Yet another smaller adventure topic

Discussion in 'Street and Performance Bikes' started by alvaro84, Jul 8, 2010.

  1. alvaro84

    alvaro84 Homura-chan's selfishness

    I feel Slovenia

    I read it painted on the side of a rowboat floating on the incredibly emerald water of the Bled lake, and I felt it'll be the title when I write about our trip to Bled, Slovenia. This is the first time that the both of us (ShiNIN and me) went on a longer trip together, both with our own bikes.

    The location: Bled is in the neighbourhood of the Triglav National Park. It's a local center of tourism, but fortunately it wasn't unbearably crowded. Slovenia itself is our Southwest neighbour, and is such a little country that it's even smaller than Hungary which is a tiny speck on a world map itself :D But Slovenia is beautiful as well, it has its share of the Alps and a tiny bit of the Adriatic sea (which we haven't seen this time, maybe next). Bled is almost directly connected to our village (Vértesacsa, Hungary) through a net of motorways (the net distance is less than 500km/310 miles) and this time we took these roads to prevent getting lost :D Next time we'll have more experience and we'll avoid them, because they're so boring I sometimes had to play tricks with Teresa just to stay awake...

    Hm, another name. Teresa (just in case someone doesn't know) is one of our bikes. Here they are, side by side, in an older picture:

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    Teresa is a 2004/03 BMW F650CS (with ABS), something that everyone failed to classify so far, Ciliegia is a 2005/10 Hyosung GV250 cruiser (shares the same engine with Hyosung 250s' naked and speed incarnations). Now they both have top cases (got rid of Ciliegia's saddlebags and crashbar since then) so they had enough carrying capacity for these 4 days. We're planning on getting a tank bag for Ciliegia too. Teresa doesn't need one - everything is a tank bag for her (ok, everything that's not too big) :D

    We chose them keeping fuel economy in mind and have been keeping track their gas consumption since we got them, this trip is no exception. For Teresa I usully track it low fuel light to low fuel light (she has a pretty large 'reserve', around 4l which is more than a US gallon). Ciliegia is different, her reserve is much less, so in her case we use the 'conventional' method - we try to fill her tank to the same level. For the segments this time I used the same method with Teresa for two reasons - first: the low fuel light started to flicker as soon as we started and almost fully went out by the next village; second: in Slovenia we always stopped to refuel them before this light would have come out...

    I can't say too much interesting about the Hungarian side from the road there. We stopped for fuel (and a few other items) in the next town (Székesfehérvár) just before merging on the M7 motorway which we followed until the M7-M70 fork just before the Croatian border, the way to Slovenia is the short (not more than 20km/12 miles) M70.
    This was the fastest segment of our trip, shiNIN tried what can Ciliegia do with wide open throttle (something like 136km/h=84.5mph by the speedo), compared the bikes' speedo errors (Teresa seems a bit more inaccurate, as I'm pretty sure that no bike speedo shows less than the actual speed... we went without GPS so I can't say more) and went over 110km/h (by speedo) quite frequently.
    The junction has an interesting bridge being the first of its type in Hungary (at least for crossing a road not a river):

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    (The picture is an attachment to the M70 article at wikipedia.hu, and the owner let anyone use it for any purpose except torturing animals and alike :D The same goes for the one I linked a few days ago to show our road signs to excel :D)
    While the M7 is full profile (even 2+E+3+E lanes for a while) the M70 expressway is mostly built in half profile, but it wasn't crowded so I don't care if it's still called an expressway and has a 110km/h (68mph) PSL :)
    (In Hungary national and minor roads usually have a 90km/h=56mph PSL, and it's 50km/h=31mph, 110km/h=68mph and 130km/h=81mph for residential areas, expressways and motorways respectively - and most of the Hungarians don't heed these limits...)

    Oh, I almost forgot: there IS an interesting thing on the boring M7: the debated viaduct at Kőröshegy (many claim that it has only built due to corruption). IMHO the bridge itself is ugly, but the view from above is great. Bad that it doesn't even have an emergency lane to stop and take photos of the scenery (even if it had it would be illegal though)... anyway, I took a photo of the viaduct and its surroundings last September:

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    On the border we stopped to buy vignettes it's the way to pay road toll in Slovenia. The procedure is the same as in Hungary, except that the Slovenian vignettes are more expensive (at least for motorcycles), and they physically exist in shape of stickers you must decorate your bike with. The weather was hot, the Sun scorching, we decided to take a longer stop soon in any village we can exit to in 50km, to buy some food and drink and rest for a while.

