Rovinj - An Autumn by the Sea - CycleBlaze

September 14, 2018

Rovinj

I began composing today’s entry in my head as we were biking this morning, but by the end of the day I have a different story to tell.

This morning brought some of the finest riding of the tour, as we bike across the plateau north of Labin, on quiet lanes lined with the usual hand-laid stone walls and scrubby mixed hardwood forest broken by intermittent small clearings with the dry remains of the summer’s sunflowers and corn crop mixed in with huge squash ripe for the harvest.  It all reminds me of some of the best riding in southern France, as we pass by enticing, even smaller paved lanes branching off and beckoning us to explore them instead.

After a few miles of this, we come to the edge of the world and drop down to the Raca river and its finger inlet - steeply at first, and then gradually enough that we can enjoy the views.  On the way down we mentally prepare for the 1,200’ climb out the other side, but the pain never comes - the grade never tops about three percent, and we maintain a comfortable cadence all the way up, eventually topping out and turning off onto another lovely side road.  This country would reward a several day stay, at least, testing out all of these small roads.

An advantage of biking in and out of spots along different routes - we would have missed the best view of Labin if we hadn’t come this way today.
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Looking across Raca Bay. We’ll drop down to it soon and then climb up the other side.
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Nice to be going the right direction for a change
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Target, a small fishing village on Rasa bay. It looks peaceful enough, but around the hill is a huge ship loading facility.
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That old boat anchor (don’t call me old, she says in the background).
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He’s loading his wagon by hand, lugging these huge squash across the field. After posing, he impishly offered to give me the large one next to him, to add to the load on my bike.
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I love biking through Southern Europe in harvest season. It’s just beginning here, so we can anticipate a lot of scenes like this in the coming months.
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We come to Zminj, a pretty small town with some ruined fortifications, a lovely old baroque church, and a delightful kitten cavorting in the parking lot that temps my camera.  I’ve got to be careful though - I’m under a kitty cap, and want to make every shot count.  Not quite good enough, so I take a pass.

After this, the ride changes completely.  There’s only one road to Rovinj from central Istria; and it’s shoulderless single lane; and we’re competing with everyone - tourists, campers, trucks, buses, the whole catastrophe.  It’s straight, so the visibility is good at least; but it’s straight, so everyone feels like they can race and pass slower cars at will.  Yuk.

Finally, three miles from town we come to a bike lane of sort; but we won’t come this way again.  I’ll have to look at the next two day’s rides to see what the options are for getting out of this place.

Rachael is excited to be getting here because she’s found a bike store and mechanic who will look at her gears and brakes, which need adjustment.  I’m hopeful too, because I’ve picked up a click in the left crank that sounds like I’ve broken a bearing there or in the left pedal.  He’s not a real mechanic though - he does a good job with her gears, which she’s happy about; but at the end of the day I’m looking at the map and Google, trying to figure out where I going to find my bearings down the road.

Rovinj is another famous Croatian honey pot - unbelievably scenic, and famously so - so we have a lot of company.  We’re here for two nights, so we’ll get a better look at it in one of the mornings ahead, before the crowds fill the streets.

Saint Mihovil Church, in Zminj. Zminj, a small town at the top of the ridge between the Rasa and Lim valleys, bills itself as the crossroads of Istria.
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Our home for the next two nights. We’re on this incredibly narrow, quiet street just off the island, just away from the crowds and noise.
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The sea walls are lined with spectators waiting for the big sunset.
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The big sunset doesn’t show, but the small one leaves a nice impression.
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I would never try to attack this place.
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A lone poser stands between me and Rovinj’s famous campanile. I wish I had taken a picture instead of the four goofballs just to the right, waving at the sky with grins on their faces, taking a high tech selfie from their drone.
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For Jen, who would like to see more cats in her life. This one is suddenly alert, drawn to attention by a bird in the nearby trees.
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Steve Miller/GrampiesYour limit on cat photos is entirely self imposed. I could absorb lots more, food too. My own blogs also have unlimited cows!
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Steve Miller/GrampiesOh yes. All those cow photos. I’ve been meaning to say something about that.
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2 months ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Scott AndersonHere is a suggested text:

