Journey Reports

Croatia   May 9th 2016, Lukovo Šugarje, Croatia
About the Southern Alps and Slovenia



May 7th - Since the Großglockner pass was a NO, we headed to Obertauern, another mountain pass that wasn’t as high as the first one but would add a few extra kilometers to the trip than we planned.

One of the goals I set at the beginning of the journey was to see how far my limits could go, physically and mentally. The Alps are stunningly amazing but at the same time, if you have to ride through them on your bicycle, they can be extremely tough. Thus, thanks to this magnificent mountain range I have been able to experience what I was aiming to do.

It took us a day to make it through the first pass, the Obertauern one. That was 40 km up hill non-stop, with a 10-15% incline on the last 10 km. The weather was the best that day; pedaling when it’s sunny gives off a different vibe. Three and a half hours is what it took for us to make it to the highest point, not including a 45-minute break to eat our pasta with tomato sauce, which gave us the energy we needed to make it to the top. No words can describe the feeling you get after making such a great effort that led you close to exhaustion.

We spent that night at an old couple’s home, who informed us that we still had to pass at least two more mountain crosses to leave Austria, although they were not going to be as tough as the Obertauern one. The next day the weather had changed in a radical way; the rain and the cold were well etched in our faces when we were headed towards the Katschberg cross, with a height of 1650 meters, 100 less than the former one. When we reached the village at the base of the mountain we were told how badly it was snowing up there, and that the 35 km ascent with our bikes and the luggage was unthinkable. We were about to decide to wait until the next day when we made a call the police to get a report on the status of the pass, which actually made us change our minds, since we were informed that the road was clear of snow and traffic could circulate.

The ascent began with a sign at the very bottom announcing a 15% incline for the next 3 km. After 200 m of uneven terrain it started snowing, with snowflakes as big as ping-pong balls. The coldness prevented us from stopping, as our clothes totally soaked in sweat would freeze you before you knew it. Here is where the thought came into our heads for the first time: “I can’t do this”. However, we already biked for 2 km and to surrender was not the solution, since a friend was hiking right next to me and he would not have accepted going back.

After 5 km and an hour of killer hiking with the snow and the cold we reached the top, where I managed to drop the bike and slapped the palms of my hands against the floor with a feeling of such pride and rage at the same time. Self-overcoming makes you grow very strong as your mental limit has just increased two-fold, and for the next upcoming obstacle, it will be harder to arrive at the point of saying “I can’t”.

The last pass was Loibl that would lead us to Slovenia. The nice weather, harsh training for the last two days and the lower height were all kind to us and made the crossing of the last pass go smoothly. Leaving the Alps for the country of the woods: a new country for the two of us!

{Translation from Catalan: Indra}


May 9th - I’ve the feeling the whole thing is still very surreal. As I’m writing, the setting sun of the Adriatic gives me still a little light in order to operate the keyboard of my laptop. The Alps, which have repeatedly put us to the test, beautiful Slovenia with its deep forests, its bears and cordial people are behind us, and now comes the sunny Croatia.

Spoiled by precise direction and distance information while cycling over routes in Germany and Austria, we had slight difficulties at the beginning in Slovenia. Every way indicated by our navigation system led eventually to a road on which it was prohibited to cycle. Our unique try was atoned directly by a horn orchestra.

Don Bosco coordinator Kirsten arranged that we were warmly welcomed in Don Bosco Youth Centre in Ljubljana, which we reached after many detours. We spent a couple of hours with interested and amiable fathers on location.

On the way through Slovenia we saw deserted areas, with very old forests and many warning signs of bears. In the following night, we stayed with a nice family. We heard many stories of the locals about confrontations with bears and were glad that we had met none of these wild stuffed animals.

Our first pass controlled border crossing was an emotional experience for us for several reasons. From a very nice Slovenian customs police man we got ham pizza with arugula and fresh water, which was really helpful for the next number of altitude meters to overcome. Well-tried by the Alps we smiled about his warning and believed to be in relative security to plunge our heads soon into the cool Adriatic – nothing of the kind. Two days later after demanding altitude meters of climbing and sweat, suddenly appeared after a curve the blue, long-awaited horizon of the Adriatic.

After consultation with a Slovenian cycling shopkeeper we took a different route than planned - (as so often). Shortly after arriving at the Croatian coast, we left it for to ferry to the island of Krk. We traversed this island then, and in the evening we took a ferry to the adjacent island of Lopar. Arrived, we searched in vain in the dark Sunday night on this small island for a place to camp. Shortly before giving up all our courage, we asked a burly man for an opportunity to sleep. We got a place in a backyard between freshly painted boats as an opportunity to build up our tent in the glow of our head lamps. Unbelievable then was, however, the man turned out to be a cook, and he conjured for us that late evening a delicious meal.