    The lucky village was Vučja Vas, just after we crossed the river Mura. We went through the village back and forth, stopped by its little chapel, looked around, but there was no shop, anywhere. It would be good if I could show you a picture of the village and/or the chapel, but I totally forgot to take it when shiNIN reported that Ciliegia wouldn't start. That damn battery... but I succeeded to bump-start the engine and we continued to the next village to search for food... it was Stara Nova Vas, no shop. Iljaševci, no shop... but at least we found... some Malice :D

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    (Good girls go to Heaven - Touhou fans can go anywhere :D)

    There we could change clothes, eat a pizza and drink some apple juice and spend some time before going back to the (boring) A5, which is mostly a "low cost" motorway without emergency lanes and a PSL of 110km/h.

    The next road called A1 finally led us to beautiful landscapes. And it had no exits at those beautiful places, just viaducts and tunnels, one after the other... at least we tried to enjoy the scenery through the dead insects on our visors (at least mine was full of them by this time - Ciliegia has tall enough windscreen to drive them away from shiNIN's head). I think this neighbourhood will be one our next targets.

    We also had a stop on A1, to refuel the bikes at Slovenska Bistrica, Teresa took 9.82l of Carrera95 for 310.2km (3.17l/100km=74.2mpgUS) and Ciliegia drank 11.35l for 311.6km (3.64l/100km=64.6mpgUS). Well, we rode the same way, except I was sometimes slaloming around the road paintings along the M7... it seems that our odometers are just as different as the speedos, just the other way...

    Approaching Ljubljana we left the scenic view behind so we just rolled through the remaining part of A1 until the H3 junction (the H3 expressway is the part of the Ljubjana ringroad) and continued on the A2 towards Kranj. There we got an intense but short rain, stopped for some mapping session, determined that we have to leave the teleport tube at Lesce and continued our way on A2. As far as I remember, we went somewhat slower after the Hungarian-Slovenian border, probably more at 100km/h (62mph) than at 110 or more - especially when it rained and when I forgot to wear my earplugs...

    After the rain the road became dry quickly and the views became more and more beautiful as we were approaching Bled: we were really close now, it's within 50km from Ljubljana. We met a section under construction where only one half of a viaduct and a tunnel was finished (80km/h speed limit, the police kept an eye on the traffic from the future emergency lane) then we finally arrived at the exit that led towards Bled. And it was easy to find the town too.

    We started on an ad hoc search for accomodation, went through Bled to Bohinjska Bela (we found it beautiful), Selo pri Bledu and Ribno, just to return to Bled (twice), while we explored incredibly narrow and steep streets and roads, once a tractor came in front of us in an alley and we almost had to slip into the wall to get around it. Finally I braked hard in front of a house that said "APARTMA, SOBE", just like many others, but there were people moving around it. We parked the bikes and asked the owner if we can get a room for 3 nights and a place for the motorcycles. They had a room and roofed parking and it was not even expensive (14EUR per person per night) and they had an interesting keyring:

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    So we stayed there. The room and its bathroom were small, but we did not care, we just needed a place to sleep and we got it. The view from the garden was worth the price :)

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    So we finally got rid of our protective (hot) suits and could go on a walk in the neighbourhood, to the lake...

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    Later in the street we found this place. Had we come from the other end, we would may stay here :D A place named after my bike :D :D :D

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    There was a Kawasaki Vulcan parked here with a unique finish:

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    And soon a place I would positively name Penzion Remilia... OK, I think absolutely NO ONE will get it, it includes Touhou fandom and Babelfish mistranslation...

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    This evening we saw some of the (in)famous swans of Bled (they like to attack shoes):

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    ...and, later, a funny dustbin - there are many of these around the lake:

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    This evening we visited the Gallus Pizzeria, which is famous at a Hungarian tourer biker site. We liked the soup, the pizza and the beer we had here :)

    (First day: 505km)


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    And came the second day when we had a walk around the lake. Bled was full of bikers again (we saw many of them when we came), they were cruising around the lake and towards the road 209 we explored later. Now we concentrated on the lake which is surrounded by beautiful mountains and has a castle on one of them and a temple on a little island:

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    The water played in incredible blue, turqoise and emerald... I don't know how these mountain lakes and rivers get their colors, but I just couldn't watch them enough... this water was also cool and refreshing, we took a bath later when we found the camping and its beach. Took photos of the birds and the cruisers of two Austrian bikers who did not come here with any of those typical BMW R1xxx GS' but some Yamaha and a Honda Rebel which looked a 250cc one for me. Well, at least we weren't the only ones who came here from another country with such a small displacement motorcycle :) The message is clear: you don't need big 1200cc cows just to tour around in Europe :)

