About Clunegapyears

Travelling around Europe with James in our motorhome

899-903 : ‘Split’ting in Two

899 – Wednesday 15th November 2017:  A Wet Trogir

Adieu to Marina Camping – Kh200 (£23.60 + wifi and electric)— for 2 nights – excellent value – recommended.  Trogir on our horizon – the weather Apps both said rain would ease – did it feck!  A drodential townpour instead….. a quick wetwalk around the town – lovely – nice photos, K… on the little camera.   We intended wilding along the beach road as others had – but we rather overhung on the sea side – and if there was a spring tide – Jez would have had a soggy bottom – no thanks.  South of Split we went to an ACSI campsite – they didn’t accept the card but are cheaper than ACSI – this sometimes happens. EUR12 per night for 3+ nights – gift horse?  

Positively stunning beachfront pitch – 3 Brit vans beside us – unusual…nice (full time) people, but two were travelling together and somewhat cliquey.

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Other bloggers had raved abut Trogir, but not, I fancy, in the wet.  It is a small island sandwiched between the mainland and another island.  We parked up on the second island, with a view to overnighting there, as others had done before us.

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The cathedral and square.

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We’re getting rather good at spotting the Venetian windows.

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What is that stuff falling on my head?

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Pretty narrow alleys with worn cobbles.  And no cafe in sight where we could hunker down with Oscar.  We’re finding bars quite dog friendly, but away from the main tourist sites.

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And onto our lovely campsite.  These are the views from our beach front pitch … 

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899 – Thursday 16th November:  Split Day 1

Weather dry in the AM – brekkied up and ebiked towards Split mainly along the seafront – Oscar got out for a run for some of it.  We ‘coffee’d’ and walked around the outside of the old town to an amazing belvedere up top – panoramic views…  Hands up those who have had a “stropa opasnost” falling on yer heads?  Obvious when you see the photo?

We lock our bikes with so many chains and stuff that would deter any enthusiastic thief – but we neglected to padlock Oscar’s foam mattress!!!  No – we don’t want to hear from our readers who have padlocks on their mattresses – Oscar isn’t into MSBD (work it out, before the watershed…) – maybe a homeless person was in need? Good luck to them – we don’t think his nibs peed on it…

Split is growing on us – not just because of a nice sea promenade lunch with local wine – K was very impressed by the Swiss chard with garlic – yummy…

Homeward bound – K started clicking – no – there’s nothing wrong with her teeth!  Her gears were clicking – then they stopped working going uphill – not good – this is why we bought the machines, after all. Quick look – the chain was very slack and need retensioning – plus it kept slipping off the gear wheel – I put it back with oily fingers – several times until it stuck fast outside the gear wheel and wouldn’t budge. The only solution was to push the bike weight + 35 kgs of O and trailer up each steep hill!  Sense of humour failure beckoned. Need to talk to Boris Karkhoff or his manual. (Not a ‘Frankenstein’ moment – more a ‘frankenspanner’ issue).  There were several hills – K was tested – I offered to swop bikes but she persevered (K: penance for a good lunch). Thankfully, we were only 3 km from base and K could freewheel downwards… These bikes are brand new.  Techie time tomorrow…

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Our morning view …. at least it’s dry!

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5 sets of locks / chains but some bar-steward knicked Oscar’s 4” fitted mattress and the M&S shopping bag that I’d stowed underneath.  They’d left helmets, pannier bag and J’s dry clothes!

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View along the front – Riva

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Beware falling buildings!

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Views from the top of the Marjan Peninsula…

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And another view from our pitch … can you tell we’re rather taken with it?

900 – Friday 17th November:  Chores and Hair Matters

Leisurely start with tropical beach brekkietime… – see K with ‘her’ palm tree growing out of her right shoulder. When did we last brekkie on the beach in warm sunshine?  On a recommendation from our GB neighbours, K made an appointment for a hair chop and a colour ‘enhancement’.. Jez is the only ‘grey’ around here – and me, of course – greying old, disgracefully…  O and I tensioned the bike chain – Oscar rode it around the site and pronounced it fixed – we did some washing up and cleaning prep.  We settled looking cool to await K’s ‘enhanced’ return.  What a rehanced turnout indeed!  £30 for her hairdressing visit – £80-100 at home just for a cut?  

