Day 1 – Saco to Zagreb, Croatia 🇭🇷

By early August… Denise and I had nothing planned for a fall trip. We usually like to start traveling again once summer is over in Maine. I asked Denise where she thought we might go…and she mentioned that Croatia would be nice. So I started looking at what there was to do in Croatia… And lo and behold… It’s one of the top motorcycle touring countries in the world! That fit right in for us. 

Back in May we walked the via Francigena in Italy. It’s an ancient pilgrimage route that goes through Tuscany. After having walked 250 miles…we both decided that our next trip would be something a little easier. 🤪

We checked out some options… And booked two motorcycles in Zagreb Croatia. Zagreb is a city of about 1 million people and is the capital of Croatia. A few weeks later…we booked flights and our plans started coming  together. Croatia has very similar weather to ours…so we decided that an early fall trip would be the best time. Apparently Croatia has gotten very popular and summers there can be quite hot and super busy with lots of traffic.

This past Saturday… We boarded a Lufthansa flight from Boston to Munich, and then on to Zagreb. 

One of the guys from the motorcycle shop was at the airport in Zagreb to pick us up. Marco was one of the owners and as we were heading to the shop, he mentioned that he runs ultramarathons. So… A normal marathon is just over 26 miles. Ultras are considered anything over that. Marco does 100 mile trail runs involving over 20,000 feet of total elevation gain. Yes, I know… He has to be crazy. He showed me his time from the race… It took him 38 hours! That’s insane.!

We arrived at their shop…which is run out of his garage…and he introduced us to Almir, his business partner. Almir is the guy that we dealt with while making all the reservations and arrangements for the bikes. Interestingly…Marco used to work for Nestlé as a sales manager and Almir worked for Coca-Cola and was in sales as well. Three years ago they both decided to quit their corporate jobs and start a business together. I think they said they own something like 14 motorcycles, and apparently since Covid was over…business has been booming.

Picking up the bikes at the shop. That’s Almir over on the left. Bikes were immaculate.

I had asked Almir to put together an itinerary for us. Knowing that since he was a local, he would make sure we didn’t miss anything good. I looked it over before we arrived, but then he filled us in on some of the details. By 4 o’clock we left their shop with two motorcycles and headed over to the Grand Bells B&B. It took us a while to locate it since their entrance was off of a gated side street. After going past it 5 or 6 times and breaking all sorts of traffic rules…I finally just parked the bike on the side of the road and set off on foot to find it….argh  

Finally! The Grand Bells B&B

We were pretty exhausted… Having only slept a couple of hours each. But… We were determined to see a little bit of the city and find a cold beer and some food. The B&B was right in the old city so everything was just a short walk away. We swung by the cathedral, but it was under renovations, and it was closed. 

That’s a lot of staging!

Afterwords, we found a nice café where we could have a cold beer and do some people watching. We were both surprised at how many Americans were in town. Also… It seems that almost everyone here speaks at least a little bit of English…especially the younger people. 

First beers!

Cheers everyone!

Dinner was at a noodle shop just a short distance away. 

We were back at our room by 8:30 and passed out within 10 minutes. We were both operating on just a few hours sleep during the past two days. 😳

We have the bikes for 14 days…so we should be able to cover a lot of ground. Tomorrow we are heading to Slovenia…should be exciting!



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