THE RAVEONETTES IN ZAGREB, CROATIA

I enjoy seeing live music every so often, in Slovenian? Not often enough.  While doing a search for concerts near here, I found out that one of my favorite bands were playing in Zagreb, Croatia.  Natasa couldn’t get off work, but I really needed a music fix, and especially from one of my favorite bands, THE RAVENONETTES.  On my bike trip I played ALY, WALK WITH ME, nearly every morning.  The lyrics of “Aly, Walk with me in Portland” reminded me of my home of Portland. Before I left, I wrote them on facebook and requested they play this song.

I took the bus to Zagreb, about an hour or so away.  I went early in the morning so I could spend the day exploring Zagreb.  First, the tourist office at the bus station in Zagreb, pointed to the English map and said nothing else, she had nothing to share about her city.  She said the tram cost 6 kuna.  So I boarded the tram and find out you need a pre-paid tram card to ride, that would have been some useful information I could have used.  I got off the tram at a place that looked like a town square.

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I FOUND THE FARMERS MARKET AND THIS REALLY AWESOME FISH MARKET.

I only brought a day pack with me, but was still able to buy a 1/2 kilo of awesome dates and figs.  I walked around and came across this pretty spectacular church.

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THEY’RE RESTORING THE CHURCH, YOU CAN SEE THE ORIGINAL ON THE LEFT AND THE REPLACEMENT REPLICA ON THE RIGHT.

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If you’ve read this blog, you may know, I’m not a big fan of walking.  I always prefer my bike, but walking does offer opportunities the bike does not.  There are signs everywhere, pointing in every direction, to some museum or monument.

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THE “MUSEUM OF BROKEN RELATIONSHIPS”

I use to have a handicrafts business for 10 years so of course I chose the Croatian Art and Craft Museum.

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“WOMAN HANGING LAUNDRY”

The furniture was really exquisite.

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I REALLY LOVE THE INTRICATE INLAID FURNITURE.

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AS A FORMER WOODWORKER, SOMETHING LIKE THIS GIVES ME PAUSE

 

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CANDLE HOLDER, i’D PUT THAT IN MY HOUSE, FOR SURE

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FUNCTIONAL ART IS ALWAYS PLEASING

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FUN ART IS JUST AS PLEASING TOO!

I made it to a small room on the third floor, all clocks.  Of course I asked the person who was working alone up there, “what time is it”, I kinda flustered her.  I had to explain the question was for fun, she laughed.  Check photos for more museum art photos.

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IT’S ALWAYS TIME FOR LOVE

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PHOTO GALLERY

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REMINDS ME OF PORTLAND, (the part I don’t miss)

After walking around the museum for hours, it’s time for lunch.  While walking (yes walking) to the museum I passed a must visit restaurant;  I was talking with the coat check lady and told her where I was going for lunch, she that’s her favorite place in town.

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I LOVE MEXICAN FOOD AND THIS WAS GREAT! THEY EVEN HAD BLACK BEANS!

I stayed and talked with the owner for awhile.  He lived in California for 6 months and thought bringing mexican food to Croatia could work.  He is about to open a second location and then start trying to serve breakfast.  Breakfast around here is coffee, cigarettes and maybe a piece of bread.  It might take awhile before Croatians realize how important breakfast really is.  I met a Portuguese student who was there with her visiting mother and little brother, she said her friends brought her here when she first arrived for school.  She also said her friends were going to see the Raveonettes too.

I was going to ride the tram to the concert, but the restaurant owner showed me how I could walk the park all the way to the show.  So a walking I go……………………………….

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I SAW THESE ALL AROUND TOWN, BICYCLE STREET SWEEPERS

i wanted to show up early for the Raveonettes show,  hopefully  I could catch  the sound check.

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MISSION ACCOMPLISHED

The Raveonettes are from Denmark, they sing their songs in English, but during the sound check they were speaking Danish to the sound board guy.

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YEP, GOT THE PHOTO AND SHARIN SAID SHE SAW MY FACEBOOK POST. HUNG OUT AND CHATTED FOR JUST A FEW MINUTES, SUPER FUN!

I didn’t buy a T-shirt, because at my age I already have a t-shirt for nearly everyday of the year.

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THIS IMAGE WAS ON A KIDS SIZE T-SHIRT, IF IT WAS ON AN ADULT SIZE SHIRT, I MIGHT HAVE BOUGHT IT.

I was there early, so I was able to stand right next to the stage.  There were 5 photographers swarming the front of the stage.  I finally told one, that he had enough pictures and needed to move along so we could enjoy the show, it worked.

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I LOVE THIS TYPE OF CLOSE UP SHOW VERSUS A STADIUM VENUE.

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IMG_1848 THIS IS THE GUITAR TECHNIQUE FOR “ALY, WALK WITH ME”

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SET SONG LIST PLUS ENCORE

It was a “GREAT” show.  So now I’m down by the river and far from the bus station.  I was starting to walk to the bus station, then I asked some folks if they were going by the bus station. YES, holy shit was I lucky.
My bus was suppose to come by at 2am, so at 2 am I boarded the bus and thought, I better ask, wrong bus, that was close.  My bus was over an hour late.  But it worked out, when I arrived back in Ljubljana, the first morning bus back to Skofja Loka was only a 10 minute wait.
I GOT MY MUSIC FIX, I’M GOOD FOR A LITTLE WHILE

MORE PHOTOS HERE

THANKS FOR READING
JEFF

NEXT? SKOFJA LOKA PART III

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LIFE IN SKOFJA LOKA, SLOVENIA (PART II): SKOFJA LOKA GETS A FACELIFT

This is the view from my favorite coffee shop, THE RAJ (translation: Paradise ) it’s right next to the river. They make me a special “Americano” a double espresso with the water run through 4 times,  That’s the castle in the background and the Devil’s Bridge over the river.