Not wishing to push the beach thing too far – late beach Bbq – until the sun went down…  As all fellow motorhomers know, we gallantly sacrifice ourselves to put up with this ‘difficult’ life… it’s hard.

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 A leisurely breakfast on OUR beachfront.

901 – Saturday 18th November:  Doing the Split(s) – Day 2

Rebiked, same route to Split – should we coffee en route – yes!  Beachfront cafe – the whole world was out (Saturday) – millions of kids under the age of three…? Katherine’s teeth, sorry – gears were working – well, gears have teeth…  We bikelocked in a more conspicuous location – and started our tour of the Old Town/Diocletian’s Palace. This Roman Emperor was way ahead of his time – he delegated (some) powers to 3 colleagues, although some historians believe that this as the start of the Fall of the Roman Empire.  And he invented the concept of – wait for it – ‘early retirement’!!!  Who’s in favour of early retirement? Ouch – that was an avalanche of hands in the air!  Led by Diane and Grahame, of course… (K:  and I …retirement at 50 ain’t bad :))

Cathedral – previously Diocletion’s Mausoleum, Baptistry -previously Jupiter’s Temple… Big market in town – and lunch was the universal choice of Pizza – with wine. Neighbouring diner – lady admiring Oscar – gave him – doggy chews!   He replied – “hvala”.  

Originally, we weren’t going to visit Split – now delighted we did – it’s a real treat – well worth it.

Looking forward to the return cycle – unlocked the bikes – all stuff intact – my front wheel was as flat as a canpake/pakecan/pancake… in other words – it was empty of hot air – unlike me… Well, I got myself all pumped up – like Popeye (spinach is good for tyres) – and with my Olive Oyle – we recycled ourselves homeward bound. On one particular hill, K felt some clicking (the wine was really good) – no – gear clicking, again…   same hills – same pushing – same weight.. are we getting bored with the bike issues – Yes!  But, unadorned/undaunted, we pushed on through the same hills -well, K pushed and Oscar encouraged her from inside his chariot…  

Back to a glass of – Bovril? No – Croatian wine!

The weather gurus threatened rain and wind – so we wound in the awning and proceeded to collapse the Os-car – blimey – the (stolen, we thought) mattress had lodged itself in the roof!  Profuse apologies to all Splitians…

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Entering Diocletian’s Palace  … leading to the original main square.  Could have paid to go under from here to the basements.

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The Campanile and Cathedral … oringinally Diocletian’s Mausoleum.

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Inside Diocletian’s Mausoleum ….

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Inside the baptristy … A rather skinny St John the Baptist.

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Narrow streets for skinny people.

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Another old square.

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Albus Dumbledore?  Still on book 7 of the Harry Potter series.

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That’s us!

902 – Sunday 19th November:  A Leisurely Sunday

A ‘down’ day – sundry jobettes….hair cut for moi, pruning for Oscar, bank accounts, laun-dry. K booked a flight home in January to see Maddy – oh, and some Jezacleaning……


903 – Monday 20th November:  Cycling to the Cetina Gorge

A nice German lady on site had suggested a visit to Omis and the Cetina Gorge – our reception lady said it wasn’t too hilly – but she had only driven it……  We robed up – with spare layers for any colder weather – Oscar was ‘the sound of silence’ in his mini van (with thick foam mattress in place!) – lubberly stuff. We soon encountered a ‘long and winding road’ (John Lennon) – relatively steep uphill.  In the sun it was pleasant but in the shade – it was bitter!  Then fast z-bends downhill – the wind increasing the cold effect.  We dived into the nearest cafe – and demolished 2 quick cups of hot coffee (could have done with a shot of brandy).  Walked around the harbour to a small beach to give our young man a trot and to perform his ‘bizzies’.  The narrow streets of the old town are lovely – reminiscent of Italia….. Lunch indoors sounded like another good idea – so we found a welcoming restaurant that accepted dogs. A litre of good Croation vino on the table and a comprehensive menu. Seabass for my lady and breaded pork stuffed with ham and cheese for me – the helpings were ginormous indeed!

