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.

ljubljana castle

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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EUROBIKE 2014 FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, GERMANY PART I

Europe is E-Bike crazy right now, so I decided that EuroBike would be a good place to see the latest in E-Bike technology.   I tried to find a local ride by asking around the bike shops, no luck.  The train was all day but the bus for $27 to Munich then $15 to Friedrichshafen, seemed like the best option.

WHY AM I SO CRAZY ABOUT ELECTRIC BIKES?

A recent study on the environment impact of e-bikes vs other forms of transportation found that e-bikes are about:

  • 18 times more energy efficient than an SUV
  • 13 times more energy efficient than a sedan
  • 6 times more energy efficient than rail transit
  • and, of about equal impact to the environment as a conventional bicycle.

FROM E-BIKES WIKIPEDIA

I took the night bus and arrived in Munich about 7am.  I didn’t have a map to my “SMART STAY HOSTEL”.  I asked the Kebab guy, (the only shop open) for the wifi password, NO!  Some of the buses had wifi, so as the buses arrived I would stand next to them, I finally got connected and my got directions to my hostel. It was only a 1.5 mile walk. I’ve never been to Munich (photo tour)  so I came a day early, to have a look around.  I needed to buy my ticket to Friedrichshafen where EuroBike is being hosted.  I spent nearly the whole day buying bus tickets and walking around, aimlessly.  I went to rent a bike, when I finally found the location, I was told they had gone out of business.  Maybe they should remove their advertisements from the hostel?

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LOCAL STREET ART

I had to visit 3 different ticket sellers at 2 different locations to get all the bus tickets I needed.  In some ways Germany is not very easy to navigate.  Something that was super cool were the luxury buses, (once you got a ticket), they were super nice.

LONG DISTANCE BUSES HAD BIKE RACKS

THE LONG DISTANCE BUSES WERE ALL ABLE TO CARRY BICYCLES TOO.

I didn’t have a room for the first night.  So the tourist office hooked me up an apartment at the campground.  I had emailed the campground the week before, but I never got a response.  The room (with bathroom down the hall) was $80 and I had to pay to use the WIFI.  The more I attempted to use the internet the more I realized there’s “a lock” on it in Germany.  I got free WIFI in nearly every country I visited.  Now I’m in Europe’s economic powerhouse-Germany and you must pay to play!

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READY TO ROLL OUT OF THE CAMPGROUND

This time I rented a bike at the bus station, when I arrived.  Missing basket, broken lights and a squeaky chain, Oh how I miss not having my own bike.

BIKE PATH AROUND FRIEDREICHSHAFEN

THE APPLE TREES LINED THE BIKE PATH TO EUROBIKEI

I finally get there and what do I see?

ZEPPLINS FLYING AROUND, 200 EURO FOR 1/2 HOUR RIDE ($265)

EUROBIKE IS NEXT TO THE ZEPPLIN “AIRPORT”

You can ride in a Zeppelin for 200 euro ($265) for 1/2 hour, You can save 5 euro it’s only 395 euro for an hour.  i actually thought about it for a minute? Whens the next time you’ll be able to ride in a Zeppelin,  I may have to come back and give it a try, maybe when I retire.

My friend, Meghan from Portland works for NUTCASE BIKE HELMETS and she got me a one-day pass, that also allowed me to buy 3 more days.

MEGHAN AND ME

THANKS MEGHAN

NOW FOR THE BIKE PHOTO SHOW AND THE AMAZING NEW STUFF FOR BIKES

ITALIAN ELECTRIC BIKE

ITALIAN DESIGNED ELECTRIC BIKE (I WANT IT)

CAMPING, ON THE MOON?

READY TO GO ANYWHERE

EUROBIKE FASHION SHOW The fashion show was amazing. Sample Videos: #1,   #2,   #3   I thought it was a top event at EuroBike.  The lead dancer in the 2nd video is great!

BIKE UMBRELLA

BIKE UMBRELLA

THERE WAS SOME BIKE HISTORY ON DISPLAYIN 1979  145 KMPH (90.1 MPH)

 

IMG_0997The test area for the electric bikes was packed.  No one was wearing a helmet (I was), we were “testing” electric bikes, watch out.  There was probably 50-75 bikes on the track at once.  The Stromer Electric Bike was the 2014 EuroBike Gold Medal Winner. I had to try it, super fast! and fun!

