Mega Balkan trip 2021, episode 7

This is it, the final episode of this for me epic journey.
It supposed to be my first big trip but corona made me change my plans and maybe even for the best.
I learned some things on my first trip like starting and ending with a sacrifice by putting in a lot of kilometres on mainly highway and main roads.
Why? Well, everything you would have seen going over nice country roads you probably have seen before or you can go see it in a weekend trip. Going that way you will cover the same distance in 3 days and doing the same on the way home you’ll save 4 days to spend in places you might not visit again.
That goes for me anyway because i like to spend my free time to explore new places.

i always thought i had the right mindset and the first trip proved that so i don’t had to worry about that and i figured out that solo travelling might fit me more. Still had to experience a full trip alone but i started with a good feeling going by myself.
And as i expected, riding alone does not say you are alone. On the ride it’s actually quite nice not having to keep track of others, you can ride your own way and make decisions on the fly. You can’t hurt someone’s feeling including your own.
Of course you will have to make sacrifices when you have limited time but you choose what that will be.

Now back to the trip where i was ended up in Jezerce, Plitvice and at the end of this episode i’ll be back home.
You might have noticed that some things i write here i also say in the video, that’s because i don’t expect everybody to read all of this and also not everybody who does reed this will watch the video.
So, like i also mention in de video is that when i lost my camelback i also lost a backpack and i didn’t want to walk all day with a handheld bag i just took my phone and a bottle of water on my walk in the Plitvice national park.
The park is 296,8km² with 16 lakes and 90 waterfalls. The part that’s dedicated for visiting has 4 walking routes which can partially can be done by road train and/or boats.
I took the 18km route starting on the other side of the lake from entrance 2 but that part was just a couple hundred meters by boat.
First i went to the upper lake and when i got back i took about a kilometre on a boat to start the walk to the lower lake and after that i also walked back to the entrance. Between the guest-house and the entrance was about 2km i also walked, i didn’t want start the bike for that and also not hassle with my gear.
I never took this much pictures and i added a bunch to start the video due to lack of video footage, here’s a little taste as well with different pictures as in the video.

The last picture is a view over the park from the road i took when i moved on the next day.
It’s one of the view roads through the national park and i think this might be the only spot to oversee the fastness of the park.

From that point it was about 150 – 175km to the Slovenian border.
Didn’t knew what to expect and i only added Bled to the route because the church in the middle of a lake is probably the most photographed item in Slovenia so let’s see it for myself when i’m here anyway.
After passing the border i was afraid it would be a boring ride, straight and flat with mediocre curves. It was like that for about 50km but then it seemed to going up a bit and i saw mountains in the distance.
From there it got interesting again with a nice surprise at some point, i think lot’s of riders would not be happy.

The asphalt ended. I see i made a mistake in the video, i thought it was at 1400m altitude but here i see it was 1040 but it kept going up for quite a while.
I fact, this was the single longest stretch of unpaved i came across on this trip and a few times i stopped to check if i the track was actually getting somewhere.
This went on for more than halve an hour with mostly a nice surface like in the picture but it had some bad sections and not all in the most ideal places.

After this it was a nice ride to Bled where i planned to stay the night.
I checked prices somewhere in March but the Dutch postponed their holidays and looking at the licence plates it also was the case in Germany raising prices 3 to 5 times than normal in this period.
Good thing i also have a tent with me and there is a campsite but that turned out to be fully booked for that evening.
Not planning on paying €80 for a night or €35 for a bunk-bed in a hostel with 11 others in a dorm room i sat down at a restaurant at the gate of the campsite with a view on the lake with the church in it. (restaurant was a little further down the road).

I parked Ragnarok next to a French Yamaha T7 and sat down for a coffee when the owner came back and we had a nice conversation and looking at the bike it got me interested… you know where that has lead…
Back to the coffee it was time to get online to fine an affordable place to stay the night.
Knowing this region would be completely out of range for what i was willing to pay i broadened my surge further along my route.
I don’t mind getting a couple of hours out of the way but it makes no sense to go in a direction where you end up in the same region the next day.
There where 2 more places i wanted to go where i had to think about when looking for a place and the first was Aupa, Udine where i could see the rugged peaks of Monte Chiavals/Cjavals.

I ended up in Taipana, Italy. At least that’s what the address said but it is in the middle of nowhere and if there wasn’t a sign where i thought i had to go up the road i had never found it.
The road was very bad and it was starting to get dark after a nice ride from Bled avoiding toll roads which had me back tracking for about halve an hour and then a couple of hours through the mountains.
Besides it was bad (close to offroad) the GPS and Google maps telling me the road was somewhere else, sometimes to the left and other moments to the right but not where i was following the actual road.
Cellphone service was bad to nothing so i also could not call. Without the sign i think i would have turned around but in the end the GPS met the road at the point where the guest house was.
I had i nice and friendly welcome with some home made lemonade and a short difficult conversation. She tried and was very kind but her English was next to noting just like my Italian.