The trip home (K’s bike chain needed adjustment en route) was faster and warmer (the wine helped our circulation). A fellow motorhome lady from Finland joined us for drinks in Jez – we had tried to purchased the local equivalent of “Slipovitch” – a ‘bitch of a slip’ to drink – firewater with ‘erbs…. but nice local wine mad the evening very pleasant – we reminisced about our Finnish travels two years ago…rather too many ‘slippyvitzes’ of vino – resulted in a slight headache for K in the am…   (K:  vowing to be dry till the weekend!)

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View at the start of the Z bends down to the gorge.  The path the other side of the river is in darkest, coldest shade.

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Not one but two sea bass, beautifully cooked with a side of roasted veggies drizzled with some of the garlic and oil dressing … I drenched more on the fish and managed to eat the lot!  J did mention and odour of garlic in bed!

Oscar’s Diary

Hi K’niners, again… it’s me, Oscar. I believe we are in Croatia, in the sunshine (with previous drenching – has anyone seen Judy Drench on stage – she’s really cool). The usual tours/church visits – I sit outside with alternate owners while they ooh and ahh about old bricks and stones (The Rolling Stones are old brix – Hammersmith Palais 1962 – now, I heard that from James – he’s ancient). 

Today, as we were sedately sauntering through the Told Clown – Old Town, I heard an anguished cry from behind me “I scream!”  I whirled around (ballet style) and fared my bangs to protect K (you can’t beat an old bared fang). I was ready as always – I’m a pink belt in K’rate and Jujitso and a black belt in truffle digging   “I scream” again, we heard… really worried – J and I hurried to her assistance at once. Was it A&E time?  No, it was a scream for “Ice-cream”!!!  Blow me down with a feather boa (please – I’ve always fancied a boa – but not the conscriptor type) – all was well  when K was seated with 2 large dollops of mixed ice cream…

Enough – I plead – and then, my trip home was interrupted by K puffing up some small hills – that gal has some balls (of ice cream)…..

At last, I am home and have been fed…not a truffle sight, though – or a boa…

Another new training regime – yep…. my patience is being tested. K puts some nibbles in her fist – offers it to me – and promptly closes her hand around the goodies – saying “trust”!  Now, I’m not saying she’s ‘tight fisted’ at all… minutes elapse while I try to reason with her – then “paid for” and I get to nosh from the other hand … Where’s the point?

I did find a bone outside, though – a decent nibble… nighttime came – I didn’t mean to vomit ’slipovitzybonedrool’ all on the floor/rug – and it wasn’t me getting my own back, honestly 

It’s never dull here……

Oscar 


 

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The Magic hand game.

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Teaching me to read now!


893-895: Gales and Water in Zadar & Krka

893 – Sunday 12th November 2017:  Jobs Day

Another lovely and peaceful night at our free aire at Otocac (we recommend it to anyone travelling in this area, although they may be charging you at some point). Moved Jez a few metres to get water on board and to use the good old twin tub to do basic laundry – to hang in our ‘Chinese Laundryvan’. We both showered as we could refill with ‘uisce beatha’ (water of life) – and free lecky to boot. Oscar had a good play outside – but I lost his ‘sliothar’ (the Irish contingent will know this one) – a small ball for the game of hurling.  Then, after departing, we noticed his pink bear was missing!  He’s had this since a tiny puppy….. now, we’re both in the doghouse – but thankfully he’s very forgiving. We feel there might be a price for this – food!  

All squeaky clean – we drove to north of Zadar (peage £9 and a very long tunnel).  Our chosen overnight was an abandoned campsite – on an App as a ‘wild’.  Lots of picnicers and dog walkers – nice perambulate around the headland before retiring for pre-prandial drinkies… As (technically) wilding is illegal in Croatia, we feel slightly uneasy and will use more campsites – not too many open in the winter though. But – still completely secure.  

Hunkered down for the evening, zzzzzs time…..

 

894 – Monday 13th November 2017:  Zadar

Drove into Zadar intending to park in the city – all suitable car parks were full – mid morning on a Monday!  Luckily, we spotted one on street spot – and parallel parked – the pilot’s and spotter’s skills much admired by a passing pedestrian.  Stressed cafe for coffee – borderline cold and starting to spit rain….. The pick of the sights was St Donat’s church (yes – shaped like a donut) – simple and plain which we love.  The church hosts many summer musical performances – but never like the one on our visit!  The acoustics are excellent – so, I stood in the centre – and sang “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary” in my pseudo-baritone voice!  It was so well received by the audience (K and O) that I may be invited to sing “Over the Hills and Far Away”!!!  The Albert Hall does not beckon….perhaps the Battersea Dogs Home?  

