Cold Snap

Last week two opposing airmasses, one from the south other from NW met over Croatia. Wild weather ensued. This is an uncommon event and the last time Zagreb had such bad weather was 45 years ago.  

To me it just seemed like a shitty Melbourne day. Some trees uprooted, rooves blown off and cold, wet and windy.  

For Croatia, the strong westerlies meant there were many road and bridge closures right across the country. Most bridges have Windsox so you can gauge how much crosswind to expect. Even some of the inter-island ferries were cancelled as they are not built for 5 m swells!! 

I loved seeing the snow, even if it was only a couple of cm thick.   

Just a little bit of snow.  

Just a little bit of snow.  

Snow is very pretty in the European forests. Bit different to our snowgums!!  

Snow is very pretty in the European forests. Bit different to our snowgums!!  

I'm glad I'm not on a motorbike today.  

I'm glad I'm not on a motorbike today.  

slow down, Mokro! 

slow down, Mokro! 

I really do find this bridge shape very peaceful. It has a 'soft' shape. 

I really do find this bridge shape very peaceful. It has a 'soft' shape. 

Just like Hotham, a snow plough truck spreading grit on the highway.  

Just like Hotham, a snow plough truck spreading grit on the highway.  

Bowerbird Haven

Bowerbirds love collecting bits of blue. Nowadays most bowers are decorated in plastic, -milk bottle screw top lids and -drinking straws. 

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Today I walked along a different beach on Korcula Island,  one I remember being dotted with happy families last summer. Today it's completely littered with plastic. Margot's challenge for me last year was to not accept anything in a plastic bag and to always carry my own recycle bag, in fact she gave me one, it's covered in sunglasses and other Aussie icons. I still use it and still do not accept items in plastic bags. 

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This lovely pebbly beach was covered in flotsam and jetsam, sadly most of it is plastic and the stand out colour is blue. Hence the reference to the bowerbirds.  

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This little bay is open to the prevailing winds and with all the passing traffic of tourist yachts,  ferries and cataramans it seems to have collected a lot of their waste. 

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Further along the beach there were a few large black tuff bags full of rubbish and some thoughtful beachcombers had piled together larger pieces of plastic, but I imagine it is an on going task on this beach.  Boat captains and their passengers need to have a rethink about their use of plastic, just as I have, thanks to Margot's encouragement.  

 

If you are keen to buy some plastic free products for your home please have a look at the 'plastic free style' tab on this brilliant website. Www.natashamcghie.com

Museum of Illusion, Zagreb

Is fascinating. It has an Ames Room! You know the optical illusion where you stand in one corner and look like a giant, and standing in another corner you look weeny small. There is one in the Museum  of Imagination that I visited in Malaga, Spain last year. I love this sort of thing. then there is all the tricks with mirrors!! And more. Lots of wooden puzzles to play with in the games room too.

can we talk about the Annie in the room?? 

can we talk about the Annie in the room?? 

Standing straight and tall. Anything that reminds me of MC Escher, I'm interested in. 

Standing straight and tall. Anything that reminds me of MC Escher, I'm interested in. 

Annie the card shark! And she's winning!!  

Annie the card shark! And she's winning!!  

Trying to do a handstand! 

Trying to do a handstand! 

head on a plate, not mine, it was too difficult to photograph myself. 

head on a plate, not mine, it was too difficult to photograph myself. 

Australian Federal Election

Due to some seriously lousy weather in Croatia, my trip back to the coast from Zagreb has been delayed a few days. Road closures, snow in the mountains, gale force winds, ferries cancelled... the full catastrophe !!  

The up side is that I can go to the Australian Embassy in Zagreb and vote!! 

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The embassy is not far from the town centre so a quick tram ride, past all the storm debris in the parks, not one tulip petal is left. And a short walk up to the embassy.  

I need to show my Australian passport to get into the embassy and then through the security check. Voting was easy, they were very well organised and probably only expecting about 150 Aussies coming in to vote this week. The votes all get posted to Australia before they are counted. Antony Green's analysis will be done and dusted by then.  

 

On the way way back to the tram stop I saw this lovely little pub. I wonder how many of you 'get' the significance??? 

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This sculpture of of a traditional market woman. She always carried her goods on her head and an umbrella in her hand. Then someone stole the umbrella from the sculpture, today a kind gentleman decided to replace it!!  

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So many other umbrellas today didn't survive the bad weather and ended up in rubbish bins all over the city.  

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I love these reversed umbrellas. 

I love these reversed umbrellas. 

