912-918: Now Which Country Are We In?

912 – Wednesday 29th November 2017: And into Montenegro

Heavy rain (drizzle from Brizzle, or Spain?) – K did laundry – or laundwet?  Rigged up clothesline in the closed but covered restaurant patio. Some van cleaning – and I went to have shower….. well, the water temperature hovered between tepid and coooold!  A real ‘boarding school’ shower….. (K: I elected to use the one on board, having had J heroically test them!)  But lovely campsite owners, known by all the locals, including the bar where we took wine – to ward off the cold and damp…. and use the wifi.


913 – Thursday 30th November: And Further Down Montenegro

Some laundry had blown off in the overnight high winds … J collected it’s sodden mass.  Some had dried overnight in the van.  We had planed to stop at Kotor on our way south towards Albania … but lashing rain and road flooding conditions prevented this.  ‘Interesting’ wet and slow drive on empty roads.  Nothing for it but to head into Albania sooner, but needed to do some planning as we thought we’d be longer in Montenegro.  So to a campsite our Finnish friend told us of South of Budva.  Still peeing down, put a damp load of laundry on … no driers so all hanging in Jez – 3 days of Chinese Laundry in the van :(.  Walk along beach front … rat .. googled rat infections on dogs … and forum replies on rabies blood test … yes Oscar should have had it … vet knew our destinations and we (K:  that would be me, but J is too kind to point the finger!) hadn’t properly checked !!!  All to do with three tiers of rabies … rabies free, controlled and high … Montenegro and Albania are high.   We don’t fancy being stopped at Albania / Greece border …. so we will head back North into Croatia and investigate boats to Italy then Greece.  “The best laid plans of mice and men clang aft a-clay” – or something similar….

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Are we on a boat?  Little did we realise … not yet!

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Islands in Kotor Bay almost submerged.  Water level definitely high as we spotted a beach volley ball pitch of very short people (are we allowed to call them midgets?) … poles only a couple of feet high.

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Windscreen wipers could hardly cope with the torrent. 

914 – Friday 1st December: Then Back Up To Croatia

We traversed back through the mountains to Bosnia and Herzegovina – some stressed and successful border crossings – ’nothing to declare,Sir…’ (not even the 10 bottles of vino and 6 months supply of e-juice) – a big shop in BiH at mega low prices – and into Croatia (again) – back to the sanctuary of Camping Stobrec – one of the best sites ever! Only 9 hours travel….. What a day – phew… Oscar had to be ‘invisible’ at the border crossings, just in case!

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Better weather coming North and better views around the Kotor Bay.

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In BiH, ancient Necropolis … we used their carpark for a driver change.

915 – Saturday 2nd December: Sitting Still in Croatia

Well – how to start a quiet day? – ‘embracing the moment’ in bed….then one of the site managers knocked on the door – and the moment was suddenly ‘disembraced’…..not quite ‘in flagrante disrobio’ but close….  We compared costs about routes to Greece and decided to drive to Ancona in Italia and ferry to Greece.  Booked Minoan Ferries, with a members discount as advised by Viamare booking agent saved us £62 (excellent service, if anyone is planning to book – lovely people on the phone) + pet friendly cabin….. 18 hour sailing. Our new friend Outi from Finland, who has a house in Estonia and overwinters often in Monetnegro, has never had a border issue with her dogs….but we prefer to be risk averse.  

More handy laundry and a good breeze on our clothes line… for once not inside!

As often happens – a line of poetry comes to mind – very apposite in our circumstances!

“And a good south wind sprung up behind

the albatross did follow

and every day for food or play

came to the Mariner’s hollow”

‘Ryme of the Ancient Mariner’ – we are the not so ancient mariners and we need a good south wind…..