K had read that there was a ‘sea organ’ nearby – and as we headed back to Jez, we walked along the seafront to let Oscar travel off-lead – we heard music from somewhere nearby – it was the waves breaking – and activating the sea organ!!!  I’ve never come across this (K had) – it’s absolutely amazing.  Lots of musical notes along a long paved water edge.

Our loveboat (Jez) sailed himself (and us) to an ACSI campsite – with free lecky and wifi…  It was quite cold and a gale blowing (lovely inside – a sort of ’night-in-gale’ evening) – with my own lovebird… Oh dear – feeling all mushy and squishy, now.   

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Zadar: The Land Gate … with a Lion’s head.

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Venetian’s had ruled … more Italianate windows … dig the strip light and modern blinds.

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St Donat and Campanile sitting on top of the Roman Forum.

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Taken down from the Ladies Gallery … us girls got to do the stairs.  Spot the odd recycled Roman column.

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 Serenaded by my squire. 

 

895 – Tuesday 14th November 2017:  Korr! at Krka

Having raved about the Plitvice Jezera National Park, we said the Krka Park/Skradinski Buk could not be as good…   Different – but quite spectacular. 60 Croatian Kuna entrance fee total for 2 (£7) – how much would any equivalent Park cost in UK? – shedloads of £unas!  We could not count the numbers of waterfalls – just everywhere – and we saw it at it’s best – with all the recent rain.  An attendant gentleman demonstrated the 450-year-old milling device (speaking to K in fluent German [K – his, not mine, as my mother and Kerstin will testify!]).  

It get’s better.. our amazing ticket price included 2 Park’s parts! Off to Roski Slap (we are a right old pair of ’slappers’ now – couldn’t resist that one!).  We decided to let Madge (MapsMe) guide us – K driving – me dozing (K: he missed the narrow being resurfaced road through a village with overhanging bits!)… a rude awakening as we faced a very longish narrow bridge….. ‘punta piccolo, camper grande’, for sure!  I raced (?) to the punta and paced it widthwise – squeaky fit, methought.  A vehicle came the other way, K wound down the window and asked if it was OK for us … “why not?” was his reply.  So we threw caution to the gale.  I guided K across, millimetres at a time – towards the end, I had to remove a roadsign to shave Jez past!  Did we have to return on this route?  Colin (CoPilot) was consulted – he of the ‘avoid narrow roads’ type – no way, Jose – he said!  A better road out….  Lovely waterfall and lake walk – Oscarslapper found several sticks to gnaw and be chased for….

No rain today, thus far – yippee… 

Home to campsite – some rain and much less wind, luckily….blogging and chilling…

By the way Magshags – Oscar now wants a knitted coat – like wot you did for Poppy!   (K: so do I!)

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Being ‘Winter’, we take our own vehicle down to the Lake … Being quiet, we stopped on the road to admire the view.

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The limestone water deposits minerals which make up banks, supporting vegetation, called travertine.

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Many mills used by locals all around the area, but when tributaries dried up, people had to come and use the mill here.  Grinding corn (polenta), flour and softening wool for clothes.

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The lovely member of staff, sped up the grinding and explained that the mill was over 450 years old, still water driven and used right up till 1970!

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We might moan / laugh about the weather, but it is giving us a show in these national parks.

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Looking down to the alternating current hydroelectric facility … it was actually the first to be switched on (even though the USA built theirs first).  We drove past the extensive and now derelict factory at the top of this hill.

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The bar-steward road – this is the final section as a longer part was around the corner … this width was just OK the beds weren’t!

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We took a walk along the lake side.  When does a river become a lake?

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Still some strong Autumn colours here.

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We’d walked through some olive groves, but no pepper plants in sight … our road spoil is now residing in the fridge to be cooked with hake tomorrow!  J checking it is fresh-ish!

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More travertine falls.

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891-892: Plitvice Lakes – Slap & Bog

 891-892 – Friday 10th & Saturday 11th November 2017:  Plitvice Lakes – WOW!

