I feel Slove
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
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
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:
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)
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):
(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
The same goes for the one I linked a few days ago to show our road signs to excel
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:
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
(Good girls go to Heaven - Touhou fans can go anywhere )
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:
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
So we finally got rid of our protective (hot) suits and could go on a walk in the neighbourhood, to the lake...
Later in the street we found this place. Had we come from the other end, we would may stay here
A place named after my bike
There was a Kawasaki Vulcan parked here with a unique finish:
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...
This evening we saw some of the (in)famous swans of Bled (they like to attack shoes):
...and, later, a funny dustbin - there are many of these around the lake:
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)
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:
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
The ducks, swans and flowers of Bled:
We also found an icecream stand that sold "the best you've ever tried" for 1 EUR per kepica
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
There also was a hotel that welcomed different kinds of motorcycles:
And a nicely strange house:
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:
And thousands of fish:
Which heeded anything taller than them - for example, the ducks:
We decided to come back next morning. The road 209 is breathtakingly beautiful and has nice bends and mostly good asphalt
It's running in the valley of the river Sava Bohinjka crossing it several times. The river, needless to say, has fantastic colors too...
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:
Then back to the Bohinj lake for sunlit photos:
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...)