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    The ducks, swans and flowers of Bled:

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    We also found an icecream stand that sold "the best you've ever tried" for 1 EUR per kepica :D I had serious doubts but it was so funny we had to try it. Well, it was good, and when we saw how big those kepica are (the measuring spoon was no more than an alibi, the vendor gave us big clouds of icecream with it) we realized that they're not just more expensive than in Hungary but more than proportionally larger too :D

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    There also was a hotel that welcomed different kinds of motorcycles:

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    And a nicely strange house:

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    We tried the local Chinese restaurant too, and when the temperature got more bearable we went on a short ride to the nearby Bohinj which has a lake and scenic view too:

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    And thousands of fish:

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    Which heeded anything taller than them - for example, the ducks:

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    We decided to come back next morning. The road 209 is breathtakingly beautiful and has nice bends and mostly good asphalt :)

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    It's running in the valley of the river Sava Bohinjka crossing it several times. The river, needless to say, has fantastic colors too...

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    This time we followed the road after the Bohinj lake too, it became narrow and twistier, but not dangerously. We were careful though (there was rare bus traffic there) and reached the end at some tourist center where we ate an apple pie and climbed down to the river again:

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    Then back to the Bohinj lake for sunlit photos:

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    Well, it seems we couldn't decide what we came for, to tour on our bikes, to hike, or just hang around... just look what came in the afternoon...

    (I'm tired, I'll continue later...)
     
  2. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Alvaro84:

    That was one of the best and most beautiful ride reports I have ever seen! Nice job and it was almost like being there :)

    I loved the pic of the Bridge from underneath (and yes it does look like it was built to line somebody’s pockets given it crosses a simple valley), the Monastery from across the lake, the Chateau on the cliffs, the duck and the fish staying away. You do really nice work and I wish I could put together something this nice.

    Thanks you, thank you and thank you again for sharing the ride with the rest of us stuck behind a PC monitor at a desk somewhere around the world ;)

    Wayne
     
  3. warthog1984

    warthog1984 Well-Known Member

    @Alvaro84-

    You lucky s.o.b. :D Thanks for the ride report! It looks like the 2? 4? of you had a great time.
     
  4. alvaro84

    alvaro84 Homura-chan's selfishness

    Oh, I still have to work on reconciling riding and photography... both are hobbies of mine and it's awkward to find a place to stop whenever I see something to photograph, get off my helmet and gloves (and maybe my jacket), sometimes walk back a few minutes while I'm boiling in those pants, taking the picture (which may need a lens change), put the camera and lens(es) back to my "tankbag", get on the bike and continue... it may would help to have a live view body (I could use it with my helmet on), but a new EOS 50D is too expensive at the moment so I stick with my good old 20D for the time being (I like the metal body and different handling of Canon's midrange line better than the 3- or 4-digit cheaper ones, sorry).

    I'd also like to have a better standard zoom. A Tokina 16-50/2.8 is my dream lens, a Canon 17-55/2.8IS is another very good one, but they're pretty expensive too... I regret a bit that I sold my Tamron 17-35/2.8-4 so I ended up with a cheap kit lens (I had two 17-70/2.8-4.5 Sigmas too, they could be perfect for me but they were lemons so I returned them - it's a long story...)
    At least I love my primes (28/1.8, 100/2.8 macro and a 300/4L IS) :)
     
  5. msirach

    msirach Well-Known Member

    Wow! Thanks for the great report. It certainly was like being there. I think I mentioned before that my grandfather grew up just a few miles from the Slovenian border in Italy. One of these days I plan on visiting the area. My wife refuses to go so a bike trip might be fun. You even answered a question I was going to ask. What camera equipment. It looked much better than point and shoot quality.20D is a great camera.
     
  6. ALS

    ALS Super Moderator Staff Member

    Thank you so very much. I really enjoyed the photo essay of your trip.
     
  7. Right Lane Cruiser

    Right Lane Cruiser Penguin of Notagascar

    :eek: Wow. You are quite the photographer, too!!
     
