BMW R1200GSA vs Moto Guzzi Stelvio NTX

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Out of Portschach – Where to now?


After an extra two nights we finally got out of Hotel Miralago, not that we wanted to go. We even thought about selling the bike and just living there until the money ran out but decided against it. When we arrived, as we were walking up one of the old spiral stone staircases Suzanne joked that this was like the Hotel California. “You check out but you can never leave” It was sort of true as this place has a certain power that makes you not want to go. Maybe Johannes was drugging our drinks.

When we said good bye to Johannes, who is one of those guys who oozes cool without trying, he gave us a jar of jam to take with us to use on our toast for our camping breakfast. Thanks Johannes. See you next time.

We then went back to what became our local to say goodbye to Kira. She’s such a sweetie, and shouted us a last round of drinks. Pity I was riding and only drinking orange juice.

A quick ride into Klagenfurt and a visit to the Post Office relieved us of 55 Euro to post some goodies home to Oz. Up until this point we really hadn’t decided where we were going, or how we were going to get there. A split second decision and we were heading toward Slovenia. Ljubljana here we come. The sky was full of dark grey clouds in the other direction so that decided it for us.

It turned out to be a poor decision as within minutes we were riding in the rain, and then it got heavier. You can guess the rest. The rain turned into a thunder and lightning storm. Then it got exciting. We headed up this mountain road, bloody steep, bloody tight winding corners, and rivers of water running across the road everywhere. Throw in the occasional rock slide warning sign and Simon was a bit nervous. Again, I’m from Western Australia, so I don’t do rain, and I don’t do corners, especially not together. I used the ABS on the BMW today for the first time. I was sure the brakes weren’t working on one particular downhill loop corner, so I squeezed the lever harder and the ABS kicked in. At least I could be comfortable knowing we would be heading into some tunnels soon and not riding over the top of the mountains. No such luck bucko! There were enormous mountains everywhere with sheer rock faces on one side and sheer drops on the other, and not a tunnel to be seen. Ohhhh boy! The road went so high up the mountains that our ears p[popped a couple of times. I checked out the map and the road is called the Loiblpass – Google Map it and zoom in. It’s so tight my front wheel was rubbing on my back wheel in some parts. Pulling out of some corners I was down to first it was that steep, but then we do weigh close to half a tonne on the road. Suzanne was very composed. She only had one “Holly shit!” moment and then decided it was best to just close her eyes. I wish I could have done the same.

Now this all sounds pretty scary but what really got me was I did the right thing and pulled over a couple of times to let the banked up cars go past, and two scooters passed me. How sad is that? I’ll pull out the excuses now: They were locals and knew the road, our bike is too heavy with all the gear, and so on. Truth is I was just in way over my confidence level, and my ability level. And the whole time I was thinking we had to go down the other side. Luckily when we entered Slovenia the sun was shining and things dried out. Whew! It was like riding an enduro on bitumen roads. The funny thing is I want to go back again tomorrow if it’s not raining and do it again in the dry – Suzanne isn’t that keen.

OK, we made it to Ljubljana and rode around the city for a sticky beak for a while until we found a café where we had a drink and a feed. Suzanne tried horse for the first time (yes, horse). She loved it and couldn't tell it wasn’t beef. I had a small taste and found it had a very strong taste. It wasn't bad, but it will never be my favourite. At he café we saw a huge cat. He was one of two pets that belonged to a guy at the restaurant. We miss our pets.

We then found our way to the camp ground as hotels were no longer in the budget, it’s cheap all the way from here on in. Setting up camp was quick and easy and we had a cosy little home for the night. Just as well because later in the evening another bloody big thunderstorm rolled in. Pelting rain, thunder, lightning, I’m glad we came here in summer. There was a young couple next to us who had a very large piece of wood (installed as part of some sort of tree obstacle course) fall on the edge of their tent during the night. It was LOUD and lots of people got up to make sure they were OK. Luckily it only landed on the corner of their tent and they were fine. We did a thorough tree inspection above our tent in the morning.

Our home for the next few days.

I told you it was a big piece of wood. This broke in two after it landed on the edge of our neighbour's tent.

Cool old Kombi in the camp ground.

Where’s Rex’s Buff?

This Buff sure is getting around.

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