Best Birthday in Years!
Venice ... the Finish line

August 17-20, 2018

Four countries, four days!

What happened…

Amanda writes: On the 17th we were headed for Croatia. The night before we stayed in basically a border town to set ourselves up to cross the border early in the morning. In our experience, border crossings can be unpredictable so always good to early to give yourself time for anything unexpected. This was our first border crossing since arriving in Europe where you actually had to pull our your passport and there was a crossing. The crossing turned out to be easy and then we were in Croatia. The vibe instantly felt different, people were different, it was remarkable! People were waving and smiling and kids made eye contact. We arrived in town early for a class and were planning on camping but we went into the town centre to get Stephanie a pin and we just got sucked in by the vibe. There was a festival going on and we decided to stay. The Hostel we chose had U18 football teams staying there too. The town had incredible fireworks and it was so much fun.

On the 18th we tried to see a handball game but turned out there wasn’t one on that day. We then crossed the border into Slovenia and there was a pretty castle. The landscape is so beautiful. On the 19th we took a train that went through some beautiful mountains, rivers and lakes. All I know is that we must return again when we have more time. We basically passed through Slovenia on this day because we arrived at the train station and then entered and camped in Italy. On August 20th we saw some ruins in town and then went to Grado beach and hung out all day. Had hoped to take a ferry to Venice but it only goes once every 2 days. We saw a church at the end of the day and swam in the pool again.

Stephanie writes: We started the 17th by sleeping in and then went to breakfast which was not great. The guy that had the only keys to unlock the room with our bikes hadn’t come into work so he had to come early and bring the keys. Before we left the Country we exchanged some money and bought drinks for the road. We rode to border crossing. There was a rabbit on the road we rode on and it hid from us when we got near. There was a guy vaping in the booth at the border crossing. We got two stamps and then came across a super nice cute town with people all smiling and waving as we went by. We ride with music on our bikes and they were dancing along to our music. There were also some super respectful drivers. The farmer and guys in tractors were all super nice. Some guys riding by us in tiny tractor stuffed with 6 guys (hanging off the sides) were yelling and smiling at us as we rode past. Andrew didn’t quite look both ways and crossed and it was almost a bad day. Some kids were rocking out to our music. There were little kids all screaming and smiling and laughing and waving and chasing us, highlighted by fact they were adorable. Then we went on a super bumpy road. We stopped at Spar for lunch and Andrews class. I wanted to find a pin before we left the country so we headed into a little town and there were literally no pins anywhere. People were sending us back and forth to places . We had drinks at a little cafe bar outside. There was a super drunk guy who kept coming back to our table to ask for money. People trying to sell souvenirs were saying things like “Let me tell you about these angel paintings” and a rooster guy “want a picture of you and the big cock?”. There was a festival going on in the town. After awhile we decided to stay in the town instead of leaving as originally planned but the campsite we found was closed and all hotels in the area are full because of the festival. So we went to our first hostel. It’s better or just as good as a hotel. We have our own bathroom and towels. We went into town for the festival and watched some street performers, had Mexican food and then went back to same cafe bar place to people watch. We rode back after watching the fireworks. Andrew and I rode no hands for a long time and then we locked up the bikes in a sauna (basically). We played on work out equipment and spinning ball things at the hostel. There is a competitive U18 Handball teams also staying here.

Our hostel included breakfast and was better than the hotel breakfast. The 2006, 2007, 2008 Chinese boys soccer teams were also at the hostel all with bowl haircuts. The handball teams started coming in for breakfast as we were leaving. They had marked tables and a special breakfast. We went into town to look for pins and then headed over to the arena to watch a handball game. While going there we realized yesterday we took a detour apparently. We found there were games today… at a different arena 40km away. So instead we rode to the border and along the way saw a dead fox. We ate lunch before crossing the border and got two more stamps at the crossing. Again immediately after leaving Croatia it was immediately super different with bumpy roads and no shoulder. There were holes and potholes in the road. We went to a grocery store and there was a super drunk guy trying to talk to me. “Canada – Alaska, America, ugh, Deutsch” The he was yelling at his reflection. “Mama, papa, daughter” in a different language and he was spilling his beer everywhere while talking to himself. He was all over the place. We just rode off. We checked out the train station and it was closed. We determined it was 1 flight down and 1 flight up which was relevant for tomorrow morning. They have the same train schedule every single day, just two trains. We got to our hotel and the guy wouldn’t speak to Amanda and I (girls). The air conditioning doesn’t really work but we did watch two movies!