"Those cow photos are great, but you need more cats!"
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2 months ago
Rovinj definitely has its scenic spots. We’ll see more of them when the light is better.
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The daily wash - always a good subject.
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We’re here for the Rovinj wine festival. That explains the crowds. I’m sure it would be very quiet here otherwise.
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Ride stats today: 41 miles, 2,200’; for the tour, 516 miles, 37,500’

Today's ride: 41 miles (66 km)
Total: 523 miles (842 km)

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Keith ClassenHi Scott snd Rachael - i am having a dickens of a time responding to your notes on our blog so am posting a response here on your blog. Rachael thanks for your tip on Toblack. From the sounds of it our paths might just intersect. That would be fun. Taking a couple days off in Cortina... really enjoying the Dolomites and plan to spend a few more days exploring. Scott I don’t know if your read a response to you on our blog - day 21 I think. I was asking what app you use to get an an idea of elevations you might encounter on any one day. I use Galileo exclusively and just discovered a feature which is very useful. I can bookmark a destination for the day and then generate a route. It tell you the elevations at any point on that route. You can make adjustments to the route easily or extend the destination. Anyway lets keep in touch as we head east and you west. Are you going up the Drau?
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonWe use Mapmyride. It works really well for us as a planning tool (you can scope out distances, total elevation gain, gradients and so on) and generates gpx files we can download to our Garmin devices. Another plus is that it generates a file that you can paste into CycleBlaze to embed maps. That’s how we add our route to our entries.

Yes, we plan on riding up the Drau, but only for about thirty miles. We plan on taking a day ride to Lienz from our stay in Toblach, but after that we head west and into the mountains. It looks like a great route though. Are you planning on following it all the way to Slovenia?
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2 months ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Scott AndersonScott, Jeff's tip note seems to say you can only imbed RideWithGPS and Strava. Tell more about Mapmyride!
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonWhat I can tell you about MapMyRide is that it’s the app we used for several years, before we converted to RideWithGPS. It does not integrate with CycleBlaze that I know of, and doesn’t work as well either. Brain fart.
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2 months ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Steve Miller/GrampiesScott, maybe you did mean ridewithgps? It's just that that is the source of the map in today's post.

I went to mapmyride and was signing up when I decided to look at their "privacy" policy. Mapmyride is a service of the big company UnderArmour, and their policy clearly reflects weeks of work by lawyers and programmers, to wring every bit of use they can extract from your information. Even though as blog writers we clearly are not big on privacy, it scared me off!
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2 months ago
Keith ClassenTo Scott AndersonThanks Scott - yes we plan to ride down the Drau into Slovenia. I really haven’t researched it all but I have a friend and his wife from Berlin highly recommend it after riding it a month or so ago. Decided this morning to check out the Sella Ronda so thats where we are situated tonight in Arabba. Will have to check out mapmyride ... thanks!
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Keith ClassenOK. Note that it’s RideWithGPS, not MapMyRide. Sorry for the error.

We’re thinking of staying in Arabia also, so we’re looking forward to a report.

Slovenia is great - or at least was when we biked through there back in 1999. We keep talking about going back some year.
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2 months ago
Keith ClassenTo Scott AndersonRidewith GPS. Got that! Riding to Arabba involved a 900 meter steady climb over 17km. Lots of motorbikes, some cars snd buses...more traffic than we expected but the drivers were very respectful. Once you get to the summit you have the option to go right leading to Corvara. But that involves a bit more climbing. From Arraba or Corvara you can do the Sella Rhonda route - a 66 km loop over 4 passes. I was hoping we could do this...best done unloaded or in 2 days loaded. Very popular route.
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2 months ago