Ljubliana was rather special, and despite the fact that the hostel was pretty basic I sleep well. I get out of town and straight onto the motorway but, despite the fact I pass several tool booths nobody asks me for money and I get all the way to the border without having to pay for a ticket. Not really sure how this system works, but perhaps it does not apply to motorbikes.
I stop in the village just before the border to refuel. To be honest traveling with a motorbike, having to fill up every three hundred miles or so, it is unnecessary to be too penny pinching with where you refuel at. That said, unleaded in Slovenia is €1.12 per litre and in Italy €1.43 so, why not?
This is the last border I cross and the only one in which the sign has been rubbished. Think of that what you will.
Once on the other side I find myself at the top of a steep mountain at the bottom of which there is the city of Trieste. I have never been there and I decide that this is a good opportunity to go through it and up along the coast until I need to turn inland to go to Pordenone, where I have arranged to have lunch with Loretta a friend from the working days.
Trieste is very strange, it leaves me unsure if it is a wealthy or run down city. The route down to town is very steep and twisty but rather scenic. Getting into town reminds me a lot of getting into Milan, it looks like there are a lot of turn of the century (that would be the turn of the other century), not particularly well kept, buildings while, at the bottom of the hills, building get progressively older and in a better state of decor. As you get towards the city centre and the coast it looks fairly swish.
Trieste is famous for the very strong winds (the Bora) and indeed, as I go along the costal road, I find that, in points, I have to really fight with the wind in order to keep the bike upright. I decide that the lack of parking and the strong wind make stopping not an option, which incidentally is a shame as I have no pictures of it. On top of that I don’t want to be late for Loretta, so I decide to start up the costal road, the SS16 (Strada Statale or Highway) so much of which I cycled last summer.
The first part is very scenic but as soon as I hit Monfalcone it becomes really industrial and I open the throttle to get through the remaining miles to Pordenone as quickly as possible.
When I get there, only five minutes before the twelve o’clock meeting time, Loretta is waiting. We move along to a trattoria and we spend a fun hour updating each other on life since we last saw each other as well as reminiscing on the University of Westminster years.
Lunch with Loretta is a hoot and it reminds me about the one thing I think Italy has got just about right, food. After lunch she takes me for a walk down the Pordenone parade, Pordenone is a lot smaller than I thought, but looks like a rather fun town and indeed Loretta seems to be happy there.
She’s got to go back to work now, and I have in front of me the last hundred and fifty miles or so to get to Modena so we part. In the morning I hoped to do all the Italian part of the riding outside the motorway but by the time I get to Treviso I find that I cannot take anymore of the traffic and the potholes in the Italian highway network and I jump on the motorway to cut out the Venezia, Padova, Ferrara part of the trip. Once in Ferrara I get out of the motorway and cut diagonally across the Bologna and Modena north planes, which are home turf to me, and get to Modena with some hours of light to spare.
The motorbike was serviced when I bought it just a month ago and it is telling me it needs servicing in five hundred miles, not bad for a month riding. It’s going to be parked for a while now, ahead of me there are a few days in Modena and a few weeks in Glasgow to get the flat going before I set sail for the next trip.
P.S. The rider in the top picture is my younger nephew Stefano, I’m sure he’ll want one of these as soon as he can touch the ground.