  8. alvaro84

    alvaro84 Homura-chan's selfishness

    (continued and finished)

    We had at least two plans for the afternoon of the third day. A visit to the Italian border through the route 637/201/202 and to see the Vintgar canyon and practice our feet too - good for our health and it's the most fuel efficient way to get there :)
    We decided to start at Vintgar to have as much light as we can to take pictures. The map showed that it's pretty close to Bled, not more than go around the lake (4km at most) so we took it as a light afternoon walk. We were seriously wrong :D

    The weather was scorching again. We tried to stalk in the shadows of the houses, then the trees, then fences, then... we would hide under the grass if we could... we were in the open, and had to get to Podhom then Vintgar. The road signs were pretty helpful though :D :D :D

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    Around Bled if you find a village, you've basically arrived. They're so small that the other side is nigh. After Bohinjska Bistrica you could find Kamnje, Polje, Laški Rovt, Ribčev Laz along the route 209. And it's the last 2km or so. But it's not the case with Podhom... It was long, the streets led us uphill, the Sun boiled our brains... at least the architecture was interesting:

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    We saw a cute little valley too:

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    And some... naive art?

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    A shrew in pants, with a drill(???) before a map of mole tunnels, some moles (OK, the animal in pants may be another mole then), and rabbit above the ground... maybe the artist was fed up with moles and this is the cutaway illustration of his/her garden...

    And, finally, Vintgar! A really beautiful place. And cool, too! We did not regret the heat we had to endure to get here :)

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    It was so beautiful that we didn't even care that we were just walking out of the map... but then we reached the exit, and climbed out on the only path we could see... and we did not know where we were. I estimated our direction from the position of the Sun and guessed where Bled should be - and the path led us to a very different direction...
    After a village or two we could take a turn and - return to Vintgar... in the meantime we could see more of the Slovenian landscape, finally a cemetery (outside of any village, it just had a bus stop and a florist shop).


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    And a road sign that warned us about the pedophiles in the tunnel :D

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    With some luck I could find the path we should have taken... this was the additional luck we needed after we asked someone for directions. She could hardly speak anything but Slovenian but was very helpful :D But we could get the main thing: a path between the Vintgar canyon exit and Bled - does exist!

    This was the sign we missed. Hidden behind the ticket booth, painted over the rock several years ago, moss grown all over it, and all the signs pointed to the other exit we took more than an hour before :D

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    And we walked, towards Zasip, then back to Bled. We were tired, it was still hot, but after some climbing we finally went downhill. In a forest, finally in the shadows :) We followed the red-white eyes painted over the trees (it was the Vintgar-Bled tourist sign), took a few pictures of the surroundings, and approached back to Bled.

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    The streets were still narrow and steep, and twisty too:

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    By the time we got back the sun set. We took a shower and hurried back for some čevapcici - I absolutely wanted to taste them before leaving.

    The lake after sunset and in the darkness:

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    So there was no Italy left for us that day...

    On the fourth day... we went back the same way where we arrived. Another hot day, my wrists tanned even more (yes, my gloves can't reach my coat) :D
    Our pace was mild again, we rarely exceeded 110km/h, 100 was typical. Somehow I don't feel justified to sacrifice FE just to gain a mere few minutes, even if the road is so boring. I'm sorry :D
    The first refueling stop was right after Ljubljana (at Lukovica), the bikes drank 10.2l for 368.4km and 11.42l for 371.1km; it means a 3.08l/100km (76.4mpgUS) for Ciliegia and 2.77l/100km (84.9mpgUS) for Teresa. Well, it contained ~130km of that beautiful route 209 where we were very slow and casual (resulting in long coasts - often FASed - on my behalf... I tend to do it when I can't go in 5th, especially on the straight stages, twisties were too much fun...)

    Had a lunch stop and another fuel stop in Hungary, that time we only filled Ciliegia, because I wanted to wait for Teresa's low fuel light come out, to get a final FE average (I got it right after the gas station). For Ciliegia it was 12.75l for 360km - 3.54l/100km (66.4mpgUS). Teresa's 1100+km average became 2.97l/100km (79.2mpgUS). The last segment is "polluted" with another trip to a friend nearby next day, but it's 13.72l for 454.3km which makes 3.02l/100km (77.9mpgUS).
    Over the last few dozen kms I was even slower as I took ridiculous poses on the bike trying to cast a shadow on both of my wrists.

    Final words? Have to visit Bled again, and have to take lesser roads next time - motorways are painfully boring. I've learned it for sure...
     
  9. Harold

    Harold Well-Known Member

    Great stuff and beautiful photos. Makes me want to get out there in the old Miata and drive, and see the world.Think I will today! H
     
  10. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Alvaro84:

    Just imagining seeing what you did and to pull darn near 80 mpg while doing so makes me one very happy camper... Truly beautiful pics and an even better ride report!

    You have got to setup a roadside snap coming through a tight twisty so we can see how you maintain momentum on your BMW as I know it will be a great shot given the backdrops you have shown us in the ride report above.

