Epic European Cycle : 2015-09-26 : Monkodonja and to Kanfanar

Activity
Type Name Description Service Provider Cost Kms To Date Total Notes Actions
Cycle To Kanfanar via Monkodonja $0.00 0.00 0.00 Day 72: 28km: Total 3045km
Sight See Monkodonja $0.00
Accommodation
Type Name Service Provider Confirmation Location Cost Notes Actions
Pension Apartment Greta Booking.com Kanfanar $80.00 Great property, very close to town square and a great view into the valley. The proprietors were helpful and friendly and the room was spacious and comfortable.


Trip Log

Notes Actions
When we were riding into Rovinj a few days ago, Brent spotted a wall ruin up on a hill outside of town. I did a bit of research and found out that it is an archeological site called Monkodonja which was a Bronze-Age settlement. Brent really wanted to go there. Said he'd "be happy even if it was just five rocks on a hill". Monkodonja was a few km back the wrong way, down a country road, and up the hill. I'm not sure I'd be happy with just five rocks on a hill, but we had a short riding day today, so we certainly had time to go check it out. We rode to it fairly straight-forwardly, even though it's not particularly easy to find, and lo... it is spectacular! It's way more than five rocks on a hill - there are walls and doors and the town wall, and the acropolis area, plus a cult cave! There were several interpretive signs around the site explaining what everything was. I'm so happy we went up!
Brent and I have cycle toured in Canada. I hated it. I hate riding on highways with fast traffic zooming past. Even with Alberta's wide shoulders, the stupid drivers still find plenty of opportunity to run cyclists off the road, and seem to consider it a sport to scare the beejeebers out of me.

So, then we cycle toured in Australia. I hated it. I hate riding on narrow highways with no shoulders and logging trucks zooming past. On a regular basis I was making little sucky whimpery noises as said logging trucks passed.

I swore off of cycle touring. Then, Brent said "Europe has good cycling infrastructure", so we came on a six month epic cycle tour.

For our first few months of cycling, we were in France, Germany and Austria which have amazing cycle infrastructure. Their official cycle routes keep you on dedicated bike paths some of the time, on slow side roads some of the time, and, rarely, on secondary highways for very short times. I loved it. Seriously, for the first time I felt like I was experiencing the joy of cycle touring. I couldn't get enough of it and wished it could just go on forever.

Then, we were forced out of Schengen by silly time limits. We chose to come to Croatia because it sounded nice, and, compared to other non-Schengen countries, seemed to be the most promising for cycling. For the first month that we were here, we were inland in rural, non-touristy areas, and it was great. We were pretty much always on roads, but there were pretty much always side roads we could take and even when we were on highways, the traffic was so cautious and courteous it was astonishing. I loved it. Now that we've made it out to the west coast of Istria, though, things have changed. There are no viable side road options. It is secondary-highway only, and the secondary highways are narrow, with no shoulders, and traffic zooming past constantly. Three times today I made my whimpery scream sound as an enormous bus or gravel truck passed too close - the traffic was too heavy for them to move over a safe distance.

We are heading inland, cross-country, to go back to Rijeka. No more coastal highway riding for me. We had to ride on the awful busy secondary highway most of the way to Kanfanar. As soon as we got past the autobahn (which we crossed just coming into town), traffic seemed to lighten up quite a bit. I'm hoping that it will stay relatively light for the next three days as we make our way to Rijeka. For our trip to Krsan tomorrow, there are several side-road diversions we can take to stay off the highway as well. Yay!

So, lesson learned. I love love love cycle touring in countries with good cycle infrastructure. I will happily go back to France, Germany and Austria anytime and am already dreaming and scheming with Laura. As far as Croatia is concerned, I would come back if I could plan a route that was on side roads. That may mean largely inland and in non-touristy areas rather than the coast, which, obviously, is a shame, since the coast is so beautiful.

But, I yam what I yam... I'm consistent. I do NOT want to cycle with fast/close traffic whizzing by. I just don't.


Photos