Page 5 of 9 FirstFirst ... 34567 ... LastLast
Results 65 to 80 of 134

Thread: Greece is the word..

  1. #65
    Rambler Click here to find out how to Subscribe
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    London
    Posts
    3,223
    Has it been worth it? You bet.

    Good Morning Kranj..



    Breakfast is taken with the German couple and a Flight Crew amongst others. An Austrian Airline Pilot comes to chat bikes, he doesn’t have a bike currently but his brother owns a BMW Motorrad dealership, so he tells me he’s running out of excuses.
    The German couple are also making their way south on two wheels. They’re aboard a Piaggio X9 which is parked up behind our bikes. Their destination today too is Croatia, they’re heading to Plitvice. Fifteen or so years ago I used to have a 500cc of these back at home to commute to work on and it was a good and capable bike. It would have easily toured without a problem. On inspection though it worked out this particular bike was a mere 125 beastie.. But they proudly declared it could still do what they needed, if only needing a bit of time to cool down after making way up the passes. Just goes to show you can do it on whatever you like. Good on them.

    Did I mentioned the hotel is a tad eccentric? Dad likes it.



    The boot didn’t open. I’m mildly disappointed.



    Final preparations.



    Dad’s ready and dressed. Showtime. I think his biggest concern has been comfort. He’s had some pain in his legs of late. The bigger one on his mind now though is getting on and off the bike. We had a brief dry run at home before I set off, and that was promising.

    For the comfort side of things, we have an airhawk seat in addition to a Sergeant pillon seat. There’s a cushion strapped to the top box too, so I’m hoping this is going to work out. We saddle up, and he’s gingerly on first time after a bit of effort.

    I’ve said to Brian that things will have to be a bit different over the coming days. I’ll need to stop more regularly for dad, and though usually we ride the same itinerary, (but not in nugget cluster formation, heaven forbid)¬¬ the form now will be Brian will crack on as he wishes and we’ll meet at the destination. No biggie.

    I tell dad we’ll do a brief run to get started and to get him into things. We creep gingerly out of the town and bid goodbye to Kranj and join up with the route south towards Croatia. Dad indicates he’s comfortable. Excellent. After 45 minutes or so we have a stop, and he has a slow dismount, holding on to me. I’ve been going to the gym for a number of months and working pretty hard; I’ve dropped three stone and am fitter than I’ve been for years. This I’m in no doubt has really helped.

    We find an elevated point for the restart and after some random folks clear away dad is back on pretty straight forwardly. Even more encouraging.

    The weather is pleasant without being too warm and there’s cloud around. The forecast is variable with some showers promised. I guess we find out later today.

    We’re back to the road, and I decide to add some music. I’ve got a tank bag converted to hold a large JBL speaker. This connects by Bluetooth to my phone, and there’s also a Bluetooth remote control gizmo on the handlebar which can control volume and track selection. It works really well, as well as any audio system I’ve had on any bike as it happens, and I’ve had a few. I play selections from the ‘Music to watch girls go by’, so think Sinatra, Matt Munro, Shirley Bassey etc. Dad is happily tapping along to the tunes and so at the very early stage things seem to be working out pretty well.

    We get a very good run through the pretty green landscape. Slovenia really is lovely.
    There are a few patches of road works dotted about but we use the opportunity to get to the front and then have clear road. Dad is put in charge of smoothing over our barging in at the front and seems to be doing a good job. We arrive at a quiet crossing into Croatia and there’s a miserable woman checking or passports on the Slovenia exit side. There’s no one there on the Croatian side, must be lunch time I guess, so we toddle onwards.

    As we move towards the Adriatic Coast there’s rain and some thunder. We press on for a while and decide to pit stop for coffee. It rains profusely for half an hour and the rain clears away. It’s warm and after another fifteen minutes you’d barely have known it had rained at all. I mention to dad, in a couple of days you’ll be thankful for the rain.

    We’re back on with another successful clamber from Dad, and not long after we’re making our way down the Dalmatian Coast road. There’s some traffic, but we’re moving well and move through as we need without fuss. As we work further South the traffic thins out and we have a good run to finish the day off despite a shower just outside our destination.

