Motorcycle Route through the Balkans
In the first week of our motorbike tour of the Balkan Peninsula, we already discovered so many new and beautiful places. From high alpine mountain passes to beautiful cities, and being serenaded in Kranjska Gora by a choir and treated to impromtu dancing in the main square of Ljubljana, we felt as at home and welcome in this region of the world as in our home base of San Diego, California. Had we been concerned the rest of the trip would not measure up in terms of scenery, Slovenia and northern Croatia stepped right up to the plate and knocked it out of the park again.
When we reached the town of Bovec in Slovenia, we entered a region that is dominated geologically by limestone; in other words, a Karst Region. The area of southwestern Slovenia and northwestern Croatia is known as “The Karst Region” in many travel books. But take it from a professional geologist, the limestone and karst in this area of the world stretches all the way from Switzerland, through Italy (heard of the Dolomites?), and down into the Balkans at least as far as the Greek islands. Because of this fortunate geologic setting, we were preparing to explore some of the most beautiful and dramatic terrain, above and below the surface, that is assembled anywhere on earth.
From the Predjama Castle, built within the mouth of a cave and the stream running through the mountain, to the Disney-like but utterly amazing Postonja Caves the underground works of Slovenia were on display. But mother Nature did not hold back on Croatia; from the Istrian Peninsula and its steep rugged coastlines, the envy of the Central California, to the turquoise travertine lakes and waterfalls of Plitvice Lakes and Krka National Parks, there are many jaw dropping moments to start off our Croatian visit.
As much natural beauty as we saw during this leg, the drive from the coastline to the mountains was a harbinger of things to come. We were quickly reminded in some of the small farm towns of the Croatian mountains that this area was not long ago the site of some serious fighting in the Balkan Wars of the 1990s. Some buildings still showed the scars – grenade holes in the walls, a line of bullet holes going up a wall and around the corner of a house; one could just imagine being there as the man ducked around the corner from the gunfire, or maybe didn’t he make it. Croatia and many of its neighbors are a contrast, beautiful scenery with a disturbing past, wounds that haven’t all quite healed, on the inside or the outside.
We hope you read about all our adventures in our upcoming posts by signing up for our newsletter in the footer at the bottom of this page. If you would like to follow our route on your own or with friends you can download any of our trips in our shop section. As a way to trace our steps, we have created helmet flag sticker and country code stickers that can be used on helmets or vehicles; purchase these stickers so you too can commemorate your travels.