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THERE’S A “MUST SEE” MUSEUM IN THE CASTLE.

Skofja Loka is one of Slovenia’s oldest villages, it’s a little over 1,000 years old.  In 1511 an earthquake destroyed the entire village and it was rebuilt.  In 1660 and 1690 fires also ravaged large parts of the town.   So today’s infrastructure is somewhat new, just 300 years old,   And old infrastructure needs to be either repaired or replaced at some point.  So Skofja Loka  had a HUGE makeover this  summer.  There was sewer and water pipes laid.   They tore up all the asphalt and replaced it with cobblestone.

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AS A VILLAGE MADE FOR WALKING, IT WAS DIFFICULT AT TIMES

People still had to shop and get around. People acted like nothing was going on, they all went about their lives.

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AS YOU CAN SEE BY THE WOMEN PUSHING HER BABY STROLLER

It was really interesting to watch the transformation.

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THIS IS THE SAME PHOTO LOCATION AS THE ABOVE PHOTO

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THEY WERE ALL MASTER CRAFTSMAN, IT WAS GREAT TO SEE THE TOWN A NEW (OLD) LOOK.

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THEY’RE INSTALLING HANDRAILINGS

The finishing touches really help give Skofja Loka a great look and feel.

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A WALKING TOWN NEEDS PLACES TO REST, BENCHES ARE A GREAT ADDITION TO SKOFJA LOKA.

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GRAFFITI IS A PROBLEM HERE TOO, JUST PAINTED, SOMEONE TAGGED THE INSIDE OF THE TUNNEL.

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THE CHURCH BELLS USE TO BOTHER ME SOME, NOW? I DON’T EVEN HERE THEM (HARDLY).

Art is always a good way to put the finishing touches on a great job.

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THIS IS A METAL CASTING OF THE VILLAGE OF SKOFJA LOKA

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THE MORE I LEARN ABOUT SKOFJA LOKA, THE MORE STORIES THIS MAP TELLS.

When your traveling it’s time to skip the old Europe: France, UK, Germany, Spain etc.  It’s time to see the old “new” Europe : Slovenia, Czech, Albania, Croatia and of course the must see village of Skofja Loka.  Come see a true medieval village with lots of history, photo opportunities that include many hiking and biking options too.
It’s great just living in the old town of Skofja Loka, but when you have to work on the buildings, it can be a little complicated. When the neighbors needed to get on the roof, they must come into our apartment and climb up a ladder from our deck.

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IF THEY DON’T HAVE A DECK WAY TO GET UP ON THE ROOF, IT’S THIS PIECE OF EQUIPMENT.

There is more work being done than just the rebuilding of the old town.  Most roads are just one lane each way and some roads don’t even accommodate 2 cars at the same time.  This is the main road from Skofja Loka to Gorenja Vas (where Natasa works), but only one vehicle at a time can pass through here.

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SCHOOL KIDS HITCHHIKE FROM HERE, SINCE THE CARS HAVE TO WAIT TO PASS THROUGH, IT’S PRETTY EASY TO GET A RIDE, I HITCHHIKED TO NATASA’S WORK ONE DAY.

Being a member of the European Union has it’s advantages.  The EU offered to help Skofja Loka solve the one lane road problem, by digging a tunnel around the bottle neck.  The money has some strings attached, they were given just a couple years to finish the project or they had to return the money.  When I go out for a bike ride on a Sunday, they’re out there working. They don’t want to give the money back!  (they probably don’t have it to give back)

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THAT PILE OF DIRT HAS BEEN REMOVED. THE NEW “HIGHWAY” CAN BE SEEN TAKING SHAPE. THEY WERE LAYING ASPHALT LAST WEEK. 

IMG_1901 It’s really amazing they let you ride your bike while here while they’re working on the road, that would never happen in America.

 

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THE STONE WALLS, ALONG THE NEW ROAD ARE SUPER ARTISTIC, MUCH BETTER THAN THE CONCRETE WALLS YOU USUALLY SEE IN AMERICA.

There seems like there is construction everywhere you turn, the old town, new highway and the country is getting a sewer system, thanks to the EU again.

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ANOTHER DE-TOUR ON OUR WALKS AROUND THE VILLAGE

We’ve had some pretty incredible storms here.  Houses flooded, roads washed away or covered in mud.  Natasa and I did a bike ride through one of the valleys that were affected.

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THERE WAS MUD AND DOWNED TREES EVERYWHERE

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THE DAMAGE LEFT BEHIND WAS AMAZING.

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THIS IS MUD AND ROCK THAT WAS PILED UP, WITH A BACKHOE,  BETWEEN THE RIVER AND THE ROAD.

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THE HOUSE IS RIGHT ON THE EDGE OF THIS SLIDE, THAT’S A NEW ROCK WALL THAT IS BEING BUILT.

