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Old 09-15-2012, 03:15 AM   #1
Jimdamit OP
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A one week escape from the Army, or Stuttgart to Dubrovnik 2012

I am serving in the US Army stationed in Stuttgart, Germany for the last six months. The military was nice enough to ship my motorcycle and I have been trying to get around as much as possible.

Here are a couple of places I have gone on long weekends.

The required stop at Passo dello Stelvio


Dolomites, Italy


Someplace in Austria

What I really wanted to is take a week of leave and visit Croatia and the Balkans area. I had so many plans and places I wanted to see that nine days wouldn’t be enough. I had to cut it back. Looking at other ride reports and travel guides, I knew I wanted to make it to Dubrovnik. Other goals, such as Sarajevo and Romania and even visiting RTWDoug in Bulgaria had to be shelved.

Leaving Stuttgart, my goal was to make it to Lake Bled, Slovenia on the first night. I have ridden much of southeast Germany and nearby Austria, so I took the Autobahn to Villach. Once I got there, I jumped off and onto smaller roads to Kranjska Gora.

On the way up to the pass.


At the top

I checked my GPS and it said Lake Bled was only 20 miles away as the crow flies. Since it was only about 5pm, I thought taking the long way around through Tolmin would be nice. It shouldn’t be too long, right?

The roads were beautiful!


And the scenery was gorgeous!


Not even that much traffic.


This looks ominous. I wasn’t sure what it meant but guessed I should be extra careful.

The loop around Triglav National Park was beautiful but took over three hours and I got to Lake Bled Campground pretty late.

The campground was packed and the person in the office told me there wasn’t any space. I asked if there was space anywhere for a tent. He thought about it for a second and then said I could stay if I could shoehorn the tent and bike somewhere. I managed and called it a night.
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Old 09-15-2012, 05:49 AM   #2
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I was in Dubrovnik ten years ago.Loved it! If I ever get the chance I will go back.
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Old 09-15-2012, 12:54 PM   #3
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Awesome!
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Old 09-15-2012, 01:08 PM   #4
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wow thanks for sharing
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Old 09-15-2012, 03:37 PM   #5
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I'm envious! A couple of Octobers ago I did a guided tour with Adriatic Moto Tours out of LJU on a wee. I can't remember how many times I wanted to peel off from the group and strike out into Bosnia on my own. Roads were good, the people were big-hearted Slavs, the food rustic and hearty, and the scenery magnificent.

Dubrovnik is worth a day or two and Montenegro is close by. I'm in!


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Old 09-16-2012, 03:36 AM   #6
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I'm envious! A couple of Octobers ago I did a guided out of LJU on a wee. I can't remember how many times I wanted to peel off from the group and strike out into the Bosnia on my own. Roads were good, the people were big-hearted Slavs, the food rustic and hearty, and the scenery magnificent.

Dubrovnik is worth a day or two and Montenegro is close by. I'm in!


It was an amazing trip and I am so happy I was able to get out. My biggest regret is not having more time to see more of the area.
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Old 09-16-2012, 03:54 AM   #7
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Lake Bled to Piran

That night the person in the next tent snored so loud I had to put in my earplugs. I have never heard anything like that before. Those are the drawbacks of putting tents so close together.
I got up that morning and walked around Lake Bled. While it was overcast, it was amazing.


Lake Bled

I then headed over to Lake Bohinj. I had heard it was less developed and crowded. It definitely was.

Lake Bohinj

After Bohinj, I headed south to the Slovenia/Italian border. It was a beautiful ride through the mountains and the roads were almost deserted.

The roads!


Self Portrait along the river.

I headed towards Drenchia, Italy. I didn’t realize it but there is a World War One battlefield along the border. The battlefield is preserved as part of The Walk of Peace from the Alps to the Adriatic.

I cannot imagine trying to fight my way up this mountain!



The entrance to the trenches.

I rode backroads along the border down to Trieste then back into Slovenia and Piran. Piran is a beautiful little city along the Adriatic with a deep Venetian influence. I found a campground only about 200 yards from the Adriatic. Camping was cheap but the campground was more crowded than Lake Bled. I found a place to set up the tent and then headed to Piran.


The harbor in Piran


The Cathedral of Saint George in Piran


The east side of the Cathedral of Saint George


Inside the Cathedral.

On the north side of the peninsula there is a nice gravel beach but the south side is large rocks. People sunbath on both sides of the peninsula. The walk from the campground to town takes you past the FKK (nudist) beach. Sorry I didn’t take any pictures of that- I didn’t want to be “that guy”. Besides, the people who most want to be naked are the ones you least want to see naked, right?


The square in Piran


A statue in the square


The square had this polished white marble center that looked like an ice skating rink. There were benches and restaurants all around it. It was an amazing place.
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Old 09-16-2012, 05:46 AM   #8
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Great ride... lucky to be stationed close to the best riding on the planet!! Thanks for sharing your ride..
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Old 09-16-2012, 10:11 AM   #9
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Thanks!

I'm enjoying your ride report while riding in the Alps / Dolomites with a friend from Ohio. I'm here in Europe thanks to the AF, he's retired AF over to visit and ride. Hope your trip is as good as the start. Keep posting, and be safe.
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Old 09-17-2012, 10:56 AM   #10
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Great ride... lucky to be stationed close to the best riding on the planet!! Thanks for sharing your ride..
I am lucky in that regard! There are a lot of great things going on here!