    Good Luck

    Wayne
     
  11. alvaro84

    alvaro84 Homura-chan's selfishness

    Miata...?

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    She's a Claymore, just like Teresa :Banane13:
     
  12. alvaro84

    alvaro84 Homura-chan's selfishness

    Next 'little adventure' from last week:

    We crossed ~the western third of Hungary twice (easy to do in a single day, we have a small country), especially the hills of Bakony - of which I never could take as good photos as they look...

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    We also visited a Mexican restaurant at Vép and a little chapel at Csempeszkopács (even I LOL at the name :D):

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    The reason why I waited till now is that I was waiting for Ciliegia's next fillup. We ALMOST got a 500km tank with her, too. Well, it could have been possible, but very-very risky... The tank that almost entirely consists of this trip became 2.74l/100km (86mpgUS) for 493.5km (306.65mi).
    I filled Teresa in the meantime so I can't tell such "trip tank" data for her, but the 2 tanks that were involved averaged 2.63 and 2.6l/100km (89.3 and 90.4 mpgUS). shiNIN also coasted very much in the villages of Bakony (there are ones where you can coast through the whole village! :Banane25:). I coasted much too, but even FASed :)

    Finally, a sunset picture from the way back that evening:

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    p.s. and finally I bought a new battery for Ciliegia. We'll may be able to shut down the engine at long red lights with it... the last one finally died so much I couldn't even push Ciliegia to life anymore after it lost charge after a few turns of the starter... I had always succeeded at it before when the battery failed us...

    -------------------------------------------------

    A very different experience from yesterday: it was the first time for me to transport someone definitely larger than myself. We went to a cosplayer meeting with a friend who is 103km (227lbs) and 182cm (6'0") while I'm usually around 65-67kg (143-148lbs) and 176cm (5'9") :D
    If I add our gears the two of us may weighed more than Teresa :D
    Of course the extra weight feels when I accelerate (have to rev a little bit more to avoid lugging) and, to my surprise, today my thighs are a bit stiff :D
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2012
  13. msirach

    msirach Well-Known Member

    Thanks again for the great pics!

    If I could get away for a few weeks, is there somewhere near Trieste or Udine to rent a cycle?

    Your pics have really made want to visit Northern Italy to see where my family came from.
     
  14. alvaro84

    alvaro84 Homura-chan's selfishness

    I have to visit that area too! My mom just got back from there and she showed me her pics about Venice, Trieste - and Bassano del Grappa. The Dolomites are clearly visible from there and there's a nice river with a wooden bridge, and typical Mediterran architecture (in northern Slovenia it looked more Austrian to me) I like pretty much.
    If it would be a week or so ago I could ask her about bike rent in Trieste :eek:

    (When we had a holiday in Kefalonia, Greece, we found a place that offered both bycicles and scooters to rent - for the same price. And their 'cycles were in such a bad shape that it would probably be cheaper to buy two in the same condition and give them to someone for free when we leave...)
     
  15. alvaro84

    alvaro84 Homura-chan's selfishness

    Oops, I forgot to write about the last weekend... we had a trip to the NyaCon at Pécs, which is a ~400km round trip. We were 3 on 2 M/Cs, shiNIN rode Ciliegia while I carried a friend on Teresa's back seat.
    We went there to cosplay and I did not take a single photo, I lent my camera to them so I still have a few pictures.
    Here I (still as Reisen - and shiNIN played Koakuma again) have danmaku (we found a bubble blower hanging around in a washroom)!

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    I met another rabbit there (I'm thankful it wasn't Tewi!!!)

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    The road to there was through a nice forest road (through a ~150m tall, quite steep hill), some backroads of mixed quality, then a long leg on the national road 6. It's of good quality, crosses few towns, and after Bonyhád it has a nice, twisty part too. We filled Ciliegia here, average FE was 2.9l/100km (81.2mpgUS).
    On the last leg we had to cross Pécs (a town of ~160k, one of the largest in Hungary) as the expo center was on the other side.

    On the way back I wanted to see the freshly inaugurated M60 and southern M6 freeways with the first (and exactly as debated as the Kőröshegy viaduct) motorway tunnels in Hungary. Well, the Slovenian A1 tunnels run in a more scenic environment. This new M6/M60 is a real ghost highway - if I happen to invite Yuyuko now I know how to impress her (beside much food, of course) :D
    After seeing the tunnels and filling Teresa (2.98l/100km/79mpgUS until the first half of M60, but it includes some normal 1-up rides too) we quickly left the freeway and continued on the main road 63 and 7 (it became dark by the time we arrived to our friend's house so we were slower on the last leg), and finished 1-up on the forest road to home.