    Our overnight stop is the Hotel Velniac in Karlobag. I booked it this morning with Brian’s favourite app. I’ve stayed here a number of times before. If there’s a hint of familiarity with my other write ups so far, well, there is a reason for this. Firstly, I think Karlobag is lovely, the hotel, though basic, is clean, the food is good and the people have always been friendly and charming. And the final and probably most important reason is I’m happy to see places that I have previous experience of being god as I have my dad in the co-pilot seat.

    It really is a stunning place. The opposite shores are barren, which is something to do with the weather system I understand, plants won’t grow over there. It makes for great viewing.



    Brian arrives. Rain starts again but clears in the early evening, which means we can sit in the square and order the mixed grill after a visit to a bar at the back of the square where I discover Pan Crno, a dark lager which works very well.

    Plotting, routing, catching up on correspondence..



    We were not messing around with dinner you know.



    Later we have a walk, another drink and go to the Supermarket for a mooch. We buy some nuts.
    Brian gets thrown out for photographing the drinks section





    Night night

  2. #66
    Subscriber Click here to find out how to Subscribe
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Paradise
    Posts
    23,594
    Marvellous

  3. #67
    Subscriber Click here to find out how to Subscribe
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    woodhall spa, lincs
    Posts
    135
    Great stuff.

  4. #68
    Subscriber Click here to find out how to Subscribe
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Cardiff, Wales
    Posts
    1,670
    Yep
    Makes me want to get out there !!

  5. #69
    Rambler Click here to find out how to Subscribe
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    London
    Posts
    3,223
    Cheers all!

    Quote Originally Posted by russ996duke View Post
    Yep
    Makes me want to get out there !!

  6. #70
    Rambler Click here to find out how to Subscribe
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    London
    Posts
    3,223
    There’s no place like Ploce

    The next morning the weather is really good. Fine, warm, sunny, not a cloud I the sky. We get up early to get out onto the road thinking to take the opportunity before the road gets busier but with a bonus that it’d be that bit cooler.

    Karlobag by morning. Super place.



    Packing up.



    Experimenting with the Camelbak on the pannier for dad.



    Brian has routed us to a place called Ploce for our run today. I haven’t been there before so it’ll be something new. We find an apartment that looks quite nice on our favourite app before we set out so we know where we’ll be.

    Today things differ. Brian is popping off into Bosnia Herzegovina to explore, where I’m sticking to the coast for the main part, but in the interests of time and dad’s comfort, breaking things up with a run down the Croatian motorway.

    The morning ride is sensational. Not a cloud in the sky with warm sunshine, picture book coastal views and zero traffic. No nugget clusters. It’s a treat. At its best, this stretch of road is for me hard to beat.

    There’s a petrol stop as we get toward the end of our coast run at Stari Grad.

    We seem to have developed a habit. When we stop, I eye somewhere elevated where dad can find it a little easier to haul himself back onto the bike. The chain of events seems to be as thus: When we stop, that location is empty and unpopulated. However, by the time I want to get back onto the bike, sometimes in as little as a couple of minutes or so, we’re joined by hoards of people who are just in the way. It’s like clockwork. Spooky.



    The Croatian motorway ranks as number one in my ‘What Motorway’ guide of Europe, shortly behind Switzerland for some of the views, and Spain because they’re immaculate. They are relatively inexpensive toll roads, the 120 odd miles we picked off worked out at around a fiver. They also have very presentable service areas which helps, especially with the temperature drifting up towards 30.

    After dropping from the motorway we seek out the coast again and dip into Makarska which is a pretty town with a pleasant front by the sea. We have an ice cream. Dad mentions it’s a lovely place and it would have been nice to stay there. Hey ho, another time I guess.



    We transit Bosnia at Neum. Bosnia by the sea. Before we leave we get petrol and more ice cream.



    It is now very hot and then running down the final taking on the final part of the highway South, where Ploce is set back from the coast road where it cuts inland. As we head down we have a panoramic view of the oil depot noce we spy the destination, and sadly the location of the apartment reminds me a lot of Tottenham’s Broadwater Farm Estate. Dad says ‘It isn’t here son, is it?’ At which point I let him know not to panic and that we’ll be moving on.
    So no offence to the people of Ploce, but we decided to have our destination reploced.

    I send a text to Brian to let him know, and we’re moving off and upping the pace. A while later we’re passing Dubrovnik and head into Cavtat, somewhere I know, where a really nice apartment is found and normality is resumed.

