From Koper I cycled a short distance the next day to Piran, also in Slovenia.  Slovenia has a short distance of coastline squeezed in between Italy and Croatia, including Slovenia’s only large port in Koper.  I Piran I was to meet up with Terry, another cycle tourist whom I had made contact with via the Warm Showers website.  Terry was also cycling south along the coast of Croatia and so we thought we’d meet and see if we’d like to cycle together for a bit.

The coast road was a lovely ride and it was a nice sunny day.  I took the D8 cycle route for a short section which led me through a disused tunnel, cutting out a long hill climb.  I arrived in Porteroz  and cycled through the main street unexpectedly full of casinos and flash hotels to Piran.  Piran on the other hand is a beautiful little town on a peninsular consisting of colourful old buildings and many fishing and leisure boats.  I arrived in Piran about lunch time and met Terry in the central square.  He introduced me to yet another cycle tourist, Enzo, from Italy, who was planning to spend two or three years cycling around the world.  They had met at a campsite the day before and cycled to Piran together.  We found a café for lunch and enjoyed a beer in the sunshine.  Both are also blogging about their travels.  Enzo's at http://www.biciclenzo.it, and Terry's at http://raystrevide.wordpress.com/.
The square in Piran.
Looking towards Piran.
Grey skies drawing in.
After lunch we split up and I walked around the parts of Piran the guys had already seen in the morning.  As the sun faded we found a supermarket for some supplies and headed back to the campsite where the guys had spent the previous night.  It was an unusual campsite, in that it had a terraced level behind the main level where one could put a tent and presumably still have a good view of the marina.  So far I’ve found the view form the tent to be unimportant because I am never sitting in the tent looking out, however I suppose if you were camping with a table and chairs it would make a difference. 

We pooled resources and Enzo cooked a fantastic cheesy risotto while I made a very-much-less-fantastic cabbage and apple salad.  It was interesting to compare the kit that each of us had brought.  Enzo had a cooking stove that worked on multiple fuels but required a fairly large fuel bottle and a while to prime and ready the stove before cooking, but it produced a good strong heat.  Terry had another multifuel stove, but this was more simplistic in that you simply pour some ethanol into the stove and light it.  Temperature could be modified by putting a simmer ring over the top, essentially reducing the airflow.  This again had the advantage of versatility, but took a long time to get to cooking temperature and had a tendency to run out without notice.  Mine on the other hand was quick and easy to light, and the temperature could easily be adjusted, but relied on being able to buy the compatible gas cartridges.  I’d taken a gamble that I would be able to, and so far I had in England and Germany, but I have not yet found a camping supplies store in Croatia to see. 

Regarding panniers, we had all chosen red waterproof Ortlieb panniers, but all of different designs.  Both Enzo and Terry had also fitted carrier racks to their front wheels and were sporting front panniers too.  Something I will definitely do the next time I do this.  My original plan had been to only have two large bags so that I could at a pinch remove them both and take them with me if needed, but it has turned out that theft of food and dirty laundry isn’t such a threat as I’d originally imagined, and I’ve never felt the need to remove my bags for that reason.  Never mind that all my stuff wouldn’t fit in the two panniers, resulting in having to carry a sleeping mat and bag wrapped up in a tarpaulin on the back.  Distributing the weigh more evenly front to back, and closer to the ground also make for a more stable ride and an easier climb up hills.  Something I gladly remember when I watch them speeding ahead of me.


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