Koper, Slovenia: On this Sunday I took a rest day along with most Slovenians. As in much of Europe things shut down seriously on Sundays, and Slovenia is no exception. After cycling through the Alps this week my quads still burn, and this rest day is sorely needed, no pun intended.
After arranging for laundry service through the hotel (which required some amount of cajoling and phone calling on this day of rest) I played tourist in the morning, visiting the nearby coastal towns of Piran and Izola. They are quaint fishing towns, at least until the tourist busses appeared. Both towns were an easy 30 minute bus excursion from Koper.
This afternoon I had work to do, and that’s when it hit me: this cycling routine is beginning to feel like work. In my abundant free time, when I can do anything or nothing, I behave just like the corporate executive I used to be. I’ve traded my suits for spandex, and my desk now has handlebars, but otherwise my life still follows a week/weekend pattern. I plan, set goals and milestones, anticipate obstacles, and go for it. Just like in the corporate world.
Monday brings a new week, a new country, and a new set of challenges on this expedition — namely I have to make it to Split, Croatia by next weekend to rendezvous with Patrick. To prepare for the week’s challenges I gave my bike a good cleaning; an incredible amount of dirt accumulated in the Alps. I’ve cleaned the water bottles, polished my bike seat, oiled the chain. I’ve also spent too much time considering my route tomorrow. Every person I ask has a different opinion about which road(s) to take to Croatia. There is a 1000-meter mountain and a 10-kilometer tunnel in the way and I am trying to avoid both. In the end I am going with a tertiary route suggested by Google maps. We’ll see tomorrow how that works out. I also have two other variables to deal with tomorrow: my first real border crossing and the high possibility of foul weather. The forecast tomorrow calls for thunderstorms, naturally. It happens every day after I wash my bike.
Here’s the wrap on Stage 6. What a week.
Stage 6: Innsbruck, Austria — Koper, Slovenia via Italy
Highlights: Getting back on the bike again. Cycling through the Dolomites. The tastes of Italy.
Tastiest sweet, in my quest to find the best in Europe: Gelato! No competition in this category. I don’t think you can go wrong with any flavor, but my favorite is cherry yogurt. It’s so yummy I came back for seconds, and Mateja at the Dehar cafe (pictured at top, wearing a t-shirt that says Bite Me) in Koper remembered my flavor.
Prettiest church in Europe: The tiny chapel in Muhlbach/Rido di Pusteria can barely hold a dozen people, but it was inspiring in the morning mist, set against the backdrop of the Dolomites.
The interior of the main church in Pirano, in a Venetian architectural style, was also stunning:
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