Adriatic Rollercoaster - the credits...
Every tour guide knows he has had a wonderful tour when he can look back and write the final credits feeling like he has been on a 6 day bike trip with his mates. This one was certainly one of those, so let's hear it, from the heart, for our fantastic group of riders:
Gary "no worries" from Australia, on the growling and barking Ducati Multistrada. We have learned never to pronounce the last letter when ordering a "bee" at the "ba"
John "drop that helmet" and Shelley "don't change that helmet hair" on the red R1200GS. Two up, but always up there with the solo riders.
Max, the adorable Golden Retriever at Limsky Fjord, going for a swim.
Paul "Police department" and Laurel "time to pack!" on the white R1200GS. Five Edelweiss tours in the bag, and we would love to have their warm personalities back on another Edelweiss tour. Thanks for being around guys!
Ed "dessert maniac" on the V-Strom 1000. Top tip to all the guides: Ed has so much positive nuclear energy, he actually keeps the rain away. Seriously...
Or was it this one who brought us so much good luck on the tour?
No... It must have been, last but certainly not least, Steve "put it on the almanac". Writing a book about facts and fiction. Riding a bike in the same artistic way. See you in 12 minutes, Steve.
And here they are... Our whole gro... Oh no, hang on...
Here they are! The group who made Adriatic Rollercoaster such a fantastic tour! See you again guys!
Riding Day 6 - Rollercoaster back to home base
How better to start a last riding day than with a view like this? Nothing but twisties through wonderful Slovenia, and it all started under a bright and sunny sky.
Now was it really Slovenia? Or was it Fastvenia? It was also verytwistyVenia, and sometimes verytechnicalandchallengingVenia, but most of all it was reallyamazingVenia... A country that all our guests will remember, and some of them are already planning to come back. Slovenia gets into people's hearts, and for very good reason. One of the not to miss places in Europe, trust a tour guide's word on it.
Last lunch stop on Adriatic Rollercoaster? The very best one! Gasthof Planinka in Savinja valley once again welcomed our Edelweiss group with the best possible service. A place to remember!
Some things were probably meant to be... Ever wondered what Planinka means? It's Slovenian for... Edelweiss! Positive karma it must be, just like we had on this entire tour.
One last stop sneaking back into Austria over the tiny border crossing on Paulitschsattl. Amazing views, and do you see that tour guide bike there? Perfectly standing upright? Absolutely! It never ever could have tipped over... (Insider) (and a tour guide owning a guilty confession beer to the garage back at Edelweiss headquarters)
Meanwhile John is just saying: "can we please pick that big bike up and get to the hotel? i'm getting hungry down here!"
So to the hotel it went. And after a wonderful farewell dinner, tour guide Wim had one last official moment to announce: Laurel and Paul have just completed their 5th Edelweiss tour! A special Polo-shirt goes out to them, and we are sure they are just dying to go on another five! See you again guys!
Oh hang on, one last official prize going out: Laurel received a truly official, one in a kind, the one and only, Edelweiss tour guide map-highlight-marker! Hope to see you soon highlighting another tour, Laurel.
Riding Day 5 - Back to lovely Slovenia
Time to leave Croatia today, heading all the way back to Slovenia. First stop in the village of Plaski, in front of the very old Serbian-Orthodox church.
Ed's selective rain started to have some weird ways and actually fell down on us! What was that all about? There's no raining on our group! Better go inside then, and tour guide Wim found the priest's wife who very kindly opened up the church for us, to see the amazing ancient artwork.
Very pretty religious artwork, and very interesting to have all the explanations.
Time to ride on some very wet roads after that, but our great group of riders (and group of great riders) did perfectly fine all the way to where a lovely smell was coming off a wood fire.
Too bad pictures can not yet capture how it smells...
Lunch was actually so tasty that Ed gave a speech about it. (Or it may have had something to do with nuclear energy, and atoms, or neutrons, and such things... Tour guide brain overheating trying to understand)
One border crossing later, our group brought the Adriatic Rollercoaster back to Slovenia. Made a tour guide smile to be back in one of his favourite countries, and the positive vibes even brought the sun out again.
Few places in the world can look as picture perfect as Krkna river.
Time to end the day by riding up a hill! And you know why?
Hills make sure you get a perfect view from the hotel terrace. Hello Slovenia, nice to see you again!
Rest, riding and walking day in Plitvice
Wake up early, get in early, and here is the reward you get: the first two hours of visiting the National Park, we had it all to ourselves! Here's Paul coming down the walkways in a very distinguished fashion.
Gary on the other hand, has a rather original way of coming down the walkways...
Unbelievable how quiet and peaceful this wonderland can be. But hang on... Weren't there supposed to be a few waterfalls here and there?
Yup! There are. And lots and lots and lots of them!
The intrepid explorers posing in front of what they discovered.
And all that beauty inspired tour guide Wim to start looking like the back of an Edelweiss T-shirt. Artist photographer Ed was glad to help, so copyrights are due this evening. Not after the afternoon rest day ride though. Let's go and see how that selective rain works out.
Yup... Selective rain again. We saw it, but only from far away. Thanks Ed! And we got to meet some machinery even bigger than our trusty motorcycles.
Tiny little backroads, with a truck's worth of gravel in every corner, took us into the border area between Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. One of the most impressive views of the whole tour. (And special note for the photo-bombing horsefly in the right)
One of those places on an Edelweiss tour where you normally wouldn't end up. Worth the detour, we would say.
And you know you're quite a long way from home when in churchyards you start to see script like this... Alienating experience, but tomorrow we head back to familiar terrain: Slovenia awaits, and we will be glad to see it again.