916 – Sunday 1st December: North to Italy

A big driving day – 8-ish hours with spectacular scenery – and heigh ho – we’re back in our bellissimo Italia, again!!!  Is there a nicer place to be?  Circumnavigated Trieste (James Joyce residence during the war, I recall) – avoiding the infamous road ramp that nearly nobbled us a month ago…. we paid up for the Slovenian vignette (ERU15 for 20 mins) and stuck to motorways.

Lovely free aire to overnight – we jump started a French van – twice! The 2 lads and 1 lady looked about 12 years old….maybe we are the ancient mariners?  Oscar says – ‘feck off, youze – I’m not a mariner!’  I think he missed something there…  sunshine beams on us – the righteous? But -4C overnight!

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Heading North to Italy – the cloud filling in between the mountain peaks.

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Views looking out to the Dalmatian islands.

917- Monday 4th December: And a Little Further South 

Drove most of day to Fano …passing some places we’d stayed at on our Italy just over 2 years ago.  The aire had tatty permanent caravans ….we wonder at the stories behind these single men.  K walked into town and along beaches with Oscar – I made sure the bed was still horizontal – it’s on my checklist…..Still sunny, yummy.

918- Tuesday 5th December: Fano and Onto Ancona

Walk and breakfast in Fano – lively old town. Had to have a pukka Italian coffee … no where else comes close.  Combed the beach front looking for a chandlery to sell us a replacement electric cable to Euro 2 pin (having left ours Dubrovnik and we’ll need one for the ferry for Electric Hookup)… three places on drive south … everything but in one and two no longer existed despite web presence … we’ll use the UK socket adaptor and a three to two pin … a bit Heath Robinson, but all under cover on the ferry so no wet risk .. If the cable does get wet, we’re in serious trouble!  Onto Auchan supermarket outside Ancona (15 mins from the ferry port) with free dedicated spaces for motorhomes … K did a big shop including Oscarfodder.  And we had another Italian coffee … needs must.  

Another lonely man and dog in a decrepit caravan on the parking.  We settled for the evening, we thought…. About 8-ish, a ‘domestic’ stared outside – 4 men from the decrepit caravan – a bit of ‘handbags’ but too loud. So, discretion being the better part of valour, we moved all of 200 metres – to avoid the unseemly racket.  

Looking forward to the mariners’ trip to the cradle of civilisation…..

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Fano had a lovely busting shopping area … but buildings had kept their original facia.  Christmas Panetone anyone?  All the decorations are up in the shops … wondering when we should put our up?  Just before my birthday?

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Walk along the harbour wall to the ‘David’ … funny how the statue’s bits had been rubbed shiny … but no effect on their size!

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The river had two areas controlled water flow with warnings about sudden surges.



908-911: Three Countries in Four Days

908 – Saturday 25th November 2017: Jajce

Peaceful evening parked at the gates of the closed campsite – no problems. We had to move Jez to let a man into the site – moved just up the road to a parking near the ‘kooky’ mill/laundry houses – lots of mini waterfalls…… and a coach party of nearly all women.  This is not the first time we’ve seen nearly all women … Asian groups too.  Where are the men?  

Slowly meandered on to Jajce – with free parking at the youth hostel. Coffee, de rigeur – wandered through the lively market – discovered that today is the anniversary of the declaration of statehood for Bosnia Herzegovina – lots of flags and celebrations including a stand devoted to the cult of President Tito.  We could have purchased a Tito 2018 calendar … but not sure would have appreciated it as a gift.  Back in 1979, I was in Damascus with a work colleague for the weekend – we wandered through the mile long covered souk – when a motorcade with Tito and Hafez al Assad (president of Syria then) drove through the narrow souk. We had paid 1 Syrian Pound for bed and another 1 Pound for the hard boiled egg breakfast!   The town castle was OK – nice views…. and the town had a lovely feel to it.  Checked the weather forecast and snow is on the cards for Sarajevo – so, no snow for us or Jez – headed south for the pilgrimage town of Medugorje instead. A significant Christian site devoted to Our Lady – some teenagers witnessed apparitions there years ago – it’s not ‘officially’ recognised by the Vatican but 1 million pilgrims visit each year…..

