Venice to Dubrovnik – 6th to 24th Oct

Thursday 6th October

Punta Sabbioni to La Salute di Livenza

Distance: 66.19 km

Average: 14.01 kmh

Top Speed: 30.88 kmh

Total Distance: 8557.26 km

We had quite a bit of rain last night but the tent was lovely and snug.  We wanted to get the Venice blog and photos uploaded and the bikes cleaned so it was a bit of a late start.  Nearly 12pm in fact.  We needed to retrace our steps to Jesolo so nothing new to report there.  Then we cycled along the beaches of Lido di Jesola.

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10km with 60m of clean,flat yellow sand to our right and then beautiful calm seas.   To our left one hotel after another.  It must be hell here in the summer but today it was just superb. We happily cycle along a footpath where bikes are actually prohibited and pass the occasional sun worshipper.  It’s 27 degrees today so we go down for a paddle. I’ve never paddled before in the Adriatic!   

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The water is warm and very clear – clear enough to spot some monster jellyfish!   The beaches were clearly packed with umbrellas, seats, footpaths and other tourist paraphernalia but it’s all being cleared away for the winter months.  The summer is finished,  winter is coming.  

After the Lido it’s back to a cyclepath and we follow the Revedoti canal  into Caorle.  The land here is incredibly flat, in fact reminiscent of the Dutch dykes.  Caorle is a pretty fishing town with some interesting boats in the harbour.  

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We were hoping the tourist office here could give us some new cycle maps but they don’t have any.  We need to be careful heading along this coast for Trieste because there are many river estuaries where the bridge is many kilometers from the sea!  After Caorle we head to Sindacale.  We have our provisions and water we just need a site to camp.  Unfortunately we’re on a main road but we turn onto a quiet lane but there’s too many houses.  But Daz spots a man in his garden and asks if we can camp on the edge of his field.  Super!  A great spot and no need to try and stay hidden.  Bacon and egg butties again for tea, makes a change from pasta!!

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Friday 7th October

La Salute di Livenza to Spilja

Distance: 77.81 km

Average: 14.96 kmh

Top Speed: 37.63 kmh

Total Distance: 8635.07 km

After a very comfortable night we wake up and discover our MSR is wet with condensation.   Oh dear, lulled into a false sense of security by 2 dry nights.

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 Sadly our route to Trieste is along SS14 and it’s quite a busy road with a significant proportion of drivers not bothering to give us any room.  It’s a shock after spending 2 weeks on bike paths or quiet lanes.  The countryside continues to be flat with many waterways.  

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 We stop by a river in a village square for our lunch and notice several tandems and other touring bikes.  It turns out to be guided group of partially sighted and blind people on a 2 day bike excursion.  

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In the afternoon the only exciting event is our Lidl’s stop.  We’ve just done our shop when we spot 2 touring cyclists and they come over for a chat.  They’re bikepackers from Ankara, Turkey.  We’re so intrigued by how little they’re carrying and how it’s fitted on the bike.  They say they only cycle 4 hours a day and do 80+ in a day.  That’s 10 hours for us!!! They’re funny because they say they’re up at 6am but might not get started until 12pm.  Apparently it’s not just the packing that takes time, it’s the Turkish breakfast (must Google that).  Then Michael a guy from Leicester rocks up.  

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He’s also a bikepacker, well a bikepacker in training.  He’s done an extensive European tour but now he’s heading home!  After a good chat we finally drag ourselves away.  

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The wind has picked up and so it’s a tough few hours before we find a site for the night.  

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Saturday 8th October

Spilja to Crnotice via Trieste

Distance: 47.49 km

Average: 9.04 kmh

Top Speed: 41.65 kmh

Total Distance: 8682.56 km

Last night it was really windy and this morning it’s really overcast and cold.  We cycle along the coast road, climbing first then descending into Trieste.  There are some fabulous views of the Gulf of Trieste and there’s Miramare Castle, surrounded by a flourishing park full of precious botanic species, and has a charming panoramic view, given its location on a cliff high above the sea. It stands on the peak of the rocky promontory of Grignano in the Gulf of Trieste.

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As we near Trieste we watch a canoe club training and have a job keeping up with them.

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In Trieste we visit McDonald’s – WiFi and power required!   We have a look around the town and walk along the harbour.

Trieste – To discover the secret of a happy life head to Trieste, the Italian port tucked inside the Slovenian border. The Triestini embrace life with a passion that is palpable and infectious, if the chatter at evening aperitivo is anything to go by. And at the merest hint of sunshine, Triestini are off to the nearby seaside, Barcola, even in November, and even though it’s a concrete strip.

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This unsquashable humour is no doubt born of being a frontier city, variously owned or occupied by the Romans, Habsburgs, Mussolini’s regime, Germans and Allied Forces, only finally returning to Italy in 1954. The consequence is a glorious jumble of architectural and ethnic influences. In the space of 15 minutes, I came across Serbian Orthodox, Greek Orthodox and Helvetic Evangelist churches, while the city’s synagogue is one of the largest in Europe.

There’s a big Regatta here tomorrow so all the racing yachts are preparing their kit or out on the water running through some drills.

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There are some lovely buildings and we can see the castle overlooking the town.  We should really go up to the old town but time is pressing. Finally we decide to head off but struggle to find a way out of town.  We have decided to cross over the Istria Peninsular rather than following the coast as it will save us about 4 days, but first we need to find a way. But once we do find our way we climb for about 20km.  At one point we meet 2 horse riders – well when the horses spot us we’re still a good 50m away and have parked up.  But the horses really aren’t keen and they refuse to walk on and then when pushed too hard they get really skittish and they turn away and try and bolt.  They slip on the wet tarmac and at one point a horse slips so badly that he looks as if he’ll fall.  It’s all very stressful, we’re worried either the horses or riders will get hurt! They really hate our trikes and I wish we’d stood up to show them who we were!  The riders take them back up hill before a real disaster occurs.  We head on until we hit the Slovenian border at Socerb.

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We push on because we don’t have enough water for the night even though we’re both hurting from the steep climb and chilled in the cold wind.  We stop in a village and get our water bottles and reservoir filled, the guy even offers Daz a beer.  Excellent now we have enough to cook dinner, have a cup of tea and have our bucket wash which is proving less entertaining on these cold nights!  It’s hard enough getting Daz to wash on warm nights let alone cold ones!!

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Sunday 9th October

Crnotice to Rijelka

Distance: 65.87 km

Average: 9.9 kmh

Top Speed: 56.59 kmh

Total Distance: 8748.43 km


Last night it rained and was really windy but by the time we get up there are blue skies although it’s still windy.  We head off and it’s more climbing.  

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We reach the Croatian border which is actually manned and we have to show our passports.  

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This whole area seems rather remote and unpopulated;  we only see a few cars but no people and the hills are rough scrubland – no animals or crops! We pass through a couple of villages and there’s nothing to see; no cafes, shops, restaurants or people.  

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We keep hoping to find a shop at least!  After 20km of cycling uphill we get our kettle out in a little hamlet called Vodnice, (752m above sea level from Trieste!!) we refill our water at an outside tap and have a cup of tea. Well we have two, the first tasted foul, we think fuel contamination,  but the second was fine.  Some more climbing; we’ve now been climbing for around 8 hours.  We pass through some lovely deciduous woodland and then we’re just about to hammer down our first decent hill in hours when we spot some horses.  A man is sat side-on the leading horse with 3 behind.  They seem to be tacked up as pack horses.  

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When the lead horse spots us he refuses to move forward and the guy has to dismount and lead them passed us.  Finally we get to Male Mona and the road starts to descend at last.  We stop here and read a monument. During the second world war the small villages we can see dotted around the hills were destroyed in retaliation for attacks on the German forces after the Italian army capitulated.


We carry on, descending now towards the coast, long downhills all the way yippeee.   Once we near the coast we spot a bakery that’s open.  We haven’t seen any shops today, let alone one that’s open and as it’s Sunday and we think everything else will be closed so we have a buying frenzy.  Our shopping was premature, there’s plenty of open supermarkets but we’ve spent our allowance now!! We stop to eat our food on a hillside overlooking a football stadium.  

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Down below there’s a match and we watch the two female teams for a while.  Then we’re off on the final push to Rijelke, then it’ll be time to find a camping spot.  However, I spot a large fire station and decide to see if they’ll find somewhere for us to pitch our tent.  We’ve heard several stories of the fire brigade or police helping bike tourers!  So we give it a go.  

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We ask if we can put our tent up… they say no. But how about an apartment in their training facility on the other side of town?  Yes please!! What then follows is amazing, we get a blue light escort through the town, including on an urban motorway and a long tunnel which we’re pretty sure prohibits bikes!  

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At times it’s quite possibly one of the scariest, unpleasant riding experiences to date as we have cars trying to overtake on both sides, our blue light escort is causing a bottle neck.  The tunnel is uber scary and seems never-ending and trying to keep up with a car is impossible but we (well me) almost die trying!  It’s a really tough way to finish the day.  But the effort is well worth it.  We are so pleased when we arrive and they show us our lovely ensuite apartment with kitchen… more tea vicar!

