In the summer in 2017 we had a nice motorcycle express trip to Albania with our friends, when we’ve crossed Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro and Macedonia just in 2 weeks. That was a lot for 2 weeks! So as we still felt we didn’t explore those territories enough, we’ve decided to dive deeper into Albania during the last year’s summer.
Preparing for the bike take-off
To no surprise – packing all the stuff as always was taking us ages, although we’re rather minimalistic, when it comes to choosing stuff to take. We even changed our old hard panniers for smaller soft ones. But it didn’t matter, I suppose ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Everything was progressing slow and in a well-known chaos. So we planned to leave Wroclaw at 10AM at most and we failed miserably, starting the trip past 2 PM (ง •̀_•́)ง
We hadn’t got an exact travel path plan. We just gathered points, which we would like to visit and crosed them on the map. Additionaly we marked a bunch of camping spots tested by others in case we would come late somewhere and couldn’t track some good ground for a tent on our own.
As regular as clockwork plans are too rigid for us. We wanted to have some freedom and a vagrant feeling to our trip, where if you like some place – you just stay longer. And if you change mind the next day and want to go more somewhere else – you just do it. But of course in a reasonable time frame :D We are still working, we didn’t leave our jobs to become full-time adventurers :P
The points on map were falling into a path more or less anyway, when you looked at it from a larger perspective. We only had problem with choosing if we should start our trip from Croatia or rather go straight to Albania.
Transit trough Czechia – from Wroclaw to Austria
In the end we decided to visit Croatia coast first and get lazy near the Adriatic Sea after hours of riding in scorching heat.
The first day we had to cross Czechia and a bit of Austria to rest in our family home in Rohrenbach and then go straight to Croatian border the next day.
We left Poland trough road 8 and road 33. There isn’t much interesting things about them, though, nearby Klodzko is a Stołowe Mountains National Park and Owl Mountains Landscape Park. (Not to mention Snieżnicki Landscape Park near Bystrzyca Klodzka.) There, even if you’re more a biker than a hiker, you can find road 387 – The Road of 100 Turns, which most of Polish motorbikers visit at least once to have some fun. We rode it twice, but that’s a topic for another post ;)
We crossed the Poland and Czechia border in Mladkovske Sedlo. Then we turned to road 312 through Lichkov and in Mladkov we choosed 311. This way we crossed Jablonne nad Orlici, where nearby we found some sand pit with big diggers and trucks. And who doesn’t like the diggers and trucks? ;)
In Lanskroun our 311 road ended and we drove by 43 to Opatov.
Before the Opatov lays a small Hvezda Lake created by the Trebovka river. It’s quite inconspicuous, but composes really well and vividly with surrounding it golden fields with haystacks.
From then on the sun started to hide beneath the horizon and we were riding a long way throug road 43 to the Brno beltway, where it finally got dark and we don’t have much photos from the rest part of journey, unfortunately.
From Brno we took road 52 through Pohorelice, where we stopped at church of St. James Elder for a while.
Then we didn’t do more breaks at Czechia as we pushed straight to the Austria border at Laa an der Thaya trough road 414 and 415.
You can check this part of our tript on video too:
Getting late in Austria
We arrived to Rohrenbach really too late – around 2AM I think :/
This of course led us to also getting up late the next day. What is even worse it turned out we didn’t format properly our hard drive for the videos and photos backup! So we were not able to transfer any files from camera to it.
It took us a while to find someone, who can help us with a computer. And when we’ve finally made it to our greatest saviors and fixed the disc… an ugly storm unleashed. What a lovely start of an adventure (╯︵╰,) But well, we tought to ourselves to screw it then. We stayed a bit longer and had a longer chat and spent some more time with our saviors. This even made the storm go way quicker! :) Only the grey sky and drizzle tagged along, when we got back to Africa’s saddle.
No we could really start the ride to the Croatian border, where the rain wouldn’t chase us at the Adriatic Sea coast… Though, it was a little questionable if we would make to any Croatian beach today as it was already 2PM ;)
Through Rappoltenkirchen we started to crawl on little country roads to Untertulnerbach.