I went back a few weeks later by myself to see how much they had cleaned up.

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THEY’RE BUILDING A ROCK WALL IN THE RIVER TO PREVENT THE RIVER FROM FURTHER ERODING THE ROAD.

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THE GUY WITH THE SHOVEL IS TELLING THE BACK HOE GUY HOW TO SET THE ROCKS SO THEY’RE STRAIGHT UP AND DOWN.

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RIGHT AFTER THE STORM SOME PEOPLE MUST HAVE BEEN TRAPPED IN THEIR HOMES, HOPEFULLY THEY HAVE SOME FOOD STORED!

I hoped you all enjoyed this little tour of Skofja Loka’s many construction projects and storm damage repair jobs.  I have only one more construction project to show you all.

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THIS IS MY NEW OFFICE, WHERE I SPEND “A LOT” OF TIME.

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AS YOU CAN SEE I’M GETTING “SETTLED IN”.

I have had several request on posting our address, So if you want to send us a Christmas Card,
NATASA SIFRAR AND jEFF BERNARDS
MESTNI TRG 7
4220 SKOFJA LOKA
SLOVENIA

I will post all the photos when I’m done with all the Skofja Loka stories I have a couple more.

Thanks again for reading.

JEFF

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I ACTUALLY KINDA LIKE THIS POPE. HOPEFULLY BIRTH CONTROL IS NEXT.

 

BLACK FRIDAY

LIFE IN SKOFJA LOKA, SLOVENIA (PART I)

Thanks for waiting for this post.  I’ve been super busy here in Skofja Loka.  I’ve been in Skofja Loka mostly, but still traveling some to Albania, Hungary, Czech, Germany, Montenegro and Croatia.  Most of these countries are within the same distances as my entire home  state of Oregon.

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SLOVENIA IS CENTERED IN THE OREGON MAP, THAT ALSO INCLUDES 7 MORE COUNTRIES

Slovenian language is VERY difficult, but no worries (so far).  With a population of 2 million,  60% speak English.   All students are required to take English classes and the fact that 70% of internet content is in English, doesn’t hurt either.

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I BOUGHT AN ENGLISH BOOK THE OTHER DAY IN LJUBLJANA

When Natasa and I first got back from America, it was like Christmas in June.  Both Natasa and Sara got Apple Iphones.  This has turned out (so far) to be a great addition to communicating and socializing.

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HI MOM, WHERE’S MY PHONE?

I love to cook and now that 3 of us are sharing the kitchen we needed more room.

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YOU CAN BUY IKEA TYPE, ASSEMBLE YOURSELF, CABINETS

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SISI, OUR CAT THOUGHT SHE SHOULD HELP ME, IT WAS WORK TO CONVINCE HER TO GET OUT.

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FINISHED CABINET AND WITH JARS OF FLOUR, PASTA, RICE ETC.  THAT’S A WALNUT CUTTING BOARD WE BOUGHT AT THE ART MARKET IN THE OLD TOWN SQUARE (outside our front door)

i really enjoy being able to make our lives easier and fun.  This is the first time in my life I have the time to work on projects around the house, somewhat stress free.  I cook meals, make zucchini bread, cookies, I go shopping at the farmers market.  Natasa seems to be enjoying having Mr. Mom here.

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NATASA’S PARENTS HAVE A HUGE CHERRY TREE. OUR FREEZER IS FULL OF CHERRIES AND BERRIES FOR WEEKEND PANCAKES

People are always asking me how I like it here is Skojfa Loka.  I tell them,  if you’ve every seen the T.V. series from the 60’s called THE PRISONER, well I feel like the main character.  He lives in a village, where life is perfect.  The cafes have people sipping coffee, there’s concerts in the park, it sometimes feels unreal.

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ONE OF THE MANY SUMMER EVENTS CELEBRATING SLOVENIAN HISTORY AND CULTURE  

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For a city to be great it must have bicycle events and we had several pass through Skofja Loka this summer.

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THEY HAD 10 POLICEMAN ON MOTORCYCLES KEEPING THE ROAD CLOSED AND SAFE. IT WAS THE MAIN ROAD (and the only road)

Every bike race has to have a rest stop to recharge.

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THIS STOP IS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE MAIN ROAD TO LJUBLJANA, THE CAPITAL OF SLOVENIA.

Having bike events pass through Skofja Loka is pretty cool.  But really the local riding is so awesome too.  I can climb a mountain, ride along a river, ride through the cornfields and best of all it’s nearly all car-free.

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NATASA STYLE RIDING IN HER THAILAND PANTS

After my Mr. Mom chores are done, the rest of the day is mine to do as I want and biking is on that list.

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BIKING ALLOWS ME THE OPPORTUNITY TO CAPTURE PHOTOS OF OTHER TRAVELERS TOO.

 

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I find in the Slovenian people to be quite self-sufficient. The farmers work hard, I’ve seen them using their tractors at night with the headlights on!

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THEY HAVE IT ALL HERE: FIREWOOD, HAY FOR THE COWS THROUGH THE WINTER AND A GARDEN FOR EATING, CANNING AND FREEZING.

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I respect the hard working nature of the Slovenians.  I’ve had several of my own business’s since I was 16, I’m a hard worker.  Natasa? She makes me look lazy, she’s a kick ass worker.  It’s hard to get here to sit down sometimes.
Natasa had to go with her job on a weekend retreat.