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Monday 10th October

Rijelka Fire station

Well it’s been a super comfortable night. We had our first shower in 4 days.  Everything is charged, Daz got to watch Croatia v Finland on the telly.  All is grand except the weather.  It’s pouring with rain.  We check the forecast and discover it could last all day.  Daz goes to see the boss and they’re happy for us to stay until the afternoon and if it’s still raining they’ll check with the Chief if we can stay another night.  In the afternoon the rain has stopped and we feel uncomfortable asking for another night so we pack up and prepare our bikes for the off.  Neither of us are keen to leave, I’m full of cold and feeling generally pretty lousy.  We hand the key over but chief of the watch comes to speak to us.  Initially he starts asking who at the other station told us we could stay.  He wants a description of who we spoke to.  We both assume we shouldn’t have been allowed to stay and then he says, ‘yup, OK I’ll ring the chief but you can stay another night’.  I could have cried with relief.  He checks the forecast and the weather is due to improve.  He then tells us about the Croatian coast and the bizarre wind patterns further south.   After a nice chat we return to our room.  We’re practically dancing with joy and high 5ing each other.  Around 5pm we venture out for food and we’re almost blown over by the wind.

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Thank God we’re neither cycling nor camping in these conditions – back to our cosy room and ‘George Clark’s amazing spaces’ with Croatian subtitles – this is sooo good!


Tuesday 11th October

Rijelka to Senj

Distance: 65.99 km

Average: 11.35 kmh

Top Speed: 50.41 kmh

Total Distance: 8814.42 km

Today we wake up to blue skies and complete calm.  We can’t believe the weather can be so different.   We thank our wonderful firemen hosts and head off.

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We follow the coast road and it’s very scenic looking out onto the Adriatic.   We stop in a layby for a quick chat with 2 Swedish motor cycle tourers.

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Then we continue until Klenovica where we stop for food.  After lunch and coffees we head off.  We’ve been making good progress,  many car drivers are waving and tooting their horns and all is well in the world.  And then we hit the weather system the fireman told us about.  It’s gusting from all directions but predominantly it’s a head wind that’s practically bringing us to a standstill.  Our heads ache from the constant wind and we’re starting to get cold.  We struggle on like this for about an hour and then everything changes and it’s a tailwind.

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The wind then fluctuates for the next 15km into Senj, one second we’re hammering along with an incredible tail wind that even pushes us uphill, and the next we grind to almost a standstill.  It’s exhilarating and unpleasant at the same time, with the wind even pushing us into the road.  Thank God we’re not on the tandem.   In Senj we spot loads of camper vans down by the sea.  We assume they’re wild camping since all the campsites we’ve seen along the coast have been closed.  We cycle down to investigate and get accosted twice by people offering us accommodation.   At the campsite we discover it’s open – there goes our plan to camp here for free.  We have the usual dilemma – pay for camping or persevere and find a wild campsite.   It’s always tough; we’re constantly struggling to keep to a budget but a campsite with showers is hard (actually impossible as it turns out) to ignore.

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Wednesday 12th October

Senj to a spot 7km south of Karlobag

Distance: 74.52 km

Average: 10.64 kmh

Top Speed: 56.30 kmh

Total Distance: 8888.94 km


It’s a beautiful morning and the early morning sunshine over the sea and Islands is a delightful view for breakfast.   

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After a quick shop we cycle through the pretty town of Senj which has a castle overlooking the small fishing harbour.  

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Bizarrely about 5km outside Senj the weird winds cease and we have relative calm as we enter the National Park Paklinica We stop in the next fishing village, Sv Juraj, by the harbour for tea and biscuits.  I manage to get free boiling water from a cafe so no need to break out the cooking stove – result.  We’re also adopted by the village dog, I think he wants to join Daz on his bike.  

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Earlier as we were leaving Senj we stopped to speak to 2 German hitchhikers and they have just been dropped off in this village.  They plan to head inland and the hills for a 9 day hike – carrying all their food, very adventurous!  From here we head off, chased by our adopted dog and climb for about 30km.  We stop at a beautiful viewpoint to have our lunch.

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 The afternoon consists of more climbing and a layby photography session with 2 lovely Austrian ladies.  The whole day is one of blue skies and glorious views of the Adriatic and the nearby islands but I’m sure my trusted cameraman has captured the incredible views.  We did spot a couple of praying mantis too but the one we photographed was a beige colour not the vivid green.  I saw a vivid green one but too late to stop and actually I probably ran it over.  

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After a really tough day we make Karlobag.  The descent into this town is 8km of exhilarating downhill racing – Daz again is the winner; pipping me by 1kmph!   

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Karlobag was our target for the day.   We get water and milk but there’re no campsites here.  We’re accosted in the same manner as yesterday with offers of a room but at 25€ we decline.  

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Instead we head out of town in search of a wildcamping site and discover it’s a sheer rockwall on our left and a sheer drop to the sea on our right.  After 10km, with the light fading fast, we find a spot on a gravel road near a bend in the road.  Sadly there’s nothing to hide behind so it’s not the least discrete spot we’ve ever chosen but once it is dark (soon!) nobody should see us.  We have our gear sorted in our usual efficient manner and by the time our dinner is ready (7pm), it’s dark except for a near full moon in a cloudless sky.  Doing this is not something I ever imagined but it’s an amazing experience – now the stars are just coming out too!  Amazing, we sit on our comfy bikes, sipping tea and trying to name some of the constellations in the dark.

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Thursday 13th October

A spot 7km south of Karlobag to Islam Latinski

Distance: 69.80 km

Average: 11.51 kmh

Top Speed: 42.94 kmh

Total Distance: 8958.74 km


Fortunately despite our conspicuous camping site we’re left undisturbed.  

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 The weather is overcast but the terrain today is less arduous.  The sea is incredibly clear and turquoise blue in some bays.  It looks so inviting.  We stop in a little village for our tea break and in Starigrad for lunch.  Today we’re passed by a convoy of classic cars whilst yesterday we were overtaken by 2 porche convoys.  Just before Rovanjska we see zones of buoys in the water and we’re busy trying to decide their function, then we see a sign and realise that the buoys are connected to mussel lines.

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 After a long climb out of Rovanjska we cross an impressive bridge over an inlet to Novigrad lake from the Adriatic.   The drop is humongous and there are bungee jumping signs and a jumping platform.  

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Sadly it’s closed (thank God!).  We were going to push on for Zadar but instead we stop at a truckers’ cafe, have some chips and fill our 10L reservoir with hot water.  3km later we find a field to camp in and once the tent is up we have a hot bucket wash – luxury indeed!

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Friday 14th October


Islam Latinski to Biograd na Moru

Distance: 52.56 km

Average: 11.20 kmh

Top Speed: 45.96 kmh

Total Distance: 9011.30 km


After an undisturbed night (apart from some rain) we pack up and head into Zadar.  Apparently Zadar is Europe’s best destination 2016 according to the TripAdvisor posters liberally pasted everywhere.   We cycle around the harbour and see some fabulously expensive launches.  We cycle past the seagate, one of 2 entrances within the city walls, the other being the landgate.  We also visited the sea organ, the Monument to the Sun, the Forum, cathedral, and the Captain’s tower.

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Walking around Zadar’s historic centre. If there is a breeze, start at the sea organ, an art installation consisting of a series of pipes cut into the promenade. Soft, meditative chords become a slightly alarming cacophony of groans when the waves are choppy. The same artist also created the Monument to the Sun, a large disc of solar-powered cells that becomes a multicoloured disco ball as the sun sets.
More classical sights include the Roman forum, of which only a few columns and an altar remain. Stones from here were used to build the neighbouring rotunda of 9th-century St Donat’s Church and are clearly visible.
Zadar’s 12th-century cathedral has three beautiful portals that would not look out of place in Tuscany, and a bell-tower to climb. Close to an impressive city gate, the church of St Simeon contains a beautifully crafted silver reliquary. More can be seen in the excellent Gold and Silver of Zadar exhibition at St Mary’s church.
For a memorable experience, take a short trip with the gnarled boatmen who have been rowing residents across the harbour for more than 800 years. The women at the town market look like they may have been selling their salty, speciality Pag cheese for almost as long.
After a nice walk around the town and chatting to several British couples ( a cruiseship sailing from Southampton moored here this morning so there are loads of English voices!)  we take shelter in a cafe whilst we wait for the drizzle to blow over.  We then head out of town.  A couple of shopping chores are required; replen breakfast cereal, shower gel, bread, biscuits (my favourite cranberry cookies!) and fuel for our Trangia.  Two frustrating hours later we’ve tried numerous shops, hardware and DIY stores, and petrol stations but no fuel.  We decide we’ll just have to hope our current supply will last until Split. But then we try in a pharmacy, as they sometimes sell rubbing alcohol, well, Daz comes dancing out with a big grin and 3 bottles! A bit more expensive than normal but at least we know where to get it next time.  We return to the D8, heading south.  We’d heard horror stories about this road, the Adriatic highway, but for us it’s been totally fine and the traffic relatively light (after all the tourist season is over), that is until the road in to Zadar this morning and leaving Zadar this afternoon.  If there’s no oncoming traffic, passing vehicles will give us room.  But if there’s oncoming traffic they all like to see how a 3 way squeeze feels.  Well for them I’m sure it feels fine but for us it’s really unpleasant – coaches and buses are definitely the worst offenders.  In addition to the traffic there’s an unpleasant headwind.  We stop at Sv Filip i Jakov to watch some kitesurfers. The strong wind is letting them get some jumps and tricks in.  

