Maps and Stats

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Austria, Sankt Lorenzen, 11 – 13 September 2019

Arta Terme to Sankt Lorenzen – another short ride deeper into the Austrian Alps. The road took me over the Plocken Pass and it deteriorated markedly in Austria. I travelled this route but in the other direction last year. Hundreds of bikes all going in the other direction as well.

Sankt Lorenzen – 1,120 metres altitude, a farming village where I can relax for a few days  and catch up on my blog. It has a supermarket and a restaurant that is open Thu-Sun hahaha perfect.

 

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Italy, Arta Terme, 09 – 10 September 2019

Trieste to Arta Terme – a short ride to the foothills of the Alps as I only slept an hour on the flights back from Iceland.

Butterfly House of Bordano – not far from Arta Terme is a town called Bordano where they have a Butterfly Park so I decided to investigate. It has a number of climate controlled enclosure simulating the different continents, an informative video on the butterflies life cycle and a museum of dead butterflies. There were not many live ones in the enclosures.

I passed through the village of Tarnep and almost every house had a painting on one of it walls.

 

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Iceland, Reykjavik, 02 – 09 September 2019

Trieste to Reykjavik – Well I got tired of the heat and humidity of the southern latitudes and decided to go somewhere to cool off, like Iceland hahaha. Good connecting flights from Trieste to Reykjavik via Frankfurt and September is off-peak made up my mind. There are busses every 30 minutes from Trieste to the airport cost 4.15 euro and the journey takes an hour.

Reykjavik – the capital of Iceland, being an island everything has to be imported and therefore it is a very expensive place to live. Iceland is known for its Hot springs and Geysers, Glaciers and Waterfalls and the Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis. The whole island is volcanic with some volcanoes under the glaciers and if one of them erupts, its fun and games for air traffic in Europe as happened in the 2010 eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull.

The best way to get around is by bus, install the Strætó app on your phone, link it to your credit or debit card and you will be free to roam the island. My EE UK sim card continues to work here using my UK Data/SMS/Call allowances at no extra cost. You don’t need cash either as cards are accepted everywhere for even the smallest purchases. This is a useful local map of Iceland, it’s more up to date than Google maps.

There are numerous tours available and they are all well organised. Tourism is the 2nd largest income earner for Iceland after Fishing. Third is the processing of Bauxite into Aluminium which requires prodigious amounts of electricity and Iceland has a surplus of electricity.

My first day in Iceland was the best day, sunshine and blue skies, not bad I thought hahaha. The next 5 days were overcast with the occasional drizzle and the temperature varied between 8 and 10c. Though on the last day it was starting to clear up in the evening.

Another interesting fact is that Iceland is one of few countries that does not have an army, only the Police and a Coast Guard.

Natural History Museum of Kópavogur – This is a tiny museum meant for the local school children I think, there are no English translations and its free.

Golden Circle Tour – This is one of the most popular tours. On the way back into the city we got held up because the Vice-president of the USA was visiting and the roads were closed while he went past. The roads around his hotel were also closed causing busses to be diverted etc, etc.

South Coast Tour, another mandatory tour.

Northern Lights Tour – This is one of those tours used to suck in the tourists because it requires clear skies and darkness which in Iceland is an Oxymoron. Clear skies occur in Summer when it never gets dark and in winter it is dark but overcast. I booked this tour and it was cancelled due the weather. They then booked me on the following day free of charge and so on and so forth finally having to refund my money hahaha.

The National Museum and Craft Beer, you can only buy alcohol from Government owned shops called Vinbudin.

Perlan – Wonders of Iceland, interesting place, they have a Planetarium as well.

Blue Lagoon – I spent a few hours here waiting for my flight. It is close to the airport and you can buy a bus ticket that allows you to stop here and continue on to the airport later.

 

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Italy, Trieste, 17 August – 01 September 2019

Rijeka to Trieste a short ride that passes through Slovenia. When I was a few kilometres from the Slovenian border traffic was at a standstill, I thought it was either roadworks or an accident, wrong. After a few minutes 4 bikes came past me overtaking the standing traffic, so I followed. This is a narrow road through the mountains and we were riding on the wrong side of the road ducking between cars when there was oncoming traffic hahaha. Anyway it turned out that there was no accident but this was the queue waiting to cross the border from Croatia into Slovenia which is part of the Schengen area. I crossed at the same point in May last year travelling in the other direction and there was no traffic at all. Apparently the increase in cross border traffic is related to the religious holiday on August 15 with families on both sides visiting relatives. I was later told by someone that they had once waited 8 hours to cross at this border. The other bikes 3 Italian and 1 Austrian slowed down, did not take their helmets off, just flashed their passports and were gone. I had to get my passport stamped to ensure my entry into Schengen was recorded so I stopped and took my helmet off, no questions asked, off again in 2 minutes. After that the border between Slovenia and Italy was unattended, just keep going. Distance 73km in 1:33hrs.

Trieste – an interesting city that was once part of the Austrian Empire, with many Piazza’s and its own unique approach to coffee. It is also home to the Barcolana Regatta, the biggest sailing event in the world attracting 2,689 boats last year. Bus is the best way to get around and Moovit is the App to have, a single ride costs 1.35 euro or you can buy passes for longer periods.

Castello di San Giusto – the highest point in the city, I took the bus to get here.

Udine – day trip, I took the bus there and the train back.

Muggia – day trip, I took the ferry there and the bus back.

I decided to exercise my bike and went for a ride to ……

Palmanova – a very interesting town when looked at from above, click on the link to see what I mean.

Aquileia – the whole floor of the church is covered in intricate mosaics dating back to the 4th century AD.

Grado – a seaside resort town

Sanctuary Montegrisa – this place is on top of the hills overlooking Trieste and can be seen from miles around but apparently it is not on the tour bus itineraries.

 

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Croatia, Rijeka, 13 – 16 August 2019

Apatin to Rijeka, Croatia – Short ride to the Croatian border over the back roads, this is not a busy crossing either, only a few cars waiting at the Serbian end and being on a bike I rode to the front of the queue, this is an accepted practice, handed in the Hotel Registration and got my passport stamped. Next ride across the Danube river which is the border, same procedure at Croatian Immigration, did not have to open panniers. More back roads and then a Toll Plaza and onto a freeway, speed limit 130 kph, stopped for petrol short of Zagreb and put my jacket on, colder and a few spots of rain, the toll for this section was 11 euro. Continued on the freeway past Zagreb to Rijeka, this bit was through the mountains colder and more interesting with many tunnels, another stop for petrol and then paid the toll 6 euro. Total distance 499 km in 5:30 hours.