To Buje - Balkan Dreams - CycleBlaze

September 18, 2020

To Buje

It is cooler this morning, only in the low 50’s when we step outside for breakfast on the balcony overlooking the Mirna Valley.  We’re in a brief transition period, with a few days of still sunny but cooler days before a major break in the weather pattern ushers in next week.  We’ll savor these next few days, knowing that soon we’ll be anxiously watching the skies and timing our rides carefully hoping to get our miles in between showers and thunderstorms.

For today at least though, we’re in no hurry.  We have a short, easy ride ahead - practically a rest day - so before leaving the hotel we enjoy a short walking tour of Buzet’s small hilltop fortified town.

Probably the worst sink design I’ve ever seen. It’s almost impossible to pour water from the faucet without getting splashed by a spray that radiates in all directions.
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Breakfast at our hotel, with a view across the town walls.
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Today’s ride is the perfect antidote to yeastorday’s challenges.  After a fast coast down off the hill, we enjoy a leisurely but beautiful ride for the next fifteen miles as we follow the stream-like Mirna River downriver as it serpentine beneath jagged grayish cliffs.  It’s virtually flat, dropping just 100 feet.  Effortless riding, and we even have a bit of a tailwind.

A few miles into the ride we pull off onto a side road to get a clearer look at an especially spectacular cliff, rising straight up for hundreds of feet.  At its base, we’re surprised to find a small hot spring spa, complete with lodging and restaurant.  If we ever make it back through Istria some year, this would be a fantastic place to stay over.  Who needs hill towns, anyway?

Today’s ride starts with a drop down to the Mirna valley, which we’ll follow for the next fifteen miles. You can see our road on the right side of the valley before it takes a sharp bend left through a narrow, cliff lined throat.
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Leaving Buje through the Venetian Great Gate. A much easier exit than when we mostly pushed our way up here yesterday.
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Aah, this is the life! It takes a day like yesterday to fully appreciate one like today.
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Theoretically this is the Mirna River, but we won’t see any water for another mile yet. Maybe it’s still underground here.
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Both walls of the valley are lined with craggy karstic formations.
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Ah, there it is.
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Beautiful riding along the Mirna River.
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An enticing relic. I’d buy it in a heartbeat, if it were only for sale.
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Breaking out the checkbook.
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The guest suite. Well ventilated, fire refugees welcome. Bring your own roof and glass.
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Jen GrumbyA couple days ago, I would have said, "No windows, no roof? No problem! .. if the air is breathable."

If we* had the right combination of skills (???) we could do a little remodeling and open up a nice roadside coffee shop.

*Bruce has experience with old buildings! He could be our foreman!
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1 month ago
Along the Mirna River.
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Along the Mirna River. Here, we’ve left the highway for about five miles on a beautiful, quiet minor road. Outstanding cycling.
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What a stunning spot! This is Istarske Toplice, a spa village. We could have stayed here.
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A curious structure, at Istarske Toplice.
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Best cycling miles of the day.
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Looking up at lofty Motovun, where we stayed for a few days on our first pass through Istria. A dramatic spot, but one not easily attained.
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Sixteen miles into the ride, we leave the river and the challenge for the day finally arrives - such as it is.  A fairly gradual 600’ climb to Buje, it slows us down but hardly saps us.  We arrive in Buje in the early afternoon, clean up, make use of the washing machine, and rest up for a few hours before taking a walking tour of Buje while we wait for dinner.  This is more like it!

I keep being fooled by these distant hill towns, thinking at first they might be our destination. Not this one though. This is Vižinada, a tiny place.
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Not this one either. I’m not sure what that is out there. Possibly Grožnjan.
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Ah, here’s Buje finally. Also the Adriatic shimmering in the distance.
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Nearing Buje, the grape harvesters are at work.
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Video sound track: Witchi-Tai-To, by Oregon

Our apartment in Buje. Rachael has her feet up because she’s just seen something large scurry under the couch.
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One of the bedrooms in our Buje apartment. The window is to the second bedroom, not the outdoors. Interesting.
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His and hers couches! Our apartment in Buje is spacious as usual, if a bit strangely furnished.
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Celebrating the first thousand miles, a day late. We were too tired to remember this important tradition yesterday.
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La Dolce Vita, Buje-style. The closer we get to the coast, the more Italian the culture feels.
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Jen GrumbyWhat a great photo!

Love the guy with the chihuahua.
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyTrust you to spot the important details. I missed the dog.
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1 month ago
Jeanna & Kerry SmithI love a long, leisurely afternoon and a rest before dinner, but we are so fond of our long, leisurely mornings, that doesn't often happen on our tours:).
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1 month ago
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Ride stats today: 26 miles, 1,000’; for the tour: 1,068 miles, 45,900’

Today's ride: 26 miles (42 km)
Total: 1,069 miles (1,720 km)

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