2.30

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I needed to make a visit to the dentist today. You can imagine my anxiety after the last time I went to the dentist, nearly three years ago, and that Devonport dentist did me no favours as part of my mouth is still numb. My dentist mate Bazza tells me after two years you cannot expect any further nerve repair. 

The only saving grace for me today was that I'm in a non English speaking country and I shouldn't have to answer any questions while it feels like there is half a scaffold, contents of a cutlery tray and four fingers all in my mouth. 

When he was done he gave me a tooth shaped mirror to check out his good work!! 

When he was done he gave me a tooth shaped mirror to check out his good work!! 

How wrong can I be.  Vlado, the dentist is a motorcyclist and speaks very good English.  😉

He did a very good job of fixing my toothypeg and I skipped down the street to the bus stop once he was done!!  

 

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Apoxyomenos

What is that you may well ask?  

Mali Losinj town on island Mali Losinj. Very sheltered Harbour and was once a busy sailing ship building port..

Mali Losinj town on island Mali Losinj. Very sheltered Harbour and was once a busy sailing ship building port..

On the island Mali Losinj is the Museum of Apoxyomenos.  

The whole museum is dedicated to just one statue. Apoxyomenos. It is the Greek term for the depiction of an athlete scraping oil, sweat, sand and dust from his body with a strigil after exercising or competing. This statue is of an athlete at a moment in which he is cleaning his strigil.

 The Lošinj Apoxyomenos was recovered from the sea off the island of Lošinj in 1999. It is thought to have been made in the second or first century B.C.  Theories abound as to how the statue ended up in the waters near Lošinj. It may have been thrown overboard

 

Felted wool walls and carpet of the museums theatrette. Luxuriously soft and comfy.  

Felted wool walls and carpet of the museums theatrette. Luxuriously soft and comfy.  

The statue was discovered in 40 m of water just off the island, by a tourist, in 1999. It is estimated that it's been lying there for over 2000 years. Unimaginable really.  

Theories abound as to how the statue ended up in the waters near Lošinj. It may have been thrown overboard by Greek sailors during a storm to appease the gods or just to lighten the load.

Standing 192 cm high and weighing 300 kg, the statue is made of bronze and is a chef-d’oeuvre of ancient sculpture. The statue represents an “apoxyomenos”, an athlete removing the oil and sand from his body with a small metal scraper called a strigil. The author of the statue is unknown, but the classical beauty and the quality of the statue indicate he was a master of sculpture. Of the eight known Apoxyomenos statues, the Croatian one is the most complete and best preserved.

A lot of patience was required to remove 2000 years of encrustations.

A lot of patience was required to remove 2000 years of encrustations.

It was a 6 year project to recover and restore the bronze statue. The Museum documents the story of Apoxymenos. They have estimated that this Hellenic statue is a copy of an original dating to the 4th C BC, and that it was made in the 2nd C BC, at a time flourishing trade in Greek antiquities and their copies. Unbelievably this statue was found intact, with only the eyes and the little finger of the left hand missing. And as a bonus there was the remains of a 'ancient' mouse nest ao food found in the encrusted statue, this helped determine the age of the statue itself. 

View from one of the viewing portholes

View from one of the viewing portholes

Apoxyomenos is housed in a temperature controlled room. No cameras allowed. He seems huge. Probably 6'4" (although he appears larger than life size) with very well developed muscles, particularly legs and back muscles.  His feet are huge. Everything seems in proportion for an athlete, except to me his hands are small as are his not so private, private bits.  


Standing 192 cm high and weighing 300 kg, the statue is made of bronze and is a chef-d’oeuvre of ancient sculpture. The sculptor of the statue is unknown, but the classical beauty and the quality of the statue indicate he was a master of sculpture. Of the eight known Apoxyomenos statues, this one is the most complete and best preserved.

Beautifully strong back muscles  

Beautifully strong back muscles  

Butt muscles to die for.  

Butt muscles to die for.  

Toilet door sign for the gents.  

Toilet door sign for the gents.  

The Museum is well worth a visit, it's quite unique in that it is dedicated to just one object. It has been nominated for Best Museum in Europe for this year. It's not flooded with international visitors, that may change. And you are asked to wear little white booties while in the museum.. 

www.muzejapoksiomena.hr


Beli. Island Cres, Croatia

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A gorgeous little village on top of a seaside hill. To me it looks very Italian. In fact this part of Croatia was occupied by the Italians not so long ago.  