    Dad managed 284 miles today which I was really proud of. 'I’m glad to get off' he says, 'I reckon my arse is red raw'.

    Brian arrives later, after what we have since christened as being 'Garmined'. There were two identical addresses, one ten miles away, and one where our actual apartment was. If you just put the address and the postcode in, without specifying the town, you got sent to the wrong place. Who knew, eh.

    A pretty sundown in Cavtat.



    We have a good couple of drinks…



    …followed by having what I reckoned was a very average meal. The 12 hour cooked ribs that sounded great turned up like this. A bit crap.



    All was OK though, as dad was happy.



    Brian was… well I’ve no idea really.




  7. #71
    Never knowingly understood Click here to find out how to Subscribe
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    South Yorkshire
    Posts
    17,483
    Good one Rob .... quality time with yer dad

    My dad was in his late seventies when, after mum had died, we toured Germany together on our 250 MZ SupaFives ... he never stopped talking about it

    Power to your elbow

    Adventure.GS
    Tours, training or custom made earplugs ... it's all here.

    "If you want the rainbow then you have to put up with a little rain" Dolly Parton

  8. #72
    Subscriber Click here to find out how to Subscribe
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Sheffield,England
    Posts
    1,631
    Rob, marvellous experience for you both. Your Dad looks to be really enjoying himself, even the phone pictures, Young at Heart. An experience you will both treasure. Save all the pics and make him a book / album up. Nice birthday or Christmas gift. We have done events albums for our ageing Dads. Well received and my Dad says “ooh that better than cardis and bloody socks”

  9. #73
    Rambler Click here to find out how to Subscribe
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    London
    Posts
    3,223
    Thanks Gents.. it has been a really nice and positive experience given events. And that's a nice suggestion Andrew

  10. #74
    Rambler Click here to find out how to Subscribe
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    London
    Posts
    3,223
    South to Shqiperia

    I’m up early again. There’s no breakfast at our apartment so I head down into the town around 6.30am on the bike to drop into town and have a walk and find breakfast to bring back to the apartment.



    Crystal clear water..



    Ah, the janitor is in town, I see. You could have said. I mean really, not even so much as an invitation.



    A stunning walk around the peninsular which leads back to the start point with only the odd jogger and the bin men for occasional company.





    A quick coffee..



    .. and then breakfast is sourced from a hidden mini market, without a sign and almost impossible to identify apart from people going in and out. Inside it’s a proper scrum. Back to the apartment and we ready ourselves.



    I’ve said before this part of the world is where old VW Golfs go to die. These are the cars of the apartment owners.



    A few days ago by coincidence I was messaged by a friend who lives in Albania. He had a friend who was recently travelling by car to Albania, but had problems at the border as the Green Card he had was delivered by e-mail, and thus not bright green, and was rejected. In that conversation I sent him a copy of my green card, to which he responded the dates are now, and where are you? I let him know that we were going to be in Albania in a few days, but knowing he and his family had been having a lot of things going on didn’t want to bother him. If I could ask one favour I said, could you help us book the nice hotel we stayed at for your wedding a couple of years ago close to where you live? Not at all, was the response- you’re staying with us. A typical gesture from some terrific people.

    So we had somewhere to go.

    We bid goodbye to our friendly apartment owners and go south. Brian has already made off towards some national park areas he wants to see via Bosnia Herzegovina. Brian is going to find himself somewhere further North to our stop near Durres as so we would meet up tomorrow in Southern Albania.

    It is less than half an hour along the coast road to the border with Montenegro. It is busy, and we queue behind some serious and miserable Germans as we slowly inch down to the border. I play them some music, a few motown classics, which I don’t think is Adventure-cool. Dad lurks in the shade very much getting the hang of all of this.



    Well, this pair of wallys have now made it to Montenegro



    Eventually we cross over the border and begin making our way through Montenegro. There’s traffic police not far from the border (who later pull Brian for speeding after an eventful border crossing for him).

    We wind our way South until meeting the short ferry across Kotor bay



    The ride along the South Shore of Kotor bay into Kotor itself is fabulous, a fairly busy single track road. Its eventful and recommended. At Kotor,we sit outside the old town and have an ice cream. Things are now in the early 30’s and it is well worth it.

