They never did so we kept riding through some delightful country before stopping for lunch – see above.

And so into Croatia where the border guards were waiting to be very official and stamped our passports twice. Welcome to the land of my heritage 🙂 Yeah, my maternal Grandfather was born in Croatia, leaving in 1914 for New Zealand at the age of 15. Thinking on that it must have been a really big thing to do at that age and time. Good for you Dida Sosich. We’ll visit his village tomorrow in real time.

Croatia immediately had a difference about it. For one it was totally devoid of humanity, it was Friday and everything except the pubs and fuel stations, also pubs, were closed. Now it probably had something to do with it being a public holiday called ‘Victory Day’ celebrating the end of hostilities some 20 years ago of the civil war between the Croats and the Serbs. I got the distinct impression there’s still a far bit bubbling away under the surface.

Our room for the night was in a house next to the local castle in a little village, all of  which had seen better days, called Zacretje about 50ks north of Zagreb.

We were a little dubious, after all it only cost A$44, but there are a million places around the world that could take a real lesson from our hostess. Sure there was no air con, and the village church chimed itself silly all night, but our room was the best we’ve had yet with all sorts of goodies supplied for our comfort, even to the local port which was a pretty decent drop. Good for you Lucia, we pray you all the best in your endeavour to prosperity.

320ks for the day in up to 35c. My pillion is a legend.

Day 13 Zagreb Alt 320k

Next day, 6th August, a Saturday, we rode south fore the Dalmatian Coast via Zagreb and the freeway out of town along with 3 million others all going flatout. We pulled off that road onto the A road and joined a different 1 million heading for the coast 250ks away. It was a day of concentration in heavy traffic. We could have headed slightly east into the hills and through Bosnia but the weather was threatening and delivering heavy rain via that route. So we followed the throng south, grabbed our tollway ticket and motored through a series of tunnels, and over the range and into an ever more desolate countryside. Welcome to the land of my forebears.

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Coming down the high range to the coast we encountered the most horrific crosswinds I’ve ever ridden in.Serious stuff to the point of nearly being blown over when we had to slow to a walking pace because of a pile up ahead – we took to the kirb and kept going to Biograd on the coast where we’re taking two days to savour the sun and each other. 350ks for the day.

Day 14 Biograd 350k

We discovered where those millions of drivers were headed – here where we are. I mean, have you ever wondered just what all those people are doing on the road and why they’re out there taking up all that space and bitumen. Well we found out. They headed for the coast and lie around like beached whales on the sea shore which isn’t because it’s rocks like the hills around us.  🙂 We wandered around for the first day and then today I went for a dive and Norma got her hair done. We should have put as much prayer into the dive part as we did the hair part (you know how it is guys; happy hair, happy wife, happy life), but we didn’t, so I had a lousy couple of dives but I do have a happy wife. So I’m happy 🙂

WARNING: don’t waste your money on diving the coast around here. Viz maybe OK but there’s NOTHING to see. No fish, no coral or sponges, no colour, no nothing. Also no depth gauge or anything to indicate time, which for me is essential when diving. These are the best GoPro could do:

it was however a nice journey for the day.

The business and boat was owned by a woman in her 50s who, in the winter, lectured in engineering at the local university and was studying for her PHd. She owned the whole show and wasn’t appreciated by the male dominated waterfront which was evidenced by the fact that they’d closed her mooring space down to a perfect boat length on our return. I was impressed at her boat handling as she made a perfect birth. Good for her, I can’t stand that sort of prejudice.

Tomorrow it’s on to Makarska with my happy wife to visit my 3rd cousins.

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