Our overnight site/autocamp cost Euro 10 with electric and wifi.

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Pliva Water Houses:  community huts using water power for milling and washing.  I counted 16.  Originally built in ottoman times.

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The wooden roof tiles were being replaced on some.

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It was really misty initially … but the blue sky made an appearance.

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The Pliva river.

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Jajce:  Pliva river waterfalls in the centre of town.

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Concert platform and seating … wet seating … a lot of water spray. 

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St Luke’s church and nearby catacombs.

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Jajce Fortress.

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A lot of cabbages being sold in netting sacks along the roadside.

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Part of the pretty route south following a river. 

909 – Sunday 26th November:  Medugorje and onto Dubrovnik

We walked to the main church and shrine – in the rain… lots of very touristy/pilgrim tat stuff for sale – we bought one postcard……strong Irish influence.   We had seen a picture of some local falls, but decided against visiting as they did not look a patch on Krka or Plitvice in Croatia.  

Dubrovnik was the next port of call – reached the camperstop in heavy rain and a steep ramp up to site – a centimetre to spare under our exhaust pipe… Surprise – the same two couples we met at Stobrec camping near Split. Rainy walk with O to a beach being refurbished – glass of vino rosso – K’s glass proved the physics of gravity and attached itself to the floor – oops!  

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Medugorje Church … not the sign saying to take care of your belongings … what a Christian place!

910 – Monday 27th November: Biking into Dubrovnik 

More e-bike repairs – gears, chain and puncture/new tube fitting…..Spanish Pork in the slow cooker and biked towards Dubrovnik – short cut suggested by the site lady manager – this meant Oscar got a free run for a while. The Old Town looks lovely – public Christmas decorations being installed – a clear month before the event! Bomb damage from the ’92-95 war – tastefully rebuilt.  A walk on the city walls would have cost a whopping Euro15 per person!!!  Not for us….  Bumped into Choe and Chris fellow motorhomers staying at the same site – they are from Jersey – scollop fishery business/diving. We invited them to our van for supper later.  

Lovely snackette lunch – it was getting very cold – see K with her lunch blanket!  Back to the bikes – another flat tyre on J-bike and K’s front tyre sticking – what is going on here??? I cycled home with regular pumping stops – on the main road with vehicles passing us far too close…..

Super evening with Chris and Chloe – rather boozy – wine, grappa and fruit brandy – ouch! But the conversation flowed and we exchanged motor homing ideas/experiences – they are on an 8-month trip following our route to Greece.  They kindly gifted us some scollops – our Christmas Day meal partly sorted – cheers to you two!  

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Stunning views as we approach Dubrovnik.

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Very much rebuilt and looks new.  Well, I suppose it is.  I looked at some post war images and they were flames and rubble.

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Rather impressed with his large one.

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We kept bumping into Chris and Chloe … so we just had to invite them to supper.  The trees are not sporting large oranges, but Christmas decorations and its not even December!

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And oranges as well as decorations!

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Even with patio heaters and a blanket … it was still cold, so the wine is medicinal.

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James heading up the stairs towards a long line of rather large white panties!

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What another stunning view on the way home.

911- Tuesday 28th November: And into Montenegro

Dawn broke at 0900hrs – it broke rather loudly for some of us!  Post-evening effects….. Chris and Chloe departed for Montenegro – and a little later, we followed suit – we hope to see them en route at a campsite. A brand new country – the border guard told us Oscar should have had an extra rabies blood test – first time we’ve had to show his passport….