    After this tank I had fully 2-up and mostly main road/freeway ones and these looked even worse (even though shiNIN is lighter and shorter than our friend). I still can't exactly measure the effect of the extra weight/aero drag, but it clearly increases fuel consumption (probably by less than 10 percent), but improves the FE per person very much.

    edit. Today we filled Ciliegia too, so we got the average for the tank that contains most of the Pécs trip (including the freeway leg) - it's 3.06l/100km (76.9mpgUS). The tank that has the freeway, 2.5-up leg for Teresa (and some more 2-up freeway later) is 3.15l/100km (74.7mpgUS).
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2010
  16. alvaro84

    alvaro84 Homura-chan's selfishness

    Pearl of Styria, they say

    It seems it became my habit to catch common self-praising phrases from the places I visit :D But at least these places deserve them.

    After Slovenia we decided to visit another neighbour, Austria. Another place we can go without any hassle, thanks to the Schengen borders :) This trip was a bit more ad-hoc, and this time we shunned freeways. They're no fun after all, and give worse FE, too :) They may look impressive but they're just tools to quickly get to specific locations, without getting lost. On normal roads we can see the villages and small towns (and we try to avoid cities when we can), and can have a calmer pace we're in the country we roam and not in a teleport tube. We also planned to take rides when we got there, not arrive, take walks, then go. I like walking, but we missed the local joyrides last time.

    The original plan was to spend an afternoon and night at the Northwestern corner of Hungary, then cross Eastern half of Austria to get to the Faaker See, but this time I included flexibility in the plan. We needed it :D

    The first day we could more or less hold by the itinerary (with a little detour to get a replacement visibility vest, they tend to get lost...) and crossed the Bakony again - it's getting to be our usual route for going anywhere to the west. This time I did not even try to take a single picture there, I'm full of disappointment because of my last try... but I'll surely have another try on the autumn colors later! We had a refueling stop too, Teresa took 13.49l of 95 octane for 520.8km (this distance includes a few commutes and the trip to get chain spray and a map too), which makes 2.59l/100km = 90.8mpgUS (my best this year until this point).

    Our destination was Fertõrákos (I save trying to explain the Hungarian jokes about the names of the village and our hosts) where I finally took a few pictures:

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    We also took a bath in the lake, which is famous for its muddy bed (used for therapies). The neighbourhood of the lake is full of frogs and there are apple trees by the road which leads in a sea of reed :)

    Next morning we got up early, get packed and took a little time in the garden then got the bikes from the neighbours' garage and took to the road - until the next town, Sopron. We took some time getting to the fuel station which I looked up on the 'net, just to learn that there are others we could find much easier... they're just not in any town so they did not show up in the list. OMG... shiNIN's average with Ciliegia was 2.82l/100km (83.5mpgUS)

    At the next roundabout we lost each other, and her phone lost the network... so we took some more time to find each other again, but finally we could set forth towards Hohe Wand, our first point of interest that day. The road that climbed the hills at the foot of the rock was the first that was marked as scenic on my map and it was really beautiful.

    We also got our first impression of Austrian main roads (national road 50 had good quality and good guide-posts), and saw a veteran car procession. I can't take photos while riding so I spare you of this one...

    A chapel somewhere in northeast Burgenland:

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    A stop next the way up:

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    And the view from up there:

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    According to our map the road in the Naturpark Hohe Wand is a toll road though we couldn't see anyone in the toll booth nor a money box, and it was the same when we rode back down from the peak. We did not understand, but we did not resist... at least we bought peak cakes and a peak crystal at the top.

    It seemed we were short of time, we just finished the first leg and it was afternoon, so we left quickly and got reached the main road 54 not so quickly, I stopped every single village and intersection to browse my map... I know, a GPS would be valuable here... but then we just had to follow that road until Graz. It climbed to almost 1000m (3000ft+) soon. The first U-turn was a surprise, then we were counting on them :D The road was of impeccable quality and had a wide, paved shoulder at its twisty stage, I enjoyed it very much. Here we had to face with another trait of the Austrian roads: they're full of villages, the PSL changes every now and then. I got used to their logic and rythm of the signs
    and I thought they would give me good FE if I take advantage of them :D

    We dug through Graz (I only had to turn back twice, good result for a city of that size, equipped with a partial map :D) and continued on road 70 which was marked scenic green on the map. The map was wrong, it was the suburbia of Graz... we got tired of it by the time we left it behind. Especially shiNIN with her few-months-old license. I thought that Bärnbach would be a good place to stop - we wanted to see the Hundertwasser church here since a stupidly organized bus trip (the tourist guide was a complete idiot and took us to a shopping center instead...).

