Well border control was slow. Over an hour to get through and the first time I’ve been asked for documents. Passport and bike docs.
I thought I’d film the zig zag road. Took the GoPro session off the chin mount and put it on the top mount. Bleep battery dead. Swapped it for GoPro no2 bleep memory full. OK I’ll get to the top and fly the drone.
At the top unpacked everything, hooked up the phone, switched on the drone. It needed calibrating, did that and it refused to fly as it is too close to an airfield.
It was all roads and I ended up in Podgorica, the Capitol. I had a fantastic carbonara in town before heading to my super cheap apartment. It was cheap and cheerful.
As this would be my first day in a non schengen visa country I could stop counting days. As Brits we can now only spend 90 days in every 180 in schengen registered countries. So at 50 days the counting was put on hold.
I headed for Zagreb to try and locate a new front tyre. Long story short 10 shops 70 miles no tyre.
It was 4pm and the skies were black. Next to the petrol station was a motel. I was in and cozy for the night as heavy storms rattled on.
I had plans to visit two lesser known tourist attractions
Back on the road and still rain dodging i was pleased with my efforts until I felt a few drips. I always go straight for full wet gear but there was nowhere to stop and in the few minuyes it took to find a place, the rain was hammering down. I was drentched. It carried on for quite some time. I decided to get a room.
I had heard from a work colleague, Mark and his wife Julie, that they were in Dubrovnic. We met up and I drank beer. (Not done that in a while).
The weather had been awkward for off road riding but when it cleared up Croatia delivered in so many ways. I was fairly sure Montenegro would struggle to match it, but its the next country just a few short kilometers away.
I was in a fowl mood. My tent was wet, even on the inside and it was going to be another wet packing up. I used the water I got last night to clean my teeth as I wasn’t sure the water in the taps was safe. I opened the bottle to the fizz of gassy water again. I swear that’s the 8th or 9th bottle in a row I’ve done that with and I hate fizzy water. The sun was out but a heavy mist was stopping it breaking through and it made the campsite look even more grim.
I set off and within 30 minutes I was in Austria, the sun was out and I was singing songs from The Sound of Music.
It would be a day of making miles and I did, passing through Austria, Slovenia and into Croatia. I was headed to Zagreb but with 400km showing for the day I headed to a campsite. It was tiny with no services as it had only been open a short while. However it was loads better than last nights.
I did the non motorway thing again and enjoyed some flowing smooth country roads. I stopped at Kutna Hora a very small village that homes the Sedlec Ossuary. So throughout the ages the residents of Kutna Hora had some bad times 30,000 died of famine in the 12th century, then another 30,000 from the plague in the 1350’s and during the husite wars another 10,000. The 3 acre cemetary was filling up and so they started to exume the bodies and store the bones around the grounds. The upshot was that a crypt was made to store the bones and an artist employed to make it attractive. There’s no photography allowed so my pics are from Google
After about 20 minutes I moved on. Arriving mid afternoon at the Brno race track. There were some teams practicing and the whole track echoed to the sound of screaming bikes and quick shifters.
I still needed tyres if I was going to ride more off road trails. I had contacted a bike tyre shop but they never got back to me so I called in. They could fit a pair of 50/50 tyres at 2pm the following day. I agreed but that would be a wasted day. I then found a small business who had a rear tyre but no front. I took it
What followed was a frustrating ride to 2 campsites that didn’t exist and then finding one that promised to be great. Having paid and entered, reality hit. Its a big site with 8 restaurants and play areas, pubs, beaches and even a nudist beach. Nothing was open apart from the toilet blocks and they were grim, there werent even any nudists! The ground was wet and my tent also still wet from the last use.
I went out to find food and ended up eating in a petrol station. I wasn’t having fun. . . .Tomorrow is a new day.
Crossing into the Czech Republic made this my 11th country, although some were visited twice and without question my 2nd new to me country. I stopped just after the border for a coffee only to find they spend Czech Koruna not Euros as I thought.
I tried the town centre campsite but it wasn’t great. I then found 1 Republic Hotel in the city centre. The price for 2 nights was great and they had secure parking. On arrival the guy at the desk wS so helpful, explaining they have one garage entrance but use a hydraulic stacking system for cars only, however he called the hotel over the road and arranged parking in their car park.
The Lime scooters was fantastic. Hop on, hop off, leave it in a safe place then when you are ready pick up a new one. I took one about 2 miles to the old soviet TV tower.
Ok Sweden and Norway are done. I’m not sure I have a plan now but the next three days can be compressed into this.
The ride to Kristiansand was basic on a main road with all of Norways charm as expected. I did narrowly avoid a speeding ticket.