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We arrive in Biograd, and decide to find a campsite to stay in as tomorrow’s forecast is thunderstorms.  

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 Having passed a few open ones further back on the road our luck is out.  They are all closed here. But as we cycle along the forest beach front we decide to set up our tent in a large camping site.  The site is actually closed but the pitches, electricity boxes, toilets and showers are not fenced off.    As we have just set up a man comes over, we think he may work here. He asks if we are sleeping here in a mix of Croatian and German.  We manage to have a stilted conversation but the upshot is he will speak to the ‘chief’ and wanders off.  We don’t see him again!  We both use the showers, but no hot water arghhhhh.   After a belated lunch/dinner of brie and crisp rolls and a mug of tea it’s dark.  We take a walk along the beach looking out across to the lights of Pasman, one of the many islands down the Croatian coast.


Saturday 15th October

Biograd na Moru

Last night when we went to bed it was sooo hot in the tent that I left the door open.  So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that at midnight I discover i’m covered in mossie bites.  I try to find the insect repellant but Daz has moved it.  We discover our tent is home to about 20 mossies and spend the next 30 minutes trying to kill them.  We’re awake at 8am.  There’re some intermittent light showers but nothing like the forecast.

We doze and read and finally surface about 11.30am.  We have breakfast and see the guy who spoke to us last night about camping here – it seems that he’s OK about us being here.  We head into town and see several windsurfers and a kitesurfer out on the water; it looks like there’s plenty of wind for them. There’s also a venue preparing for a wedding reception.   We find a launderette – laundry on.  Daz tries to get a haircut but they’re too busy with hair styling for the wedding.  There’s torrential rain in the afternoon with the promised thunderstorm.

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Luckily we comfortably ensconced in a restaurant; real food!  Tuna steak, kale and potatoes for me, a rump steak and chips for Daz!  



OMG it tastes sooo good.   The tent is OK when we get back, a couple of wet spots inside from splashback on the outer floor, but considering the flooding that went through the campsite we are very happy.  Later we play backgammon on the beach in the dark!!

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Sunday 16th October

Biograd na Moru to Rogoznicka

Distance: 84.35 km

Average: 14.35 kmh

Top Speed: 51.56 kmh

Total Distance: 9095.65 km

We’ve both slept badly last night (the wedding was very loud and went on into the early hours) so neither of us is keen to start the day and now Daz is full of cold ( passed on by me!).  But on the plus side we have blue skies, a tail wind and a temperature of 27 degrees.   So a lovely day!


We stop in Vodice, at the harbour, to have our lunch.  There’s a war memorial there to the 2nd WW, the Croatian resistance.

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Leaving Vodice we stop and chat to 4 Canadian bike tourers.  They started in Venice and are also heading to Athens.

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We see them several more times but only because they stop for coffee and to look at viewpoints whilst we just keep on pedalling.  Finally after an excellent mileage day we stop in a garage and get water and a couple of kms later we find a camping spot.

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Today we see many Praying Mantis on the edge of the road; out to sun themselves I think although they could have found a safer spot, the crunch under my tyres sounds awful!  We’ve also seen a large colourful lizard (sadly deceased).

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We also pass a motorcycle that’s completely trashed.  The police are there and there’s obviously been a terrible accident.   We think the ambulance passed us; with blue lights going to the accident but without when returning!  Tonight the moon is full; it looks incredible!

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Monday 17th October

Rogoznicko to Omis via Trogir and Split

Distance: 81.73 km

Average: 13.45 kmh

Top Speed: 50.99 kmh

Total Distance: 9177.38 km

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Today we have a lovely day; we visit Trogir and Split.  In Trogir we cycle into the centre, down narrow cobbled alleys and streets and there’s a beautiful cathedral and a bell tower.  We go up so we can enjoy the panoramic views of the Adriatic.   We also walk along the walls to a castle.  

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Trogir’s best sight is the Cathedral of St Lawrence (Katedrala sv. Lovrijenac) on which building work started in 1213 on a site where a previous cathedral once stood; the main part of the cathedral was completed in 1250. The cathedral’s bell tower was built between the 14th and 16th centuries, and can be climbed to see fantastic views from the top. A must see within the cathedral is the Chapel of St John, built in 1468, and which is considered the best Renaissance sight in Dalmatia.

Part of the city walls, built between the 13th and 14th centuries, are visible today on the southern side of the city. In the middle of the city wall is the city gate, which was built in 1593.

A city loggia stands near the cathedral, constructed in the 14th or 15th centuries. Over the years, it has had a number of uses, including that of a court. Within the loggia is a relief by Ivan Mestrovic, depicting Petar Berislavic of Trogir who was a Croatian Ban (viceroy) and Bishop of Zagreb and who died in 1520 in a battle against the Turks.  The Cipiko Palaces, opposite the cathedral, were home to Trogir’s noble family in the 15th century.


Then it was on to Croatia’s second-largest city, Split (Spalato in Italian) which is a great place to see Dalmatian life as it’s really lived. Always buzzing, this exuberant city has just the right balance of tradition and modernity. Step inside Diocletian’s Palace (a Unesco World Heritage site and one of the world’s most impressive Roman monuments) and you’ll see dozens of bars, restaurants and shops thriving amid the atmospheric old walls where Split life has been humming along for thousands of years.
To top it off, Split has a unique setting. Its dramatic coastal mountains act as the perfect backdrop to the turquoise waters of the Adriatic and help divert attention from the dozens of shabby high-rise apartment blocks that fill its suburbs. It’s this thoroughly lived-in aspect of Split that means it will never be a fantasy land like Dubrovnik, but you could argue that it’s all the better for that.

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It’s very beautiful and has also been used in filming of GoT . Daz came through here in 1994 and 1997, but both times wearing a flak jacket. He only saw the airport before being transported cross country to Bosnia whilst serving with the Household Cavalry. Once we’ve had a look around Split, dried our tent and done some bike maintenance we head out and bump into the Canadians again. We’d been watching for them all day.  They’ve just arrived and plan some island hopping but we’ll probably see them again further down the coast.  We leave Split and it’s so built up we doubt we’re going to find somewhere to camp.  We try all the campsites too but they’re all closed.  Finally just before Omis we camp at a campsite ; there’s no-one here but maybe later someone will come and ask for money.  

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Tuesday 18th October

Omis to Drasnice

Distance: 55.63 km

Average: 10.61 kmh

Top Speed: 52.14 kmh

Total Distance: 9233.01 km

Before we went to bed last night the owners of the camp site came home and said hello and made sure we had everything we needed.  We slept well but in the morning we were woken early by traffic on the nearby main road.  We pack up and take a walk along the beach, it’s cloudy today after the last 2 days of sunshine.

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As we are leaving we stop to pay, but the old lady waves us off and says it’s free (in Croatian).  We are overwhelmed by her generosity and wish her well.  We carry on cycling along the coast road, a little hillier than yesterday.  We descend to the sea again at Omis and marvel at the surrounding hills that make up the Cetina gorge and then cross the river of the same name.

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We speak to a young man and ask him the weather forecast, it looks like rain all this afternoon!! We stop early on in the morning for a coffee treat and end up having 2 and taking nearly 2 hours whilst catching up on the Internet!!

Later we lunch in a bus shelter, although there is a smell of something dead nearby which makes it a quick one!  Luckily the rain is holding off.  As we climb another hill we see two touring cyclists coming up behind us, we think maybe it’s the two French girls the Canadians told us about.  We pull into a layby and they stop beside us, their bikes are totally loaded.


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It is the French girls, and they haven’t been cycling too long, but are planning to be away for a year.  They are also heading for Greece and a “Helpex” job (the same idea as workaway which we use) and then will decide where to go after.

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We swop blog details and hope to see each other on the road later. They cycle off up the hill and we follow, but we soon catch up with them again as it starts to rain and they have to stop and pack their towels away that were out drying and put on rain gear.  It’s downhill now and our speed advantage means we don’t see them again.  At the bottom of the descent the light rain has stopped and we turn off for the center of Makarska, a large town and marina.

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We cycle along the promenade and enjoy the views and some lovely statues.  Whilst sat on our bikes taking a moment a chap on a moped comes up and asks us if we want a room, we politely decline but enquire as to the price; 30 euros or 50 for two nights. About 10 minutes later as we are about to leave he comes back with a lower offer of 25 euros, but as much as we would like a room it would break our budget so we cycle on.  It starts to get gloomier and soon the rain starts, not too heavy but we stop and put our rain jackets on (poncho in Daz’s case) and continue climbing.  It’s nearly 5pm and we still need to get water when I realise I’ve got a flat front tyre, maybe that will explain the slow speed for the last 2 km’s!  There’s nowhere to pull in as it’s a cliff on our right and a hill on our left.