On the 19th we woke up at 5am and rode 5km to the station in the dark. It smelt so gross the whole ride there. We went down and up 1 flight of stairs with bags and would buy tickets on the train. We ate breakfast while waiting for the train. We had to lift loaded bikes 1 meter to get up on the train. We had our own little booth area with reclined seats and slept. We had to unload the bikes to take off and then reload for the next track. There were some fancy moving ramp to bring up the bikes and it was super easy to roll into second train and it was marked as a bike train but there was no room for bikes. We crammed everything on and some guy came and sat right next to me. There was a family of three with bikes and dork bags all loaded on the same cart! Amanda couldn’t move and some girl had to climb over Amanda’s bike. Crazy busy. Everyone was waiting to get out but we had to move the bikes. Once we rolled the bikes off we had to unload to lift them up again onto the last train. The train conductor laughed and said I was strong while grinning my arm ‘muscles’ as I lifted my bike alone. Same family of three got on the train and the dad was showing us all the cool things and telling us about them like the biggest storm bridge in the world. The conductor kept smiling at me and an older couple of cycle tourists came on, the lady had a white mesh top and black bra… At the same stop a German mom and son cycle tourists got on. Andrew gave to the boy his brake and helped him balance the bike. We took everything off the train in the boiling sun and literally rode on the border. It was a double white line on the right side of the road. We rode to McDonald’s which was extremely nice, way nicer than any I’ve seen in North America. It had great air conditioning and bathrooms. We went to the mall for groceries and shampoo. We came back to McDonald’s and loaded up to go. We crossed the border to Italy where there was lots of cobblestone and nice bike routes. My seat was crooked and we stopped to fix it, it kinda worked. I pretended to rev a motorcycle engine when some guy was racing by, he did it when he saw me doing it. We got to a campsite and went swimming. There were so many see through bathing suits. Andrew wouldn’t help Amanda with the phone plan.

On the 20th we slept in until church bells went crazy and then rode to the tourist place next to the church. Then we rode to Grado beach where there are lots of topless people. There was lots of beach glass and a creepy guy. There were cute kids on scooters and old guys hanging around with their bikes. We went to the church where the church bells were ringing in the morning. We rode back to last nights campsite instead of going forward and went to the pool. We got our new location at the campsite for tomorrow. We talked to a guy across from us about his custom tent

Today’s Flickr Photographs

[flickr_tags user_id=”17145280@N00″ tags=”081718,081818,081918,082018″]

Aerial look at routes with photos

Cycling Stats

August 17, 2018
Start Point: Letenye, Hungary
Destination: Varazdin, Croatia
50.35 km trip, 15.92 km/h average speed, 33.02 km/h maximum speed, 3:10 time on the bike

August 18, 2018
Start Point: Varazdin, Croatia
Destination: Ptuj, Slovenia
56.32 km trip, 15.97 km/h average speed, 29.61 km/h maximum speed, 3:32 time on the bike

August 19, 2018
Start Point: Ptuj, Slovenia
Destination: Aquileia, Italy
44.11 km trip, 16.77 km/h average speed, 35.21 km/h maximum speed, 2:38 time on the bike

August 20, 2018
Start Point: Aquileia, Italy
Destination: Grado and return
28.50 km trip, 15.05 km/h average speed, 24.11 km/h maximum speed, 1:54 time on the bike

Route Description:

August 17, 2018 We crossed the border with easy quite early. The roads in Croatia are immediately noticeably nicer and there is just a different vibe with cars and bikes. We went into the town centre and decided to stay.

August 18, 2018 This was a nice cycle along the canal for a bit. Then we were on the roads but they weren’t too busy. We crossed the border into Slovenia and into town.

August 19, 2018 We rode 5K to the train station. We took the train to Nova Garcia in Slovenia. Nova Garcia is a border town with a mall and restaurants. After lunch we rode 40K to a campground along well paved roads with traffic into Italy.

August 20, 2018 On this day which did an out and back to Grado beach. Our route went through town to see the ruins. Then we cycled along a nice bike path to Grado.


August 17, 2018 We stayed at an awesome hostel.

August 18, 2018 Can’t remember where we stayed in Ptuj.

August 19 & 20, 2018 We camped in Italy at Aquileia which was 35/night for 3 people. It had a pool, wifi and overall good facilities.

Best Birthday in Years!
Venice ... the Finish line