We arrived at the Plitvice National park at 1100 hrs and talked to the info office – not terribly helpful… best she could do was sell us a map with suggestions for Kuna 20!  90 Kuna (Euro9) each for a 2 day pass is good value.  Armed with our map, we set off – not sure what to expect – good as it happened.  Really good.  Well, around each corner – we had a slap. No! It wasn’t a boxing match – “Slap” is Croatian for waterfall.  Now then – if you say to a Croatian lady – “Bog – how’s your slap?” – you won’t get a handbag in your face – you’ve just said “Good morning – how’s your waterfall?”  We had the most ‘slapping’ day for years – the waterfalls are amazing – just incredible – the photos are a selection of 150+ taken over 2 days – small wonder it’s one of the very top attractions in the country!  5 hours walking on Day 1- with loads of photo stops and a picnic lunch – small wonder we averaged 3km per hour. 

We are staying overnight in the car park – motorhomes have stayed here – but only out of season….very quiet and dark – which meant excellent stars.  Another amazing walk to look forward to – tomorrow – with more slaps!!!  A slaphappy time, indeed.

After Oscar’s Diary blog yesterday, he’s been invited to join the Iceland cricket team – they have ambitions – to join the K-Nations championship. He is thinking about it – but we reckon he will continue to play “silly mid wicket” and “slip” for Wales. He’s also quite adroit at ’sledging’ – those non-Wisdeners, ask Stephen Jater…..  

 

Day 2 in the big ‘slapper’ house…..let’s forget the Big Brother connection – is it still on tv?  With Kavina McDoll?  Shall I avoid any more ‘slap’ puns?  maybe…. Anyway, more of the same as we started our walk at 10:00 this time – we walked some of the same paths and new ones too – the earlier light was different.  But – what more can we say about this Park? Phenomenal…  

Walk finished – and back to Jez – motored to that lovely free aire at Otoacac…. Van cleaning from head to toe – relaxing – and Ireland beat South Africa by a record score – 38-3 – wow!  Last pun, I promise – what did Thomas Crapper invent?  The ’slappercrappercracker’, of course…with firecrappers or crackers.  

Oscar’s tail is down – Australia beat Wales – sorry, Bronwen and Kay.     

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Our initial views of the lakes and we already thought the entry fee good value.

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As well as a road train between, there are small electric boats.  Cleverly, they do not duplicate routes, but you still need to be able to walk a bit to get around.

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Oscar camouflaged with his prize stick amongst the Beech leaves.

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Lots of ancient trees.

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Some in the water.

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And some with most unusual mushrooms growing out of them.

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Adoring and waiting on my every command …. NOT.  Just looking for food!

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The water just pours over and through … everywhere.

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For a dog that does not like water, Oscar was most uncomfortable on the open parts of the boardwalk … water both side and sometimes gushing underneath.  He stayed very close to my heels.

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Some of the pools were so still and calm compared the the falls.

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The Karst limestone rock has been eroded to form caves.

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Our overnight illegal parking spot – in the Lakes carpark … no chance in the season as paying and with staff on duty.

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The Big Slap!

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Receiving a big slap!

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My suggested route took us up lots of nearly impassable broken steps by the Big Waterfall, and I commented to J about how old they must be.  This hand hewn out tunnel was at the top.

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We came from across there.

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With the sun shinning, the water colour had more WOW factor.

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More water streaming over, out and through. 

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Poor Oscar; thought he’d done with boardwalks and water gushing under.

889-890: The Bear Necessities

889 – Tuesday 7th November 2017:  Our Istrian Lunch Booking!

Our very wet and windy cycle ride took us through the photos (like Harry Potter, again) to the ‘booked’ lunch venue.  November is Istria’s Agrotourism month when the farms/ restaurants throw open their doors to display/present/sell their local wares.  The lovely campsite lady had booked us in with one that her friends used and raved amount   We suspected we were in for a gastro treat.  It looked very quiet – but we welcomed the stop – looking forward to getting changed and some wine – we were completely drenched through and quite cold, now. The owner appeared and said “chiuso”!  Our Italian is sufficient to know – “closed”!  We reckoned the owner had accepted our reservation of 2 days ago, hoping to get more and when that didn’t happen – decided to ‘close’.  His establishment has received the appropriate Tripadvisor negative review…  

Pedalling furiously – wet doesn’t even describe it – we arrived back at Jez – dried off – and launched a targetted attack on the Gluwein – it warmed our bones through. The afternoon and evening sort of blended together in a soft mist of….amber nectar…..   (K:  I imbibed most of the Gluwein, must have been wetter!, ate and promptly passed out.  I awoke early evening slightly shame faced and time discomfobulated!)