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SO I PACKED UP THE CAR AND HEAD TO THE BEACH IN IZOLA, SLOVENIA 

I stayed in Izola last summer for nearly a week, but this time I wanted to bike to Koper for a full day.  I still find visiting museums and historical places interesting and fun.

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THIS PAINTING LOOKED JUST LIKE AN OLD EUROPEAN VILLAGE

 

 

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THIS SIGN IS IN KOPER.  MOST BANDS DON’T MAKE IT TO SLOVENIA, BUT GOOD OLE BILLY IDOL IS COMING TO  LJUBLJANA AND WE GOT TICKETS!

Billy Idol still looks like the cover of his first album, hasn’t aged a bit. (sunscreen?)

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IT WAS A SOLD-OUT SHOW, MOST BANDS DON’T COME HERE AND WHEN THEY DO, EVERYBODY COMES. (iphone doesn’t take the best pictures)

I go for a bathroom break, the world cup soccer was going on and soccer fever was everywhere, even in the bathroom urinal.

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 IT WAS SOCCER, STILL NO SCORE

Back in Skofja Loka,

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SARA IS SHOWING HER GRANDPA (FRANK) HOW HER NEW IPHONE WORKS.

I’ve saw this during my first visit to Skofja Loka, first days of school celebration?

I HAVE NO IDEA HOW THEY GET THAT FELT PEN OFF THEIR FACES LATER?

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Thanks for reading, I have some free time now and will be posting Part II very soon.
Even in winter, biking is awesome.  Like skiing, just dress for the weather and you will never have to put your bike away for the winter.

Take Care

Jeff

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CROATIA BY CAR (with bikes)

Slovenia’s central European location allows you to visit 4 different countries with just a couple hour drive.  I biked through Rovinj, Croatia last summer and only spent 1 afternoon there.  I thought it was a must re-visit kinda place back then.  Natasa got 2 days off work combined with the weekend, 4 days of vacation.  We put a 3 hour maximum of “willing” to drive to our vacation spot, Rovinj was perfect, 2.5 hrs.

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ROVINJ’S MAIN BUSINESS IS TOURISM AND FISHING

We got an Air B&B apartment for 3 nights $150.   While driving down the street looking for our place, we noticed nearly every house had an apartment for rent.  We probably didn’t need to book ahead.  We unpack the car and bike into the old town (photos).

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YOU COULD NEVER HANG YOUR LAUNDRY OUTSIDE LIKE THIS IN AMERICA. SOME COMMUNITIES IN AMERICA HAVE BANNED CLOTHES LINES ALTOGETHER

We decide to bike north along the coast, to see what we see.

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THAT’S ROVINJ AND A CLIPPER SHIP THAT DOES TOURS AROUND THE ADRIATIC, THE SHIP WAS AMAZING.

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THIS IS A PICTURE FROM THE SOUTH SIDE OF ROVINJ, YES WE HAD AMAZING WEATHER THE WHOLE TIME.

Natasa wants to visit Brijuni National Park (photos), I don’t know anything about the Park.  It’s only a 30 minute drive, 15 minute boat ride and tourist train ride around the island, I can do that.

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THIS IS ME WITH TITO, YUGOSLAVIA’S COMMUNIST LEADER FOR OVER 30 YEARS.

Tito spent 6 months a year on the Brijuni island, there’s a museum dedicated to him. While walking through the museum and looking and reading everything, I became infatuated with Josip Broz Tito(if you’ve got the time read the link, he’s amazing).  He had many visitors to the island including Castro and Stalin.

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ELIZABETH TAYLOR AND RICHARD BURTON VISIT TITO IN 1971. RICHARD BURTON PLAYED TITO IN THE FILM SUTJESKA (MOVIE).

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HO CHI MINH OF VIETNAM, GOES BOATING WITH TITO IN 1957

After our miniature train tour of the Island, we decide to rent bikes.  The train took us by some places that, with a bike, we can spend more time visiting.

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SINGLE SPEED RENTAL BIKES WITH ROMAN WALL IN FRONT

The islands first inhabitants can be traced to 3000 BC,

THERE ARE ROMAN RUINS ON THE ISLAND, THERE IS EVIDENCE THE ISLAND WAS INHABITED AS FAR BACK AS 3000 BC

Tito had a collection of animals given by heads of states from other countries.

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THE ZEBRA CAME AS A GIFT FROM SEHUN TURE OF GUINEA IN 1960 AND 1961

The train acknowledged, but didn’t stop at the Dinosaur Exhibit, so by bike, we stop

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HERE’S SOME DINOSAUR FOOTPRINTS FILLED WITH WATER.  THERE ARE MORE THAN 200 DINOSAUR FOOTPRINTS IN THE AREA. THEY’RE 65-145 MILLION YEARS OLD.

Right next to the footprints is this

SHORELINE MILITARY OUTLOOK

SHORELINE MILITARY LOOKOUT

The ferry leaves in 15 minutes and were way north on the island.  We race back, return the bikes, hop on board, the sun sets as we reach the mainland.  Were beat, it was a long day.

Yesterday back in Rovinj they were setting up an elementary grade school “art” exhibit, of  “what they wanted in the city” and today it’s up.

