My friend Miguel from Tavira, is from Porto. He and many others have said “you must visit Porto.” So I found a “super hostel” just steps from the train station, THE BEST GUEST HOSTEL. Everyone there was super helpful and friendly, the rooms were spotlessly clean & included breakfast!, 16 euro. I found a friendly & informative bicycle rental company, BICLAS & TRICLAS and off I go.
The Douro River cuts Porto, so I decided to ride the river then head north along the ocean. I rode to the power plant, the one that recharges my phone! Made a loop out of it and cut back through a local park.
PARQUE DA CIDADE DO PORTO: BIKE PATHS & PONDS
POWER PLANT IN THE BACKGROUND
Coming from “Beer Town” (Portland, Or.), I find the beer culture is always a great tourist route too. I mapped the local beer places and started walking & drinking (never drunk). The beer culture is just getting started in Portugal. CERVEJA NORTADA was celebrating their first anniversary, the beers were supercheap with great Pale Ale’s & IPA’s. the place was packed-good times the 2 times I visited.
I get another bike the next day for more exploring of Porto. I cross the river and head to the beach then south along the ocean. Porto has really invested in some beautiful bike lanes that follow right along the ocean. There’s lots of open space that is scattered with a few restaurants & bars. You also pass along the Douro Estuary Natural Reserve. Afurada is a wonderful fishermen village just outside Porto, that includes fish restaurants BBQing seafood. I thought I should ride first and eat on the way back. The houses with the exterior tiles are amazing. There’s some weird thing about people who do laundry along the river, I didn’t get it?
Stanley moved and then the bus got packed at the next stop. He’s not happy.
I wanted to revisit Sidi-Ifni and Stanley had friends in Tiznet. So we took the bus. I forgot my jacket on the bus, it went on a 2,000km trip to Algeria and back. I was shocked I got it back. Moroccan’s are super honest & very hard working people. I never felt threaten or in fear, I had a really good time in Morocco this time.
I’m really in my element when I’m traveling. I still have the yearning to experience what the world has to offer, it’s people, places, art, food, architecture, history ( + I can still walk). We book a room online, 6 euro night, right in town. We meet up with Stanley’s friend and have lunch. Right after lunch we go to one of the 2 bars in town.
They moved it to the sidwalk the next day, I guess that’s progress in Morocco
The reason for the policeman photo is 6 years ago, I did photos with policeman in every country except Morocco, it’s forbidden. So I thought I would try again, yep-got it. Last time here I thought, Morocco was nice but I didn’t need to come back. This trip I was visiting my good biking friend Stanley, so a different experience, for sure! He bought a house about 5 years ago and invited me to visit.
The Moroccans are the best salesman (scammers), my first time I got lured into several typical Moroccan “tours.” Again this time, when I got to the Medina in Marrakesh, I couldn’t find my hostel. I finally asked a Moroccan for directions, he took me in a giant circle and then to my hostel. I saw several hostels signs, when I asked the hostel hosts about the signs? They said that the Moroccans removed some of the signs, so they can make a euro or 2 helping “find” your accommodation. I paid, they got me again!, they’re good.
SOMETIMES IT’S A LITTLE DIFFICULT TO GET TO THE EARTH CAFE
I ate everyday a the Earth Cafe, nice n quiet and healthy. After all the meat in Spain, this was the break I needed. Their advertising was a local hangout too!
Since I’ve been to Marrakesh and didn’t want to carry souvenirs around for 3 1/2 weeks, I headed to Stanley’s place. It was an all day affair to get there, basically outside the middle of nowhere. I finally got the mini-bus to TINWAINEN. There was 22 people on the mini-bus, check out video below.
IN AGADIR AN IMMIGRANTS REFUGEE CAMP
“TINWAINEN” HANDMADE RUG
STANLEY IS THE TOWN CELEBRITY
DINNER @ LHABIB’S HOUSE
LHABIB’S MOM MAKING ARGAN OIL
LHABIB SENT ME THIS PICTURE OF HIS KIDS
FIRST MINI BUS RIDE FROM TAROUDANT TO TINWAINEN . IN THE VIDEO I SAID 15 PEOPLE I LATER COUNTED 22 INCLUDING 5 KIDS.
I asked Stanley “is there was a cafe in town”, he said “no.” We took a walk around the village and there’s is a new cafe in town. Stanley had little to no food at his house, so I said let’s go out. The owner Leonard has a foosball table and a pool table, it’s the community center. I owned the pool table for awhile, till the kid came and beat me 3 times! plus the..