STROMMER 45kmph (27.9 mph) Range !50km 93 miles) 6000 EURO ($7874)

STROMMER 45kmph (27.9 mph) Range !50km 93 miles) 6000 EURO ($7874)

I went over and tried the Raleigh Electric Bike, nearly the same specs, but 1/2 the price.  I liked that it wasn’t all business, there was lots of activities going on.  There was a organization from Amsterdam, that recycles the frames from abandoned bicycles.

AMERSTERDAM ROETZ RE-FINISHED BIKE

THIS IS ONE THEIR RECYCLED BIKES MADE NEW (WITH BEER PACK)

I went to 3 days of EuroBike, it was alot.  I’ve got some more photos and stories. So yep, Part II is where I will wrap up the rest of EuroBike.  I will post the photo links in the next blog post.

UNTIL THEN

JEFF

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BIKING THE CZECH REPUBLIC PART ll

i stopped by several different tourist offices, to try and figure out how to get on the Prague-Vienna bike path.  She said you need to take bike route 12.  We ride out of town and see a bike sign 12A and start following it.

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WE ARE SO LOST, ROUTE 12A IS NOT ROUTE 12

The routes are well marked, but you need to know the difference between 12a and 12.  We rode until we were finally convinced that we were following the wrong route 12.

 

NEW RIVER FRONT BIKE PATH

CZECH IS STILL ACTIVELY BUILDING NEW BIKE ROUTES, LIKE THIS ONE ALONG THE RIVER.  THAT’S NATASA AND SARA ON THEIR BIKES

We thankfully bought a bike map at the tourist office and tested our navigation skills.  There are so many options, your never really totally lost.

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EVEN OUR RE-ROUTE WAS BEAUTIFUL AND NEARLY CAR-FREE

WE FINALLY REACHED THE PRAGUE-VIENNA (PRAHA-WIEN) BIKE ROUTE

YEP

I WAS SO HAPPY

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I KISSED THE SIGN,

We probably road 45km, at the end of the day we saw a sign to Prague 19km.  I was hoping Natasa wouldn’t see the sign, but she did and was dead tired.  She wanted a hotel, no camping.  I asked the local policeman where there was a hotel, he drew me a map.  Were in a really non-tourist town of  Jílové u Prahy (photos google street map). The next day we ride to Sedlčan (photos google street map).  The weather is looking grim, we opt for a train ride to Tabor.

TRAIN INSTEAD OF RAIN

NICE SUNNY PHOTO. RAIN?

OUR BIKES ARE GOING ON THAT? YES

OUR BIKES ARE GOING ON THAT? YES

The train that picked us up looked like a big bus. It was the cabin and engine all in one.  We had to change trains, while waiting under the shelter it started pouring rain, I was glad to be taking the train.  Were in TABOR (photo tour) the sister city to our home of Skofja Loka.  Czech’s largest chocolate museum is in Tabor, OK we’ll go.

MAKING CHOCOLATE CANDIES

OUR CHOCOLATE “TEACHER” WAS SUPER HELPFUL AND HAD ENOUGH ENGLISH TO HAVE SOME GOOD LAUGHS TOGETHER.

MAKING CHOCOLATE CANDIES

THERE WERE MANY COLOR OPTIONS AVAILABLE

ALL OF ARE CHOCOLATE CREATIONS

OUR FINISHED PRODUCT

TABOR CASTLE VIEW

THE CASTLE TOWER VIEW OF TABOR

i love taking photos of art and this one was pretty special.

LOCAL ART

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THE BAROQUE STYLE BUILDINGS WERE BEAUTIFUL IN TABOR

We’re happy to be back on the road and the biking here is some of the best I’ve ever done.

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THE ROAD SPLIT THE LAKE

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RIDING THROUGH THESE VILLAGES IS REALLY SPECIAL AND AGAIN NEARLY CAR FREE!

This is mainly a bike touring route, but lots of cyclist enjoy the low traffic backroads.

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MOST OF THE ROADS WERE IN GREAT CONDITION, THIS ONE WAS BRAND NEW.

CROSSES IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE

ONE OF THE MANY RELIGIOUS MONUMENTS, IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE

Were following the Prague-Vienna bike route, but we missed a sign and end up on another bike route.

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GETTING “LOST” AGAIN TURNS OUT TO TAKE US DOWN THE NICEST ROUTE OF THE ENTIRE CZECH BIKE TOUR

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ANDREJA, TA SLIKA JE SAMO ZATE

 

This is the last night where we could camp.  We’ve been carrying our tents, sleeping bags and pads, but haven’t used them yet.  I wanted to camp, but the vote was 2-1.