Riding Day 3 - Opatija to Plitvice... Goodbye sea!
The morning's ride out of Opatija went very smoothly thanks to our very disciplined and German precise group in city traffic. But we were going to enjoy our time by the sea as much as possible. Here is the first coffeestop in Malinska, on Krk island. Diplomatic relationships between US Police and Krk toll guards will soon be re-established. Right John? (Insider)
Oh, and even when desert specialist Ed was stacking up on the pastry, there was also a whole lot of icecreaming going on this morning...
Ice cream, perfect cappucino, an overdose of sugar here and there, a great view over the harbour... What else to wish for on a perfectly sunny morning?
And then it was time... Time to say goodbye to the Adriatic Sea and Kvarner Bay. No more Adriatic, but a whole lot more Rollercoaster to come on this tour, as we head back inland over the mountains.
Not without a whole lot of last minute sea-photos going on, obviously.
But then it really was time to head inland. Into what seems a completely different country. The closer we get to the Croatian-Bosnian border, the more apparent the sad history of this region becomes. All perfectly pretty and welcoming now, though.
One last challenge awaited: road towards Plitvice closed for roadworks! But after tour guide Wim had a conversation in perfectly fluent Croatian (well, lots of handsigns and pointing going on), with the friendly police officer, we found our way by a 40 minute detour. Wait a minute, 40 extra minutes of fantastic riding through sweepers, hairpins, gorgeous landscapes and perfect roads?? What a hard life it is on an Edelweiss tour... And this is where we end up: Plitvice National Park. Watch this space tomorrow!
Oh... One last thing... Our witty Australian guest Gary pointed out to Wim that the Edelweiss bikes were getting pretty dirty... So what can Edelweiss guests count on then? Nicely cleaned and de-flied windscreens. Got the hint, Gary!
And here they are, all nice and shiny again for tomorrow's rest day ride towards the Bosnian border. But only after we visit the magical wonderland of Plitvice, very early in the morning. Good night everyone!
Riding Day 2 - Across Istria
Now what would your plans be if you woke up to a view like this? That's right: RIDE! No rest day for our rollercoaster guests, as everyone came for the ride straight across the Istrian peninsula.
First stop of the day: the tiny little village of Pican, sitting proudly on a hilltop overlooking the heartland of Istria.
And what a view it was...
Tour guide Wim then took the whole group to the West coast, into the harbour at Vrsar (no one really knows how to pronounce that . John had a bit of a rest right in the sun... What we think is hot, is only mildly lukewarm in Florida.
And the local hardcore bikers seemed to agree...
But wait a minute... Isn't it about time for lunch? If there is good seafood to be found anywhere, it must be here, right by Limsky Fjord where it comes straight out of the water.
And... Yup... The theory was scientifically investigated and very much proven. Delicious!
Ed has a theory about selective rain. See that? It absolutely poured down! But not on our group. Selective in a good way!
We stayed on the sunny side of the mountain... And look at that! The Adriatic in all its glory.
And coming back to Opatija after a wonderful riding day, the guys figured it was time for a very sweaty bootbeer. Perfect end to a day on the bike. Cheers everyone!
Riding Day 1 - Klagenfurt to... The sea!
Hardly an hour away from homebase, and traffic signs already come in funny language... Welcome to lovely Slovenia!
And lovely it is... Everything is just that little bit greener in this part of the world...
See that road down there? That's where we're going!
Some artistic picture moments were going on at the viewpoint/photostop/war memorial/all around pretty place in the middle of the countryside.
Not visibile from the road, but tour guide Wim knew about this amazing little mosaic artwork, remembering the war. Must have taken a long time to puzzle together!
This was visible from the road: first lunchstop of Adriatic Rollercoaster. Everyone was happy to get a picture. John was eating. John will not be disturbed while eating. Period.
Part of the group preffered staying in the lovely sunshine instead of visiting the caves in Postojna. So tour guide Wim took them up to Predjamski Grad. Castle built in the rockface... What a sight!
Gary from Australia actually met a Slovenian friend there. Must be a carpenter or something...
And here we are... Three countries in one day, and Croatia welcomed us with the amazing views over Kvarner Bay. This Rollercoaster truly is Adriatic now!
Allthough for a tour guide who also works in the car business, the views on the hotel parking lot weren't exactly shabby either...
Arrival Day - Klagenfurt
Here they are: all sparkling and clean after a perfect transport (thanks Chris!) : a BMW F700GS, two big 1200GS, a Suzuki V-Strom 1000, a growling Ducati Multistrada and... Well... A big BMW sofa for the rather big Belgian Tour Guide... Nice bunch of bikes all ready for a ride into Slovenia and Croatia tomorrow. Adriatic Rollercoaster is all set to go!
Well... Some minor details to sort out first. Here are John and Shelley, figuring out how to pack six days worth of luggage onto the back of their GS. Shouldn't be a problem, proper Ride4Fun-bikers travel light!
And this is where we are heading tomorrow morning: the Julier Alpen, over the mountains into Slovenia. We have kindly asked the clouds to clear by morning for the takeoff over gorgeous Loiblpass. Fingers crossed...
Arrival day is approaching... almost ready now!
This morning, at Edelweiss headquarters in Mieming, a couple of tour guides rode a few bikes... well, for about 5 metres, up a trailer.
And off they go. Over the mountains and far away, to Klagenfurt on the exact opposite end of Austria. That's where we will meet our group of riders from the United States and Australia tomorrow, when Adriatic Rollercoaster 2016 truly begins. See you soon!