The ferry took me to Denmark and a cabin hotel in Aalborg. I needed to be in Hamburg in 36hrs to get the bike serviced at a Honda dealer.
I made it to Hamburg but the campsite looked awful so I searched for a hotel. They were all booked for a convention and those with a room wanted €315 a night. I found another campsite outside of town and bonus only 10 minutes from the Honda dealer.
The next morning I dropped the bike off and had a coffee with the mechanic as we chatted bikes.
Then public transport back to the camp to make the most of the clothes washing and drying facilities.
The bike was done and they even had a set of fork seals set aside. They couldn’t fit them but it will make getting them done easier at a later date.
I did manage to get to one tourist place.
It was now gone 6pm and suddenly I felt unwell. Cometely drained and light headed. That will be the result of a busy day on one cup of coffee then. To the restaurant and I drank a coke to fire me up whilst I ordered a veggie chilli.
Leaving Hamburg the next morning I routed for Prague avoiding motorways. That resulted in an hour journey through Hamburg in heavy traffic. 20 minutes in the rain started. I put on full waterproofs. Minutes later it was torrential rain. After my hour in city traffic I ditched non motorway in favour of miles to outrun the rain. 7hrs, 350km later the rain stopped. I was soaked through. No way was I camping as I’d never get stuff dry. Booking.com had a place for £25 just 3.1 miles away in Querenhorst. Click, non refundable, directions 31 miles back into the rain!!
However it was so very worth it. A house to myself with everything including washer/dryer, huge bath and a stocked bar.
I wanted to explore places I knew from my two years in Stavanger….
I spent quite some time looking for Ølberg beach and the once thriving camp site we lived on….
After 6 months on the edge of the North Sea two of us rented a basement flat. I spent a long time trying to find it but managed.
After that I took another flat but I couldn’t find that one. I did however find the sword monument that commemorates the Battle of Hafrsfjord which took place there in the year 872.
I didnt spend long in the museum, I’ve done a lot of aircraft stuff this year. So I jumped on the bike with a few bits packed in a rucksack and headed to Preikestolen Rock. It’s a 4km hike as opposed to the 10km we used to do.
It had taken less than two hours to get to the rock and after 15 minutes I was ready to leave. I walk quite fast and was overtaking lots of people on the way down, being careful with footing. I did look up a few times and on one of those occasions I saw a guy just in front of the two I was behind. At first glance it looked like Jess but it couldn’t be as he was a few days behind me. Then he turned around, it bloody was Jess. We laughed and chatted as we carried on down the hill.
I had just one last thing to do and that was eat at a Dolly Dimples Pizza restaurant. Another thing I’d done 35yrs ago when the first one opened in Sandness. Crazy but they are still going strong. I invited Jess as another final farewell. He’s a thoroughly good chap and I hope he has the best trip on the rest of his adventure.
Stavanger was my goal for the day but first the 32km road to Lysebøtn. It winds its way through the rugged scenery to the very edge of the fjord where it drops down the steep side to the end of the water in the heart of the valley.
Stopping at the top for a coffee and to admire the astonishing scenery. I started chatting with a Brit who was headed north on his BMW GS. Kevin Scott is a retired geologist and was fascinated by the fjords and their make up of the metamorphic igneous rock shaped by the last ice age (he told me that).
We agreed to ride to the bottom together. It was a blur of hairpin bends and a tunnel with a ‘U’ turn over 180°.
We spoke to some Danish guys who had a few days of riding available and all agreed this was the only place to head.
Kevin had booked a cheap hotel in Forus just outside Stavanger so I booked a room there and we rode together
The Cardinal Pub is on 3 levels. The Cardinal is a London look pub. One floor down is a music pub called Underground and on the top floor is Hexagon the night club. Although not open at the time I’ve seen pictures and they too remain unchanged.
I told the young barmaid it was my local 35yrs ago. She said she wasn’t born then. I raised my eyebrows and turned to the manager who shook his head “Nope, me either”. Wanting the ground to swallow me whole I reached for my last ditch effort. “Is Hexagon open tonight?” She replied “Yes, later but its really for 21yr olds, older people go to the harbour”. I looked at Kevin in despair.
I was on the road early with a route mapped by Jon. I stopped for a coffee and met this guy Torbjørn. We had a chat before going our seperate ways.
However 30 minutes later we met up again and I followed him quite a long way as he popped wheelies as the 690 loves to do. It was about 20 minutes later I realised I had followed him way off my route, I was just enjoying the ride and sounds of the bikes in tunnels.
OK let’s get this straight, it’s still on my bucket list to walk on a glacier as having riden up there, they won’t let you walk on it as its full of crevasses that are up to 30m deep. There is a walk you can do but it’s guided and they had left. So I stood on a bit of snow