With a little sunburn and more than 80 kilometers in the bone we had to pay our first guest stay today on May 9th, after the first month of our tour. We tried in vain different places for a tent today along the coastal road, which we will ride in total from Rijeka to Dubrovnik. There are still some 500 kilometers of Croatian coast before us, which we are looking forward to do, and we hope that the Adriatic will heat up by at least 2 to 3 degrees centigrade in the next two weeks, so that the splash is no longer a dare :-)

{Translation from German: Webmaster}

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Comments to this report:

Burkhard aus Leutershausen writes:

May 10th 2016, 00:25

Kann man sich mit Nudeln und Tomatensauce STÄRKEN, wie oben beschrieben? ich würde eher sagen: schwächen! Jungs, esst was Vernünftiges!, sonst fallt ihr irgendwann mal vom Sattel!
Ich schaue jeden Abend nach euch, wo ihr seid, wie es da aussieht...spannend für mich, weil ich dabei auch oft an meine eigene Reise denke, viel Glück und Kraft und schönes Erleben wünsche ich euch weiterhin

Fritz Steinkuhl (Webmaster) writes:

May 10th 2016, 23:03

Der Burkhard hat vollkommen Recht: auch wenn Ihr auf der Höhe Eurer körperlichen Kraft und Widerstandsfähigkeit seid, Dank Eurer Jugend - Ihr habt eine extreme Leistung zu vollbringen, noch monatelang. Und es wird möglicherweise noch schwierigere Passagen geben als bisher. Sorgt gut für Euch durch gesunde, kräftigende Kost.
Danke, Burkhard, für Deinen Appell!
Ansonsten: ich bin stolz auf Euch, Jungs!!!

Susanne writes:

May 11st 2016, 09:21

Ooooh, wie schön sind die Fotos.... drucke gerade für Linti alle Eure Berichte aus, damit auch die nichtdigitale Fangemeinde an Euren Abenteuern teilnehmen kann! Natürlich habe ich alles schon vorgelesen, aber sie sitzt dann auf ihrer Couch und liest das alles dann nicht nur einmal. Und das ganze kommt nun auf Ihren Wunsch auch ganz ordentlich in einen Ordner!!
Ich schicke alle Schutzengel mit Euch und strapaziert sie bitte nicht all zu sehr. Das waren die Worte der heutigen Lesung :-)

Ernest Roig writes:

May 11st 2016, 14:19

Wir ernären uns gut, keine sorge!! Man kann aber nicht mit reis, gemüse und Rindfleisch mit Kartoffel und als nachtisch Wassermelone rechnen wenn man die krasse Alpen hochfährt! Ein bisschen verständnis, unsere Beine können nicht alles tragen! ;) :) liebe grüsse

Edith Job writes:

May 11st 2016, 14:58

mit spannung verfolge ich weiterhin von mainz aus eure abenteuerliche reise.
bei meinen doch "etwas kleineren" radtouren hat mich auch immer wieder die freundlichkeit un gastlichkeit der menschen erfreut.
deshalb weiterhin eine gute reise, viele freundliche und hilfsbereite menschen. passt gut auf euch auf!!

martin writes:

May 17th 2016, 00:30

Oh man wie schön es ist, eure Tour so zu begleiten. Dank eurer Nachrichten. Es tut so gut zu lesen, dass ihr wohlauf seit. Toi, Toi, Toi!

Heimgard und Ewald writes:

May 17th 2016, 20:46

Hallo ihr zwei!
Jetzt habt ihr ja schon ein ordentliches Stück der dalmatinischen Küste geschafft! Wir begleiten euch in Gedanken und wünschen euch weiterhin alles Gute.
Heimgard und Ewald

Jakob writes:

May 17th 2016, 20:57

Vielen, vielen Dank euch allen für eure Untertützung und Anteilnahme. Morgen werden wir nach Dubrovnik fahren und dann geht es bald in Richtung Montenegro:) Wir freuen uns immer riesig über eure Kommentare!

Bis dann,
Jakob und Ernest

Manfred Müller ( Caritas ) writes:

May 30th 2016, 19:32

Hallo Jungs, ich soll euch ganz Liebe Grüße von Frau Busch bestellen, sie Schließt euch jeden Abend in Ihre Gebete mit ein. Ich halte sie über euch auf dem Laufenden. Frau B. hofft, das die gestrickten Strümpfe euch warme Füße beschert. LGaus Bonn Manfred Müller

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