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TRANSLATION: “LOTS OF FREE BIKES SO KIDS CAN RIDE AROUND TOWN”

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SHOPPING IS SOMETHING YOU DO IN A TOURIST TOWN

When I biked through Croatia last year, it was with two vegetarians, Carolyn and Tyler of Two Wheel Travel Blog.  We kept passing roadside BBQ’s, I kept requesting we stop for the BBQ Pig, it wasn’t going happen.  So I told Natasa, I really want to have the BBQ pig, when we go out.

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I FINALLY GOT TO TRY IT. IT ACTUALLY WASN’T AS GOOD AS I HAD IMAGINED, I CAN CHECK IT OFF THE BUCKET LIST NOW THOUGH.

The Rovinj Farmers market was run like a Mafia market.  There were maybe 15 vendors who all had nearly the same products at the same prices.  I wanted to buy the Lavender Soap, but not at the fixed Mafia price.  I made an offer to one vendor then another, both refused my deal.  I finally found a willing seller and paid a price I felt was closer to what I felt the soap was worth.

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EVEN THE BEAUTIFUL HOT CHILI STRINGS WERE PRICED THE SAME.

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I HAD TO TAKE ONE LAST PHOTO ON OUR LAST BIKE TRIP THROUGH TOWN.

We had a good time in Croatia, it’s so great being so close to so many different countries all with there own cultures and foods.

NEXT: As promised “WHERE THE HELL IS SKOFJA LOKA?” It’s gonna be BIG!

CROATIA PHOTOS HERE

Thanks for reading.

Jeff

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BIKE TOURING MT. TRIGLAV

Natasa is off to Sarajevo and I’m offered the car for the weekend.  The car idea is somewhat tempting, but as a biker, we usually like to pedal our ride not drive it. So, I plan a weekend trip, first by train to Most na Soca (photos).  Then bike to Camp Villi (photos) to use as a base camp and do some exploring of the region, by bike.  I call Will and warn him that I’m coming and I would like the BBQ fish dinner.

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I MISSED THE ASPHALT ROAD TURN-OFF AND END UP TAKING THIS GRAVEL ROAD.  STILL PRETTY NICE!

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I THINK ONLY ONE OR TWO CARS CAME BY ME ON THIS ROAD

I finally work my way back up to the asphalt road and check my google map to see how far Camp Villi is, I see it’s directly below me. It’s hot and I’m wearing jeans, I didn’t bring any cycling shorts.  Camp Villi is alive with activity, like cutting the grass and other country living chores.

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I DIDN’T SEE THE SHEEP LAST TIME, NOW I’M CAMPING NEXT TO THEM.

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1 KILOMETER OR 100 KILOMETERS, NOTHING FEELS BETTER THAN A COLD RIVER ON YOUR FEET, AND I MEAN COLD!

I had called ahead and told them I was coming, good plan.  They thought I was going to be the only one camping and eating with them, wrong, 14 more people showed up.

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PETER HAD THE UNFORTUNATE TASK OF TRYING TO MAKE 14 PEOPLE HAPPY WITH THE REMAINING 3 FISH. INSTEAD OF FISH THEY GOT BOSNIAN SAUSAGES and CHICKEN, GOOD, BUT NOT AS GOOD AS THE FISH.

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CHICKEN, BOSNIAN SAUSAGES, POLENTA, ZUCCHINI AND TOMATOES. NOTHING LIKE ROUGHING IT WHEN YOUR CAMPING.

parasailing

From my campsite there are about 12 people parasailing above me.  I talk with Will and he tells me you can fly for 5 or 6 hours if you want.  The thermal lifts here, are world renowned.  I thought I would take a photo the next day, but forgot to. So I posted this video of someone doing a 40 km “sailing.”

VIEW PARASAILING VIDEO HERE

The weather is uncharacteristically warm and very sunny.  I start thinking that maybe I should do the Mt. Triglav loop, that I’ve wanted to do all summer.  I check the distance and the weather online.  I call Natasa and tell her my plans, “have a good time”, I’m going to ride the valley and climb the mountain.  It’s the challenge that I enjoy, so here goes.

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THE BIKE ALLOWS YOU TO REALLY SEE AND FEEL THE LOVE A COUNTRY.

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THE WEATHER IS SPECTACULAR COMBINED WITH THE SCENERY, BIKING WAS A GREAT CHOICE. EVERYWHERE YOU TURN, IT SEEMS THERE’S A CHURCH.

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STONE BUILDING

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I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THIS LITTLE STONE BUILDING IS FOR?

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THE BLUE COLOR OF THE SOCA RIVER IS SOMETHING I’VE NEVER SEEN BEFORE.

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I LOVE BIKING

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THE PHOTOS OPPORTUNITIES ARE NUMEROUS

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I DIDN’T BRING ANY “CYCLING” SHORTS, BUT THE RIDE IS SO GREAT I HARDLY NOTICE HOW UNCOMFORTABLE THESE ARE TO RIDE IN.

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I WAS THE ONLY CAMPER AT THIS CAMPGROUND, ONE OF THE ADVANTAGES OF CAMPING “OUT OF SEASON”

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I’VE NEVER SEEN SO MANY CABLE BRIDGES ACROSS A RIVER

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I’M PATIENTLY WAITING MY TURN.

