BMW R1200GSA vs Moto Guzzi Stelvio NTX

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Full day of sight seeing around Bled, Slovenia... and some new friends.


Oh boy my right hand is sore. Sore from being on the throttle and on the brakes nearly all day.

We left this morning and removed the top box and panniers to reduce weight, boy what a difference. After ten minutes Suzanne wanted the top box back on to support her back. Being the dutiful husband I left Suzanne at a bus stop and had a blast riding back to the hotel to refit the top box. It’s amazing the difference just a top box can make. I picked up Suzanne and we were on the road again, heading for Koca pri Savici. I really wish the BM had a little more bottom end for taking off and accelerating out of corners at low speed when it's loaded up. I guess I'm just being greedy and wanting everything. 

It appears the idea in Slovenia is if you’re building a road and you can lay down a bend, why would you build a straight one? I’m not complaining, it makes for brilliant riding.

Another road side sign. Does this mean ride race bikes on the street with only one hand?

We were happily riding down the road when we saw some cows on the side of the road. No big deal you say, but it was. They really were on the side of the road. At this point we realised that cattle fences don't exist here. Hello cows.

This one wasn't quite on the side of the road, and was in no hurry to mooooove. (Moooove, get it? Sorry.) Glad it wasn't half way round a bend.

At one point of the ride Suzanne said let’s go up there and see what’s there. So we did. More winding roads and we rode through a little village called Koprivnik  Bohinju. As we rode through there was a little bar and the locals waved to us. Thirty seconds later we stopped at an intersection and immediately decided that we needed to stop and say hello to the locals. 

This is where we met Zdenka who works the bar, and Miran who is a lumberjack and a regular customer.

Our new drinking friends.
(Rex, Gary, does Zdenka remind you of anyone?)

After chatting with Zdenka and Miran, and a few drinks (relax people, I only drink orange juice when I’m riding with a pillion) it was time to go. Oops, I didn’t have my wallet and Suzanne didn’t have any money either. No, they don't take credit cards at the bar. How embarrassing. Luckily Suzanne had her credit card. I had to ride to the next town about 15 minutes away to access a teller machine. Here was my chance to have some real fun. Off came the top box and away I went. The road was another awesome ride, winding back and forth with a 12% gradient, but this time mainly dry and free of debris.

Sat Nav screen of a small part of the route.Yahoo!

Everyone was surprised when I came back so quickly. Let’s just say I enjoyed myself.

While I was away Zdenka told Suzanne about some handicraft that her Mum makes, and so began quite a long afternoon. Zdenka called her brother to get him to send some photos via the phone. Next thing Zdenka’s mum, Marta, rolled up with some examples of her work. The language barrier prevented us working out how the work was done so, Zdenka’s cousin, Milena, arrived at the bar with a work in progress to show us how it’s done. It’s called Idrija’s Lace and is a common to the area and Zdenka's mum tied this lace in a blur of hand movement. It was truly a sight to see. We had to buy one of these as they are so intricate and beautifully made. Marta does these for love and a hobby so when we asked how much, she had no idea. After a bit of continued questioning by Suzanne we were finally offered a ridiculous price. It was a pittance so we settled on three times the asking price and everyone was happy. The haggling game is easy.

Family photo. Suzanne, Marta, Zdenka, her boss, Milena, and little ol' me.

This is how it's done.

Marta's beautiful work. There are many hours of work in even the smallest piece.

Our acquisitions. Suzanne can shop anywhere.

What started out as a quick break took up nearly all afternoon. We met some truly interesting people and had a fantastic time. When this happens we just want to stay, but there is still a lot of ground to cover in Europe and if we don't keep moving we won't get anywhere.

A couple of quotes from the day:

Zdenka when discussing the weather there: “We have winter, then we have August”.

Zdenka’s cousin “When you get married, you are seeing your funeral live".

We’d spent about four hours here and still wanted to go to Koca pri Savici, so we said our goodbyes and took off. Now Suzanne could experience the roads I ridden on to get to the cash machine. Check out the photos and the photo of the Sat Nav screen. The screen goes crazy on places like this and spins around at every turn. Poor little buggar has trouble keeping up.

Street signs.

More wiggly red lines.

Just your typical little house on the side of the road.

Oh no, not another winding road.

This is the main road through this little village. Cosy eh?

Another main street. Don't cut the corners.

Breathe in.

Lake Bohinj.

We arrived at Koca pri Savici where there is a large waterfall, but the battery on the camera went flat. Probably because Suzanne took over 300 photos from the back of the bike today. As it was late and starting to cloud over we decided to give the hike to the waterfall a miss. We also decided to take the quick way back to Bled.

There was a big running race and festival called the 10 at 10 on around the lake tonight.

Part of the large crowd.

Crazy people.

It got a little wet before the race.

At 10 pm a bunch of athletic people run the 10 kilometres around the lake. Suzanne and I were going to enter and compete, but then though that showing up the locals would be a bad idea, so we sat down instead. The what is becoming the usual happened. A bloody big thunderstorm rolled in and dumped gallons of water on the race area. Luckily for the competitors it stopped about fifteen minutes before the race. We watched the start the scampered back to the hotel and watched the lightening storm from our balcony.

It was a very full day, but a hell of a lot of fun. We met some great new people, saw some inspiring sights, rode some perfect roads, and stayed dry. Perfect.

Tomorrow we point our front wheel toward Piran.

Where’s Rex’s Buff?

Sorry guys, it's me, and my Savador Dali impersonation.