Daz has his back against the guard rail as he fixes it, cars occasional hooting as they fly past. By the time we set off it’s getting to the point we need to find a camping spot ASAP, but first, at the top of a rise Daz pulls into a house to ask for water.  The lovely lady is more than happy to fill up our water.  Daz, remembering what the French girls told us earlier of their night camped in a lady’s garden, asks her if there is somewhere nearby to put a tent up. She immediately offer us her garden!  We are so happy, and we quickly get the tent set up in the dying light and light drizzle.  After cooking dinner in the shelter of her large BBQ structure, she pops down to make sure we are OK.  We chat and she mentions that we are not the first cyclists to avail themselves of her garden.  She wishes us goodnight.  Just as I am showering with the garden hose in the dark the rain starts to come down more heavily so I hurriedly finish and jump into the tent.  Daz takes one look outside and declines the shower… minger!!

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In 13 nights we haven’t paid for our accommodation, with either wildcamping, free campsites, the fire station and now someone’s garden (except one night in a Senj campsite for 12€).  Croatia has been very kind to us indeed.


Wednesday 19th October

Drasnice to Reba

Distance: 62.46 km

Average: 10.79 kmh

Top Speed: 45.38 kmh

Total Distance: 9295.47 km


The heavy rain fell for sometime last night but we were lovely and snug and the tent is almost dry this morning.  We have breakfast and pack up and just as we’re finishing up our host comes out of the house.  It turns out we’ve been hosted by an international artist, Desa Marijeta, who has had exhibitions world wide; London, Paris and New York, before retiring to this beautiful spot on the coast.  She is absolutely delightful!  

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We plan to return one day and buy one of her paintings.  We head off.  It’s another day of blue skies and sunshine.   The views are stunning. Along the roadside there are many olive trees and it’s harvest time but the Croatians pick the olives by hand, no nets and no telescopic agitators,  what a hellish job that must be!  

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In a layby toilet spot we are are met by a madly mewling black kitten.  He seems healthy and tick and flea free but he wolfs down the last of our anchovy fillets so he’s clearly starving.  And he’s a big purrer!  I hate to leave him in the layby, we assume he’s been dumped here recently.  Poor thing.  



Finally we find a supermarket and stuff ourselves silly, we were so hungry.  Then we continue, it’s a bit tough today, long uphills and then only short descents. We pass Bacina Lakes which are a frequent tourist destination. They abound with freshwater fish but there are also grey mullets, which made the Lakes their natural habitat after the tunnel drilling. The area is a true promised land for nature-lovers and anglers.  We realise my tire is going flat again, a failed puncture repair perhaps.  

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Finally we’re into Ploce.  After that we follow the river Neretva for some time, which is nice easy riding.  Along the roadside there are fruit stalls selling local produce.  We’ve already tried local pomegranate for lunch that Daz stole from a roadside orchard. We stop at one stall to take a closer look, the produce looks amazing.  

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We’re tempted but buy nothing but after another half a dozen stalls we stop to investigate the jarred produce.  There’s fig marmalade and slivovitch.  The stall owner is happy for us to taste everything but Daz tells him we don’t need a sample (I do!!).  We have a little barter and walk away with pear slivovitch and fig marmalade.   After the river valley we have to climb up and up to Raba.  

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We have fabulous views over the Neretva Delta.  Close to the place where the Neretva merges with the Neretvan channel of the Adriatic sea, the river Neretva forms many armlets and creates a delta of a great area with particularly fertile lands, where a lot of fruit and vegetables are grown.


The river Neretva is one of the longest and beautiful rivers of Croatia. It is particularly pleasant to visit the valley of the Neretva during summer months, when the heat of the shore retreats here, and the guests can relax in the cool of the valley of the Neretva river.

Those who come to the valley of the Neretva are amazed by the very clear drinking water of the river and the amazing natural landscapes along its green banks. The Neretva is a favoured spot for relaxing in natural surroundings, water activities — rowing, swimming — and for walking and cycling.

The valley of the river Neretva, surrounded by mountains, is a unique natural phenomenon, the swampy area of the valley is rich in rare species of flora and fauna, and is an ornithological park with over 400 species of birds. The valley of the Neretva has been declared a national park and is protected by the state. Getting to know the natural riches of the valley of the river Neretva is best done while sailing along the banks in boats or trupicas — local boats made of a single tree trunk. The waters of the Neretva river are rich in fish, and are famous to and loved by connoisseurs — the Neretvan eel, local restaurants offer various fish dishes — “brudet”, “popara”, and other delicacies made of very fresh fish and frogs. (bleugh!!)   The valley of the Neretva is called the “valley of tangerines”, the soil of the valley is remarkably fertile and has a unique microclimate. A variety of fruit and vegetable grows here — potatoes, tomatoes, mustard, watermelons, tangerines, pomegranates and oranges. Every year, about 60,000 tonnes of tangerines are harvested in the valley of the Neretva.

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Finally (I say finally because Daz filled up the 10L reservoir at the bottom of this long, hard climb and loaded it onto my trike) we see some rough ground off to our left.  There’s a fruit stall right next to the road but we find a spot about 80m away to set up camp.  Daz is inflating our mattresses when I warn him a man is walking over.  I’m expecting the worst but it’s the fruit stall owner with a bag of  for us.  More Croatian generosity! After dinner Daz repairs my punctured tyre again, he repaired the punctured inner tubes he’s been carrying at lunchtime.  

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Thursday 20th October

Reba to Neum

Distance: 14.75 km

Average: 10.07 kmh

Top Speed: 41.94 kmh

Total Distance: 9310.22 km


We wake up to rainshowers.  What follows is a day of dithering. We know that the forecast was rain today and tomorrow.   I suggest staying put but we don’t have much water or food.  Finally we head off and after 10km we cross into Bosnia and Herzegovina.  

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So far it’s only been occasional light rain and we’ve managed to shelter from the really heavy down pours.  

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Once we’ve crossed the border we’re in the town of Neum.  Once again we can’t decide what to do.  We stop for coffee and check the forecast again and decide to stay put because the weather looks grim until Saturday.   We find a campsite open and we settle in, we’ll probably be here 2 nights.  We end up sitting in reception trying to converse with one guy in German and the other in French.   It’s tough going so then we plan to shower and head into town.  I head off to shower and Daz reckons one of the guys took my parting as an opportunity to snort his coke that had been hidden under a newspaper when we barged in. In the shower we end up kneeling in the shower cubicle in the hope of coaxing out sufficient water pressure.  It’s not a huge success.  It’s fair to say the facilities here are basic indeed.  Thank God we’re the only ones here.  In town we find a cafe to sit and read before heading home for bed.  During the night the rains are heavy, and for some reason, at 8pm and 6am the local church plays recorded bells at an amazingly loud volume!!



Friday 21st October


We’re going to stay put today; it’s as much about the weather as the hoped for Son dynamo delivery in Dubrovnik; we think it won’t arrive before Monday and we think it’s cheaper to stay here than spend extra days in Dubrovnik.

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We have a lie-in, reading and dozing then head into the town to have a look round.  Then we sit in a cafe and read, spend time on the internet and generally have a very lazy day.  It’s early afternoon when I realise one of the French girls has just walked past.  We chat to Marine and Anaïs and plan to meet them in Dubrovnik.

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We spend most of the day in the cafe and only return to the campsite in the early evening.   The rain forecast for yesterday and today falls during the night!


Saturday 22nd October

Neum to Dubrovnik

Distance: 74.65km

Average: 11.62 kmh

Top Speed: 52.42 kmh

Total Distance: 9384.87 km


Today is our anniversary – a year since we left Marlborough on our tandem.  We’ve had an amazing year and hopefully the next will be just as good.  We head off out of Neum and we haven’t even done 3kms when I call for a coffee break.  We’re in a popular viewpoint and there are about 4 coaches parked up.  We chat to various people:  a couple from Holland, a guy from Wales and one from South Korea who thinks we should definitely cycle through Korea.  

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We head off and we set a decent pace, a combination of decent winds (on Thursday when we called it a day the head wind was bringing our speed down to about 6kmh) and being rested.  We cross the border back into Croatia (Bosnia and Herzegovina is only about 10km wide along the Adriatic coast).  

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We stop in a layby for lunch and lay everything out to dry.  We’re just planning to pack-up when we spot a touring cyclist.  He’s from Germany, called Ben and is also heading to Greece.  We suggest he meets up with us and the French girls in Dubrovnik.  