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OFF SEASON TOURING IS QUIET

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i stop at a store for some supplies for tomorrows climb, there’s a couple of touring German cyclist here too  They just climbed the mountain and said it took them an hour and half.  I gave myself 2-3 hours and to be sure I would make it.   I camped at the last campground just before the climb, to give myself enough time.

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I HAD SOME TIME BEFORE THE SUN WENT DOWN AND DID A LITTLE HIKE NEAR MY CAMPSITE. I WAS THE ONLY ONE CAMPING HERE TOO.

I make a big bowl of oatmeal, fruit and nuts and 2 cups of coffee.  It’s time to meet my destiny, the top!

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HOLY SHIT, 14% GRADE FOR 9 KM.(5.6 MILES) (I’m toast)
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NEARLY EVERY TURN HAD A NUMBERED SIGN WITH THE ELEVATION

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SOME TURNS HAD SIGNS OF A LAZY DAY, THAT I WASN’T CURRENTLY EXPERIENCING

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IT TOOK ME 2.5 HOURS TO REACH THE SUMMIT OF PRELAZ VRSIC (there’s no way those other cyclist made it in 1.5 hours) The pass road is closed in the winter.

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MY BIKE RIMS WERE OVERHEATING ON THE RIDE DOWN, BUT OF COURSE THERE’S ALWAYS A GOOD PHOTO TO TAKE WHILE YOU WAIT FOR THEM TO COOL OFF.

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EVERY TURN HAD COBBLESTONES WITH ASPHALT USED IN BETWEEN THE TURNS

i finally reach Kranjska Gora, this bike path starts at the Italian border and goes all the way to Camp Kamne.  Camp Kamne is where Natasa and I first met.

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THIS BIKE PATH IS ONE OF THE MANY REASONS THAT BIKING IS BETTER THAN DRIVING.

I was the only one a Camp Kamne, for awhile, then 3 more campers showed up.

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I GOT TO SET UP AND COOK IN THE SHELTER. THEY WORK HARD AT CAMP KAMNE, EVERYTHING IS IN EXCELLENT CONDITION AND THE PLACE IS “SUPER ” CLEAN.

I was going to take the 3pm train from Jesenice back to Skofja Loka.  I looked at the map and it was only 56km, easy, no mountains and I would get in SKofja Loka about the same time, as the train.   I message Natasa and tell her my plans, “see you tonight, have fun”, awesome.  I’ve wanted to figure out how to ride from here to Skofja Loka, google maps shows me the Highway, so instead I use the walking route map.

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THE WALKING ROUTE IS GREAT, NO CARS

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I LOVE THE CHARACTER AND CHARACTERS OF THE LITTLE VILLAGES I PASS THROUGH

I was doing really good for awhile, the walking route was more than rewarding.

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THE “WALKING” ROUTE TOOK ME DOWN A DIRT ROAD THAT TURNED TO MUD AND EVENTUALLY ENDED. I HAD TO BACKTRACK 3 OR 4 KM

i missed another turn and ended up riding into someones farm, then a dog chased me away.  I checked my map and found out where I went wrong (again).

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I KNOW WHY A MISSED THIS TURN, I THOUGHT “NO WAY” YEP THAT WAS THE WAY.

I finally made it to Kranj, I’ve ridden to Kranj from Skofja Loka 6 or 7 times.  It’s about a 40 minute ride and I got back an hour after the train, not too bad?  I was so glad to be back.  I think todays ride was harder than crossing the PRELAZ VRSIC (mountain pass).  I was so dead,

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I WALK IN THE DOOR AND SI-SI, OUR CAT, THOUGHT I NEEDED A NICE WELCOME HOME PRESENT, SHIT! MAYBE THE CAT MISSED ME?

If your considering a challenging bike route here it is.

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GOOGLE MAP OF ROUTE

Next time I’ll ride from Skofja Loka to Most na Soca, instead of the train, it’s a quiet road.              IS BIKING BETTER THAN DRIVING? Of course I say yes, but you decide for yourself.  Taking 4 days biking versus 3 hours driving allows for a greater connection with an area, just look at the photos, they tell the real story.

MY BIKE PHOTOS ARE HERE

NEXT? BIKING IN CROATIA (again).                                                                                                          For all the people waiting for my Skofja Loka stories and photos, I swear they’re next-next.  I have 450 photos to sort and figure out where to put to make a nice story;-)

Thanks for reading and commenting

Jeff

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BIKE ROUTE SCOUTING OF MT. TRIGLAV

I know I promised to write about life in Skofja Loka, but shit happens.  We’ve had a terrible summer, except for the last couple of days, sunny sunny sunny.  It’s hard to work inside when it’s so nice outside.  We went to the European Union Mobility Festival events in Ljubljana.  I did the bike tour, then we all 3 did the walking tour and then a free train ride to the Ljubljana Castle (photos) in the city center.

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I was told by the head of Slovenian Tourism that the route around Mt. Triglav is the most beautiful part of Slovenia.  I’ve been trying all summer to get someone, anyone to join me for a bike tour of the region, but no takers. (Stanley)IMG_1145I finally convince Natasa that driving around the mountain and car-camping would be OK too.  So we are going to drive around Mt. Triglav (photos), the highest mountain in Slovenia and it’s only National Park while doing bike tour scouting.

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THE ROADS ARE QUIET AND SEEM LIKE A POTENTIAL FOR GREAT BIKE TOURING.

