In Varaždin: the Bednja River - Balkan Dreams - CycleBlaze

September 1, 2020

In Varaždin: the Bednja River

The rain arrived early afternoon yesterday, and held through until this morning.   When it was time to step out for dinner, we were happy to find an urn filled with umbrellas near the door.   The air felt fresh and very pleasant as we walked to the far side of the pedestrian zone to Verglic, a restaurant Rachael has been anxious to try out after reading reviews and poring over their on-line menu.

She chose well.  Verglic served up an amazing spread, a virtual work of art.  One of the prettiest meal presentations I can remember, and the best of the tour so far.  Rachael was still raving about the grilled salmon the next morning.  We accompanied it with a glass of Rajnski Riesling, from the vineyards of Međimurje that we cycled past earlier in the day.  Having no sense of taste or smell, I know that almost everything interesting about wine is unknown to me; but I do greatly enjoy having a glass and visualizing the setting its grapes were cultivated in.

We had our first rain of the tour last night, and we’re thankful that our host had a stash of umbrella loaners by the door.
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An artistic presentation at Verglec: a wooden platter loaded down with salmon, grilled vegetables, salad, bacon-wrapped asparagus, and a filagree of mashed potatoes along the border. Scott’s platter was identical, except with lugnič (pork loin) in place of salmon.
Heart 3 Comment 1
Bruce LellmanI hope you didn't eat this up side down as well.
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2 weeks ago

We’ve been really fortunate with weather so far on this tour.  We’ve had a few days that were unpleasantly warm, but nothing unbikeable.  We’ve gotten in a decent ride every day since arrival - 11 days straight, counting today’s ride.  When we arrived in Varaždin, it looked from the forecast that we could get rained out both yesterday and today.  As it’s worked out though, it has been perfect: the rain arrived late enough yesterday that we could fit in our ride in the morning; and today it’s supposed to dry out by mid-morning.   Just as if we ordered it.

We’re heading in a new direction again today - south into the foothills beneath Ivanšćica Mountain.  Our loop begins with the same ride west past the cemetery that we took two days ago, following that ride for nine miles before we finally diverging to turn south.  We’re doing this because there’s a low gap in the foothills there that crosses into the Bednja River valley, our destination for this ride.

These nine miles are a flat, easy ride; but they’re a bit less pleasant than they were on Sunday because there’s noticeably more traffic.  Not bad, but enough to keep our attention on our mirrors.

A subject for the September Cycle365 Challenge: Arches. When we biked past this church two days ago it was Sunday morning, and the rack was filled with bicycles from parishioners attending the service.
Heart 4 Comment 1
Jen GrumbyNow that's a sight that, for me, would probably be just as (or more?) inspiring than the sermon inside.

That's fantastic.
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3 weeks ago
Nice to get a break from the boring blue skies we’ve been seeing of late.
Heart 7 Comment 1
Jen GrumbyHappy clouds!
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3 weeks ago

Nine miles later, we reach our turn and head south, passing through a pair of villages and crossing through the gap to the Bednja valley.  The next 12 miles are idyllic, as we follow the river west through the serene valley as it weaves past the low, steep-sided hills that line either bank.  

It’s an out and back today, so Rachael takes full advantage by biking on ahead as I stop for photos.  I lose sight of her not long after we enter the valley and don’t see her again for nearly an hour when she’s on the return.  She’s gracious enough to say that I saw the best of the valley as the last two miles became progressively less interesting.

The complete urban bicycle: fenders, a bell, a lantern, and of course a floral arrangement.
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Simply gourđeous!
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Jen GrumbyGourdeous, indeed!

On a day when I feel sad and bored
I decorate the wall with some gourd*
They're whimsical and pretty
Bringing smiles to my city
And joy to the nearby fjord!


*No 's' required when a rhyme is at stake.
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3 weeks ago
Patrick O'HaraWha wah wah waaaaaaaaaa........
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2 weeks ago
Patrick O'Harahttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LukyMYp2noo

with sound.
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2 weeks ago
We cross a low saddle before dropping into the Bednja River valley.
Heart 4 Comment 1
Bruce LellmanThe light in these photos is so interesting. Really sharp and beautiful and the hills so blue.
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2 weeks ago
Something to fill the time with while waiting for the rest of the team to catch up from a nature break.
Heart 3 Comment 1
Bruce LellmanA synchronized double nature break, in other words.
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2 weeks ago
It looks gloomy around Ivanšćica Mountain.
Heart 2 Comment 0
Looking at this, think back to that satellite view of the field mosaic in Međimurje. It’s the same here. I’m sure this would look amazing from a hot air balloon.
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The Bednja River. This reach of the valley flows through a narrow, secluded valley bordered by low, conical hills on both banks. A little Shangri-La.
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Video sound track: Jos sam tu, by Lea Dekleva

Eh?
Heart 2 Comment 2
Suzanne GibsonI think I know this one. I looked up the German Königskerze and found in English mullein/mullen or verbascum thapsus.
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3 weeks ago
Bill ShaneyfeltCorrect!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verbascum_blattaria
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3 weeks ago
Margečan, a village along the Bednja River.
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Wooden ladders.
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Another look at Ivanšćica Mountain.
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The Bednja River.
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Along the Bednja River.
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Along the Bednja River.
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So tempting! I should have brought the cargo bike.
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Checking out the corn crop.
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We make it back to town by about 4, which is perfect.  Time to shower, relax a bit, and then head off to Angelus, a restaurant we ate at several days ago.  The same waiter serves us, remembers us, and hangs around to chat longer this time.  Especially since so many speak at least some English here, it feels like it wouldn’t take too long to start feeling quite at home in Varaždin.

The Varazdin castle.
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Some radiance outside the castle.
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Also quite radiant.
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Looking through the drawbridge to the Sermage Palace.
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Paving stones, in front of the Ursulin Church.
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Ride stats today: 46 miles, 800’; for the tour: 466 miles, 11,300’

Today's ride: 46 miles (74 km)
Total: 466 miles (750 km)

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Comment on this entry Comment 1
Bob DistelbergBeautiful countryside and roads. Ignoring the European style road signs, I could easily imagine that the photos, and in particular Rachael's video, as being taken somewhere in the rural northeast US. I think I'd feel very at home there.
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3 weeks ago