Journey to the Promised Land 2022
After a few years of teaching, my feet got itchy again. So I packed a tent, a guitar and a few more things on the bike and headed for the Promised Land.
Work in Progress...
- Category: Journey to the Promised Land 2022
After Tolmin I escape the traffic and the heat on a lovely small mountain road to Cepovan and somehow end up in the city of Novo Gorica. That city has been erected after WW2 when old Gorica was declared to be Italian. From here I pass through olive groves, wine yards and small villages, slobbering. In the end of the day I finally get to taste the local wine on the small campground in Storje.
The next day, I visit the giant Limestone caves of Skocjance, and make it all the way to Piran where I put my feet in the Adriatic Sea for the first time in my life. It is a charming old town, but the campground is full of mosquitos and lacks simple things like power plugs.
So I move on, zoom through the bustling resort town Piran with its big hotels along the beach promenade. Suddenly I find myself in Croatia on a very busy highway. Instead of cycling down the west coast of the Istrian peninsula, I decide to cross the peninsula on lonesome picturesque roads to Brestova. Near Pazin I stay for a night on the lovely small Vita Mia Campground and enjoy a wonderful energizing massage mix with Shiatsu and Cranio. That is a real gift after 1000 kilometers cycled
The company on the campground would have been just right, the music at the bar too. However, I move on, push through the lush pine forests to Brestova from where ferries depart to the island of Cres. While waiting for the next ferry, I get to talk to the Belgian cyclists Crista and Herman. The two are en route towards Greece on the Eurovelo 8.
The boat ride takes about half an hour to Porozina on Cres. In the heat of the day I climb up 400 meters on the bike, just to roll em down again into the city of Cres. A huge sailing ship just departs. The campground is huge, and overcrowded with camper vans. I decide to spoil myself with a hotel for a night instead. The narrow alleys smell like a flowerpot at night for the locals hang up laundry. A German couple gives me some advice on the Croatia and its islands. They urge me to avoid the coastal highway down South to Dubrovnik on the bicycle, yet the island hoping seems to be a logistic challenge since some ferries will take on bicycles, others won't and the websites won't tell...
On the following day I move on to Mali Losinj where I expect to fetch a ferry to Zadar in the afternoon. On the road, I meet cyclist who told me that he just gave up on the island hoping after a long detour. A little later, I am invited for a drink by an elderly Austrian cyclist who spends his holidays in his camper on another campground. He could have given me a lot of advice on Cres and Mali Losinj yet in my mind I am already on the ferry to Zadar. In town I suddenly realize the ferry will only depart three days later. I surrender myself to stay on another huge luxurious campground until that. Time to wash my stuff, time to enjoy the beach and chats with some nice campers.
I save the visit of the city of Zadar for another time and move on small roads towards Skradin to visit the Krka National Park. In an older travel guidebook it was written that is was possible to swim in the rivers and pools down there. However, meanwhile the rules had changed and so I was about the only one walking through the fairy tale landscape in sim trousers.
Later in the evening I meet Michael, a cyclist from Switzerland. Michael is a fun guy and we share the same ideas about bike touring and avoiding the traffic on main roads. So we team up for a couple of adventurous days, cycle to Split and from there hop on a ferry to the lovely laid back island of Korcula. A few days later, after a brief visit to Bosnia we reach Dubrovnik and visit the famous ancient old city center.
Michael is going to Italy by ferry, and I push on further down the Adriatic coast. Actually, on the way out of Dubrovnik I am lucky enough to finally meet and talk with a young Croatian man who is not involved in tourist business at all.
- Category: Journey to the Promised Land 2022
On August 20th 2022 the bike is packed, the new passport has arrived and the weather is good enough to start a new adventure. Kathrin joins me on the first days of this journey. Together we cross the Alpine passes Albula, Bernina and the Fuorcla di Livigno. After a pretty cold night on the campground, we ride on a popular and steep MTB route up to Col Alipsella. From there a rather adventurous MTB track leads through Val Mora up to the picturesque Döss Radönt (2234m) that is fully controlled by curious marmots. From there a long gravel roads brings us down to Mustair.
From Mustair we continue on the popular bike track "Via Claudia Augusta" to Naturs on our ride to Bolzano. This bike track is well developed and takes the cyclists away from the traffic of the main roads. After Merano we leave the bike track and spend a night and half of the next day at the Voran Alp, before descending to Bolzano, where we spoil ourselves with a hotel and splendid evening in town before we have to say good bye to each other on the next morning.
Eager to make pace, eager to get on I zoom through the fantastic Dolomite mountain ranges. To avoid the main traffic, I choose a route with less famous passes. I cross the Nigerjoch and the San Pellegrino, spend a night on the idyllic Camping Eden in Falcade. It's been a big day with 75km and 2400 elevation meters, and I sleep like a stone. The next day brings me up to Passo Duran, down to Forno and then up to the Fuorcla di Cibiana.
Initially I wanted to camp for a night at the official campground at the Lago di Cadore. That campground was closed and abandoned, so I had to continue Domegge di Cadore. Lucky charms led me to a small charming pension off the main road with a lovely backyard. Tommy the host served me some well deserved Radler and we quickly started to talk about traveling, about being abroad, about everything basically. And about the rain that was predicted for tomorrow. Later, Tommys colleagues would show show up. Wed have more beers, I'd learn some Italian and eventually, have diner with the only other guest Danilo. Danilo works on some power plant in the mountains I wanted to cross next, and spent his live working on power plants all over the world.
Long story short, I enjoy a somewhat rainy rest day at Tommys place and by the end of the following day, I guess I know all his friends. One of them presents me one of his self made lucky charms dolometti. Danilo tells a about the heavy rain in the mountains and I'm fairly happy I stayed in the pension rather than on the abandoned campground. To be so welcome, to feel so invited by total strangers is such a great experience.
With a dizzy head I climb up the fantastic road to Sella Ciampigotto. It is rather cold up here, just 13°C at noon and it already feels like autumn in the alps. A young mountain biker I meet on the way spends his holidays with his tribe, yet lives in Cambridge and makes his living on molecular biology. He tells me that the locals speak an ancient German dialect here. Yet still I move on, cross a dripping tunnel and climb up to Passo Duro (and collected a lot of trash). From here I descent down to Tagliamento valley. With good luck I end up on a lovely down-to-earth campground called Ai Piopi that seems to be a famous stop over on the popular Alpe Adria bike trail. So I eventually get to see a bunch of other cyclists.
After a brief visit in Venzone I enter Val Resia and head for the Sella Carnizza, the last alpine pass before Slovenia. An sign on the road says the road is closed. I dare anyway. Almost no traffic for the entire climb. An Italian motorcyclist takes over, comes back some 20 minutes later and tells me about huge concrete blocks that block the road. I might be able to lift the bike over. No clue what comes afterwards. Luckily it works out well, and after the descent I find myself in Slovenia, and soon after in the famous Socia valley (with lots of traffic and no alternative routes for cyclists, in some stretches). By 4PM I arrive at a campground in Kobarid and enjoy a dip into the ice cold Socia river.