My friend Stanley from France has a house in Morocco and has invited me to visit. If I’m going to go that far, I’ve got some people & places I want to visit along the way. Bike touring brings you places you may not experience, otherwise. When I biked through Colera, Spain 5 years ago I was only going to stay 1 night. After setting up my tent, I biked into town, I was here 2 weeks. I met Nuria a local artist who had her signature ants walking the street. Hiking, Biking, Beach walking, kayaking, snorkeling, scuba diving & more can all be found in Colera. (3 Photos from 5 years ago)
Gardening with Nuria, (you can see why I came back)
I asked to stay for 10 days? OK! But like everywhere I stay, I contribute to the house. I stacked and hauled firewood, washed windows, weeded some too. Just lying around isn’t how I got here. I’ve been hiking & biking some while I’m here.
I’M IN CATALUNYA COUNTRY (for sure)
Walking around Colera, there’s lots to see, lots of Nuria
NURIA HAS A BIGGER SIGN THAN THE CHURCHLOCAL “ART” POSTERNURIA’S LOCAL ART INSTALLATION ANT INVASION (the Bar in the back is one of two)
There’s lots of work going on here: the camping’s new pools, railroad bridge and the housing. The sidewalks, parks and streets are all in great condition. When you travel and see how much crumbling infrastructure there is in the world. When you see it this nice you have to say “Thank you.”
FIXING THE RAILROAD BRIDGE
Colera is one road in and one road out. The town square: grocery store, bank, bar and community center.
CATALONIA IS NOT SPAIN MY SNORKEL GUIDE FROM 5 YEARS AGO (above photo)LOCAL BAR DOUBLES AS A DAY CARE CENTER TOO!
Outside of Colera is the abandoned city of Molinas. I biked out one day, then the next day Nuria decided she was going up, to work..
My good friend David (aka Chops) visited for 3 weeks from America. We rented a car, loaded up the bikes and explored the hidden Gems of Slovenia, while visiting friends.
We started in Tolmin and stayed at Camp Vili, Little did I know this would turn into the Ping Pong Tour Championship of Slovenia.
Our first day we biked to the Tolmin Falls & hiked the gorgeous gorge.
HEART ROCK WEDGED IN GORGE
BEAR FACED ROCK-SEE IT?
COFFEE & COLD WATER AFTER A DAY OF BIKING AND HIKING
CAMP VILI SPECIAL TROUT DINNER YUM!
We drove up and over the Vrsic Pass. I’ve bike over it and there were cows laying at nearly every switch-back. This time, the pass was covered with sheep.
Were they stoned?
I didn’t have permission to take the car out of Slovenia. So we parked in Kranjska Gora & biked to Italy. Chops bragged about biking to Italy and drinking Cappuccino in Italy! We hiked the Vintgar Gorge (photos), visited Lake Bled (rode bikes around the Lake). Since we had the car we took the back road to Lake Bohinjsko. The Ping Pong Tour continued at the mountain top sports center, both pool & ping pong. Then visited friends Mateja, Anna & the twins in Jezersko. They were in the middle of making raspberry syrup, when we arrived. They also grow & gather wild herbs for making teas. We cooked dinner for everyone.
I was bike touring around Slovenia, with Stanley from France, a few years ago. We stumbled into Kamniks Festival-KamFest. They filled the old town with high quality crafts, chopper bicycle show, food, music and “FREE BEER” from Mali Grad Brewery. I biked back last week, to re-live this great event.
THE RAISED & SEPARATED BIKE PATH MAKE PARTS A SAFE-ENJOYABLE RIDE.
Sometimes the bike route was a shoulderless somewhat unfriendly bike route. I’m confident riding nearly anywhere, put I prefer carfree. I enlarged the phone map and found a gravel route that followed the river.
NICE COW BARN
IT DOESN’T LOOK THAT ORGANIC, BUT THIS TECHNIQUE OF GARDENING SAVES TIME AND WATER
MUCH BETTER UNPAVED PATH THAN IN CROATIA LAST WEEK
I MISSED A TURN AND THIS TRAIL WAS THE LAST KILOMETER BEFORE KAMNIK
SLOVENIA IS “INVESTING” IN HEALTHY BIKING INFRASTRUCTURE
I’m camping next to the community swimming pool, yep I go. I visit the pub/hostel across from the street from camping. The Mali Grad brewer is there, I ask if he’s giving free beer again this year? nope (shit).
I head to the local museum, how wrong can a 2.50euro admission go?
Numerous people have told me about the Parenzana trail from Trieste Italy through Slovenia to Porec Croatia, on the beach. It’s a old railroad right of way, so I thought how hard can it be?
ONCE ON THE TRAIL IN ITALY, IT CAN BE QUITE NICE.
