Hi there! During the time before our depature we have read a book by Margot Flügel-Anhalt called „Über Grenzen“ in which she describes her journey on the Pamir highway on a 125 ccm motorcycle (worth a read!). On the backcover there is a quote by her, it says:
„Departing is the hardest part. Being on the way is nice and easy.“
After the months of preparation, serious corona struggles and some hard goodbyes we can´t agree more and finally the moment we have been waiting for for years - if you count from the beginning when we first made the decision to really persue this dream of ours – is here. Many may wonder how this feels like and in our case it did not feel very special. Sorry, but that´s the truth. We think it best compares to heading off on a well-deserved summer vacation after a long winter. Of course we were both super happy to finally hit the road but it was hard to grasp the scale of this journey we have just embarked on. From reading a lot of travel / overland blogs we have made the experience that this special long time travel feeling kicked in several weeks – or even months – into the journey and we are excited when it will come to us.
So here we are cruising along Autobahn A3 passing Frankfurt am Main and heading into the direction of Würzburg when we are redirected off the highway on a bypass through Würzburg city center. We had left our hometown at around 7 pm and by the time we pass the city center it is around 11 pm. We quickly start to wonder about why the city is so deserted – a few people in a bus are the only ones we see while passing through the entire city. It suddenly dawns on us that the federal state of Bavaria has issued a curfew past 10 pm due to COVID-19 containment regulations. Seems like we are off to a good start – illegally passing a curfew zone – and it gets really quiet in our car: Was this such a great idea after all to start this journey during a pandemic when the first thing we see is a ghost town? Well, it is now to late to turn around.
First refill in Slovenia
It is natural to speculate about the things you´ll experience and the people you meet on a long-term trip. So did we but the thought that we would sit in the back of a Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG just two days into the trip certainly never crossed our mind. But anyway it happend and our trip to the fish market in Pula (tuna steak!) and following camp fire evening with Hartmut and Marco – a german father / son duo on a two-week Croatia holiday – is surely a one-off and unexpected start with two great guys!
Some much needed sunshine
Pula fish market
After two nights of recharging batteries it is time for us to slowly make our way through Istria and experience more of Croatia´s coastal landscape. The peninsula of Kamenjak is just a five minute drive from Premantura and so it´s a no-brainer to make a short stop there. The Kamenjak peninsula – also called Cape Kamenjak is the southernmost part of Istria and a small nature reserve offering numerous bays and a variety of beaches – some of them are only accessible by boat. It has a rugged coastline and invites to swim in the turquoise sea or jump from high cliffs. As there are no large buildings in the peninsula – just a couple of beach bars and a farm – it has maintained a very natural feel when you stay off the main gravel roads. The peninsula is accessible by vehicles (cars, motorbikes, etc.) - a fee applies which you do not have to pay in off-season. Or if you are visiting on foot or with a bicycle. The peninsula can get crowded on weekends and in high-season as it´s natural beauty attracts tourists as well as locals.
After our first night out in the open close to a countryside road at Ližnjan we know that we are in for a great time in Croatia: We are parked just a couple of meters from the sea. After a scrambled egg breakfast we head straight back to Pula to restock on groceries. It feels a little bit strange to park Rosie – which is our house from now on after all – all alone at the parking lot for the first time. We force us to not overthink the situation as we´ll be in similar ones probably hundred of times during our journey. Surprise: The car is still there when we got back. We take the countryside road 66 heading north inland from Pula, passing through Labin and reaching Zagorje – to catch the ferry to Porovina on the island of Cres. Guess who we met at the ferry port?
First wild campspot
Ferry to Cres next to the G-Wagon
Cres is a relatively long but narrow island and there is just one larger road leading all the way through the island, the road 100. Using Park4Night we found a seemingly nice campspot on the other side of the bay but it is already occupied by a couple of Volkswagen vans as we soon find out after a nice gravel road drive through olive tree fields. It starts to rain heavily while we search for an alternative spot which we soon find at the top of a little hill overlooking the sea. After setting up camp it is indoor-cooking time. This time a bad weather camping classic: A pot of noodles with bolognese sauce. In the morning the rain got a little bit less so it was time to launch the drone and gather a couple of arieal shots from the place. We head back to Cres, entering through a little road by the port we find an abandoned basketball court / skate park with a destroyed camper trailer. To put it in modern words: Probably a lost place!
Overlooking the islands capital
Who´s in for a restauration project?
We make use of the bad weather and travel further down south where a little bridge (it´s really little) connects the islands of Cres and Mali Losinj. Our destination for this day is the town of Mali Losinj – a city with a beautiful port promenade and old town. We have been here before in 2015 by boat and wanted to take a closer look. We decide to take cover from the rain and have a coffee break at a bar. Yeah, you read that right. We sat down and had a Cappucino. At a bar. A real happing because it´s our first visit to a bar since months because restaurant and bars in Germany where closed due to the pandemic. We find a campspot near the airport of Mali Losinj (sounds noisy, but it´s a small airport for sport planes and private jets and there was no air traffic at all), collect some trash out of the woods, make dinner (indoor again) and fall asleep dreaming of sun and blue skies.
Port of Mali Losinj
This one isn´t our ferry. Hopefully.
It seems that little dreams come true faster as there is no rain and a glimpse of sunlight the next morning. We pack up and drive north again as we feel there is no more to see here this time. After a short ferry ride from Merag to Valbiska we enter the island of Krk and spend a night at Punta Jerta Campsite where the owner welcomes us with a free can of Ožujsko – a well-known Croatian brand. So tasty! As the weather clears up it feels a littly hard to leave the sweet campsite and the small bay it is situated in. But we have made plans to explore some of Croatias national parks as long as the weather is a bit cooler and more hiking-friendly. The next morning we cross the bridge which connects Krk and the mainland and follow the road E65 – known as the Adriatic highway – south.
At Punta Jerta Campsite