 

LAKE SIDE CABIN

THIS WAS OUR LAKE SIDE CABIN, IT’S REALLY COZY

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The State Chateau of Hluboká

 

Were in the town of Hluboka, it has a CASTLE (photos).  Were here and were going to visit it.  What an amazing place.  We weren’t allowed to take photos inside.  The place was amazing, the intricate carvings in every room were flawless.  The carvings around a mirror took 3 people 17 months, it was absolutely perfect.  There were so many photo opportunities, but no.  I look at the souvenir photo book, not the pictures I would have chosen, I don’t buy it.  Now I wish I had taken some clandestin photos.  Here’s a link to some INTERIOR CASTLE PHOTOS

AWESOME BIKE PATHS

THIS IS A PHOTO OF THE TYPICAL CZECH BIKE PATH

i love taking pictures of pedestrian bridges and CESKE BUDEJOVICE, didn’t disappoint.

BIKE/PEDESTRIAN BRIDGE

I HAVE SOME MORE BRIDGE PHOTOS IN MY PHOTO ALBUM

It’s our last day on the bike, were almost back to Cesky Krumlov.

OUR LAST BIKE PATH WAS UPHILL AND GRAVEL

IT’S HARD TO BELIEVE THAT THE LAST 3 OR 4 KM OF THE BIKE PATH IS GRAVEL. IT’S STILL BEAUTIFUL WITH NO CARS.

ARE WE THERE YET?

BUT, THIS UPHILL PART OF THE RIDE WASN’T VERY POPULAR WITH ANYONE

Were back at the Havana Hostel and our host is recommending the The 2 Marys Restaurant.  Holy Shit, REAL Czech food is awesomely healthy.  Read the history of Czech food.

BEST CZECH MEAL EVER! (PHEASANT)

PHEASANT, CABBAGE SALAD, HAM, CHEESE/VEG CASSEROLE                                BEST MEAL EVER!

We stop at a market on our drive back and there’s some touring cyclist from Czech.

CZECH BIKE TOURER WITH FLAG AND CZ STICKER ON CUP

SHE PROUDLY POSES WHILE FLYING THE CZECH FLAG AND HAS A CAR CZ STICKER ON HER COFFEE MUG. LOVE IT.

We decide to take the whole day to drive back.  We stop in Linz, Austria and buy this cute garden sculpture for our garden.

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Then to IKEA, for some shopping.  Some parts of Europe are just like America and IKEA is just that.  We must pass through 12 or more tunnels and there are these signs inside.

TUNNEL ESCAPE SIGNS

WHICH WAY SHOULD I GO?

All and all It was a another successful tour, got lost a few times but no injury accidents.  Were home safe and sound in Skofja Loka.  I’m working on a story about life in Skofja Loka.  They have been remodeling the whole town, laying new cobblestone.  I’ve got lots of fun pictures.

 WHAT’S NEXT?: EUROBIKE, GERMANY

UNTIL NEXT TIME                                                                                                                         JEFF

CZECH PHOTOS
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BIKING IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC PART I

I’ve been super busy, we just got back from our Czech bike tour then I left for the Euro-Bike Expo in Friedrichshafen, Germany. I wanted to see the latest in E-Bike technology.  I think the future in transportation is going to be the combination of a bicycle with electric assist.  There was talk of changing the expo name to The E-Bike Show.  E-bikes dominated, the show, both in number of booths and the test area was packed too. I’ll post some photos from the bike show, after this story.

I thought Czech was some of the best available bike touring I’ve done to date. I didn’t look at this map before we left, here’s the opencyclemap.org, a free to access  bicycle map, mostly for Europe.  I was shocked when I saw the multiple route options that I could explore the Czech Republic with a  bicycle.  Many of the routes were signed and there were good bike maps available at most tourist offices.

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CZECH COMPETES WELL WITH THE NETHERLANDS FOR BIKING OPPORTUNITIES

 

 

We wanted to take the train to be car-free, but no, that was a 14 hour adventure with 3 train changes.  It’s only a 5 hour drive, that saves almost 2 days of travel and vacation time.

INTERESTING BUILDING PHOTGHRAPED FROM CAR

NATASA WANTED TO DRIVE, SO I GET TO TAKE PHOTOS

We drive to   CESKY KRUMLOV (photos). to start our bicycle tour.

We stay at the HAVANA HOSTEL, in Cesky Krumlov it was clean, cheap, very friendly and informative.