I LOVE RURAL LIFE

I LOVE RURAL LIFE PHOTO OPPORTUNITIES

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MOST OF THE ROADS WERE IN GREAT SHAPE

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I REALLY ADMIRE THE PEOPLE WHO OPT FOR RURAL VILLAGE LIFE.

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LOVE THE UNIQUE HOUSES THAT LINE THE ROADS

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AN AMAZING TUNNEL CUT THROUGH SOLID ROCK. LOTS OF CARS CAN BE SEEN CARRYING BIKES TO THEIR DESTINATION.

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SLOVENIA IS A BEE CAPITAL, WHICH MORE OF THE WHOLE WORLD NEEDS TO PROMOTE TOO

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A POSITIVE SIGN THAT CYCLING IS PART OF THE CULTURE HERE AND COMPATIBLE WITH FARMING! (car photos can be fuzzy)

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STONE RAILWAY OVERPASS

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YOU RARELY SEE A CAR ALONG THIS ROUTE

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We didn’t leave till 5pm, so within a couple hours the sun was disappearing.  I type “camping” into Google maps and it shows a few campsites, on the other side of the Soca River.  We finally find a bridge, cross the river and follow some camping signs down a gravel road.  We stumble into CAMP VILI (camp willy), and meet the very funny owner, Will.  We didn’t plan any dinner options for tonight.  So Will’s many choices are more than welcome.

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WILL SHOWS US SOME DINNER OPTIONS, CHICKEN OR PORK WITH VEGETABLES.

We opt for the fresh BBQ fish.

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 “MY BEST MEAL IN SLOVENIA”  BBQ: FRESH FISH, POLENTA, ZUCCHINI, BOSNIAN SAUSAGES, TOMATOES AND EGGPLANT.

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THIS SIDE OF THE RIVER IS A TOP NOTCH BICYCLE ROUTE.

The road ends in KOBARID (photos), a place for adventure experiences: rafting, canyoning, hiking, kayaking and parasailing

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THE ROAD’S POTENTIAL FOR BIKE TOURING IS SHOWN AT EVERY TWIST AND TURN IN THE ROAD.

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I’M INTERESTED TO SEE WHAT IT’S LIKE IN WINTER, I’M BETTING SNOW AND COLD

We stopped at many different campgrounds to see what amenities they offered.  Some sold sheep cheese and had an in-house restaurant.

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THIS WATER FEATURE WAS AT ONE OF THE CAMPGROUNDS WE VISITED.

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LET ME JUST SAY, “THAT WATER IS COLD

We’ve driven through the entire Trenta Valley (photos) and are about to head up and over the mountain.  I’m taking photos as Natasa drives, we pass a photo opportunity, but continue to drive.  I finally said “wait” there’s an awesome photo I want.  Natasa agrees and turns the car around. We only go back about a kilometer or 2.

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THIS HARDY COUPLE IS DIGGING THIS YEARS POTATOES FOR WINTER STORAGE. THEY ARE THE FIRST HOUSE AT THE  BASE OF THE MOUNTAIN. WE STAYED AND TALKED FOR AWHILE. THIS IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE PICTURES OF ALL TIMES.

We basically drove through the Trenta Valley following the Soca River.  Natasa suggest we hike to the Soca’s source, mmm OK.  The first part of the hike was easy, but before long we’re hanging onto a cable, to reach the source.

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HANGING ONTO A CABLE TO SEE THE SOCA WATER SOURCE ISN’T MY IDEA OF FUN. IT WAS A LONG WAY DOWN.

I tell her, “I’m not dieing to see the Soca River source.”  We turn around and I buy the post card of what it looks like.  Natasa treats me to some cherry strudel, for doing the hike?  It’s time to drive up and over PRELAZ VRSIC (photos) .

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HEADING DOWN, EVERY TURN WAS COBBLESTONED

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YOU NEVER KNOW WHO OR WHAT YOU’LL SEE ON THE SLOVENIAN BACKROADS

It was quite a great “road” trip, very doable by bike, except maybe climbing the 10 km mountain.

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We’re great travel companions, as always looking forward to our next adventure.  Natasa has to go to Sarajevo for work, in a couple weeks.  So I plan to take the train to Most Na Soca and bike to Camp Ville, while she’s gone.  I was going to just ride up and down the bike route, then take the train back to Skofja Loka.  The weather is forecast, sunny for 4 days–straight!

NEXT?  I bike the route we just drove, including up Prelaz Vrsic pass.  Is biking really better travel than by car? stay tuned

MY ARE PHOTOS HERE

Thanks for reading

Jeff

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EUROBIKE 2014 FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, GERMANY PART II

BIKING TO THE EUROBIKE SHOW

                   YOU NEVER RIDE ALONE WHEN THERE’S A BIKE SHOW IN TOWN

EUROBIKE was a super event, for everything bike.  Even how to clean them.

AUTOMATIC BIKE WASHER  15,000 EURO ($19,685.00)

AUTOMATIC BIKE WASHER 15,000 EURO ($19,685.00)

i want to buy an electric tandem bike for touring with Natasa.  I think we could really cover some territory , with a little help.

I WANT A TANDEM AND WHAT A GREAT WAY TO TRY IT OUT!

I WANT AN ELECTRIC TANDEM AND WHAT A GREAT WAY TO TRY IT OUT! Thanks Meghan.