Grabbed the bus from Ljubljana to Trieste, saving 2 days of riding. Riding out of Trieste was tough, met another cyclist who guided me closer to the start of the “trail”. Once on the trail, it was super nice, paved, signed and the first figs of the year were just ripening. Only biked an hour or so in Italy until I crossed into Slovenia.
WHICH IS IT? BIKE PATH OR NO BIKES ALLOWED?
I ATE QUITE A FEW FIGS
SLOVENIAN BORDER AT THE BLUE SIGN
ITALY BIKE PATH BORDER SLOVENIA
It’s super hot out, I called a friend, Uros who owns a hostel in Izola-sorry full. So I pinched the last spot in a campground that is packed with tents. Rode into Izola in the morning for a chocolate croissant with Uros. Then to Piran on the Parenzana trail, set up the tent and went swimming in the ocean. The water was too warm (climate change), actually not that refreshing. Gotta keep moving if I want to ride the whole route.
IN CROATIA THE TRAIL STARTS OUT AWESOME
VIEW FROM CROATIA TOWARDS PIRAN, SLOVENIA & SALT PONDS
“THE ROUTE OF HEALTH & FRIENDSHIP”? IS KILLING ME
NO BATHROOM REST AREA, SO HERE YOU GO
THE TRAIL IS GETTING TOO ROUGH FOR ME & MY TOURING BIKE
CROATIAN CULTURE BBQ
PIG & GOAT
HAD ENOUGH OF THIS “TRAIL”
I START RIDING THE PAVED ROAD, SO MUCH NICER! WITH FEW CARS
The only camping nearby is EKO-GECKO MINI AUTOKAMP. I walk up a gravel trail for 1 km, it’s super hot, but a good move. I set my tent up and it starts raining-hard. I wait under the camp shelter for 1/2 hour for it to stop, check tent-dry. Talking with Michael of Eko-Gecko, he says the trail gets worse. I’m done with the Parenzana trail. All the people who “recommended” the trail I don’t think have actually ridden it. I walked around the town and saw several flowering Clerodendron trees. That was my Grandma’s favorite tree, it reminded me of her. I had one planted in my yard back in America.
Someone told me about the FLOATING CASTLE FESTIVAL when I was at the Kranj Fest last week. I was on the fence about going, but on Friday I packed up and took the bus to Sneznik Castle. Camping for only 5 euro + 20 euro for a 2 day all events pass. It’s a weekend of music, puppet shows, comedy juggling, and yep Slovenian Crafted beer. Watch out Portland & Oregon, we’re taking over.
NICE ADDITION AND SAVING SOME OLD TOO
ROUTE FROM BUS STATION TO SNEZNIK CASTLE
VW BEER VAN, I MAY HAVE HAD ONE OR 2?
Music is the main focus, there was music all around the castle and with various stages in the woods too. My favorite band from Skofja Loka, THE DREAMS, played. I know the guitar player some and after the show, he brought me beer. I thought you were suppose to buy the artist the beer? I wish I could count how often that happens. I felt like I stepped back in time, there were “hippies” everywhere. I consider myself an old hippy, but we’re talking young hippies.
Help! the Beatle Tribute band was playing in Kranj. Since it was biking distance, I reserved a night at the hostel (13 euro with breakfast). When I lived in Skofja Loka I had biked to Kranj maybe 20 times.
I HAD ALREADY RIDDEN 10 KM WHEN I GOT TO THIS SIGN
BIKE PATH CUTS THROUGH CORNFIELDS BY CHURCHES
MANURE SPREADING, THE SMELLS OF LITTLE SLOVENIA WHEW!
BIKE PATH LEADING THE BRIDGE
SINGLE TRACK BRIDGE
COUNTRY ROADS MADE WIDE ENOUGH TO ACCOMMODATE BIKES
SOMETIMES I’M A LITTLE SURPRISED HOW MANY BICYCLIST ARE OUT RIDING
I ARRIVED A LITTLE EARLY SO I VISIT MY FAVORITE BAKERY
It’s KranFest, so there’s lots of stuff going on in town, beach volleyball! yea baby. I’ve been to several of the museums already, I did find a few that I hadn’t seen yet. I walk the town and find the “nickname” for Kranj-Kranjsterdam!
I met a family on their first family bike tour- quite the set-up.
FEELS LIKE SAN DIEGO
1,000 YEAR OLD REMAINS, RIGHT BENEATH THE GLASS FLOOR, WHERE THEY WERE FOUND
SEE, YOU CAN TRAVEL WITH 2 KIDS, WITHOUT A CAR
BEE DOOR IN TOURIST OFFICE, I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT IT MEANS?