One of the things we had planned, was visiting the abandoned summer residence of Josip Tito. Actually, he had more, but this one, very close to the Plitvicka National Park was the one we had eye on: Villa Izvor.
Well, we had to first get out of Bosnia & Herzegovina. The border post outside Bihac is not too busy. At least the times I have been there. And the processing is fast. Just across the border on the Croatian side, you will find an abandoned military airbase with hangars carved in to the mountain. As I have been there a number if times before, we skipped it. But if you haven’t and are in to “dark tourism”, it is worth a visit.
It was completed in 1968 and built to withstand a direct hit from a 20 kiloton nuclear bomb. Returning to “normal” tourism, a visit at the Plitvicka National Park is a must if you haven’t been there before. It is close by. But in recent years, it have turned in to a tourist trap. Not sure where the Covid-19 leaves the place.
Back to the Villa Izvor: It had started construction in 1948 and was built by prisoners and was completed in 5 years. It was supposed to be used by Tito and high ranking Yugoslavian Army officials.
Getting there, is by a narrow paved road through forest. Quite nice, actually. The entire area is nice, and one can easily imagine why the villa was placed here. Today, it is mostly collapsed and overgrown, and everything of value is gone.
It is located in the Plivticka National Park and is generally a very nice outdoor area with lots of trails and outdoor activities.
After spending a little time walking around in the ruins, hoping to not getting hit by falling debris, we continued north towards Slovenia. Today would be the last day of riding before meeting the guys in Italy.
Along the route, pain in my knee increased to the point where it took the fun of riding away. I had been riding the last two weeks with bare skin against the knee pads on my Klim pants, only separated by a mesh fabric. The constant grinding against the fabric had resulted in the skin coming ever so slightly off, but enough to get an infection. So I found a pharmacy and got some creme, pain killers, and bandage that hopefully would help.
While it did help a bit, I eventually, after a few days, decided to take out the knee padding out to give room. It had come to the point where it wasn’t the grinding only, the slight pressure itself was painful.
Riding in to Slovenia was quite a treat. We crossed the border at a very small crossing (by Brod na Kupi), then rode along the border with Croatia on the Slovenian side along river Kolpa.
It did not take long before the road next to the river turned in to a great mountain road, then in to a great gravel forest slash mountain road. What an awesome ride.
We ended up at a hotel, or B&B, that hadn’t completed their renovation, and at first appeared as a place we didn’t want to stay at. But after calling the hostess, who happened to run the restaurant and bar just 100 metres down the street, we were convinced to stay.
The rooms that were complete, were very nice, new, and comfortable. And equally important, the hotel slash B&B was in the country side not close to any busy roads. It was dead quiet throughout all night. Being woken up by a crowing rooster wasn’t so bad after all.
The host and hostess, who ran the town restaurant was really treating us with everything home made, bread, sausage, cheese, and for breakfast, juice, honey, marmalade, the works. And all 100% home made. That was nice, and really tasty. No frozen pizza here, that is 100% sure!