I was the only guest, too late for summer holidays and too early for winter sports and with nothing close by it’s not the first place you would go but that also kept the price low.
The only restaurant was about halve an hour back down that bad road and not sure it was open. I have some emergency food so i don’t risk that road in the dark and just stay put.
This was one of the, actually the only moment i was alone and with no wifi because they finished the data on the satellite card (no other connection)
With my last minute booking no possibility to get a new card and bad reception i just managed to see the Itchy Boots episode for that night and then it got cold fast so back inside for an early night.
The next day the hostess made me a special breakfast. Normally Italians tend to have a sweet breakfast but she made me eggs from their own chickens with home made pancetta making up for missing out on diner the night before.
When it was time to leave she gave me a wooden good luck medallion they had out to all their guests and i started what turned out to be the final ride of this trip.

I was bout an hour out of the track but i think it would be about 2,5 hours to get to that point if i stayed in Bled and followed my initial route.
Not long after getting back on track i got to Cascata Aupa, the dead end road to a great view on Monte Chiavals.

This is just a glimp, because of the sun i could not make a picture but you’ll get an idea of the view when you watch the video.
After that the next and final goal of the trip was the Timmelsjoch, a high alpine road and to get there i had several mountain passes to get there.

Final night was planned on a campsite in Huben, a little town after the Timmelsjoch.
When i got there it turned out the restaurant was closed and i was not planning to pay way too much for a single person tracking tent and a bike on a campsite with no views and no facility’s. Same goes for hotels/pensions/B&B’s which started at €80 also without restaurants.
It was Austria 2020 all over, only this time plenty of choice but also for plenty of cash.
Frome here on the plan was already to take the highway home but just to check i plotted the fastest way home.
Took one detour not too far along the road just to check if there might be an affordable place but no luck.

As i told i learned from last year and i stopped for diner at a reasonable time and still tried to find a place to spent the night.
I hoped to find something after all and split the rest of the trip up in two days over country roads and almost willing to pay the €80 but the hotel where i ate was also fully booked.
I found a campsite but could not book online and it was already dark and i didn’t feel like going south again on a north bound trip on a wild goose hunt.
Had an early night the day before, a good breakfast and a nice meal so i had my mind set on going back to the highway set the cruise control, put on some music and just head home.
At that point i had about 700km to go and it was about 20:15 – 20:30 when i started the last leg.

I had to stop a couple of time for fuel where i also took care of myself having coffee and a snack.
In the last hour and a halve i ran into some resistance. The highway was closed and it looked like the detour was way out of my direction so i turned around and at the intersection where i had to take the detour i got on to the smaller main road along the highway.
Plan was to follow that road almost next to the highway until i could get back after the closed section.
When i found it i only could follow the highway for a few kilometres to the next exit because after that it was closed again.
It turned out this section was still under construction after the floods a few months before wiping out a large chunk of the highway.
Now plotting a proper detour discovering the first detour was not bad after all. Probably about 5 minutes but being a smart-ass i extended that by another 30 minutes.
I arrived back home at 3:33 according to the log files of the GPS.
Time to go to bed and use the couple of days left to put everything back in it’s place and get used to the regular life again.

Now this travel blog has come to an end i will get you up to speed what went on the last weeks and what the plans are for the near future.

4 Replies to “Mega Balkan trip 2021, episode 7”

  1. Prachtig Ray, een leuk verhaal om te lezen
    En ondanks dat je volgens eigen zeggen maar weinig foto’s maakt is er toch genoeg te zien 👍
    Ben benieuwd naar de volgende reizen, maar dat komt volgens mij prima voor elkaar, succes man!!

    1. Bedankt.
      Plitvice was een uitzondering voor foto’s maar daar was ik aan het hiken dus tijd genoeg om foto’s te maken en je hoeft niet steeds bang te zijn dat je het overige verkeer in de weg staat.
      Hoewel dat in veel delen waar ik kom wel meevalt.

  2. Gaaf Ray, wat een verhaal. Gisteren de video al gezien en nu net het verhaal gelezen. Je maakt idd heel wat mee en als je zo alleen op reis bent is het maken van beslissingen inderdaad iets wat snel gaat. De reistijd/kilometers p.uur ligt dan hoger dan met meer personen reizen. Mooie foto’s en ook ik ben benieuwd naar je volgende verhaal.

    1. Bedankt en ik ben zelf ook benieuwd naar mijn volgende verhaal hahaha.
      Moet nog een keuze maken tussen een update wat er in de tijd gebeurd is dat ik niets heb gepost om de reisblog af te krijgen of een update te geven over de ideeën voor de Noordkaap reis.

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