We wanted to stop at Herzog Novi but absolutely no parking available.  Our first possible camperstop was too steep on the approach – so aborted – next choice was fine – just a very narrow gated entrance – K managed to squeeze the gate open just enough to scrape through.   A pitch within metres of the sea wall – sunny cloudless day – we sat and had soup in the sun……  our socialising of last night mandated a nanny nap to recharge the batteries.  We have decided to stay 2 days – job day tomorrow – bike repairs (again …and for the last time … fingers crossed!), van cleaning, laundry, showers and sundry other bits and pieces.. Just 2 other vans here – Swiss and French – it’s very quiet – shhhhhh……



A few thoughts on Bosnia and Herzegovina

Please bear in mind, these are very personal reflections based on our 5 nights in BiH … in November!

As soon as we drove in from Croatia, it felt poorer.  There were quite a few beggars in Mostar.   Markets and odd street corners have someone selling their own home grown produce.  Really fresh … I bought a string bag of onions for £3 and some swiss chard.  But we have never seen so many second hand clothes stalls in markets – there must be a demand for them.

It was really hammered during the 1992-95 conflict. We saw some bullet and shrapnel damaged buildings in a few towns in Croatia away from the coast, but there are lots in BiH, even in main tourist destinations like Mostar.  Typically houses were stone on the first floor and wood above; you can still see some of these, but orange air bricks have replaced most upper wooden floors.  The wealthier houses have plastered both floors.   There are a lot of half built unfinished houses too.

Roads are often very bumpy and narrow.  They are doable, but we did grind to a halt a few times to let lorries or busses pass the other way.  Along the roads we saw a lot of stone monuments, like grave stones.  Sometimes they were for a couple.  We don’t think they can all have been road traffic accidents, but you never know, as similar to Croatia, the overtaking borders on Italian.  Cars are mostly old and battered.  They would not pass a British MOT.  And so many Volkswagens … a lot of the population worked in Germany, so probably brought the cars back with them.  My German has come in very handy again.  Roadside vendors are selling the same thing in each area … oranges near the coast, cabbages further north and metal work such as fires/cookers and lids around Mostar.  One chappie had great display of fur coats … give the cold, I admit to being tempted … but no space in my wardrobe.

There is a lot of rubbish along roads and in fields … a lot of plastic … worse than Sicily, which has had a clean up act in recent years.  There are bins around, but other than glass we really did not see any evidence of recycling, other than on the campsite near Mostar.

Every town or hamlet has a cemetery … we assumed cremation is not an option here as there were so many and some really huge.  We didn’t wander into any cemeteries, but we are sure there must be quite a number of graves from the war.

Food and fuel are cheap … really cheep.  I googled a groceries indices for mid November.  

  • Ireland 70.93
  • France 78.57
  • UK 62.67
  • Portugal 45.96
  • Croatia 46.74
  • Montenegro 36.53
  • BiH 34.4
  • Albania 30.90
  • Macedonia 28.83

And we filled up both diesel £0.84/ltr and LPG £0.38.  We ate out twice and both food and wine was inexpensive and good.  Portions huge.  Grilled meat is the norm and the Blatina red particularly good.

Mostar left me a bit cold; far too touristy,  I particularly liked Jajce and the drive up along a gorge and over a snowy pass was beautiful  Tourism does not really seem to have stepped up in most places.  For instance the WW2 museum in Jablinca was extremely dated and our £2 entry was collected by a wizened lady who could have been one of the children used to carry wounded over the bridge before it was blown up.  we did not see much evidence of marked hiking trails, but we could have been in the wrong areas.

Dogs:  not on busses and Mostar restaurants said no to letting in Oscar.  But in Blagdaj and Jajce, he was allowed in cafes and restaurants, but not museums.  Quite a few wild dogs in places and more dogs tied up as guard dogs.  Oscar also startled a rat Jajce – nice. 

The people we spoke to were engaging and helpful.  We had a good lunch and shared drinks with locals in Blagaj.  

We would go back and explore more of the interior and north … but in Spring or Autumn.  I certainly don’t feel I got much of a handle on BiH.