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Fazana – our first stop.  The Os-car Convoy stopped to admire the Church of SS Cosmas and Damian – we couldn’t see the Italian frescos as the interior was being repaired.  The car in front was the works van.  Professionals?

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Vodnjan:  arrived at through vinyards and olive groves, according to the guide books.  We didn’t notice as our heads were down as we powered up hill against the wind and rain.  On arrival I said to J that I’d had to invoke Sport (mid power assist) to get there … he gave me a wry grin … think he was in full Pleasure mode (full assist!).

Sadly !!! the church was shut or we could have viewed the 6 mummies of saints – miraculously not decomposed and on display!  Tallest Campanile in Istria … J referred to it as a Trampoline … not one I want to jump off.

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An hour before our lunch booking, so what were we supposed to do as the heavens opened again? Answer … a lovely bar in the main square.  When the owner brought out our glasses of wine, he also provided cushions for us to sit on.  The wind had got up and was spinning one of the roof fans … we really didn’t need more of a draught!

 

 890 – Wednesday 8th November:  A Pottering Journey and our First Illegal Action

Morning time, we put our stormy misadventure lunch booking behind us and left the deserted (almost) Brioni campsite behind us….good value at Euro16 per night including lecky…  

A destination with stops on the way .. Svetincenat for coffee.  amazingly everyone was smoking in the bar.  EU regs?!  Pazin was shabby and most of the building exteriors looked crumbling, but may have been super smart inside.

The nearby fortified hill towns journey was aborted – dodgy roads – 

Nightfall – and Optijla – small car park but perfectly adequate – our first ‘illegal’ wild camping in Croatia – but it was in one of the Apps.  It was fine and quiet – rain beat down during the night but not too heavy.  K walked with O and discovered the seaside pleasures (and found an ice-cream – so predictable) ….. I rested my brain. 

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Stop No. 1:  Svetvincenat.  A walled village with a fort.  The main square is considered one of the most beautiful in Istria.  

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Stop no. 2”  Pazin.  A fort stands on the edge of a cliff.  We wanted to see the cliff … 130m high and falling away to an abyss called Pazinska Jama.  The river disappears under the town.  It inspired Dante’s Inferno … sure you’ve read it … it is the bit where he describes the the Gateway to Hell.  Jules Verne also used it to describe a character who disappeared down the waterway … not that anyone has managed this in real life!

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Sadly the zipwire … 2 of them!  were not operating.  We would both have been first in the queue!  Don’t fancy buying a house perched on the edge either!

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Resting Stop:  Opatija: guide book described as faded, but I loved it.  An upmarket Eastbourne.  Tourism began around 1847 when the Austrian empress Maria Anna stayed here and set a trend.  Luxury hotels, houses and courts sprung up.  Emperor Franz Joseph escaped to the milder climate until he was assassinated.  Now it is still got life once the season is over with a reputation for good restaurants.  An older clientele, but smart … we fit in an all counts … NOT!  

This chap was the first fisherman to reinvent himself as a tour guide in the original small harbour.

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Lovely statues along the front.  And you can walk for several km along pedestrianised walkways.  

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One of the original palaces. Near an open air theatre.  A poster advertised daily/nightly music events.  Definitely a good place to over winter.

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Just along from our parking – water jutted from various holes in the rocks and has been used since the area was inhabited for clothes washing.  I’d not have found this unless dog walking … Oscar, you have your uses!

 

890 – Thursday 9th November:  All Beared!

The scenery along that coast was improving as we headed to bear country – puns on ‘bears’ and ‘bare’ abound – after all, we have just come from ‘bare’ territory – naturist land!  For those of you nudists amongst our readers – what is a ’textile’?  Come on, now – you must know… Ok, none of you wants to admit to ‘bearing’ all in Almondsbury, or Ash Vale (!).  It’s a person wearing (bearing) clothes whom you meet whilst nude in Killiney or Magsshagsville…..  Now, we’ll put our clothes back on to write further nonsense.  The bears were – cuddly – Paddington-esque and very playful – but the fence separated K from them – otherwise she would have been in like a shot – ‘does my bear b**m look big in this’?  No comment…  

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As we turned the head of the water between Istria and Dalmatia, the scenery got altogether more interesting.  Failing to understand why coastal Istria is so popular.

