This day marks exactly one year since we arrived in Switzerland on our way through to Oslo and it has been a very busy year indeed. Now with both of us in gainful employment we are time-poor. But the up side is that we have more cash, yes, but also a place for visiting guests. This year we have been kept busy with travelling motorcyclists, from all corners of the world, with family and friends visiting us and it has given us the opportunity to get to know our temporary home even better. On September 4th we set off once again in search of new roads across the Alps, this time south into Italy we rode through the largest canton of Switzerland, Valais, over the Simplon pass (alt. 2008m) and into Italy.

Ferry crossing of Lago di Maggore in Northern Italy

We crossed over Lago Maggore one of the magnificant great lakes in the north of Italy and headed past Como and Verona towards Venice. Just before arriving in Venice we rode through the Riviera del Brenta, a quaint region with Victorian style houses and iron caste gates. All the buildings were painted with either a very tuscan terracotta or a pastel pink stonewash.

Is there anywhere like it in the world?

Venice. Is there anywhere like it in the world?

We joined the hoards of tourists and soaked up what we could of the Italian water born town with it’s cafés, churchs, art galleries and narrow streets and canals. With Francois looking forlorn as we left him parked amongst other bikes on entry to Venice we reluctantly made way to our apartment where Nick and Belinda were waiting with ice cold beer. What great friends, they certainly know how to cheer up a weary couple of travellers.

Beers in Venice

Enjoying a brew in the floating city of gondolas

After a few days in venice it was time to say good-bye to our dear friends and regain Francois who had been sitting out in the open for the past three days. It’s always the most apprehensive moment just before getting back to Francois after a few days for fear of him being vandalised, or worse stolen. Luckily all was in order and so we repacked the panniers and headed to Trieste and the very short Slovenian coastline. Well planned by the extraordinary co-pilot, we found a small but beautiful town pearched on a hilltop just over the border into Croatia. The town of Groznjan is a historic village now mostly for Tourism but also sells local produce from the region of Istra including the Istrian grappa flavoured with mistletoe, rose, honey or many more.

Groznjan Croatia
Arriving in the quaint little town of Grosjan nestled in the hills of northern Croatia

Istria is a surprising yet understated region that has many hidden treasures and some fantastic motorcycling. From Croatia we headed south along the coast road until Senj then headed inland towards Plitvicka Jezera National Park which is located near the border with Bosnia & Herzegovina.

Plitvicka Jezera NP

The simply stunning crystal blue pools of Plitvicka Jezera National Park

Don’t be fooled, as we were, by the clear blue skies that were traitors to what was to come. We spent the night under downpours that would contest the monsoons of asia, soaked like drowned rats we sort shelter in the camping site bar, cold and wet it was as long night. The next morning eager to make a quick departure before the rains came back we scouffed down bread and chocolate with coffee making hast to Ljubljana via Zagreb.

Ljubljana Centre

View of the Franciscan Monastery and Church of Annunciation in central Ljubljana