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Originally Posted by jbar28 View Post
I'm enjoying your ride report while riding in the Alps / Dolomites with a friend from Ohio. I'm here in Europe thanks to the AF, he's retired AF over to visit and ride. Hope your trip is as good as the start. Keep posting, and be safe.
Thank you! And thank you for serving. I loved the Dolomites! I thought the Alps along the German- Austrian border were a little crowded. I like the Black Forest better. We gotta take advantage of the things we get because the next place might be Edwards AFB or Ft Irwin! Enjoy your ride too!
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Old 09-17-2012, 11:14 AM   #11
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Ahh, I'm so jealous! I was raising babies when I was stationed in Germany and we didn't travel much. We could have, we just didn't. I'd go back and kick my 22 year-old self in the ass if I could.

Great pics. Keep 'em coming!
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Old 09-17-2012, 12:40 PM   #12
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I'd go back and kick my 22 year-old self in the ass if I could.
Yeah, I think we all have that feeling sooner or later about something. At least yours can be fixed with a plane ticket and a bike rental.
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Old 09-17-2012, 02:02 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by CafeRacer99 View Post
Ahh, I'm so jealous! I was raising babies when I was stationed in Germany and we didn't travel much. We could have, we just didn't. I'd go back and kick my 22 year-old self in the ass if I could.

Great pics. Keep 'em coming!
True, but now you have an excuse to come back ride it with your kids.... When I was younger I didn't have the excuse of children and still didn't travel. Always time to come back!



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Yeah, I think we all have that feeling sooner or later about something. At least yours can be fixed with a plane ticket and a bike rental.
There is a lot of truth to that!
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Old 09-17-2012, 02:16 PM   #14
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Piran to Cres to Plitvice Lakes

I got up that morning and wandered around Piran as I looked for a bit of coffee and breakfast. It was already starting to get warm though.


One of the main buildings off of the town square. There is the Winged Lion of Venice above the main entrance. I didn’t realize Venice claimed this whole area years ago.


The beach on one side of the peninsula

I worked my way out of Piran. The ride was pretty hot already and I didn’t take that many pictures. I made the mistake of riding into Pula, which was very crowded due to road construction. Two nights later, Tom Jones was doing a show at the Roman Amphitheater in Pula.
I made it to the ferry in Brestova to Porozina on the island of Cres. I didn’t realize how dry Croatia was.

On the ferry


The Island of Cres

I got to the campground and then walked into town. The city of Cres is also an old Venetian city and there was evidence of the Winged Lion there, too. It is a beautiful harbor town hidden from the Adriatic by a bend in the harbor.

The old town of Cres


One of the old entrances to the city. The arch and winged lion are the only things left of the city wall.


The town harbor


A market in town, after dark.

I wasn’t really prepared for the heat. I had an old jacket and pants that didn’t have any venting and was suffering. After I had set up the campground earlier, I got really hot and really bad shakes. I had been off the bike for about two hours, so I should have been fine. I had a camelback that I hadn’t really used up to then. I probably hadn’t drunk enough water. In town I found a pizza place and had a couple of beers to try rehydrate. I was pretty tired and needed some sleep so I called it a night. . The next day I was looking forward to a ride to Plitvice Lakes.

The next morning I packed up and headed to the ferry at Merag to Valbiska, Krk.

The ferry to Valbiska


The roads


The temps on the ride. I thought this was bad but it got worse…
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Old 09-19-2012, 01:31 PM   #15
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Plitvice Lakes to Trogir

The next morning I got up early to hike the area around Plitvice Lakes. It is a series of lakes and waterfalls that constantly change due to the high mineral content. The water creates dams and waterfalls and then moves to another spot. It was really pretty but there were so many people.
I parked my motorcycle and left my riding and camping gear and my boots next to my bike and knew they would still be there when I got back. I would never do that in the United States.


The big waterfall near the park entrance. It set the tone for the rest of the day.


The water was so clear and blue.


There were people everywhere and it was tough to get a picture without someone in the way.


Everywhere you looked there were small waterfalls.


One of the larger waterfalls in the woods


There were fish everywhere

I walked for about four hours and then jumped back on the bike for the ride to Trogir. It is very close to Split but much smaller. I found the campground without too much trouble. While setting up, the family at the next site over stared at me constantly. I got tired of it, and waved at the father. He looked embarrassed and turned away. I caught one of the teenage daughters staring through the gap in the tent door at one point. It made me a little uncomfortable.

Trogir is a small fortified island that stood up to Venice when Venice took the Dalmatian Coast. It was about two kilometers from the campground. The sun started going down and the island lit up.


The Cathedral in town at dusk


Another church and several sidewalk cafes


Dinner that night

At dinner I tried to decide about my plans. Trogir was beautiful and I wanted to spend a little time there. And it was very hot and I didn’t like the idea of spending several hours on the bike each day. The more I thought about it, I would be disappointed if I backed out on Dubrovnik while I was that close. I decided to take the chance on the roads and try to get to Dubrovnik.
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