Samobor - Balkan Dreams - CycleBlaze

September 5, 2020

Samobor

Today was one of the best of the tour, and deserves a more inspired review than it will receive.  I’m tired though, it’s getting late already, and tomorrow is another moving day that requires an early start.  So, a rush job.  It is what it is.

Today’s ride

We’re moving on today to Samobor, a significant medieval market town town only 25 miles to the south of here.  Samobor sounds like an attractive place, but we’ll be staying only one night because it’s a pretty limited base for road rides.  We had originally booked ourselves for two nights anyway, but dropped one when we decided to free up space for Plitvice Lakes.  Instead, our plan it to arrive in Samobor early in the day after a short, easy ride, and have the afternoon free to explore the town.

We don’t get on the road until as soon as we’d have liked though because it’s very foggy again this morning.  The fog doesn’t start to lift until nearly 9, but when it does it clears out in only about ten or fifteen minutes and leaves behind another beautiful autumn-like day.

The ride is a snap, the easiest day of the tour so far.  The first fifteen miles are flat, as we follow the Kosteljina River south to its junction with the Sava River near Zaprešić.  There’s only one climb of consequence, and it’s only a 200 foot ridge - but of course the climb all comes steeply in about a half mile.  There wouldn’t be much else to say about the ride if it weren’t for crossing the Sava River on an small, primitive open deck ferry steered partly by a long wooden rudder.  I’ve never seen a ferry quite like this one,  and it made the whole ride worthwhile.  For five kuna apiece (about $0.80), it’s a great experience.

(Postnote: thanks to Jacquie for identifying this as a reaction ferry, a type I’d never heard of before that is powered by the river current and prevented from drifting downriver by a restraining cable.  It explains why it’s such a slow crossing, and why it’s so quiet - something that didn’t register at the time.)

The last of the morning’s fog rapidly dissipates as we bike south out of Krapinske Toplice.
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I’ve never seen beehives organized in large frames anywhere else than here. I wonder what the idea is in doing this rather than placing them free-standing in the meadow.
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Žejinci I think, but I could be wrong. We passed through one village after another and I lost track.
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Looking east at Medvednica, the ‘hill’ Zagorje hides behind.
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The first fifteen miles aren’t the most interesting, but leaving Zaprešić we find ourselves on this beautiful, parklike path. Very quiet, except when a cluster of five or six cars suddenly comes from ahead and forces us to the side of the road. Very odd.
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Here’s the explanation for the traffic rush. The Sava River ferry must have just arrived and dumped its load a few minutes ago.
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I don’t think I’ve ever seen a ferry quite like this, with the tillerman steering it by hand with a huge rudder as it nears shore.
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Pushing up from the ferry, it’s clear which way to go from here.
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Along the Sava River, streaming in from Slovenia.
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Our home in Samobor: Lavica hotel (we cancelled our apartment booking when we dropped our second day here). A nice place, well located in the heart of town. Friendly, let’s us in early when we arrive at noon, let’s us wheel our bikes into a hall off the lobby.
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In Samobor

Rachael’s done the research, and we have a plan for the afternoon.  After checking in we eat a fast lunch on the bed of our tiny hotel room and head off for a hike.  It’s a short one, but strenuous.  It takes half the afternoon to complete the 2.5 mile loop she mapped out, to the ruins of Samobor Castle and then UP to the lookout point at the top of the hill behind it.

It’s a great little hike.  The castle is fascinating to poke around, and the views from the tower on top of the hill are phenomenal.  In between though is about a six hundred foot climb at what must be a 35-40% pitch.  It’s a real root and branch scramble that leaves us stopping often to regroup before taking on another segment.  An adventure!

By the time we make it back to town, taking a longer and much more gradual way that avoids the steep descent, my knees have had enough for the afternoon.  I decide to give the hotel a bit of business and head down to their bar to pick up a beer and take it outside to nurse in the shade for the next hour.

Samobor is a lovely place, with Vugrinščak Creek running through the heart of it and a walking path to the side lined with picnic benches perfect for sitting in the shade on a hot day with an ice cream cone from one of the town’s many ice cream shops.
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This startled me. I had just been thinking that the stream reminded me of towns in Japan when we passed this white house that looks like a traditional Samuri residence.
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Beginning the modest climb to the castle, which rots away on a hillside about a half mile from town.
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Samobor Castle was built in the mid 1200’s by the Chech king of the time, who was at war with Hungary.  Ownership changed hands when the Hungarians in alliance with the Croatians captured it.  The castle has undergone renovations at several points over the centuries, was last occupied in the 1800’s, and has gone to ruin since.

Some of the ruins of Samobor Castle.
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Samobor Castle.
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Samobor Castle.
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Samobor Castle.
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Samobor Castle.
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There are a lot of lizards scrambling the rocks of the castle. It’s a hot day, and they all move too quickly and dash into crevices as soon as you see them. I was lucky to barely capture this one as he raced straight up about a thirty foot wall.
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Bill ShaneyfeltNice! Might be a Horvath's rock lizard. At least the photo compares favorably.

https://observation.org/species/84079/
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2 weeks ago
Very difficult going on the climb to the top. Thanks for finding this exciting route, Rocky!
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There’s a viewing tower at the crown of the hill. Another couple are up there now, very slowly and carefully making their way down again. We’ll wait, happy to keep our social distance.
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Looking down, looking up.
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The view from the top is incredible. Below is the castle, of course. In the distance are the hills of Slovenia.
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Samobor Castle had quite a complex structure.
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Rachael just has that biker’s look, don’t you think? It must be those telltale hands.
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Looking northeast, to Samobor and then Medvednica. Off frame to the right is Zagreb. To the left, far off in the distance is Ivanšćica, with Varaždin out of sight behind it.
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We took a much easier route down, fortunately. Still, it was nice to find an excuse to stop.
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An odd plant. Almost looks like a fuscia.
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Bill ShaneyfeltMight be Scarlet Euonymus.

https://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/76534/#b
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2 weeks ago
I’ve been feeling badly about keeping the GBO cooped up for so long. I’ll start trying to include him in a variety of experiences so he gets a more rounded view of the country.
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Jen GrumbyHe's always happy to mix up a sense of purpose with some local beer!

Nice choice for today's photo.
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2 weeks ago

Wait, there’s more!

No, really.  I mean it.  Wait, because I’m tired and am calling it a night.  We’ll come back later for a look around town and to see how our evening went,  but in the meantime here’s a foretaste:

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Ride stats today: 26 miles, 800’; for the tour: 620 miles, 18,500’

Today's ride: 26 miles (42 km)
Total: 620 miles (998 km)

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Comment on this entry Comment 5
Jacquie GaudetI really liked that ferry! I think it is a "reaction ferry" (https://ferryman.ca/fm/00/fm_types.html) though I've never seen one in person as far as I can remember. Memory like a sieve, though. I think I might have seen one, but I can't *remember* if I have.
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2 weeks ago
Mike AylingTo Jacquie GaudetKayakers use a manoeuver called a ferry glide but ducks invented the process a long time ago!
Mikey
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2 weeks ago
Suzanne GibsonI believe I have crossed the Danube on current-powered ferries on a cable, too.
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2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Jacquie GaudetThanks so much, Jacquie. It’s a helpful reference, and I think you’re right. It explains why it’s so silent, which didn’t register at the time. And there is a restraining cable, that you can just pick out in the video.
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2 weeks ago
Jen GrumbyLoved watching the ferry video while imagining how it works.

And, like Mike said, I was remembering how crossings work in a kayak .. if you get your ferry angle just right the current does most of the work and you don't need to paddle much.
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2 weeks ago