    We decided to keep the night around there because it became clear that we couldn't reach our destination before dark, and we still had to get a room. And it took an hour and a half not to find one in Bärnbach... except an expensive one in a hotel, with sauna, etc... which we did not need nor were willing to pay for. Finally we took the advice of a running man and left the town and rode a few villages more to get to Maria Lankowitz. Strange name for a town. And we found the inn he mentioned and booked a room for 2 nights. Relieved, we took an evening walk in the town.

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    And another one in the morning.
    (This is the place where we slept)

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    Other than that we marked this day for those joyrides we did not take in Slovenia. After breakfast we set off to the neigboring villages. A tractor meeting was also due in Hochgößnitz (9km from Maria Lankowitz) which promised to be fun. The surrounding rural area was really beautiful, farmers were working on the meadow, cows grazing (is it really the word???), clouds decorating the sky...

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    And the mandatory images with our bikes:

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    We also followed the road until the end, it crossed the woods and ended at a small group of houses. In the woods we found a creek, two strawberries and a bunch of raspberries, they tasted delicious :)

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    Then we turned back to see the tractors :) We also followed them up the hills for a while but this time it was me who got tired - Teresa couldn't keep their pace in 1st gear without playing with the clutch...

    Anyway, these hills were quite steep, at least too steep for the narrow roads with sharp turns and crossing villages. I couldn't just roll down them, I had to brake pretty much :(

    The tractors and their drivers (note the children playing with small tractors :D)

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    And the valley next to Hochgößnitz (with the mandatory cows):

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    I planned a ride along the road 70 from Köflach to Twimberg (nice, twisty one :)), then 78 (a calm one with very mild turns, and a tunnel), then up to the peak Gaberl (1551m, 5088ft) and back to Köflach, through the town to Bärnbach. We needed this different entry to get to the church because the central roundabout of the town was under maintenance.

    So road 70 had nice curves and when it got out of the woods the view was nice too. My only complaints were the tar stripes that sealed the cracks on the road (they're SLIPPERY!) and a pretty bad, wavy patched leg in the roads 70 and 78 around their intersection.

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    Roads 70 and 78 meet here:

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    And here's the A2 viaduct too (looks much more justified than that Kőröshegy one):

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    Teresa's low fuel light was out by then so I began to look for a fuel station - and I found a sympathetic one right after the Obdach tunnel. We refueled both bikes, my average with Teresa was 2.84l/100km = 82.7mpgUS; shiNIN achieved 2.89l/100km = 81.3mpgUS; this time we ended up real close :)

    After the next roundabout we followed the road 77 which rewarded us breathtaking scenery. It's so hard to ride and take photos at the same trip... we had to stop again for this view:

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    After getting used to the turns of the road 77 we reached a sign that warned us of a twisty stage, so I drove more carefully - and it turned out that the turns from here got less sharp until the peak...

    The peak where we ate our usual peak cake (and peak soup and peak salad, all very good!):

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    I saw another BMW F650 - a black classic:

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    And a very special bike. It was all matte black and had a strange face:

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    We had a closer look and saw a crutch holder on its side. And then we even saw its owner too - a bearded, one legged man. It's really something that he does...

    I also took a picture of two different KTMs but later a girl walked to me and asked to erase the picture because... no, I'll be silent :D

    And the road down from the peak (through a village called Salla):

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    This time I usually used the forced DFCO approach of engine braking - I turned the kill switch off/on to fully engage the engine brake and keep the motor running when I slowed down enough for the next coast (Teresa has STRONG engine brake, it meant massive deceleration except in 5th, low speeds and idle-like revs where the ECU wouldn't DFCO at all should I not force it). It was quite a drag and used a little fuel, but at least saved me a lot of braking. The declines were too steep for most of the turns, just like on the small roads around Hochgößnitz.

    Before we'd get back to the road 70 we took a turn to Bärnbach, through Köflach (we accidentally run through a pedestrians only street which I only realized when it ended, **** happens...) and Piber (we've already seen the horses so we passed it now).

    And the church we so much wanted to have a look at:

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    Surrounded by gates with symbols of different religions:

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    And a WW2 memorial:

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    They may not be popular but they still are their dead. I appreciate it.
    And another similar memorial from Maria Lankowitz:

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    A few more pictures from our next morning walk, the rising sun shed great light on the town:

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    We also met a rabbit and the innkeeper's old, sad faced german shepherd...