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We stop in Trsteno to admire an incredible plane-tree (Platanus orientalis) in the small square in the center of the village, which is over 500 years old and is a unique specimen of this kind of tree in continental Europe. The trunk is over 5 m wide with a height of 50-60m.  This village is also home to Arboretum Trsteno,  the oldest renaissance garden in Dalmatia. The exact date of its establishment is not known but it even existed in 1492 when an irrigation aqueduct was constructed

The arboretum Trsteno lies 18km Northwest to Dubrovnik. It developed out of a park surrounding the summer residence of the Gučetić-Gozze family. Family Gozze requested of ship captains to bring back all kind of seeds and plants from their travels. It is the oldest planned Renaissance park in Croatia (according to an inscription from 1502.) In 1948 it was declared a natural rarity and in 1962 registered as a protected natural monument that covers 255 000 square metres.   Arboretum Trsteno is also known as a major filming location of the 3rd and 4th season of Game of Thrones. Walk along the garden paths where Olena Tyrell and Varys plotted against Peter Baelish or sit in the lookout next to Olena and Margaery Tyrell to hear Sansa Stark’s story.

We’re only a couple of kilometres from Dubrovnik when we pass a wedding convoy.  This is about the 3rd we’ve seen today.  Everyone leaves a building (registry office?) and they get into their cars and they wait on the roadside until all the wedding guests are in their cars and in the convoy and then they drive off, sounding horns, waving flags and generally making a lot of noise.

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Finally we cycle into Dubrovnik,  with its sublime location, overlooking the calm blue waters of the Adriatic, Dubrovnik is one of the world’s most magnificent walled cities. Now a Unesco world heritage site and Croatia’s most up-market destination, it was once the capital of the wealthy sea-faring Republic of Ragusa (1358-1808).

During its Golden Age in the 16th century, it had one of the largest merchant naval fleets in the world, with consulates in more than 50 foreign ports. Brave sailors, hard-bargaining merchants and shrewd diplomats, the people of Dubrovnik became extremely rich, leading sophisticated lifestyles and valuing refinement and the arts.

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We think that the campsite is the cheapest option after checking the internet and cycle up a huge hill only to be told it’s not 17€ for us both as the website led us to believe but 36€. He does offer to reduce it to 30€.  We’re appalled, this is the most expensive campsite we’ve ever visited.  The receptionist lets us use the WiFi and we find a nearby apartment which is cheaper and doesn’t involve cycling up a huge hill.  Fabulous,  a real bed and moving pictures (TV).  Happy cycling anniversary!


Sunday 23rd October


After a thoroughly fabulous night in a real bed with ensuite bathroom we head into the Old Town of Dubrovnik.   

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The spectacular Stradun is a place where locals and visitors alike gather day and night to watch the world drift by. Undoubtedly one of Europe’s most picturesque pedestrian thoroughfares, the Stradun boasts many cafés and restaurants and is a good spot to rest weary feet after a day touring Dubrovnik. Measuring 300 meters in length and famous for its white limestone paving, the street dates back to 1468, although many of the surrounding buildings were built in the 17th century after the devastating earthquake of 1667, when most of Dubrovnik was heavily damaged. The Stradun’s unique homes are designed to enable residential living upstairs and business activities on the main level, and are notable for having their main doors and windows under the same arch.

We’re walking this street and realise there’s a food festival event here.  There are tables laden with food.  We buy one ticket (£5) and proceed to walk up and down stuffing ourselves with various tasty (and not so tasty) morsels.  

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At 12pm we meet our new cycling friends Marine, Anaïs and Ben (they’re all staying at the same hostel).  We walk around town and then eventually head to the city centre for food.  It’s great to hear their experiences and their plans for the coming months.  At around 3pm we go our separate ways, we may see them again on the road at some point.

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 We decide we’ve had enough sightseeing and wander back to our apartment.


Monday 24th October


Today we must leave this lovely apartment.   At 6am our Son dynamo was in Split.  Perhaps it’ll reach Dubrovnik today, otherwise we’ll need another bed for tonight.  Our Son dynamo stopped working about 2 days after we took possession of our trikes (1st September) .  After various attempts to get it fixed at bike shops, electronics shops and other random places we finally sent it back to Busch and Müller.  They found an electrical fault in the EWerk and the cache battery, replaced them at no cost and then posted them to Dubrovnik (they only charged us postage).  Busch and Müller have been incredibly helpful.  By comparison Vango, even after escalating our complaint, showed no interest in the poor performance of their tent.  Their repeated mantra – ‘it’s outside of our warranty period’.  I knew about the warranty but wanted their opinion on such a high price tag for a product that failed to perform for only 47 nights.  To be fair it had started to fail (broken poles, broken arches, holes is fabric) before this, but at 47 nights I wrote my first complaint.   They did offer us a set of replacement poles at 50% retail price.  Their customer service matches their product performance – shit!  Fortunately our MSR is performing incredibly well although we are still plagued by condensation on occasional nights (not every night – thank goodness).   Excellent news our parcel has arrived, sadly it’s in Split, 300km away.  Unfortunately B&M mistakenly used the Split address instead of the amended Dubrovnik address.  Fxxk Fxxk Fxxk.  We toy with a few options, getting a coach or hire car back to Split but B&M agree to recall it and send it to Crete.  Result, panic over but just a little bit annoying that we’ve deliberately been wasting time due to this parcel and could actually have been another 100 or so kilometres south of Dubrovnik – it’s time we can’t really afford to waste!!! Then an attempt to pick up our bank cards also fails.  This is proving to be a very BAD day!


The old city walls of Dubrovnik are one its best-known features. Built in the 10th century and modified in the 13th and 14th centuries, these formidable walls – as high as six meters and up to six meters thick-provided a solid defense against invaders. Totaling nearly two kilometers in length, Dubrovnik’s city walls make a great spot for a casual stroll and offer numerous excellent views over the Adriatic and inwards over the old city center. Other highlights include its two towers, the Minceta Tower and the Bokar Tower, along with two forts, the Lovrjenac Fort and the Revelin Fort. Access to the walls is through the main entrance on the left of Pile Gate (admission is charged and since we’re not feeling the love we decide to save this pleasure for another day!)

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Venice – 3rd to 5th Oct 16

Monday 3rd October


We’ve had the most fantastic experience getting to Venice and today we’re off to explore.  Neither of us have been here before so we’re very excited.  We’re on a camping site in Punta Sabbioni and from here it’s a 40 minute boat ride to the city.  Our neighbours are from near Konstanz and are fascinated by our cycling adventures and kindly give us a citronella coil because the mossies are horrendous.   No bikes are allowed in Venice.  There are various ferry ticket options but finally we decide on the 72hr pass which means we can use any ferry.

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 It’s 40€ each.  Once in Venice we head to St Marco square and then we meander along the tiny backstreets, over canal bridges, looking for a tourist office.

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 We give the tourist office our guidebook – München to Venezia, given to us by the tourist office in Munich. I would like to have sent it back to Munich but hopefully someone will benefit from it here.  Then we get a ferry and go up the Grand Canal and then find somewhere for lunch.  We’ve been eating lunch surreptitiously watching the table in the corner – by surreptitiously I mean we’re pretty much just staring.  At the table there are 3 elderly gentlemen and they’re receiving a lot of attention from the waiters.  They’re brought a selection of olives the size of satsumas, a magnum of red wine from which they have a jugfull and then a bottle of prosecco amongst various food courses.  We are just aout to leave when the waiter comes to us a gives us a complementary glass of Port from his boss at the corner table – very nice!  Back on the streets we find another ferry and go back down the Grand Canal and then walk from Realto bridge to St Marco piazza.   We need to find the UPS office because we bought a new tent on facebook – a MSR mutha hubba, and sent it to a UK address thinking our Vango would last a bit longer but we decided our Vango is so poor that we’d try our new tent so our good friend Jac has sent it over.  Regarding tents – the MSR is one of the most highly rated by cycle tourers and one of its only drawbacks is that the latest edition is red and white.  Luckily we managed to find the previous version for sale, unused!  I have written to Vango about the performance of their Pulsar 300 and so far I can report that their customer service equals that of their product performance – SHIT!   But we’ll see what happens when I escalate!!!

To find the UPS office we seem to have 3 different addresses – one from their website, one from yellow pages and one from Google maps (no I don’t understand either and Daz has just explained it again, and I still don’t understand).  The 1st two addresses are a failure.  We’re wandering around the backstreets and now we’re asking everyone we meet if they know the address.  We’ve been looking for 40minutes and there’s only 30 minutes left until the shop shuts, if indeed there is a shop at this address.  Finally we find the right Street and the correct shop number.  It’s called ‘Citymedia’ but it’s full of fishing tackle and there’s no shop sign on display.  We’re waiting for a customer in front and I’m convinced we’ll never be united with our MSR tent when Daz notices the boxed parcel at his feet – it’s addressed to Daz, it’s our tent!  We tell the guy that the address on the website is wrong and he says ‘ yes, of course, it’s the same for all addresses in Venice!!’  

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The plus side of this is that we find quiet streets away from the crowds of tourists and enjoy a drink at some local bars.  We’re acquiring a taste for Prosecco or a Spritz Aperol – it looks like Tizer but contains apple liqueur,  Prosecco and fizzy water.  Then it’s time to catch our ferry home.