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Our still sopping shoes drying on the dashboard – we had puddles in them after our last wet bike ride.

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In search of the Brown Bear.  The sanctuary is in the village … the sign in front of a communal well.

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One chap started the sanctuary in 2001.  5 volunteers now, but 50 odd in the summer! We had the place to ourselves.  we were told we were really lucky to have seen all of them and even more so, to have seen some playing.

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I think the film Paddington 2 is out.  He must have been modelled on this variety … cute or what.

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Oscar’s Diary

Ok, I don’t know much Croatian – except ‘Dobredan’ and ‘Hvala’ – work it out out, readers….. Use Vooglekranslate if you must.. K found an App (unusual?) where you point your thingy at a text and it translates for you… Personally, I point my thingy at young ladyK9s, when I can… not much success lately, though..  Kinsey, wakeup please.

Now, my owners have implemented a new regime for me – with no prior notice! According to my NATO (North Adriatic Trust Oscar) affiliation, I am required to be served with at least 30 days notice, in biting/writing…. Ok – it started with K saying “Oscar – boundary” – she laid my blanket on the floor with this saying. I looked at her and thought (I know that word – I’ve played cricket for Wales – at the WorldKup in StrangKlevania – we lost to Iceland – like England in football) – and ran for the line, turned to see my 4 runs posted on the scoreboard. But no it wasn’t cricket – she wanted me to sit on that silly rug and wait… Ok, let’s humour the young lady – I got some treats – and then she hollered ‘break’ – so I wondered – am I out LBW? (I bet she knows a bit about ‘leg over wicket’) – keep it clean, Oscar.   It goes on and on – they say it’s about establishing boundaries and limits!  I don’t impose any limits on them, dammit all.  And my rations have been cut in half –  ok, I get the rest over the day….  This is not demoKracy – it’s plain bearassed har-ass-ment.

Yours in puzzlement, but basikally – very happy….

Oscar 


884-888: A Smattering of Rain in Coatia!

884 -Thursday 2nd November 2017:  Oscar’s Birthday and Porec Bike Ride

Young Oscar’s 4th birthday dawned – at the usual time -‘Oscartime”.  We e-biked along a trail – quite rough in places but manageable – to ‘Oscarplazza’. ’It’s all about our boyo today…. Celebratory glass of wine at lunchtime, de rigeur.  A nice story – K messaged a birthday photo to Elaine (his previous owner). She responded that we had made her day – she’s in hospital awaiting cancer surgery – we wish her a complete recovery, as does Oscar.

Festivities continued with Sally and Mark, GB-ers, on our Porec car park camping … good to chat to like minded folk.  They were staying on another night in the camperstop, but not sure how much sleep they would get as a major car rally was being run from here from Fri and our part of the car park was being used for the odd practice run.

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The coastal path was along rocky beaches with pines growing almost to the shore.

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A lunchtime glass of wine to raise a glass to Our Boy.

885 -Friday 3rd November:  Campsite and Washing

Vsrar campsite is good and we found a quiet corner – but, it’s not busy at all. Sunshine weather for – van laundry! K tested the Kerstin sun lounger – successfully, of course.  Walk to nearby beach and headland – and very quiet evening – it got cold later and K was very chilly after laudrification – so the Gluwein came to the rescue!!! 

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Kerstin gifted me a sun lounger and I got to test it out … my first action on arriving at the campsite.

886 -Saturday 4th November:  Lim Fjord (or was it?) Bike Ride

Accuweather promised fine weather up to lunch and then – 19% chance of rain! Now, what boffin calculates a 19% prepissitation – blame the predictive text on that one, maybe?  But Clunegapteeth.dentist can exclusively reveal how it’s done – scientifically…  The boffin (or boffiness) sits in a chair in a field of 100 cows at 9:00 am. If 19 cows look as if they might  lie down later – that represents a 19% chance of wetness – at 1:00 pm!!!   You saw it here first – tomorrow, it will be in the Daily Prophet (Harry Potter, again). 