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    Next morning we left the inn around 8am, and payed another visit to Bärnbach to see the Mosesbrunnen too (it's on a different side of the so called central roundabout...) - it's a fountain made of mosaic pieces, made in a somewhat similar style as the Hundertwasser church.

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    On the way back home we avoided not only the freeways but the city of Graz too, we planned a route through the neighbouring villages and towns. These roads were nice too (it seems Austrians hate to build straight roads and I agree...), though they sometimes lacked at quality they were not that bad. Leaving Austria we continued on the road 8 of Hungary - it was so boring, so straight... around noon we stopped at Csákánydoroszló (still pretty close to the border) to eat something. Here we met a foreign (I forgot to ask / look at the license plate, but he spoke English which was so comfortable after Austria where we had to rely on our much weaker German knowledge) rider with a Hyosung GV650.

    We got bored of the road 8, so we too the way through Zirc and the eastern Bakony. Today we filled the bikes again, I got 2.55l/100km = 92.4mpgUS with Teresa (the best this year!), shiNIN got 2.83l/100km = 83.1mpgUS with Ciliegia.

    I don't know the destination of our next trip yet, but we'll have to get back here too...
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2010
  17. WriConsult

    WriConsult Super Moderator

    Wow, fantastic photos! A part of the world I hope to visit someday. Sounds like a great trip.
     
  18. msirach

    msirach Well-Known Member

    Once again you have posted an outstanding photo journey! Thanks! I had to Google that Church to find out more about it's eclectic style. Leave it to an artist!
     
  19. alvaro84

    alvaro84 Homura-chan's selfishness

    (It'll be another multicultural post: I guarentee a lot of Madoka references. Puella Magi Madoka Magica @ Anime News Network encyclopedia - may be shocking, but well worth a watch!)

    Walpurgisnacht auf Burg Oberkapfenberg

    The idea conceived during the hiatus between Madoka's 10th and 11th episode (addiction, y'know): I had to visit the model for the series' school which is located in Leoben, Austria. That building always gave me the creeps, it's not far from here, and the surroundings are beautiful. The timing was a given, of course I must go there at Walpurgisnacht. You can imagine how happy I was to learn that a witch festival is really held in the next town, Kapfenberg. This way I had a double target :) We could celebrate my birthday and shiNIN's name day this way too, and on the top of that there was my 50000km 'anniversary' with Teresa too :D

    The bikes were right after their periodic maintenance, with fresh oil and new tires.
    On this side we crossed the hills of Bakony (they're also beautiful now) and kept going west. It doesn't cease to fascinate me how easy to cross the border between Hungary and Austria, I just love the Schengen Agreement :D We still had a few main roads ahead, but we reached the mountains soon. An old man tried to convince us to go around on main roads, but it was no use of course. Damn, we came here exactly because those twisties...

    We got the first warning from Walpurgis, naturally it was raining all the way we crossed the mountains before reaching Kapfenberg. After we descended on the other side the rain stopped...

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    After finding a room (It was easier than anytime before. I had made a note of a bunch of addresses and we didn't even need it!) we changed our clothes and climbed the castle hill. It looked like this from its foot:

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    And the town from halfway:

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    Finally we reached the entrance:

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    It's still a bit WTF for me, but it's OK :D

    It wasn't the only WTF thing there. For example, we saw a headcrab too:

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    But the witches were there, too, so I could be satisfied with the outcome :D

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    We sat down to eat something (they sold something called Hexenburger and there was beer too), but suddenly....

    "A young witch!" I shouted.

    Just for the record, it's a really dark pun in Madoka Magica, based on the Japanese 'spelling'...

    So I grabbed my photographic equipment (I was absent minded enough to leave the 300mm Tiro Finale at home...) and followed the Mahou Shoujo. I could catch her at the outer terrace. She wasn't alone, other magical girls were playing 'Brocken Spectre' there, casting their long shadows on the grass and stones.

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    Or maybe they were just dancing...

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    The Mahou Shoujo herself:

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    And others:

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    Last edited: Aug 5, 2011
  20. alvaro84

    alvaro84 Homura-chan's selfishness

    But the place was full of notable characters of different mythologies...

    I could find Alice's Hatter:

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    Tim the enchanter (well, almost :D) from Monty Python and the Holy Grail:

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    The Oracle herself:

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    And even Teresa with a child Claire (from Claymore):

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    I'm curious how many of them was intentional :D

    There was music. And fire.

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    And, after nightfall, more music and more fire:

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    (Those Austrians can be so killjoys...)

    But the star of the Witch Market was some real Morning Lescue :D

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