Saturday, October 26, 2013

Road impressions part 3

Here are a few road impressions from our ride from Germany to Croatia via Slovakia, Austria, Hungary, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia and back Croatia. Enjoy... 

Movie is available in full HD in youtube.

In case you have trouble to watch the video, click here to see it from another source.

~ Wolfi

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Plitvice Lakes National Park

I wanted to visit the Plitvice Lakes National Park because some of the Karl May stories were filmed here like Der Schatz im Silbersee (1962, English title: Treasure of Silver Lake). This place was the most stunning place we have seen on our trip so far. So, if you ever have a chance to come here, go ahead and visit this play of nature. Here is a taste of what we saw and heard. Enjoy...

Ladybugs lost a lot of their charm, when they harassed us with herds of hundreds!!!

Skippy collecting nuts.
Ulpu pulling as always.

Stairs towards the treasure cave.
Scene from the movie Der Schatz am Silbersee, 1962
Colonel Brinkley climbing stairs to the treasure cave.
View towards the lake from the treasure cave (with some asian tourists).
Scene from the movie Der Schatz am Silbersee, 1962.
No feeding of the bears :D
My girls taking a break.
Lyra is looking for mom ;)
In the end, girls found a friend and follower ;)

And here is a short video clip:

(click here if you have trouble to see the video)

~ Wolfi

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Via Serbia to Croatia

After we decided to skip Romania, we needed a new route and decided to ride to Novi Sad in Serbia. We left the EU and got our first stamp on our "virgin" passports. A few kilometres later we got into our first police control :) ... well nothing bad, the gents only wanted to know from where we come and where we are heading to. They smiled when they saw our dogs in the sidecar and let us go on.

We had booked an apartment in the outskirts of Novi Sad and wanted to spend a few days there to explore this part of Serbia. When Skippy saw the surroundings of our accommodation she only said "max one night". Ok, I changed the booking and we had only a one night stand in Serbia. We arrived quite early and this gave us time for a bit longer day walk.

We needed to give the owner our passports, so she can go to the police station, got us registered and along with that, she got us the exit cards which we needed to exit Serbia. Since we stayed a little over 24h in the country and I did not feel like pushing my luck at the border, so rather follow the procedure since it did not cost me any extra.

Walking in the neighbourhood -  left side of the street ...
... and the right side of the street
Another street in the surrounding
As we walked our dogs we got the usual attention and some older guys were asking from were we are. As we told we came from Finland (I have a Finnish flag on my jacket), the first thing they said was "Kekkonen". We had a really good laugh at this one and it was very nice to hear that Finland is known for Kekkonen and not only for Räikkönen or Nokia :D

Police bike - that horn looks tempting ;)
Then we went food shopping and caused quite a fuzz in the shop. As usually, we took our self-made veggie bags and filled them with all sorts of fruits and veggies, when all the sudden a sales lady jumped by trying to explain to us that we MUST use plastic bags. Because when she weighs them (we were not allowed to!) she can put the sticker on the plastic bag. She also offered to put our veggie bag in her plastic bag and we kindly declined this idea. She called for back-up and some young guy came and told us that we should use the plastic bags and if we do not want them, then we can throw them away AFTER we did the shopping and left the shop. Sadly also he did not understand our point of not using plastic bags at all. We kept on filling our bags with veggies and fruits and finally the security guy came and looked what all this hazzle was about. He also asked from the sales lady why we cannot use our bags as he seemed to have understood our point. I kindly demonstrated to her (by operating the scale myself - OMG!) how easy it is to push the button of e.g. oranges and clue the price sticker on our veggie bag. It would hold until we would have paid at the cashier. She just shook her head and continued with the other bags. The cashier had no issues with our bags :)

We try to live as plastic free life as possible! Skippy made these bags already six years ago. Just think how many plastic bags one would use in that time....
Univerexport in NoviSad - the shop who had trouble with our veggie bags.
As we saw this brand already earlier, we both read "UniversalExport" - maybe we've seen too many Bond movies :D
Please, this way to Ruma (Ruma means ugly in Finnish - another time we had LOL)
Since the internet was working (after we got a cable from the owner), we booked us a hotel in the middle of nowhere in one of the vineyard areas of Kroatia. I had some maps from ADAC and they suggested (for motorbikes) to ride around in this area. So it looked like a good place to spend a few days.

We did consider to ride through Bosnia-Herzogovina, but then because of the need for a doctor's certificate stating our dogs are healthy, we decided to skip the country. We went straight to Croatia and had a little surprise at the border. It appeared that Croatia joined the EU since we left Finland. Congratulations!

We showed our passports and bike papers and we were good to go. So I started my engine and drove the 3 meters (!!!) to the barrier which did not open. Hmmmmm - what now? I stopped the engine and looked around - aaahhh: customs. OMG - I am so used to crossing borders between EU countries within the Schengen agreement :D This customs guy was nice, spoke a little German and asked even for the papers of the dogs. Anyway, nothing to declare, so off we went.

We arrived at our hotel and became really worried since it looked closed. I called the owner and after some minutes on the phone he explained me in some words of German, that he would be there in 7 minutes! When he arrived, we did get a warm welcome and the owner insisted that we tasted some of his wines while waiting that the wife prepares the room. The first glass was not so great and then he decided to offer a "Spätlese" for the lady. Wow, now that was delicious and according to both of our tastes. We did not had lunch yet and since we drink almost no alcohol, we already felt a little drunk after one glass and waved up the stairs to our room. Nevertheless we took a bottle of Spätlese for the night :)

B&B and a vineyard - an excellent combination ;)
View from our hotel room at the vineyard. 
There was a slight "danger" when going out and having a chat with the guy. Almost all the time, I found myself pretty quickly with a glass of wine in my hand. Yep, that was his area of expertise. Unfortunately all attempts failed and we had three days no internet. That always means that we are late for our blog-writing :( and the next riding day has an open end.

Time for a break somewhere in Croatia.
A beautiful park area with a deserted swimming pool.
... and some lost benches.
Along the road we saw many houses having still signs of war. 
Many houses miss the exterior plaster.
We drove a nice and small road (also recommended by ADAC) along the river Sava. There were a few houses offering accommodation, so we just stopped somewhere and found a nice little apartment in one of those beautiful old log houses.

Groundfloor apartment in an old wooden house.
Fire place kept the place warm and cosy.
Chickens behind, besides and in front of the house :D
Beautiful walnut tree opposite of the hotel
We collected about 2 litres, which we eat raw or use in a salad dressing. So much better than the dried ones in shops!
Another break along the road and it was getting very warm ;)
Beautiful colourful forest at our resting side and plenty of space to play with girls a little bit.

~ Wolfi