Buzet - Balkan Dreams - CycleBlaze

September 17, 2020

Buzet

I was wrong a few days back when I said Delnice would be the hardest day of the tour.  This is the hardest day of the tour.  Halfway through the ride when we completed the long climb of the day and arrived at Gračišće, I told Rachael that the worst was behind us and the rest was easy sailing. Four hours and too many adventures later we finally arrived in Buzet, almost three hours later than we’d expected.  

All day long, we consoled ourselves by reminding each other that we’re only carrying half our load, and we shortened our original planned ride significantly by breaking it in half with a stop in Labin.  And, of course, that we’re outdoors and breathing freely the clean air - this simple pleasure has never seemed like such a precious luxury as it does right now.  Complain we may about the small annoyances that come our way, but we have no real complaints.

Still, a hard enough day that I’m too tired to talk more about it.  Just look, and imagine.

This early warning should have tipped us off to the kind of day that lies ahead.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Looking east past the pumpkins to the high ridge behind Plomin Bay. If those trees weren’t in the way or if I’d moved a few feet to the left, we probably could see the enormous chimney of the power plant.
Heart 2 Comment 0
Enjoying a long 10% descent, dropping nearly to sea level when we reach the Raša River. Istria’s terrain is interesting, with its highlands deeply riven by long inlets and rivers that extend far into the interior.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Climbing up the other side of the Raša: 1,400’ at a steady 6-8% grade. I don’t know yet what that village is up there, but it look like the summit.
Heart 1 Comment 0
I was wrong. We just passed that village, Pićan, and we’re still climbing, the real summit is at that second village still up ahead, Gračišće.
Heart 1 Comment 0
If we hadn’t been at the summit and stopped for water anyway, we might not have stopped for a look around Gračišće. It’s a good thing we did. It was the most interesting sight of the day.
Heart 5 Comment 0
In Gračišće.
Heart 2 Comment 0
In Gračišće.
Heart 3 Comment 0
In Gračišće.
Heart 3 Comment 0
In Gračišće.
Heart 2 Comment 0
In Gračišće.
Heart 3 Comment 0
In Gračišće.
Heart 2 Comment 0
In Gračišće.
Heart 3 Comment 1
Jen GrumbyLove that lighting.
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
The view east from Gračišće.
Heart 3 Comment 0
Looking east still, and straight down Plomin Bay to the sea and the island of Cres. What a view! The nearest spire is the church at Pićan , followed by the chimney of the Plomin power plant.
Heart 5 Comment 0
Leaving In Gračišće, through a different gate than the one where we entered.
Heart 3 Comment 0
In Pazin, we stopped only long enough to see the striking Roman Catholic Seminary, now a college.
Heart 2 Comment 0
So let’s look on the bright side here, and count our blessings. It’s not raining, we aren’t pressed for time, we have a pump, we have a spare tube, and I don’t destroy it with a pinch flat when I mount it. Could be way worse. (Oh, wait - I just used that caption last week).
Heart 2 Comment 0
Northeast of Pazin, we enjoy a few quiet miles atop a small plateau. We’ll turn back and reside some of them when our road turns to gravel and drops about five hundred feet in half a mile. No, thanks.
Heart 2 Comment 0
The next fifteen miles look like they should be painless, following minor roads north and gradually upstream along the Pazinčica.
Heart 2 Comment 0
They’re not such painless miles after all, but at least we weren’t mauled by these two enormous, angry dogs that had gotten loose. I was pinned against a wall with my bike as a shield when the owner thankfully arrived, called them off and closed the gate.
Heart 2 Comment 3
Susan CarpenterYIKES! So glad the owner was around.
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Susan CarpenterMy thoughts as well. I was just reaching for a water bottle to squirt their way when she showed up.
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Jen GrumbyAaugh! That's terrible.

Glad you were able to use the bike to protect yourself.
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Our route takes the turn for the worse when we come to a construction site and a detour that shunts us off onto this unpaved road.
Heart 3 Comment 0
Worse and worse. For the next two miles we’ll thread a dusty needle between a restricted access highway and a long road construction project. At times we aren’t sure we can actually get through. It gets tense.
Heart 2 Comment 0
Where is our road?
Heart 2 Comment 0
Well, it’s clear why they won’t let us on the highway anyway.
Heart 2 Comment 0
So many choices here. It gets confusing.
Heart 2 Comment 0
A bit of pavement breaks it up, lifting our spirits a bit. We’re on the way to Hum!
Heart 2 Comment 0
Still in search for the elusive Hum.
Heart 2 Comment 0
The train depot, Hum of Istria. Which raises the question - are there other Hums on the planet?
Heart 2 Comment 0
When I first saw this town, I thought it was Buzet and groaned inwardly thinking of climbing up there. But no, this is Roc; and just behind us is Rim. Interesting name pairing.
Heart 2 Comment 0
Yes, this seems fitting. Let’s end the day with a half mile long pusher.
Heart 3 Comment 0
It’s the Great Gate! We’ve arrived!
Heart 3 Comment 0

Video sound track: Oh Very Young, by Cat Stevens

We really should look around the village we worked so hard to reach, but it can wait for the morning. A meal and a sunset seem like a better use of the remains of the day.
Heart 3 Comment 2
Lyle McLeodA well deserved repast ... looks like a great view too!
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Lyle McLeodGood meal, good view, good company. Perfect.
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
The view west.
Heart 2 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0

Ride stats today: 45 miles, 4,000’; for the tour: 1,042 miles, 44,900’

Today's ride: 45 miles (72 km)
Total: 1,043 miles (1,679 km)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 7
Comment on this entry Comment 4
Suzanne GibsonWow, what a fantastic ride - and what suffering you are going through to keep us entertained!
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Suzanne GibsonThanks, Suzanne. Knowing you appreciate it makes it all worthwhile.
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Jen GrumbyThank you for appreciating the clean air, despite the adversity-loaded day.

Love seeing those blue skies and video of you breathing outdoors without an N95.

Tomorrow will be a better day!
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Jacquie GaudetWhat a day but also what a nice break from smoky air outside and drywall dust inside (no N95s available around here). I'm always wondering "how far is that in km?" or "how much climbing is that in metres?" and just discovered if I click on "view full version" on your map, it comes up in metric units!
Reply to this comment
1 month ago