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140 homes, now very few are occupied, with a population of 35, a third of which are children. The school bus, an eight seater takes the children to school in Cres everyday, only 20 km away. The other children are too young for school.  Streets are cobbled and very narrow, no cars are allowed in the village.

carparking is outside the village 

carparking is outside the village 

Entrance to delightful village of Beli 

Entrance to delightful village of Beli 

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There are two Churches, one old, another older and it houses one of the four black Madonna in existence. The cemetery only has a handful of surnames. All Italian sounding. I met a 93 y o gentlman, Mr Bandera, he looked much younger than his years.  He told us he comes from a very long line of flag bearers. Maybe Josip Bandera, a Roman Catholic priest appointed by the Pope was one of his forbares.  Another Domenico Bandera was a leader of the fascist militia, also from old Beli, maybe flag waving for Mussolini?? 

Older of the two Churches on the right. Both have Romanesque naves. 

Older of the two Churches on the right. Both have Romanesque naves. 

Beli has one shop, the bakery and its open from 9-10 am everyday. That's it!! 

The narrow road down to the beach is steep. 18'. Easy going down, a bit tough coming back up again. The white pebbly beach has a few boat sheds, two shacks and a small camping area that is kept clean and tidy by the local sheep. 

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My Keen sandals, an absolute gift to have them, this summer they are my go everywhere shoe. Here they are on Beli beach after tramping 10 km through beech and oak forests to visit a labyrinth. 

My Keen sandals, an absolute gift to have them, this summer they are my go everywhere shoe. Here they are on Beli beach after tramping 10 km through beech and oak forests to visit a labyrinth. 


On the outskirts of town I found the old Roman bridge - dated so according to the analysis of plaster and construction technique comes from the Roman age. It is completely preserved and represents a rare example of Roman architecture. The bridge has an arc of 6.60 and a height of 4.70 meters. It was probably built at the time of Emperor Tiberius, because in his time Beli was the fort of Roman legionaries.

 

Part of the Roman bridge. Further upstream are two Roman wells. 

Part of the Roman bridge. Further upstream are two Roman wells. 

one of the Bandera household wells, I took this photo before I met Mr Bandera Senior. 

one of the Bandera household wells, I took this photo before I met Mr Bandera Senior. 

Living on a hill top, access to water was important. Each house in the village appears to have its own well. I doubt they are in use now as there is black poly pipe running all through the village now, along with electricity wiring and satellite dishes. 

Lada's Labyrinth

tbc❣️❣️

 

 

Lada is the early Croatian goddess of beauty and love who embodies natural birthing forces. Her companions are nymphs known as Ladarice, who have left the world to settle among the stars. This is how open star cluster Pleiades, meaning 'to sail', also known as the Seven Sisters was created.

 In the ancient Mediterranean world, the day that the Pleaides cluster first appeared in the morning sky before sunrise announced the opening of the navigation season.

This stone labyrinth is a replica of the labyrinth at Pula in Italy.  

 

This labyrinth has a dual entrance/exit. 

This labyrinth has a dual entrance/exit. 

Locals tell me that this replica was built about 60 years ago. 

Locals tell me that this replica was built about 60 years ago. 

Those go everywhere Keen sandals.

Those go everywhere Keen sandals.

The Kermes oak tree shading one side of the labyrinth  

The Kermes oak tree shading one side of the labyrinth  

National Geographic photo from Croatia from Above. 

National Geographic photo from Croatia from Above. 

Last year, while waiting in Split for a ferry I came across the National Geographic publication, Croatia From Above. All the photography was done by Croatia travel writer, Davor Rostuhar. He has since become one of my favourite authors. I bought the NG book and Rostuhar's "The Journeys Magic". It took quite a bit of googling to find where the labyrinth was, but I had already decided, wherever it was I was going to visit it in 2019. This Labyrinth, Lada's Labyrinth and several others are all tucked away in the forest in the north of Cres Island. I also discovered they have a volunteer program. I will try to join their program next year as it's too late to join for this years program. 

Lada's Labyrinth is basically square and its entrance and exit are adjacent. When walking the labyrinth most turns are at right angles, there are very few 'U turns' in this labyrinth. It takes about 40 minutes to walk the labyrinth plus time in the middle, depending on your purpose. The stones have probably been in situ for 50 years, the path is basically a carpet of wild mint, on one side some bracken has crept in but there are enough walkers to keep its growth under control. On another side under the beauiful old Kermes oak tree, as you walk there is the soft crush of last autumns oak leaves. Cres Islands version of the dung beetle is also very busy. I didn't actually see any fly out of their dung/dirt piles but you could see the holes they use. The whole dung beetle thing is another of Mother Natures' miracles.

 

Dung beetles at work  

Dung beetles at work  

103

Had Dad still been around we would have celebrated his 103rd birthday today.  

An old Florin a silversmith used to make a pendant. The other side has his interpretation of Zen.  

An old Florin a silversmith used to make a pendant. The other side has his interpretation of Zen.  

