During my fourth bike packing week I decided to take it a little bit easy. I started off the week feeling pretty broken and under the weather. After all I’d cycled almost 2,000km in 28 day’s straight and most definitely had not taken in enough water and nutrients, so it seems after all, I am not super human 😑
Week 4 > Trieste to Senj > 402km > 3,908m elevation
TOTALS > 2,056km > 17,624m elevation
Left or right? Don’t deliberate!
I only stopped off in Trieste for the night and quickly headed across the last part of Slovenia before entering Croatia. I had finally passed one of the ‘official’ border crossings and had to show my passport. When the police officer asked where I was going, I muttered ‘Croatia’…how embarrassing.
Soon after I was trying to follow the D-8 cycle route and wobbled a bit deciding to go left or right and then I hit the curb and fell off my bike rather dramatically. Thankfully I was on a cycle lane with no cars. Other than a few scrapes and bad bruises I was OK and a car and a cyclist stopped to check I was good!
Never ending Croatia
I stopped off in Vrsar for the night, a picturesque Istrian village. Croatia were playing Russia so I was in for a treat! After dinner I joined the locals to watch the game, ending on nail biting penalties.
En route to Bale I’d heard about the Limski Canal, not quite a canal as it’s not closed off from the sea. Approaching it from up high I was treated to beautiful lush green woodland all around me with the canal beneath. A great deal of Istria is covered with Olive Trees which add to the gorgeous colourful vegetation, as well as being able to buy olive oil everywhere you go.
Bale was another very cute destination, set more inland from the coast but picturesque, quiet and well worth a visit. The next day I set off for Premantura, right on the south tip of Istria, as I’d heard from a fellow traveller that Kip Kamenjak was beautiful.
Premantura was fairly quiet, a few holiday goers and my hostel was so good I decided to stay for 2 whole nights! I was so happy to be a bit more settled and spend the next day entirely ‘off the bike.’ I decided to have some lazy beach time followed by my first scuba dive in 10 years!
Let’s go under the sea
Even though I got my PADI dive licence when I was 15, I had forgotten A LOT, if not most of it! Thankfully the instructors were very patient with me and talked me through it all step by step.
We took a short boat ride out to Kip Kamenjak and as we prepared our kit watched the tourists jumping off the cliffs. We started our dive and headed for one of the caves. Staying relatively shallow we went through the caves and some tunnels, whilst taking in the fish and coral, very tranquil indeed!
Football and friends
Even though I had passed Pula, I was trying to meet up with friends who were heading that way, so going back on myself I headed for a campsite on the outskirts of the city. England were playing Croatia that night and we were lucky to reserve the only table left, right by the screen – result!
It was so great to meet up with an old friend who was motor home travelling with his wife and their two young kids. They’d braved it, quit their jobs and decided to go travelling around Europe before their eldest Theo had to go to school. They’d also set up a Facebook group to see if there were any other young families doing something similar and through that met another couple from Manchester doing almost the exact same route. The children were a similar age and so they’d been touring together for the past 2 weeks. It was wonderful to spend the night with them and camp and hear about each other’s adventures!
During the game a thunder storm hit and with that brought wet electrics and a broken TV! After trying to fix it and not having any luck, we all piled into the nearest marquee where it was being shown on another screen. After a disappointing loss for England, it was still incredible to be part of the Croatian atmosphere, what a buzz!
Rabac and Senj
My final few days during week 4 was spent continuing the Istrian coastline, taking in Rabac, Opatija and Senj. These days were particularly tough as the humidity was 70% on some days and there was also a lot of climbing, climbing and more climbing but so worth it for the views!