HOSTEL LIFE, I-PHONE FROM BED

OUR BAGS BLOW-UP AT THE HOSTEL

 

IT WAS NICE "CAR-FREE" VILLAGE

IT WAS A NICE “CAR-FREE” VILLAGE TO WALK AROUND

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The town was super cool, with the river s-ing it’s way through town, full of rafters, it was quite entertaining.  It seems every town has a tower to climb and Cesky Krumlov had one too.

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WE VISIT THE TOWER FIRST, TO GET A BIRDS EYE VIEW OF THE CITIES LAYOUT.

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A SELFIE SHOT BY SOMEONE ELSE

We spend the day visiting museums and galleries.

BIRD FOOT CANDLE HOLDER

WILDLIFE CANDLE HOLDER

TOLIET AND CHAIR IN ONE! FOR #2

WHEN YOU GOTTA GO AND YOU DON’T WANT TO GO ANYWHERE

RARE SWORD WITH GUN (just in case they survivie the sword)

A RARE SWORD WITH A GUN (just in case they survive the gun)

HUNTING WAS VERY POPULAR

HUNTING WAS A HUGE SPORT, BACK IN THE DAY. MANY CASTLES ARE DECORATED WITH ELK & DEER ANTLERS

YEP!

IT’S NOT RAINING, YET

The tourist office can’t tell me where the bike trail starts, so I head out on my own to find it.  I always find something interesting when I’m exploring on my own.  I finally find the start of the bike trail.

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SIGNS ON A BAR DOOR-NO RUSSIANS

NO GUNS, DRUGS, TIES OR RUSSIA!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

it starts raining and that includes the forecast, but Prague is dry.  Our original plan was to ride from Cesky Krumlov to Prague, but after we evaluated the weather situation, we flipped the ride around.  We now plan to take the train to Prague and bike back to Cesky Krumlov, where the car is parked.

We start off by getting on the wrong train going the wrong way.  We can get upset, but what’s the point?  We just sit back and enjoy the ride. by now it’s pouring rain outside and a train ride is much better than a bike ride, in the rain.  In Prague we meet a German couple at the train station and they follow us into the Old Town Square of Prague (photos).

PRAGUE ASTRONOMICAL CLOCK

THE FAMOUS PRAGUE ASTRONOMICAL CLOCK

Prague is packed with tourist and biking is nearly impossible.  Except when you go out at 6:30 in the morning.

DANCING BUILDING, PRAGUE

THE FAMOUS DANCING BUILDING OF PRAGUE

SUPER NARROW BIKE LANE, STILL BETTER THAN RIDING ON COBBLESTONE

THE WORLD’S NARROWEST BIKE LANE, (NOTICE NO ONES UP YET).

6AM BIKE RIDES CAN YIELD INTERESTING FINDS

GIANT SCULPTURE: OF CRAWLING BABIES

After riding both sides of the Vltava river(photos) Natasa wants to go back to the hostel, I opt for a tour of the PRAGUE PALACE (photos).  At that hour of the morning, no one was around, except the Palace guards, who told me to get off my bike (3x’s).  I ‘m a little lost, but I accidently bump into the hostel were staying at, thank goodness.  I did pass a farmers market on the way back.  I grab Natasa and Sara and we head back to the farmers market.

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THE MIXED BERRY BASKETS WERE AWESOME!

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PAUL’S FRENCH BAKERY, MMMMM

YES

WELL, I DON’T HAVE ANY

Our good friend Stanley from Royan, France was in Prague at the same time we were.  We went on a hike around VYSEHRADSKE SADY (photos).

I THINK NATASA IS ATTRACTED TO STANLEY

NATASA WAS REALLY ATTRACTED TO STANLEY

No trip would be complete without a visit from the Famous Rev. Phil with BIKE SMUT.   He’s having a showing Prague, while were in town.  We reserved him a bed in our hostel room.

VEGETARIAN BUFFET WITH REV. PHIL AND STANLEY

VEGETARIAN BUFFET DINNER WITH REV. PHIL AND STANLEY

SAYING OUR GOODBYES TO REV. PHIL AND PRAGUE

We’re finally starting our Czech Republic bike tour.  We’ve got our bikes packed up and were heading out of Prague, IN THE WRONG DIRECTION!

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THE BIKE PATH IS AWESOME, BUT IT’S THE WRONG ONE.

This story will be continued with BIKING THE CZECH REPUBLIC PART II

Thanks for reading and comments are almost always welcome.                                             PHOTOS: JEFF’S PHOTOS ARE HERE

JEFF

DON’T FORGET TO RIDE YOUR BIKE WHILE YOU CAN OR GET AN E-BIKE AND CHANGE YOUR LIFE.

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