904-907: ‘Love All’ in Bosnia and Herzegovena

904 – Tuesday 21st November 2017:  Into BiH

Before leaving Stobrec campsite, we met a lovely Italian family – with 4 daughters – much chat about our travels in Italia and Sicilia… and why mum had decided to go travelling … partly to do with enforced injections on young teen girls, with no parental opt out – appratenly some experimental deal with the USA!  Packed up and services completed, we Jezzied along the beautiful coast towards – yes, a brand new country Bosnia and Herzegovina!   Border controls – documents handed for perusal.  Passports handed over at both Croatian exit and BiH entry points.  We thought we were through and did our usual “welcome to …” salute, when another border control.  Passports again, V5 and insurance were handed over.  The chappie asked where we were headed and cheerily wished happy travels.  So easy and quick … let’s hope Montenegro and Albania are as smooth. 

As soon as the actual border was crossed, we noticed more street hawkers, mostly selling oranges, and more unfinished houses.  But the drive was really pretty following a river to our chosen overnight at Blagaj, just south of Mostar.   Our campsite was – ‘interesting’ – “Camping Mali Wimbledon” – decked out in SW19 colours – with lawn tennis courts!  We could play – I would be Pete Compress or Ilie Nasty and K would be Killy Bean Jing!!!  K objected to the request for EUR19 per night, having just paid EUR12 per night for a serviced beach front pitch … the owner asked what she was happy to pay … EUR15 was a good compromise  Perfectly good facilities – our pick of pitches – and a semi permanent Austrian motor homing resident gentleman called Walter. We perambulated the very short distance into town – for coffee and snacks. K bought local wine for £1.80 (OK) and £2.25 (really pretty good) – per litre!  The local yellow buses are decorated with “Gift from the Japanese People to Bosnia and Herzegovina 2002”.  

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The Croatian Dalmatian coastline, getting slightly less dramatic as you head south.

905 – Wednesday 22nd November: Mostar

Bike maintenance/repairs – my front wheel still has a slow puncture – in the new inner tube (?) and K’s gears/chain need regular tensioning – never had this with our old fashioned units…  Mostar was cold – the ‘Old Bridge’ is an interesting construction – destroyed in the 1992-95 war (why?) and rebuilt faithfully in 2004. Very touristy – lunch outside, as Oscar not welcome at 3 restaurants until our hunger pangs gave in … and we sat outside – borderline cold but excellent food.  The wares on sale in the markets ranged from metalwork to pashminas and colourful plates……no locally made rennis tacquets for our Grand Slam,Slap – we’ve never played behind a waterfall…  Both agreed the town left us a bit cold … was it just the weather?


Mostar: The Stari Most … old bridge.  Although Mostar had more damage in the 1992-95 war that in any previous conflict.  This Ottoman bridge of over 400 years was destroyed and the replacement built in 2004.  I felt it a bit soul-less. 


Pleasant chap, helpfully stood in the road to take our pic.



We parked and locked the bikes next door to the Oscar hotel. Where else?


Walking down the old bazaar towards the old (new) bridge.


Lots of mosques all with these elegant slender towers. 



The American who offered to take our pic here, just had to risk being run over by other tourists.




The Karadozbegova Mosque:  the most sacred Islamic architecture in Herzegovena. originally built in 1557, the minaret was destroyed by tank and artillery fire.


One portion of mixed meat and grilled veggies and we couldn’t eat it all … £17 including wine and tip.  The two versions of sausage were yummy.  I bought some at a local butcher near the campsite … and still yummy even without a griddle.