    You’ve got to mind the Cruise passengers, but they’re harmless.



    Happiness is.. (copyright Ash)



    I have Jaffa Cake Ice Cream. This is a development..

    The motoring is bitty, the driving standard is gradually deteriorating and you have to concentrate. Beyond the town of Bar, we divert into the hills and make the crossing to Albania at Sukobin after stopping in a bar I stopped at a couple of years ago, where I remember they had Wi-Fi, and I could message our hosts to let them know where we were. The boy who served me before seemed to remember me, but he’d grown up - bigger, tubbier and he now drove a Mercedes.

    The crossing to Albania was painless. There was only a single car pulling away when we drew up and in less than five minutes we’re filing our things back into place and heading out towards Shkoder. The main road towards Lezhe is picked up and it is pretty easy motoring, for Albania, relatively speaking. Eventually we meet motorway and think petrol.
    One thing you will notice if you ever visit Albania, is that you will never ever ever run out of Petrol- there are an immense number of petrol stations, next door to each other; across the road; hotels with petrol stations, restaurants with petrol stations. Etc etc..

    We draw up and fill up, and as I go in a man behind the counter greets me warmly 'Hello, how are you!' he says. 'Ah, grand, you speak English' I say in response, at which point he comes back with 'Hello, how are you!'. So much for that. But anyway, two cornettos and a tank of fuel are cheaply procured, and I am given my farewell (Hello, how are you!).

    It’s the usual mixed bag of motoring in Albania, MOT failures, gangsters in big white German cars (in 2012 it was big black German cars, how things change), horses, pick up trucks loaded with a million bits and bobs, Mercedes Sprinter minibuses that stop in the middle of the road. But there’s loads to see, and the place is like a theme park for the eyes. My dad has really enjoyed it. He thinks the place is bonkers.

    Traffic police are everywhere in Albania, certainly on the main highways. They lurk by bridges and in shady spots, men behind dark glasses with lollipops waiting what looks to be randomly diverting traffic in for their attention. We have no problems though, even when you could say we were pressing on.

    We reach Durres at around 5pm and our friends live just outside in a place called Qerret. They live in a beachside village which is fenced inside a private compound and have a lovely house. We're greeted with beers, cold cuts and cheeses.
    Today was not big mile day by any means, actually only a total of around 170 odd miles, but very satisfying. The change from Croatia, through Montenegro to Albania is fascinating and what biking in this part of Europe is all about for me.

    We try not to be a burden, but at the hosts insistence we're taken for dinner at a hilltop venue and have a very pleasant evening. At least we manage to foot the bill, which isn’t very much actually. Amongst other things we talk about the traffic Police and our host Rubin says that 'they really won't bother foreign motorcyclists unless you’re doing something absolutely stupid'. That does seem an accurate summary from how I see it, but what qualifies as absolutely stupid here, well I don't know, and, erm, well it didn’t seem too polite to ask about it.

    I think a good piece of advice about motoring around this part of the planet is that I'd heard is 'Once you realise they’re not trying to kill you, its ok'. It is just the way they drive. Keep your wits, keep confident, if something wants to come past, let it go, no problem. In towns and cities, the best advice is just to be nimble and keep rolling. Better to tippy toe through and make progress than be in the way. It seems to work quite well.

    Our genial host and a good meal.



    We’re driven home to an excellent and peaceful sleep.


  11. #75
    Subscriber Click here to find out how to Subscribe
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Paradise
    Posts
    23,594
    Another great instalment, Rob

  12. #76
    Subscriber Click here to find out how to Subscribe
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Adventure before dementia .....
    Posts
    2,377
    Loving this Roberto ...

  13. #77
    Rambler Click here to find out how to Subscribe
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    London
    Posts
    3,223
    Cheers gents

  14. #78
    Rambler Click here to find out how to Subscribe
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    London
    Posts
    3,223
    Sarande and that coast road

    I realised I missed out the photo of the Jaffa cake Ice cream dessert from Kotor. This is a wrong that must be put right.



    The following morning we have a beachside breakfast with our hosts.



    These two dogs belong to the village. The residents feed and look after them and they appear to be the Albanian canine equivalents of lottery millionaires.



    A wander back to the house before we bid our goodbyes and fully refreshed take back to the road to trundle along with our ticket to the theatre that is motoring in Albania.