Tuesday 4th October


This morning we put up our new tent; it’s seems palatial compared to the Vango but we’ve lost our large porch but gained a larger sleeping area.  The pole system pulls the fabric as tight as a drum.  It looks great.  

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Today we head to the islands; Burano and Torcello (2 fishing islands) and Murano, famous for its glass creations.  The first 2 islands are especially pretty, Burano has such a colourful frontage, each house painted a different colour.  

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And Torcello we climb up the bell tower to admire the views over the lagoon, islands and over to Venice.  Murano is less pleasing.  There are some incredible glass creations and in one shop we see an American going crazy for a pair of lions (5000€) and in another an Asian seems to be considering a vase for 11000€.  Unfortunately in these posh shops photography is prohibited!!

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Some of it is gorgeous but there’s also a lot of garish creations that we think are foul but one man’s junk is another man’s treasure.  From Murano it’s back to Venice where we get chatting to a couple of ladies (sisters) from Minnesota.  Then we head back to test our new tent.


Wednesday 5th October

Our first night in our MSR – fantastic!   The high roof and shiny white interior makes it much lighter and more roomy.  We’re lying across the tent so our faces are nowhere near the tent walls – an improvement on the Vango but Daz thinks he’s too long so we may have to change our orientation.  Today is our last day and the weather has unexpectedly turned cloudy with some rain forecast.  We’re going back into Venice to  follow a route recommended by the tourist office.  A lovely last day in Venice.  
Few cities can claim such a priceless art and history heritage as Venice. This unique city with its magical, spectacular scenery is not just beautiful; it is a real miracle of creative genius: a city built on mud, sand and the slime of a difficult, inhospitable landscape.

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Venice is the symbol of wise government and freedom. The lagoon was its only defense, there were no palace guards except the Arsenal workers and no parade ground except the sea.  During centuries of feudalism and barbarism,  Venice symbolised democracy and civilization.
What surprises about Venice, now as in the past, is its impressive building structure – a city built entirely on water. For centuries the Venetians, slowly and stubbornly insisted on recovering even the smallest bit of land from the water.
From the very start, building the city was a real engineering miracle due not only to the skill and intelligence of its builders but also to the nature of the place itself.


Munich to Venice – 19th Sept to 2nd Oct

Monday 19th September


Munich to Wolfratshausen

Distance: 44.42km

Average: 9.56kmh

Top Speed: 43.52kmh

Total Distance: 7881.15km


An early start this morning because we need to get to Traumvelo bike shop in Ottenhofen for a bike service.  

So we pack up ( the tent is soaking wet after another night of continuous rain, it’s as wet on the inside as the out; condensation!)

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and cycle into the city centre and get the S-bahn to Ottenhofen which is 30km north of Munich.  Andreas, the shop owner is a world champion recumbent cyclist as well as a dedicated tandem cyclist and his walls are covered with photos of his cycling adventures .  He has 4 tandems including a traditional one and a Hase.  It’s great chatting to him about how to achieve the most from a tandem and how a trike differs. He checks our trikes over but unfortunately he can’t help with the Son dynamo problem.  We’re going to need an electrician or an electronics shop to fix it. Andreas is doing this as a favour to Azub and he’s even doing it on a Monday, when the shop is normally closed.  He’s a ‘top chap’ and we buy one of his flags.  Thanks Andreas!

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Once he’s done we head back to the city centre and set out on our trip to Venice.  

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We follow the River Isar out of the city.  A week ago the water was clear and people were sunbathing on small pebble beaches, now after 3 days of rain it’s a torrent of muddy brown water with uprooted trees and debris lying everywhere.  We leave the river and cycle through woods and then along the canal and see Aumühle wooden bridge.  

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We cycle passed a fishery and realise the fish are launching themselves out of the water to catch the flies.  Over the canal the swallows are skimming low to catch their tea.  It’s been a scenic route but the rain spoils our enjoyment.  It’s no longer a torrential downpour but just a fine drizzle but we’ve had enough.  We’re soaking wet and starting to get cold so it’s a proper bed for tonight I think!  Unfortunately because it’s Oktoberfest even this far out of Munich accommodation is double the usual price.  But at least we have somewhere to park the bikes and our landlady even agrees to do our laundry.  Once we’ve unloaded there’s a frenzy to locate all our stinking clothes, plug in all our electrical equipment and hang our tent somewhere where it can dry out.  Within about 20 minutes the floor is covered in puddles of dirty water, leaves and slugs.  Euchhhhhh – disgusting!  


Tuesday 20th September


Wolfratshausen to Arzbach

Distance: 42.70 km

Average: 8.95 kmh

Top Speed: 55.73 kmh

Total Distance: 7923.85km


What a fantastic night in a comfy bed without the constant noise of rain on canvas.  Thankfully our tent is mostly dry and we manage to tidy up our mess.  There’s a fantastic spread for breakfast including freshly made scrambled eggs and we also manage to fill a bread roll each for our lunch.  The rain has stopped and in its place there’s a damp mist but it’s a huge improvement on the heavy rain of the past few days.  We follow the signs for Wolfratshausen, which was made rich by river transport and trading of Tölz beer, salt and minerals extracted from the local mines.

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 There are beautiful frescoed houses along the central Markstrasse and the parish church of St Andrew has an onion dome bell tower.  Having cycled to the centre Daz sees a sign for a HiFi shop and he hopes they might be able to help with the Son dynamo problem.   Unfortunately they can’t help but direct us to a cycle shop.  The cycle shop can’t help either but we try some self help.  We cut off the soldered wire connectors and rewire by hand and tape. The lights still work but we’ll have to wait awhile to see if the EWerk battery takes charge.  We head out of Wolfratshausen and follow a cyclepath through woods with the Isar down to our left. There are some steep gravelly climbs, but apart from a wheelspin or two on the wet stone the trikes climb with ease.

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 Occasionally we break out of the woods into open meadows with pretty houses and cows grazing on the grass.  We follow the Isar until we reach Bad Tölz and cross the River to cycle into the Old Town.  We stop for a coffee and for Daz to buy a poncho in dayglo yellow which he’s convinced is the best garment to keep him dry on his trike.  We test the EWerk battery – no joy!  Bad Tölz is a spa town at the foot of the Alps.  Along the historical Marktstrasse there are the Baroque facades decorated with luftl painting technique.  We leave Bad Tölz and follow the Isar until Arzbach where we stop at a campsite.   Daz tries replacing sections of the EWerk / Son dynamo wiring with spares he brought with him but nothing helps.  He decides it’s the EWerk battery that’s faulty.  So we have no charging facility.   


Wednesday 21st September


Arzbach to Achenkirch

Distance: 44.03 km

Average: 9.36 kmh

Top Speed: 37.48 kmh

Total Distance: 7967.88 km


Today we follow the Isar.  


Daz is excited as a schoolboy because a town is called ‘ Winkl’.

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At the end we enter a short tunnel through the mountain and are welcomed the other side by spectacular views of the Sylvenstein Lake.

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 Sylvenstinsee is a picturesque artificial lake, 7km long and 2 km wide formed in 1954.  It is fed by the Isar and various streams.  We follow the lake and cross the border into Austria.  

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We now follow the Achen valley through Achenwald and Achenkirch before finally reaching the Achensee.  This is the largest bathing lake in the Tyrol.  It has earnt the title “Fjord of the Alps” not only for its elongated shape but for its universal appeal; yachtsmen appreciate the winds, swimmers the accessible banks, and nature lovers the play of colours of the transparent waters.

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 The views of the lake with the Alps beyond is so beautiful.   Thankfully the dreadful weather of last weekend seems to have moved on.

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 This phase of München to Venezia is called the ‘water experience ‘ we’ve followed the Isar river, admired the Sylvensteinsee and finally seen the legendary and impressive “Tyrolean Sea”, the Achen lake.  


Thursday 22nd September


Achenkirch to Igls

Distance: 67.02 km

Average: 9.62 kmh

Top Speed: 46.39 kmh

Total Distance: 8034.90 km


Today we wake up to lovely views across the Achensee.  It’s as still as a millpond with the mountains reflected in the bluey green waters.  


We sit and have our breakfast at the lakeside but it’s still pretty chilly – we’re just short of 1000m.  Finally we decide to push on and we cycle along the lake and watch some paragliders come down at the head of the lake.

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Above Lake Achen bituminous schist petroleum has been extracted since 1902 and used for the production of creams, ointments,  lotions and shampoo. At the head of the lake in Maurach we see the cable car going up to Mount Rofan.  We also stop before our big descent into Jenbach to watch one of the oldest steam cog, single gauge trains come up through the valley.

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 We can hear its distinctive chuffing and then clouds of smoke rising above the trees long before the train appears.  The engine has been pushing the 2 coaches up the steep hill but just after the final rise, the coaches pull into a siding so the engine can go to the front.  A second train is not far behind.  Having enjoyed the steam trains there’s a long, steep, gravelly descent for us into Jenbach.   Jenbach has a famous railway.  It has 3 railway lines with different gauges, normal (1435mm) of the OBB,  the Austrian railways, the metric one (1000mm) of the Achensee railway and the Bosnian one (760mm) of the Zillertal railway.  After a quick coffee break in Jenbach we follow the river Inn to Innsbruck.