EuroBike is packed full of bike enthusiast.    NUTCASE HELMETS, had a couple of their helmet artist paint full size “ART” near their booth.  They were going auction off the paintings to raise money for WORLD BICYCLE RELIEF, you too can make a donation today!

NUTCASE HELMETS ARTIST WALL

ARTIST SANDRA RAMIREZ WITH MEGHAN, (notice Meghan is wearing a helmet with Sandra’s design)

BAMBOO BIKE

BAMBOO BIKE, (parked out front)

SIDEWAYS PEDAL BIKE

SIDEWAYS PEDAL BIKE

I sent Natasa post cards (everyday), so I had to ride to town to the post office.  The bike is the best for “discovering” what’s going on.  I came across the farmers market, I bought a salmon sandwich, figs, fruit cobbler and blueberries, brought my lunch to Eurobike.

I LOVE FARMERS MARKETS AND STRAWBERRIES

I LOVE FARMERS MARKETS AND STRAWBERRIES

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                 MARKET SQUARE ART SCULPTURES

LOVE THE GERMAN BREAD

                                                       SEEDED GERMAN BREADS

ACROSS FROM ZEPPLIN MUSEUM

ZEPPELIN PLAY GROUND ART, ACROSS FROM ZEPPELIN MUSEUM         

If pedaling wasn’t enough?  You can now use hand cranks and your arm power too.

TANDEM ARM POWER

THEY MAKE A SINGLE TOO, I SAW SOMEONE OUT TEST “DRIVING” ONE.

ELECTRIC CAR RACE BY PEDALING

ELECTRIC CAR RACE BY PEDALING (she won)

I came to look at electric bikes, so here’s a few of them:

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THIS IS THE DIAVELO ELECTRIC BIKE (video) CALLED, AFTER 5.  COMING TO AMERICA IN 2014.     IMG_1083                           WHAT A GREAT WAY TO ENJOY THE GOLDEN AGE OF RETIREMENT.  

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PROTANIUM BIKES WERE QUITE EYE CATCHING. I LIKE THE LOOKS, BUT IF YOU HAVE A “FAST” E-BIKE, SOME FRONT OR FULL SHOCKS CAN REALLY SMOOTH OUT THE RIDE, ESPECIALLY OVER SPEED BUMPS!  THEY HAVE A SHAFT DRIVE VERSION (video) TOO

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I’M GETTING OLDER AND THE STEP THROUGH DESIGN IS VERY APPEALING.  ESPECIALLY IF YOUR RUNNING A LOT OF ERRANDS AND ARE GETTING OFF AND ON A LOT.(or wearing a dress).

LEARN MORE ABOUT E-BIKES WITH THESE LINKS:

ELECTRICBIKE.COM TOP 10 THINGS ABOUT E-BIKES: KITS, MID-DRIVES, LIGHTEST, MOST EXPESNSIVE, UTILITARIAN, FASTEST, HOME GARAGE AND ILLEGAL

PETE’S ELECTRICBIKEREPORT.COM REVIEWS THE LATEST IN E-BIKE TECHNOLOGY AND YOU CAN SIGN UP FOR HIS NEWSLETTER.

ELECTRIC-BIKES.COM HOW TO BUY AN E-BIKE AND OTHER USEFUL INFORMATION

FLYKYL SMART WHEEL STAND ALONE E-WHEEL KIT, WORKS WITH SMART PHONE

 PETE’S ELECTRICBIKEREPORT.COM E-BIKE PHOTO GALLERY FROM EUROBIKE 2014

I went to some travel seminars and they are making tours that include E-Bike charging stations along the way, to keep you coming back!

ELECTRIC BIKE CHARGING STATION

E BIKE CHARGING STATION IN FRIEDRICHSHAIN

They had bins and bins of bike related publications.

ALL THE ELECTRIC BIKE MAGAZINES ARE GONE

THE E-BIKE MAGAZINES WERE POPULAR, THE BINS WERE EMPTY!

BACK TO EUROBIKE

WOODEN BIKE

 EVERYONE WHO HAS A BIKE THEY WANT PEOPLE TO SEE, THEY BRING IT TO EUROBIKE.

I reached the saturation point, I couldn’t look at anymore bike stuff, interesting or not. I was done.  I rode my bike to EuroBike and sold my last day ticket.  It was the public day and it was PACKED, glad I wasn’t going in.  I rIde next door to the Zeppelin Airport.

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I PAID 3 EURO ($4) FOR A CUP OF COFFEE SO I COULD SIT AND WATCH THE ZEPPELIN LAND AND TAKE OFF, RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME.  OF COURSE THEY DIDN’T HAVE ANY WIFI (free or paid)?

I had been planning another adventure to Crete, Greece.  I was going to visit Vincent, the French cyclist I rode with in Greece.  He’s working on a farm.  But after nearly 17 months and 19 countries, I’m done.  EuroBike, Germany is my last country for awhile.  I keep thinking the blog will end, but no.  I’ve got more stories about our adventures in Skofja Loka and were going to Croatia next month, it’s only a 2 1/2 hour drive, we set a 3 hour limit to how far were willing to drive for a little vacation.

EUROBIKE PHOTOS ARE HERE

 

Thanks for Reading and Commenting (for those that have something to say)

JEFF

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