And I’m not sure I can trust the road signs???
Let me rephrase that, “I’m not sure I can trust the road grade indicator signs?” It’s either that they don’t really know what a 12% grade is or we are stronger then we realize. Brian is of the belief that we are in his words “Studs” because climbing 12% to 15% (that’s what the road signs say) has become, while not easy, less painful then ever before. I like the way Brian thinks but I am unsure of the truth.
We entered Slovenia with very high expatiations, everyone we talked to that has cycled this section of the world has raved about what a pleasure it was to ride through. It’s a rare thing that a place lives up to the hype but we were not disappointed. The only pity is that we had such little time in Slovenia and also that it is such a small country. I would love to go back and explore more of the little roads in the countryside and meet some more of the people. The roads are such fun to ride even on a touring bicycle and the people are some of the nicest we have met in all of Europe. I really can’t say enough good things about Slovenia!
In reality we only spent about 4 days cycling in the country and another day in Sostro a small village right outside of Ljubljana. A little sightseeing was done in Ljubljana, and what a beautiful city that was! So unfortunately there wasn’t a large amount of time spent in country, but we had such a wonderful experience. The day after we arrived it was “International Workers Day” a holiday I never knew existed but I think everyone should celebrate this day! Someone one we met on the side of the road likened it to “Russian New Years”, I guess it’s a pretty popular holiday in Slovenia? And they have a particular way of celebrating it too. By lighting on fire the largest bonfire they can muster, sausages, loads of beer, and of course a Polka band! Definitely a party I won’t soon forget. Especially the Slovenian Polka band in traditional dress with a large crowd on the dance floor.
Like I said, what a shame we couldn’t stick around longer.
Croatia is the seventh country we have entered so far in this trip, and while so far it’s no Slovenia, it is still just as beautiful but also a whole lot cheaper so far. They will be joining the EU soon and trading out the Kuna for the Euro in about 6 months, so it’s not going to stay low price for long. We came in just at the right time. And it’s finally nice to be thinking in dollars to Kuna vs. those pesky Euros, that last one can get a bit dangerous with the wallet if you aren’t careful!
So far (mind you we have just been in country for one cycling day at this point) Croatia is just one large hill after another steep hill. Climbing hills all day, it makes me miss the mountains! We have opted for the less ridden roads to make it a shorter distance through Croatia (we have to be in Sarajevo on May 15, to meet some friends) and I think I might know the reason everyone takes the coast road instead of the interior ones. And it’s not just the unexploded mine fields! I am now of the belief that it is much harder to climb a hill then it is a mountain. My legs defiantly feel the same way too. On the plus side people don’t drive as fast here and even the larger highways on the map are less frequented then the big, toll Autoput. It makes for some safer yet tiring cycling. Also because we are slow and small traffic we have been able to move through areas that will not allow trucks over a certain tonnage (the road surfaces not being the best here) and we even were allowed to use the construction bypass to cross a bridge that was being rebuilt, it wasn’t big enough for cars to pass. That being one of the first times when riding a bicycle actually had an advantage vs. riding in a car.
The plan isn’t to be in Croatia long, maybe just a few more days. Ride some hills see some lakes and make sure to stock up on food. The interior has less towns, population, and smaller roads. Which means less cafes, grocery stores, and restaurants. There is almost nothing between where I am now in Ogulin and the next stop on our map tomorrow. So we need to stock up when we can, you wouldn’t believe how much we eat!