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  There are so many places we could visit along this route but we decide to push on.  It’s enough to be cycling along the Inn valley, with blue skies, mountains rising either side and beautiful green alpine meadows up on the hillsides.

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 In Innsbruck we head into the centre just to admire the beautiful buildings especially the Goldenes Dachl (Golden roof).  This is one of the many marks left by Kaiser Maximilian I on the facade of the Palace of the Counts of Tyrol.  It is covered by 2657 fire-gilded copper tiles.  

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After cycling through Innsbruck we head off.  We’re heading to the Brenner Pass and that’s 1000m height gain over 39km.  Apparently this is only for the most committed and willing cyclists!  Not sure that’s me TBH! But first there’s some confusion on the correct route out of Innsbruck.  We end up having to cross a footbridge.  Daz has to manhandle the bikes up the metal wheelchair slots, the bikes are heavy and he is soon puffing and grunting.  I of course would help, but then who would take the pictures!?

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Anyway tonight we’re staying in Igls so we have a taster with the first 5km climb out of Innsbruck.   It’s very tough but the views as night falls are very pretty and we have a great view of the famous Olympic trampoline built in the 1930s but was recently restored. No idea why it’s called the Olympic trampoline,  looks nothing like one!

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Friday 23rd September


Igls to Vipiteno

Distance: 59.19 km

Average: 8.96 kmh

Top Speed: 49.55 kmh

Total Distance: 8094.09 km  


Today we need to push on to the Brenner Pass and it actually goes surprisingly well.  We follow the ancient salt road, which led from Hall in Tyrol to Matrei am Brenner, along the eastern part of the Wipptal.

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 We cycle through Marei am Brenner with its beautifully decorated houses and look at a valley opening up on our right which is the Stubai valley.  We’ve skied up there, Neustift, on the glacier with the AGC.  

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We follow the Sill river for many kilometers before finally joining a main road for the last push.

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 Unfortunately the Brenner Pass is a huge disappointment ; we were expecting panoramic views of Austria and Italy but it’s just a shoppers mecca – there’s an outlet centre on the Austrian side, we assume it’s cheaper there for the Italians.


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 We cross over the border and start a long and wonderful descent in the Isarco Valley, along an old railway track.

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 We pass through Colle Isarco which was an important silver mining area for centuries.   We then cross into the Fleres Valley and it’s not long before we call it a day.  


Saturday 24th September


Vipiteno to San Sigismundo

Distance: 47.67 km

Average: 10.77 kmh

Top Speed: 47.54 kmh

Total Distance: 8141.76 km  

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This morning as we leave Vipiteno we stop to watch some men flying their radio controlled aeroplanes and then we pass Tasso castle and then Pietra castle.  We’re still cycling through the Isarco Valley enjoying both woodlands and Alpine meadows.

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 Daz spots a couple of WW2 gun emplacements, hidden in the treeline but covering the valley.  

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We soon reach the Fortezza: a cathedral in the desert.  This imposing structure was built between 1833 and 1838 by the Austro-Hungarian empire to protect South Tyrol from attacks from the south.  Between 1943-45 the Wehrmacht kept all the Italian state treasure here.  After the fort we turn into the Puster Valley, following the Rienza river.

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 Today we discover that this area used to be part of Austria hence it still looks like Austria and we’re not hearing any Italian.   


Sunday 25th September


A rest day today and some laundry.   

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Monday 26th September


San Sigismundo to Toblach

Distance: 46.33 km

Average: 7.47 kmh

Top Speed: 45.38 kmh

Total Distance: 8188.09km  


After an extremely relaxing day off we continue our journey along the Puster Valley.  We haven’t gone far when we see another touring couple, Guido and Rita.

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 They’ve just done Norway and are heading home to Switzerland,  we’re a bit confused as to why they’ve come via Venice.  It turns out they want to do the Silk Road next year so hopefully we’ll meet them again.  We finally head off having analysed their kit compared to ours. There’s a medieval castle in Casteldarne which was the ancient residence of the Künigl counts.  In Brunico we stop to admire the beautiful frescoed medieval buildings and another castle.

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 We head up a wooded valley besides the Rienza river and then through a couple of rough tunnels.  We cycle through woodlands  besides a lake with the mountains reflected on its water and then another castle at Monguelfo.

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 From here the valley opens out with mountains to our front.  It’s an incredibly beautiful view and somehow looks more like a postcard then reality.  Just at the end of the day we are passed by a recumbent cyclist from Munich, he’s on a HPV and also has one of Andreas’s flags!  

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Our final stop is in the pretty town of Toblach for dinner provisions and a few kilometers further we wild camp by the river.   

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Tuesday 27th September


Toblach to Tai di Cadore

Distance: 62.10 km

Average: 10.90 kmh

Top Speed: 40.64 kmh

Total Distance: 8250.19km  


Our wild camping spot at about 1250m was a little chilly and damp.  Camping next to a river clearly has a downside, well if you include the noise, several.  


But having packed up we’re soon delighted by the crystalline and magnificent Dobbiaco lake.  

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From here we cycle up the Landro valley through woodlands with the river to our right.  We stop at the Sorgenti War cemetery where 1259 soldiers from the Austro-Hungarian Empire are buried.  They died in the mountains during then war with Italy from 1915 to 1918.  

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More climbing and then we have the most incredible view of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo: the magic of the triangle.  These are the symbols of the Dolomites, a UNESCO heritage site.  The imposing mountains stand out against the sky and attract climbers from all over the world, with their difficult routes that have made the history of modern mountaineering:  Cima Grande (2999m), Cima Ovest (2973m) and Cima Piccola (2857m).

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This is also the source of the river Rienza that we’ve been following for so long.  It’s so incredibly beautiful, we can’t believe that we have cycled into the Dolomites. The climbing today has been on gravel tracks, and at times we have crossed very rough areas and even dry river beds with huge stones.  We would never have managed on a normal bike let alone the tandem, but we cross the rough areas on the trikes quite well!  We still have a little more climbing and then we reach Passo di Cimabanche (1529m asl), which marks the border between the Trentino-Alto Adige and Veneto regions.  We are so chuffed and the long, slow climbs have been worth it to see this beautiful area.

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We stop for a coffee, but then it’s downhill for much of the rest of the day.  We follow an old railway line that has been converted to a cycleway.  Down through woodland and out into open meadowland.  Through gorgeous little villages and past many an old railway station. Some are derelict, some converted to homes, all very quaint. Over bridges, through tunnels we keep descending. Gravel and asphalt, nothing slows us down.  We finally stop in Cortina d’Ampozza for lunch and to dry the tent out. This place is very posh and described as the Queen of the Dolomites!

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 Our tent drying in the town square gets us some stares!! I definitely feel like a pikey drying our kit in such a busy tourist town.  Just before the off Daz notices a puncture, so I sit in the sun and chat to a couple from the UK who have seen the flag and popped over to say hello. Puncture fixed, well after 2 attempts, and we’re off.  More downhill!  And on the edge of town an Olympic skijump from 1956.  

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The mountains around us are so beautiful.  We stop for provisions and find another wild camp site just outside Tai de Cadore.  Finally we have seen some signs for Venice… we are getting close, only another 180km to go!!


Wednesday 28th September


Tai di Cadore to Soverzene

Distance: 41.36 km

Average: 11.92 kmh

Top Speed: 48.69 kmh

Total Distance: 8291.55km


An excellent camping site and so much warmer than the previous night.  We only just set off and a car passes us and then stops.

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 It’s an Italian couple and they want to take our picture, and befriend us on FB.  They’re chatting away in Italian and we really don’t understand but we think they had a year’s cycling adventure to China and SE Asia.  After a lengthy chat we continue on our way on the old Cavallera road built by the Austrians in 1828,  where there is very little traffic as most use the new viaduct, and we fly down a steep hill to Perarolo di Cadore,  at the confluence of the Boite stream with the Piave river.

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This used to be a very important place in the region due to its river connections,  but with the advent of the car, train and finally a new road and a viaduct it lost its central role, cut off from commercial traffic. A common destiny for all the small towns in this part of the upper Piave.  

We are so enamored of the region and its beauty.  We take a moment to discuss the fact we are cycling in the Dolomites on a Wednesday morning.  Two years ago we would have been cycling to work in the dark for another day in the office!!  Amazing. We highly recommend this cycling route to one and all!

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Later we take a detour to Longarone.  Here there is a large dam in a side valley and in 1963, shortly after its completion an enormous landslide came away from Mount Toc and dropped into the newly formed lake.  The resultant wave caused 50 million cubic meters of water to overflow the dam.  This surge ran down the valley and obliterated the villages below, Longarone was the worst hit.   Nearly 2000 people died and we visited the memorial cemetery in Fortogna.  The people that died are all remembered with individual marble stones with their names and ages.  We note that whole families,  some with 3 and 4 generations,  were killed.