From Untertulnerbach we continued to choose the small, local roads. So the trip was not only more interesting, but also cheaper :P We didn’t buy a vignette as we just wanted to get to Croatia and in Austria even the local roads are in good condition, without any gravel slowing down the pace ;)
We’ve passed Wolfsgraben, Sulz im Wienerwald, Gaaden and reached Siegenfeld, after which we came into road 210 and Baden bei Wien. There we spotted a memorial park with a small Schwechat River, where we made a stop.
This isn’t your super epic place on the whole earth, but it’s a nice spot to chill for a while and even cool down a little while wetting yourself in the river. So not bad at all ;)
The Baden itself is a spa town with thermal waters, which are rich in sulphur and has a huge city garden, a so-called Kurpark, where you can relax, see the Baden panorama or take a walk to the forest. And as I also acknowledged – this region is also a winegrowing region in Austria (mostly white wines, though). So you’ve got everything to make you comfortable there ;)
We gave it a pass this time as Croatia was waiting.
Moving further south, through Wienerneustadt and down the road 54, we encountered a castle in Seebenstein lying on the hill’s top.
We stopped for this quite uncommon view.
The castle was built around 1180 – 1230 and lies 453 meters above the sea level. Though, what we also found interesting – it seemed like a second castle is facing Burg Seebenstein on another hill.
Well, technically, it’s not a castle, it just looks alike one from the road level. It turned out Türkensturz ruins are artificial ruins and were built in 1824 (, so a lot later than the Seebenstein Castle) by a Liechtenstein prince.
Artificial ruins were a thing in 18th century in the German speaking part of the world. It was, well, in good architectural fashion to rise imitations of the ancient buildings or, closer to the romanticism era, imitations of the neo-gothic medieval castles. What amused us the most, both construction options were also built in different faked stages of decay! :D
We rode the 54 road until Penzendorf.
At Ilzal we jumped to small local roads between the villages. We missed the Riegersburg castle because of this. But! We’ve found this castle on our way!
Die kleine Welt der großen Schlösser was however closed. But I’ve read they have like 15 very detailed miniatures of world-famous castles, palaces and their landscapes. The exhibition also shows how the play of light during the day and night affects their appearance.
But well, it was already 6 or 7 PM so no castles for us ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Soon it also started to get dark.
We hesitated a bit if shouldn’t find a place to sleep right away there in Austria, Slovenia or nearer the Slovenia and Croatia border than we had planned.
But we pushed on.
Catching up Croatia
We passed the Slovenian border between the Austrian Sicheldorf and Slovenian Gederovci.
As we were hurring to Croatia, we didn’t get much of Slovenia.
We thought of sihgtseeing Slovenia at the stage of planning the trip, but we calculated that then we wouldn’t have enough time to ride around Albania and again we will maybe just visit Theth. So we resigned from Slovenia this time.
Riding around Murska Sobota we quickly hit the Croatia border at Razkrizje.
Through Strigova, Vulkanovec and Macinec we reached road 208, where bofore Gornij Hrascan… we turned to some dirt road stretching through the corn fields. At first the road was quite firm, but then we reached some forest, where the Google Maps wouldn’t help us and so we just sticked to the track. Judging by the satellite view we hoped it would lead us straight to the Drava River bank with quite vast beach suitable for the tent.
The track seemed quite long and twisty and at it was dark at some point we started to doubt if we go the right way… But fingers crossed we were riding further. Fortunately it payed off. Finally we saw a small turning to a field of rocks. And this was our beach!
Check out the video from the ride here:
Camping at the Drava River bank
As we looked around it seemed the shore is really wide and you had to make some walk to reach the Drava waters.
Dawid tried to ride the bike closer to the bank edge, but he buried the Africa in the rocks and got stuck like in the deep sand half way to the water. So he backed out. Though first we had to dismantle all the panniers and so on, because we couldn’t push the bike out with all the baggage.
But everything ended well. Soon enough we had a home and were ready to sleep.
We couldn’t say if the place was indeed a pretty one as the night was really dark, but it seemed peaceful. No people around. Just dogs barking in the distance in the village. The only thing was some mad cat growling and raving somehow near us. But it sounded like he just settles accounts with some other alley cats ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Just in the morning we found out our camping spot is a nice one.