In Krapina: Another loop through Zagorje - Balkan Dreams - CycleBlaze

August 27, 2020

In Krapina: Another loop through Zagorje

Last night we partook in our new evening ritual: walking from our apartment to the town center for dinner, along the path that follows the Krapinica.  It’s a pretty walk, with ducks and even a heron testing the waters this evening.  There are a fair number of strollers and children out, some masked, some not.  We keep our distance and occasionally mask up when it seems called for.  Midway to the center there’s a playground beside the river - open to the public, parents sitting around keeping an eye on their children playing on the equipment.  It feels so refreshingly normal.

We have dinner on the patio of Kramburger, the only other real restaurant open tonight.  Gourmet dining it’s not, but our grilled chicken and Cesar salad is at least passable, and pairs well with a glass of white wine and three bottles of water from the bar next door.  It’s too hot at first, and we hide in the small bit of shade we can find; but soon a breeze picks up, the sun drops below the roofline, and it’s quite pleasant.

So Krapina doesn’t seem to have any Michelin rated restaurants.  It does though have an excellent ice cream shop near the river, halfway back to the room.  It’s refreshing to sit on a bench you the river, nurse our cones, and watch the world go by.

Our new evening ritual: walking beside the Krapinica to the town center for dinner.
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The Krapinica is a pretty lazy stream now, but I imagine it carries some water in the spring.
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Stalking the Krapinica. The grey heron, Europe’s counterpart to our great blue heron, is a very similar species with only subtle differences. I’ve been surprised at how often we’ve seen them here, often out in the a field stalking in the grass.
Heart 4 Comment 2
Jen GrumbyWithout looking it up, I'm guessing that the great blue heron has more long neck feathers.

And looks like this grey heron has spotted neck feathers.
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3 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyYes, the spotted neck is one of the subtle differences. Some of ours are spotted also, but I don’t think it’s a pronounced.
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3 weeks ago

We’re off on a second loop through the Zagorje today, one I spent a half hour working over last night before I found one that felt right for our conditioning.  We’ve really been sticking mostly to the flats for the last two months, and our climbing legs have atrophied.  We’re being cautious about the routes we choose now, getting in enough climbing for some conditioning while leaving something for the days to come.

Today’s route fit the bill well - an East-West oval with a good balance of relaxed riverside riding interspersed with a climb or six.  And pretty quiet the whole way - no stretches where the traffic troubled us much at all.  

The Zagorje is really fine cycling country, and we’re not done with it yet.  We leave tomorrow for Varazdin, but after that we’ll double back through here on our way west toward the coast, stopping over at a neighboring town just a few miles from here for a few nights.

Today’s ride starts with the same stiff climb out of Krapina, but here we turn off and drop off the side only partway to the summit. Yesterday we kept climbing, through the low saddle on the right.
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Dropping back down into the neighboring valley. For the next several miles we’ll enjoy a level ride south along the Kosteljina, the next stream west of the Krapinica.
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Relaxed miles along the Kosteljina.
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Andrea BrownI’m really loving these landscapes and quiet roads. Just beautiful.
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3 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Andrea BrownIt really is a magical landscape, with more enticing routes than we’ll hVe time or legs to explore.
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3 weeks ago
These one lane roads look very relaxing, but there’s a bit of attention required. The lane is just wide enough for a small car and your bicycle to pass each other, with your elbows held in.
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Andrea BrownSo, about the width of a major highway in Myanmar, absent the roaring buses that don’t stop or swerve for anybody, absent the rough surface and potholes, absent the rice fields, but similar charming and interesting landscapes.
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3 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Andrea BrownSo I think I’d have to give this the nod, at least cyclingwise. The rice fields would be beautiful, but I’m no big fan of careening buses and potholes.
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3 weeks ago
Stopped for a brake adjustment, and pausing to record a few notes before the thoughts flee away.
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So this is the story for riding in the Zagorje. If you pick your route well, you can enjoy several easy streamside miles before the next steep little climb. If you don’t choose so well, you can easily endure miles of steep little climbs, with a few flat miles here and there for contrast.
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The church at Sveti Križ Začretje.
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Stopping by a small pond, east of Sveti Križ Začretje.
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Along the Krapina River, about 10 miles southeast of Krapina. Today’s fun geographical fact pairing: the town of Krapina is on the Krapinica River, not the Krapina; and village of Krapinica is on the Krapina River, not the Krapinica.
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Some squash wagons.
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Riding north in the next valley east of the Krapinica. More of the same: five easy miles, followed by a steep hill.
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And a few more easy miles, followed by an even steeper hill. Rachael notes that the Active Route on our GPS shows this as being only 170 feet in a half mile. Not bad, if they weren’t mostly crammed into the last few hundred yards. Another short pusher. In the full, hot sun.
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Scenes like this are one of the reasons we like to travel in autumn.
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Now THIS really looks like a corn crib.
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Back along the Krapinica again, we have smooth sailing the rest of the way back to town.
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At Apartman Lavanda, Crapina.
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The brew of the day, the mascot of the day.
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Ride stats today: 43 miles, 2,000’; for the tour: 240 miles, 6,700’

Today's ride: 43 miles (69 km)
Total: 240 miles (386 km)

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