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We carry on down the valley and recross the Piave river at the Soverzene Power Station,  with its grand facade.   The guide book tells us there is a small tunnel to negotiate and some narrow bridges.  What greets us is a very narrow path around the edge of a cliff, a very low tunnel and some precarious slopes and stairs to negotiate.  But we get through with a little lifting and shunting and we are soon in a picturesque area by the river.  We stop for lunch and sit on the river bank.

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 After setting off again we cycle a little then decide it’s too good an opportunity to pass up.  We backtrack and are soon paddling and dunking in the very chilly, but crystal clear waters of the river.  I grab some water in our collapsible bucket and have a sponge bath on the banks.  As I’m doing this a lady walks by with her black lab and her 3 month old puppy who decides to join me in the bucket of water!!

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 We chat with the lady and she says she is with some slackliners who are practicing in a wooded park not far down the track.  So once we are clean and dressed again we cycle over.  There’s a small group of guys practicing on some slacklines hung between trees.  They make it look so easy, but when we have a go it’s anything but!!

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 They love our trikes and have a go riding around the park. We decide that we’ve had enough cycling today and set up camp off to one side of the grassed area.  The guys reckon we will not be disturbed during the night.  Dinner tonight is our firm favourite, egg and bacon rolls with cups of tea!!


Thursday 29th September


Soverzene to Ponte della Priula

Distance: 60.57 km

Average: 11.94 kmh

Top Speed: 53.14 kmh

Total Distance: 8352.12km


In the morning we cycle along the Cellina canal until we reach Santa Croce Lake, a mecca for windsurfers and kitesurfers.  

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As we cross the Tesa stream on a long wooden bridge we pass some adults escorting some adolescents with learning difficulties.  One of the girls throws her baseball cap off the bridge into the stream below, about 10 metres down.  Daz  offers to help and runs along the bridge, down a steep bank and wades across the many streams feeding the lake and finally rescues the hat from the stream below. Rounds of applause all around. We continue to cycle along Santa Croce lake, at the foot of the Alpago and Pascolet mountains.  Unfortunately when we pass there’s no wind and no-one out on the water.

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We then climb steadily on a quiet road to the end of phase 4 – the border of Treviso province, the Alpine border which connects Alpago with Val Lapisina.  We spot a restaurant with a full carpark and check to see if they have a menu of the day.  12€ for 3 courses – delicious!

After our big lunch we’re lucky it’s a big steep descent with hardly any traffic ( thanks to the new  motorway viaduct).   It’s a very pretty area with 2 lakes, the second one,  Morto Lake, is fed by karst underground basins.  It’s not long before we arrive in Vittorio Veneto -’ a must-see’ according to the guidebook.

Vittorio Veneto,  a city born in 1866, the union of Serravalle and Ceneda, with beautiful palaces,  old houses and some old taverns.  It’s the birthplace of Alessandro Tandura, the first parachutist in the world in war action.  

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We stop in piazza Flaminio with the Grand canal running along it. It’s very pretty and we sit and dry the tent.  Once we leave the town we cycle along the Meschio River,  through splendid vineyards, the Prosecco vineyards,  and we spot river birds, small waterfalls and fishermen on the river banks.    

A couple of short steep climbs with reciprocal descents and we arrive in Conegliano with it’s picturesque castle. We cycle to the centre by theatre and as we are in the Prosecco capital enjoy a glass of the sparkling wine… very refreshing.

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 We cycle out of this town on busy roads, it is rush hour after all.  And finally after crossing the Ponte della Priula we’re back in the countryside and manage to find a wild camp site between some vines.



Friday 30th September


Ponte della Priula to Monastier di Treviso

Distance: 68.64 km

Average: 11.85 kmh

Top Speed: 39.93 kmh

Total Distance: 8420.76km


It was a good wild camping spot last night except for its proximity to a quarry, extracting gravel from the Piave,  which started up at 6am which disturbed Darren and his beauty sleep.  He thought it was a train, the longest train in the world, and then he realised it was the quarry machinery!  We stop in Nervesa to have a coffee and to charge our camera and phone (the downside of wild camping and a broken Son dynamo).  Here there’s the Nervesa della Battaglia Military Memorial ; here lie 9235 Italian soldiers most of whom died during the Solstice Battle (June 1918), the last desperate Austrian onslaught.   

Our cycle path takes us along the Bosco canal. I love these cycleways,  barely any traffic and I can watch the water flowing in the canals, look for fish and birds and look at the various plants.  It’s not too onerous by any stretch of the imagination.   Autumn is definitely here, the leaves on the trees are changing colour and falling to the ground.  We stop at the British Cemetery;  417 white tombstones for those who fell at the Italian front during the first world war.  

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A sobering experience reading the gravestones, these men died so young and the engravings are so moving.  We continue along the canal, fascinated by the hydroelectric installations and archimedes screws that occur periodically .  The main water channel is closed and water diverted down the screw, thus generating power.  


The route to Treviso zigzags through the countryside, but finally we reach the historical centre of Treviso.  With its dreamlike canals, its surrounding integral walls, the historical houses, the arbours and the evocative plazas making Treviso a masterpiece of which piazza del Signori is the centre.  

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It has a delightful atmosphere but we head to McDonald’s for a charging and WiFi Fest! We follow the river out and soon find a quiet park for an early dinner and to dry the tent before going on to find a wild camping site for night.  We reach Roncade with its pretty castle. But the sun has set and we don’t have time to explore.  

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We ask the Carabinieri if there is somewhere to camp, hoping they will put us up in the station house – no joy.  It’s Dar now and we stop in a vineyard but when we put the tent up we realise the groud is too rough and uneven to allow a good nights sleep. We pack up again. Another couple of km’s and we turn off the main road looking for a spot by a river we can see on the map.  However the road is elevated with steep banks so it’s a while until finally Daz pulls into an access point to a field. We slip through the gate and set up camp on the side of a plowed field. Kettle on for a cup of tea and then it’s straight to bed.

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Saturday 1st October


Monastier di Treviso to Caligo

Distance: 40.19 km

Average: 10.01 kmh

Top Speed: 28.58 kmh

Total Distance: 8460.95 km


This morning we are woken early by some hunters who park up nearby then walk past our tent, how rude!  At least they were out of range before commencing firing.   We cycle through Monastier and stop for coffee and charging our electronics.  It’s great watching different cultures in their daily lives.  The Italians are much more open and effusive when meeting and greeting people.  

Today we are following the Piave river again, but a lot of the track is rough pebble and quite slow going.  We finally see sweet corn being harvested.  I say finally because we’ve seen so many fields of sweet corn and Daz often steals a head or 2 and now it’s being harvested.   It goes in the harvester whole and comes out as the individual kernels but how?   We are still none the wiser.

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As we cycle along there are lots of information boards with photos from the Great War as there was a lot of fighting in the area.  There are also details about Ernest Hemingway who fought and was injured here.

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 Later in the afternoon we reach San Doña di Piave.  Here we see the cathedral and the lovely square with the town hall.  

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After crossing the Victory Bridge we see the Monument to the Bersagliere Soldier, a replica of the one in Rome.  

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Now we are nearing the Venetian lagoon and after crossing our second pontoon bridge of the day we reach Caposile and get our first glimpse.  But again the track is rough and now with a headwind.

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 We were hoping to reach the campsites on the Lido but fatigued after 8 days of tenting we weaken and book into a lovely Agri Hotel out in the countryside.  These guys make their own wine and it would be rude not to sample… delicious!


Sunday 2nd October


Caligo to Punta Sabbioni

Distance: 30.12 km

Average: 12.09 kmh

Top Speed: 18.81 kmh

Total Distance: 8491.07 km
A very relaxing night.  Civilisation is just great: a real bed, hot water, electricity galore, and WiFi.  We even managed to watch a new series, The Vice Principal – thanks Carl.  Unfortunately a bit on the pricey side:  the laundry we thought she was doing for free was very costly as was the drink she offered us on our arrival.  We stay as long as we can uploading this blog before completing our last leg.  Unfortunately it starts to rain and the mosquitos are everywhere.  

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 We cover ourselves in insect repellant but they seem to see this as a mere challenge to get to my very tasty blood supply.  I react far more to their bites than Darren.  We follow the river and pass some intriguing wooden huts by the water with pulley systems and frames hanging over the water.  

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After a hundred metres Daz pulls over and decides to investigate one of the huts we have just passed. A group of older folk, one couple are in their 90’s. They are very happy to answer our questions and even show us what they are doing.  They have a huge net that is raised and lowered mechanically into the river to catch fish.  They show us their catch and share a glass of prosecco with us.  They raise the net for us and all they’ve caught is a huge jellyfish.   After that we leave the canals and lagoon and cycle down the main road.  We just want to get to the end and the camp site.

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 The first one we think is a bit pricy, so we move on and soon are ensconced in a lovely place with all mod cons.  Well that’s the end of the Munich to Venice cycle.  It’s been amazingly beautiful and we have thoroughly enjoyed it.  The majority of it has been away from main roads and much of it has been on rough roads but on the trikes its all been eminently doable!  We really would recommend it to you all.  Tomorrow we will start our sightseeing in Venice!!