906 – Thursday 23rd November: Blagaj – Stjepan’s Fortress and the Dervish House

The walk up to the fortress was steep but good hill training – Oscar did his ‘happy dance’ with the usual stick in his gob – the trick is to wrest it from his mouth without losing one’s fingers as he sidesteps around in rugby style… since his international cricket season doesn’t conflict with rugby – he could play flanker for Wales….. Well, K regularly says he is a ‘planker’ – same position?  The castle was – a castle – in ruins but with splendid views… 

So, we ‘whirled’ down to the Dervish House.  Met a lovely young Chinese lady called Gin (we failed to mention our proclivity for the drink) and we separately toured the complex of buildings – very evocative – and a place which would inspire a contemplative atmosphere…  

We eschewed the touristy restaurants by the Dervish house and headed for one almost opposite the campsite.  Just as well it was staggering distance … a litre of white, a complimentary grappa and several fruit brandies … and then a couple of rounds with the locals …Try saying “Tronkmetplative stratosphere” with a mouthful of Bosnian sausage!  I failed… but the sausage was delicious!  The owner spoke very limited English, but called J ‘ the chef’ to follow him.  Doesn’t he know Party Jez, is a democracy; we don’t have a boss!.  Anyway, J was proudly shown the fruit trees, the veggie plot, the poly tunnel and then the still in the basement for making grappa!

A nothing special, but a special day.

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Us and a semi resident Austrian amongst the leafless cherry trees.

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Campsite Mali Wimbledon … with two grass courts and the Wimbledon colours!

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Not sure what these pillars are along the river bed.

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Fortress of Herceg Stjepan: he ruled Hum (present day Herzegovina) in the Middle Ages, and apparently the last Queen – Katarina was born here.

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Great view of the Neretva River and valley.  I could just make a small grey box that was Jez.

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Most of the castle is ruins; you can see some attempts to shore it up and repair / replace parts.  But all open access, with warnings about walking too close to the ‘scenic’ walls!

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Outside the Dervish house …. tekija, taken by a really charming and well travelled Chinese girl, called Gin.

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We took turns to go  in …. no prizes for guessing who Oscar is waiting for!

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The Dervish House is still used 3 times a week for Dervish meditation and prayer.

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No flipping coins, frothy beer or snogging!

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The house, far right, and the complex were mostly restored.  Bits of rock from the 250m cliff behind keep falling on it, which doesn’t help.

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The source of the river Buna.

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James had the small sausages we had a few of yesterday … really tasty and far too much food again!

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Followed by far too much booze … a free home made grappa, followed by quite a few fruit brandies!

907 – Friday 234th November: Jablanica

Jablanica is famous for a notable victory by the local partisans in 1943 – heroics in rescuing 4,000 wounded and getting them to safety after blowing up the bridge to delay the German advance…..

We don’t really want to mention much about the totally destructive 1992-95 war – but you just cannot ignore it – so many town cemeteries full of new-looking graves – and buildings with shell and bullet holes…  Let’s just hope that people pray that it will never happen again…anywhere. But it does!

OK – look at the photos, readers – please…. What is “brain fart”?  Is it the standard answer by a politician to a difficult question?  A teacher’s response to a difficult student?  A really high score on “Mensa”?   Personally, I believe it is a soft “expeliarum” by a clever dick (was Richard Nixon clever after Watergaffe?).  “Expeliarum” -we’ve just finished all the Potter audiobooks – disaster!   



It was here that the Partisans won an unlikely victory in WW2, in the Battle of Neretva.  They escaped with 4000 wounded, some carried by children, across the bridge, that they then destroyed – keeping the Germans and Chetniks the other side of the gorge.  


The bridge is still a reminder, hanging off the gorge and in the water.


Coffee stop and then some veggie purchases in the market behind.  A lot of home grown veg, socks and second hand clothes.  Jablanica is also known for its roadside restaurants serving roasted lamb.  We saw some being ‘spitted’ … as a lover of lamb, it would have been good to stop … but the early nights and our destination beckoned.


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All today’s driving has been along river gorges, with some snow on the peaks and at one point, quite thickly on the sides of the road.

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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!)


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.

P1150273Omis harbour.


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……



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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.   


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


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


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


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


 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!)


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


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


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.



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!


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


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.












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!


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


Still some strong Autumn colours here.


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!


More travertine falls.