Today's ferry ticket. 

Today's ferry ticket. 

Try as I might I couldn't find a 103 street number or anything so I made my own.  

Try as I might I couldn't find a 103 street number or anything so I made my own.  

102 plus one! 

102 plus one! 

The northern end of Cres Island in Croatia is pretty rugged and not popular with visitors. Local products include olive oil, sheeps milk cheese and honey.  

The northern end of Cres Island in Croatia is pretty rugged and not popular with visitors. Local products include olive oil, sheeps milk cheese and honey.  

Today I walked the Lada Labyrinth. More on that under another heading. 

Today I walked the Lada Labyrinth. More on that under another heading. 

My dinner with sheeps milk cheese.  Happy Birthday Dad. 

My dinner with sheeps milk cheese.  Happy Birthday Dad. 

An Alphabet of islands

RHONDA and Lowe from Dee Wye have always set me challenges while I'm away from home. This year they have suggested I visit one Croatian island for each letter of the alphabet. Let's see how I go over the next 6 months🌝🌝

Otok is the Croatian word for Island. Here is the list of Otoks I've visited.  

 

A

B

C  Cres, 

D

F

G

H

I

J

K  Krk, Korcula

L

M Saint Marko, Mlijet,Mali Losinj, Murtor

N

O

P Pag 

Q

R

S

T

U

V  Veli Losinj

W

X

Y

Z

 

May Day

International workers Day is celebrated worldwide. Well in Croatia at least.  

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in Critvenica, a gorgeous coastal town on mainland Croatia, the warm sunny day brought out locals and visitors by the score. 

Traditional music and dancing in the town square and a complimentary meal, bean soup and bread roll, for older people. Great atmosphere and lots of chitchat.  

Souvenir shops and cafes were still open, most other shops were closed. 

 

Little local fruit, veggie and flower market.  

Little local fruit, veggie and flower market.  

Bronze sailor.  

Bronze sailor.  

Annie's Oracle Cards

April 13 last year my card was HER JOY RENDERS THE IMPOSSIBLE TASK POSSIBLE. 

April 2018

April 2018

April 2019

April 2019

 

 

 And this year on April 20, I rode away on my trusty little white Trojan having just drawn a card for this years trip. SISTERS OF THE SPRING SWALLOW, GOOD FORTUNE GRANTED.

Simply enjoy what is. 

The message: Whatever appears to have been dwindling " spinning its wheels" and not really going anywhere, is about to get an injection of life force.  

"You are also guided to be open to opportunities and not try to prematurely limit your options or choices at this stage". ( Does holding pattern come to mind???🤣🤣🤣) 

"Spring in the soul heralds a time of new birth, new ideas, new inspirations, new energy to take action, new life, new connections and new gifts abound".  

"And now it is time to align myself with a partner that is interested in working with me rather than in what I can do for them"   ❣️ 

 

 

 

 

 

Anzac Day

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Because I'm going to miss the Federal Election I contacted the Australian Embassy here to sort out how to vote. That's all easy. I will miss Antony Green on Election night though. The embassy then told me about their Anzac Day Commemoration at the Zagreb Cathedral.  I attended,  of course. it was a joint service with the Australian and Turkish Embassies and they roped in Father Anthony Burnside, whose home these days is in Bosnia to conduct Holy Mass. Everything was in English, and was well attended. 

Zagreb Cathedral 

Zagreb Cathedral 

 "LEST WE FORGET"

April in Croatia

Although I haven't spent the whole month here I can see the transition of seasons from winter to spring happens in April. Now, at the end of April all the deciduous trees are flush with the most beautiful greens. Planes, Plums and Acer are all green, ready to provide shade for summer picnics. 

 The Croatian months used with the Gregorian calendar differ from the original Latin month names. For example the Croatian word for April is "travanj". This is not a translation of our April into Croatian. They have their own word -Travanj: it translates to "mowing the grass".  

In the last few days I have watched the surrounding parkland being transformed from grassy fields dotted with small flowering daisies and forgetmeknots  to skinny windrows of mown grass.  

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and the markets have new seasons strawberries!! 

and the markets have new seasons strawberries!! 

D is for Dimitar

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Last year the planets aligned and I had the opportunity to attend Italy's first Horizons Unlimited Gathering.  

HU was started by an Aussie couple over 20 years ago when they saw a real need for long distance adventure travellers to share their info and support each other. By long distance I really mean RTW. ( to the unititiated-- around the world). I barely qualify though.  

I met DRZ rider Rebecca on the ferry from Albania to Italy. She had been riding some TET trails in northern Albania and I had been in the same region but on roads not trails. She suggested I come to Tuscany to the HU Gathering in a few weeks time. I did.  

