Paul was a little pissed off this morning. He discovered that the proprietor of the hotel that supposedly had a plumbing problem, requiring Al and I to move to another town, had lied to him. She had actually given away our rooms to someone else and didn’t want to admit it. Even though the rest of the group liked the place, it was a bad business decision on her part. Paul won’t be booking any more groups in there.
We left Bad Radkersburg at 9:45 and noticed a change in the atmosphere right away. The army and police were everywhere. We were stopped short of the border crossing into Slovenia that Paul wanted to go through. A group of Syrian migrants was being led to a tent camp nearby and a bunch more were being processed. It was just too busy at that crossing to get through. They said that “it would be better” if we left town by another route. So we had to divert to another crossing another 6 km away in the wrong direction to where we were going, which of course changed our route for the day.
It was supposed to be a longer day with a few “mild” hills but, with the change in route, we soon started up a 10% climb. It wasn’t too long though and the view at the top was great so nobody seemed to mind. We did a few more rolling hills, then a long, fast, exhilarating descent of -15%. What goes up must come down! The morning was cool, with some fog, and it was hard to get the clothing right. While climbing, we would warm up considerably and unzip or remove a layer at the top but then chill on the way back down. Hard to regulate.
Al was still having trouble with his bike, with the brakes sticking, making his ride quite unpleasant. Paul offered to swap bikes with him but Al, for some reason, kept refusing. Eventually, Paul bled the disk brakes off a little which seemed to help.
We passed through Ljutomer, one of the larger towns in the area, but the town square was empty on this Sunday. Stopping for lunch at a pub close to the Croatian border, we ate our sandwiches and had coffees. The staff were friends of Paul so we were treated to some complimentary Slovenian appetizers which were kind of a lard smeared on bread. Tasty but they didn’t appeal to everyone.
Ljutomer is also where Paul’s mill is located and he gave us a tour of the semi-completed project. He bought an old water-powered flour mill and is in the process of refurbishing it – redoing the exterior, building apartments, a museum, landscaping, etc. His intent is to base his business there when it is complete.
After a few more kms, we crossed into Croatia at an unmanned border crossing. The ride was flat and on good roads, so it was very pleasant. We stopped for a beer break at a funky little yurt-type bar beside the Mura River, with Slovenia just on the other side of the river. A lot of the clientele seemed to be bikers of the motorized variety but everyone was friendly.
We crossed back into Slovenia, this time at a manned crossing so we got our passports stamped, and 10 km later were at our destination, the town of Lendava and the very modern Hotel Elizabeta. We had supper at a restaurant across the street from the hotel, the Bella Venizia. The decor of the restaurant is a little strange – a mix of Roman and Greek statuary and Italian motorcycles. The owner, Aldo, is a friend of Paul’s and he treated us to many free drinks over the evening, including a red wine-white wine-red bull concoction.
After supper, we went back to our hotel and asked the manager if we could play cards in the lobby. He suggested that we use the dining room instead since there was more room and food service was now finished. We came down with the cards and some bottles of wine (and the vile pear liquor), half expecting him to tell us that was not permitted, that we had to buy wine from the bar. Instead, he asked us if we wanted glasses! Very accommodating management 🙂
Distance traveled today was 71 km, riding in 3 different countries!