15. Apr, 2016

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SATURDAY 16-5-15

We awoke to a rather cloudy morning at Camping Adriatic at Sibenik. I hadn't been too keen on the site when we arrived yesterday but it has grown on me. There is a huge amount of shade thanks to the many large pine trees in the grounds. I bet the shade they give in the height of summer is most welcomed. The shower block is lovely and modern but for some reason I had no coat hook in my cubicle and so had to throw my towel and dressing gown over the door.

Whilst having breakfast we had numerous spots of rain, I think we had been expecting a bit of a wet day but had been keeping our fingers crossed. Our plan today was to start making our way northwest to Pula on the Istrian Peninsula for a look around the Roman Amphitheatre there.

We were pleasantly surprised to find that when it came to paying the bill we were not charged any supplements, something which we are only just finding is being added to the quoted fees in the ACSI discount book. Strange country this in that they'll quote in Euro's but won't take them, you have to pay in local currency.

We didn't get away very quickly as I was trying to attach pictures to an email, but it was taking ages. In the end I had to save what I'd done as a draft copy and pack up. I think we left about 10:30 in the end with the chef tapping her foot. 

I'm sure the local bugs will miss us as we've both been bitten quite a bit over the past couple of days and nights. Not too long after setting out it started to rain lightly, this coupled with the 'weekend motorists' penchant for just pulling out of side roads resulting in firm braking, persuaded me that it would be safer for us to make at least some of the journey on the A1 toll road further inland. We had already formed the opinion that the coastal road in this area was not nearly as nice as down south, and having done quite a lot of coastal miles already I didn't feel we'd be missing much. 

At the earliest opportunity we joined the toll road and by now the rain was quite heavy, I was pleased that we were now taking this route. The scenery I have to say was stunning. One minute it was like the Lake District, the next like Austria, very clean, very green, very mountainous. The one big disappointment was that the cloud base was quite low and whist up in the mountains we were also in the cloud, resulting in some pretty miserable photo opportunities, in fact there were times when I had my rear fog lights on. 

The Chef was once again the en-route photographer. It will be interesting to see if we are able to add to our collection of blurred trees and bushes. 

The toll road was quite an engineering achievement involving lots of viaducts and tunnels, some very long, and must have cost a fortune to build. Would that be EU money then? The road gave us the opportunity to eat up a lot of miles in greater safety. There were lots and lots of motorhomes coming the other way heading south, perhaps we were heading north at just the right time. Campgrounds are certainly getting busier, most of the motorhomers' are Germans but all of central Europe is represented. I really don't have an ear for languages, I can't tell the difference between the chocolate makers, the Edam makers, the cookoo clock makers or the Black Forest Gateau makers, from those who make music, wear a silly hat with a feather in it, leather shorts, and slap themselves. I shall have to refer to them collectively as 'The Makers' 

A nice lady in a booth took about £24 off us in fees as we left the toll road, but it was money well spent. We had seen another side to Croatia and it was lovely, but such a shame we hadn't been able to make this journey with blue skies and clear visibility. The vehicle enjoyed it too and will have repaid us with better fuel economy along the way. 

On leaving the toll road we made a wrong turn on the outskirts of Rijeka and were forced to go through it, not a pretty sight I have to say. We were then travelling along the coastal road en-route to Autocamp Medveja, it's in the ACSI book and charges €18 a night so we thought it would be good for an overnight stay. 

The driving along this road was pretty hairy because cars, coaches and lorries continually cut the corners because they either think they are Lewis Hamilton or are just too damn lazy to use their steering wheels properly. Either way we were often left having to brake firmly to avoid collisions between off-sides of vehicles or for us, trashing our nearside on the solid rock 'wall' on our other side, as the road was fairly narrow. Now if that wasn't enough we now have to throw in to the equation cyclists. Now to these cyclists it appears that wearing a safety helmet before setting out on these roads is all that is required to be 'responsible'. Nay, nay, I say, to be responsible would be to stay off the road with your bike altogether. These people must have suicidal tendencies; I think all along that stretch of road there should be direct phone lines to 'The Samaritans' attached to trees about every half a mile. Not necessarily to try and talk them out of killing themselves if they want to, but to advise them of an alternative way of doing it which won't inconvenience other road users. 

Back along the coastal road of Montenegro and Croatia, we and an HGV ahead of us came across a group of, I kid you  not, about 70 cyclists, mostly one behind the other but not all. Now imagine how far that many cyclists stretched along a narrow winding road with lots of blind bends. It was an absolute nightmare to get past them all, and when I finally got to the front of the queue and found the 'Group Leader' I pulled up alongside him, dropped the nearside window down and gave him a bollicking, telling him he needed to break such a large group in to smaller groups each with a long gap between them so that lorries and other vehicles can pull in between them safely when there is oncoming traffic. I think the vacant, stunned look on his face that I observed in my mirror left me wondering if he understood a word I'd said, but I felt better for it. 

On arrival at Autocamp Medveja we parked up, took a look at the long grass everywhere, concluded it was a ‘Long-Termer’s’ site, then drove around it - yup, it was scruffy, and then drove back out through the 'Entrance' as to go out of the 'Exit' would have involved a conversation with somebody who would need to raise the barrier. 

Onward we drove, with me feeling it had been a long day. We then selected Camping Stoja (GPS: N44.859649º E13.814656º) which is just a short bus ride out of Pula. Fortunately I had already pumped the co-ordinates it to the Satnav and we found it without a problem.  

The campground is all grass and the layout of the pitches was chaotic and very difficult to find something suitable. Never mind we found somewhere, went back to reception, did the paperwork, only to return to the vehicle and find that our electrical hook-up cable was not long enough. There were no more sockets available in the distribution board nearest to us and so we moved elsewhere and will sort the paperwork it out in the morning. 

We were both tired and decided to treat ourselves to a 'Takeaway' pizza for our evening meal to save the bother of cooking, and very nice it was to. Our complication now is that on Wednesday rain is due here and it is forecast to last one way or another, for about six days. Now that's annoying as I was hoping we would be able to find a campground and spent a good few days chilling by the seaside. I think we will now just stay here and on Wednesday travel to Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia before going on to Lake Bled

Ah well, there's always tomorrow...........................