Dimitar on my bike in Italy,  September 2018

Dimitar on my bike in Italy,  September 2018

 Last year Dimitar arrived straight from his best mates wedding in Bulgaria. Very carefully packed in his soft saddle bags, the Bulgarian version of Andy Straps panniers were several bottles of rakija!!  The tradition goes that when a daughter is born, the father makes as much rake as he can and buries it in the backyard. There it stays in temperature controlled bliss until the daughters wedding day! There was too much rakija to be consumed at his mates wedding so Dimitar as best man was offered a few bottles for his trip. He generously shared it, most people thought it was marvellous. To my uneducated palate it was 'fire water'.

and he returns the favour. I am on his bike in Croatia, April, 2019. 

and he returns the favour. I am on his bike in Croatia, April, 2019. 

Even though Dimitar has a high powered career he works hard at keeping his work-life balance. He passed through Zagreb, with just enough time for coffee and food before heading to Italy to maybe catch up with Rebecca, then catch ferry to Barcelona for two weeks of TET riding. 

It was pretty awesome to catch up with him. He is a very enterprising young man who has an enormous passion for life.  And I think he's just marvelous. . 

He set off from Zagreb to hopefully meet up with Rebecca. ( and I'm not playing Cupid here😍😍)

 

the effervescent Rebecca, when I met her on the ferry last year.

the effervescent Rebecca, when I met her on the ferry last year.

Rebecca was not able to catch up with Dimitar, I'll let her off though she had a pretty good reason. 

 

Rebecca had a slide in Sardinia, and ended up with a new boot and no more riding for at least a month. 

Rebecca had a slide in Sardinia, and ended up with a new boot and no more riding for at least a month. 

There were only about 30 of us that participated in HU Italy 2018 and I've made such great connections. Miriam, one of the presenters has been motorcycling around Australia this summer and found time to stay with me in Tasmania. 

 

Miriam at Lake St Clair with a fellow motorcyclist, who just happened to be a neighbour to my daughter-in-laws family. It's a small world and getting smaller. 

Miriam at Lake St Clair with a fellow motorcyclist, who just happened to be a neighbour to my daughter-in-laws family. It's a small world and getting smaller. 

Miriam at last years HU Italy 

Miriam at last years HU Italy 

And me at last years HU Italy!!  

 

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Getting around Zagreb

tbc❣️❣️

Zagreb, on my first impression is a very livable city. 

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I'm staying in an apartment with friends, very close to Zagrebs only freeway flyover. Underneath the fly over is the tram line. Zagreb trams are super, very neat bright blue electric trams. I'm only four stops from down town, old town Zagreb and it's a dollar ride into town.  

The apartment I'm staying in is very close to everything!!! 

The apartment I'm staying in is very close to everything!!! 

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There are also trains and a bus system. Apart from the mountain out to the east it is a relatively flat city. Great for walking.  From the main square the old town is very accessible. Most of the churches and museums are here, admittedly on top of a hill, even big enough to have a short funicular rail link from downtown.  

Downtown Zagreb, horizon shows tv transmitter, Tomislav monument, gorgeous old public building in park setting and cathedral spires.

Downtown Zagreb, horizon shows tv transmitter, Tomislav monument, gorgeous old public building in park setting and cathedral spires.

The Botanical Gardens, Nicola Tesla Technical Museum and Museum of Broken Relationships and another of Illusions are on my "Gotta see before I go" list. 

 

 

shopping street where I managed to find a chocolate shop and shouted myself a KRAS Cherry chocolate. 

shopping street where I managed to find a chocolate shop and shouted myself a KRAS Cherry chocolate. 

In my first year at Cradle Mountain I became friendly with Justin a wildcare volunteer. She also rides bikes and one day we met at the Cherry Shed in LaTrobe. She introduced me to the KRAS Cherry chocolate. Deeeelishus!! Since then I've found a closer to home supplier of KRAS chocolates and I buy a gift box of 12 whenever I can. Sometimes they are for me, sometimes for others. Well, you wouldn't believe but my love affair with things Croatian started nearly ten years ago, thanks to that chocolatey arvo tea we had back them. KRAS chocolates are made in Zagreb!!! 

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one way to solve the parking crisis. 

one way to solve the parking crisis. 

This is such a pretty park. The tulips are just about finished, and the plane trees are having a green flourish. In winter part of the park is flooded and becomes an ice skating rink. 

it's lovely to hear all the street buskers as you stroll through all the strawberry market carts. Strawberries have just ripened and everyone is selling them, buying them or eating them. 🍓🍓🍓