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Belgium - Australia, solo - report by Adriaan

Report #1, update - May 24th to 27th, 1998...

When you write a report, hot from the press, you risk that the mood of the day (in this case, a sense of loss) flows through the whole story...

Many thanks for the comforting and uplifting messages sent by the readers of this mailing list! I'm doing really well, the rest at the Garda lake has done me well.

Luckily (or is that unluckily ?) Klaas doesn't have to undergo surgery - in Holland they do not normally put plates and screws on a broken collar bone. If (_if_) Klaas keeps quiet, things will heal by themselves. Let's hope he does stay put....

Klaas by the way had the nerve to tell me after our first day that he found there was no difference in turbulence riding behind a cargo truck on the highway, or riding behind me... I did find out that people in cities give way faster if I ride standing up. I then can look the average trucker straight in the eyes, and I impress the common driver enough for him to steer clear...

Do you know what was very amusing? Klaas' height compared to the height of the attending nurses in the hospital (short in height, not in width...). When I had just arrived, Klaas got up from his seat, and thereby scared the nurses that entered while Klaas was still seated. After that, they warned him for every doorway. Isn't that sweet ?

That it had to be Klaas to suffer this accident is odd - I am the one who has to prove every time that an old man on a BMW _can_ go fast. After Klaas found me waiting after yet another race he said he expected to see a big red thing (that's me) passing by when he saw a belly brusher <-- literal translation - NJ --> in a hurry coming on the road. It was a Yamaha YZF (for the motor freaks), and the driver indeed was in a hurry. All the more so when he got a BMW on his heels, and he couldn't shake me off. He even started to cheat: waiting to overtake so there was no room for me to pass as well. But after the next turn I was at his tail again. When it all was over, he didn't even waive at me.

It now is May 26 and I am in Croatia, in Pula, the southern-most place in Istria. My tent is placed on the southern-most tip of Pula, and I just witnessed a beautiful sunset. Today went very well, I went from the Garda lake to Trieste in record time.

In Trieste I attempted to obtain new ear plugs. North-Europeans are softies apparently, because the audiciens never heard of ear protection. I started off in a regular drugstore, and after 5 minutes I was in the center of Trieste with 2 ladies in white, who feverishly attempted to point out which way I had to go.

There I met with 2 ladies (one from Italy, the other from Argentina), and they listened with disbelief to my babbling in French en Italian. At last they consulted the yellow pages and contacted other companies in their business to find out if anyone could make the opposite of what they usually construct (they normally make hearing aids, not sound mufflers). One of their competitors was willing to make them, and they even employed a lady with a fair knowledge of English. To cut a long story short: this afternoon new imprints have been made of my ears, the ear protectors are on their way....


Now I'm sitting in the sun, it is May 27. In Pula there is a coliseum like the one in Rome. I will check it out later. This camp site is littered with Germans - are the connections Germany-Croatia from the second world war improved ? With a little imagination I find myself in Greece. White cliffs, clear sea, temperatures in excess of 25 degrees. But first I have to cross former Yougoslavia, followed by Romania. Especially the latter concerns me: the corruption is said to be gigantic. I talked to someone in Chamonix (a Scottish fellow, on its way to India) who said that if you are stopped by the police, they make something up, search your stuff, and then offer to settle things in exchange for your jeans. After that I met another person with a similar story. I am not looking forward to this.

Tomorrow I start with the coastal route along the Adriatic shore, first northwards to Rijeka, then southwards as far as possible. What follows I cannot say yet, but again this is one of the charms of this trip.

Well, it is getting too hot here in the sun, time to blow away the cobwebs on the bike....

Greetings from Croatia !


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