    An hour or so later we catch up by chance with Brian after doubling back from inadvertently taking a road Garmin directed us down but turned out to be a one way - and Brian was coming in about to do the same. We joined up pretty much until we reached Vlore, albeit being led around by some interesting GPS stuff, the Nav5 taking us down one of the bumpiest minor concrete roads I’ve ever seen with the view of the first class highway in the distance being ignored. GPS navigation around here still isn’t brilliant, but it isn’t a problem – if you’ve come here to rush, you’re doing it all wrong.
    After leaving Vlore and climbing into the hils we stop by Mount Cica for a cold drink, It’s a magnificent spot high in the mountain where the overlooking the sea.

    Brian joins us and tells us he got nabbed for a second time by Montenegro five-O for crossing a white line. Oops.



    The photo doesn’t actually do it justice- there’s more mountain downwards way beyond what can be seen here. There’s a very warm 40-50mph wind here and drinks and bits and bobs don’t stay on the table before being blown away.
    Odd, but fabulous. We hide behind the building to eventually get dad back on the bike, I’ll confess to being a bit worried with the wind as it was but we did OK, and once we were on the road the wind didn’t seem to bother us.

    We embark on the remarkable road from Vlore to Sarande. It’s a couple of hours of fabulous road, great GS country, magnificent coastal views and rolling roads. A road with a great reputation for motorists and rightly so.
    Using Brian’s favourite hotel app, we’ve booked the most excellent Hotel Julia, hidden away near the front, but up a steep climb, but with a great parking spot for the bikes. The hotel was modern, immaculate and very cheap, including a great breakfast.



    A view of the bay from the hotel.
    Note to self. Take thumb out of way of lens.



    We chuckle later- Brian spots a student driver in an instructor car sending a text whilst on their driving lesson. It seems the Albanian way. We believe there to be a motoring offence here – driving with due care and attention.

    We chat in the evening - Dad is feeling a bit tired and it has been a tough few days for any pillion by my reckoning, let alone all of the crazy stuff, border crossings, heat and all that. I need to not forget that it was touch and go whether he came along, and he still had doubts, even though it has been fabulous. We can’t push it. Our destination tomorrow is the island of Corfu and there are two possible routes – to continue south, into Greece and then to Igoumenitsa to take the ferry to Corfu Town, or at a little more expense, there is a small vehicle ferry from Sarande to Corfu Town which goes once a day. We’ll see if that option can perhaps work.

    Evening brings us beer and pizza. Given the geographic influences, you get decent beer, coffee and pizza, and a good Greek salad. That ticks all the boxes for me.



    Mrs Roberto: You’ve got more photos of beer than of me.
    Roberto: I’ve got far more photos of beer than of you.


  15. #79
    Subscriber Click here to find out how to Subscribe
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    nw england
    Posts
    8,063
    The last sentence bwaaaaaaaa

    Gbh for you soon

    Ps git

    Enjoy

  16. #80
    Oh Yes.... Click here to find out how to Subscribe
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Earth
    Posts
    32,553
    Simply superb as usual Rob...
    Perfekt ist nicht gut genug.

    UKGSER-A place where I've wasted so much time, learned so much, laughed a lot and cried a few times.

    Every bed of roses has pricks in it!

Page 5 of 9 FirstFirst ... 34567 ... LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Anyone attending a Ride Out or Event organised through the UKGSer Forums does so at their own risk.
UKGSer.com or anyone organising an event posted here will not be held responsible in any way for damage or personal injury sustained while attending any such events.

Members attending any such event do so at their own risk.

The text, images, graphics, sound files, animation files, video files, and their arrangement on this Website are all subject to copyright and other intellectual property protection. These objects may not be copied for commercial use or distribution, nor may these objects be modified or reposted to other sites without prior written permission.

Disclaimer: Use or depiction of the BMW logo or trademark throughout this web site is for illustrative and editorial purposes only, and to the benefit of the trademark owner, with no intention of infringement of the trademark.

The UKGSer Forums may include adult content for which it cannot be held responsible. Your use of this website constitutes acceptance of the UKGSER network privacy policy

"Its about being a grown up hooligan - and if that means a dark visor, remus open pipe and a bit of speeding out of town then all well and good"