Anticipating rain, the laundry was brought onboard – as you can see – the knickers chandeliers are out of picture, modestly – saving our blushes.  We sallied forth in wet weather gear and had only spits and spots up to halfway and lunch at a nice waterfront restaurant – ‘The Viking’.  Then back up a steep hill on the main road – and the 100 cows flopped on the ground – drenching the boffin and his calculations!   Accuweather is now ”Satuweatheration”.  It poured – but we had the bit between our legs (?) and the grindstone up our noses…

Rounding a bend near the campsite – I was in the lead – and I heard a loud ‘crash’ – K had skidded on the wet surface and went down heavily! The Os-car and the rear wheel wanted to carry on in a straight line, but K was trying to turn!  Motorists stopped and one kind lady got out to help – K was bruised but essentially ok – thanks to wet weather clothing, gloves – and helmet – otherwise a lot of skin may have been left on the tarmac.  Please all you motor homing cyclists – always wear your headgear… Much Arnica lotion applied – hot tea – and now Marsala – but not for rubbing in…

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Yesterday’s laundry hung up to dry – despite the dry forecast, showers started just before we set off.

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The end of the Fjord.


887 -Sunday 5th November:  Rovinj

We managed to free park just outside Rovinj to avoid Euro3.25 per hour for motorhomes!  Do they want us to stay and spend money or not?!? Same rate if you stay overnight.   Short walk to town – toured the nice Old Town and then – coffee and custard cake – no ill effects this time, thankfully…  Quite a few shops open and very keen to entice the limited supply of customers inside. 

Our chosen campsite (not a lot of choice, i.e. the only one on the point of Isria) was Brioni – very large – hundreds of pitches – only 3 vans, including a full-time englich couple in a large American RV! A virtually empty site – we pitched with a sea view. A walk to the headland Punta Christo – no chance we would attempt the “Indiana Jones” rope bridge. 

Right then, readers – nightfall and the early morning brought rain that would have deterred Guy Fawkes from his endeavours – he wouldn’t have been able to even light the fuse!!!

The forecast for the next few days is a bit ‘dire straits’……. we’ll be dry and snug with the bugs in our rugs….

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Rovinj from one side …

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… and then from the other.

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The campsite is on the coast and we can see the sea from our mid-priced pitch … there are a lot of islands and nature reserves off the coast here.

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This dog’s for turning at Punta Christo!  Normally Oscar will valiantly and reluctantly cross open metal grating, but this was a bridge too far!

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Not about the be shaken or stirred!  Since neither of my boys would cross, I didn’t have to feign courage and go over!

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Fort Christo … used right up to WW2, but now looking very deserted and locked up … I spotted a lady inside chatting on a phone and assumed she was a squatter.

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The other side of the Punta Christo was the light house and a strange collection of … ‘stuff’.  Spot the sign to the Nude Beach … and undressed beach?

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Some of the ‘stuff’.


888 -Monday 6th November:  Peeing in Pula

Peeing all over with that ‘pissitation stuff – stair rods, cats and dogs – oh, and rain as well!  A doggy training phone call for us re Oscar barking, jumping, etc – with the good folk at Devon Dogs – lots to focus on.  Jez submarined and aquaplaned to a local shopping Centre – and the intention was to walk/swim through the Old Town – no suitable parking – aborted – and back to base.

Thoughts on Croatia so far:

  • Dead after Halloween; most places shut, including most of the campsites.  Yet wild camping is illegal and punishable with huge fines.
  • Seriously lots of caravan storage places … mostly German vans.
  • Restaurants all competing for the tourist trade look for a USP, be it sucking pig or USA style ranch themes.
  • Coastline is pretty with the pine trees coming down to the rocky cost, we particularly enjoyed the bike ride north from Porec.
  • A major tourist destination given the number of campsites and less so apartments.
  • A mecca for nudist camps … the largest in Europe was next door to the Vrsar campsite …. not surprising that these are all closed from end September!
But it would be HELL in high season … nothing much to rush back to here.  I’ve looked at the weather map for the whole of Croatia and the wet, wet wet is set to continue all over for the next few days …. not much point trying to outrun it.  Anyone for a hot toddy?