Ljubljana to Vienna…

On Sunday morning, I woke up 7:00AM, packed up all my gear, loaded up the bike and rode out of Matej’s building to join Christoph and Daniel. We made our way to Zmajski most to get pictures of our bikes in front of the dragon. That done, and after a brief stop for fuel, we made our way out of Ljubljana.

The bike felt good – it felt almost lighter than the SV and the same height. I took the top box off so that I wasn’t carrying any extra weight that I didn’t need. I spent most of the morning trying to get used to riding it. We went through some really pretty roads as we rode out of Slovenia. I made a mental note to leave at least 2-3 days at the end of the month to ride around the country. My jetlag in the beginning had prevented this and it would be a shame to not see more than Ljubljana.


We made a brief stop at the border. Like I’d been told, there was no border control any more, so no chance of getting a stamp on my passport. The world was just going to have to believe that I rode through all these countries. After we crossed, we rode through a stretch of twisties including some really tight hairpin turns, one of which I completely blew – a tight, steep, uphill one. Why don’t we have roads like this in Washington again? When we stopped for lunch after three hours, I realized how slow we had been going (because of me) and felt a little gloomy at how rusty my riding skills were. I had done no conditioning rides this year at all, and the narrow twisty roads here seemed quite technical. I know that I will get into it after a few days of riding though.


We stopped at Klagenfurt for lunch and Daniel realized that his front brake pad had *fallen off* and he had no more front brakes! what rotten luck! He ended up parking his bike and C.’s brother’s place nearby and taking the train back to Vienna.

That left just C. and I. Since we had to get to Vienna by nightfall, we decided to change routes to some slightly faster roads. It was still going to be almost six more hours of riding though – a total of almost 450km all together.

There were sections of the ride that were fantastic – long sweepers, somme tight turns, fantastic valleys and countryside, hot sun, trains rolling by to the right, little deserted towns… and there were a few dull sections, where all you did was go in a straight line. My energy level was fine until the last hour as we neared closer to Wien (Vienna). It was night now and we rode through the darkness on the outskirts of the city. Tired as I was, I love riding at night through city streets. :)

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We finally made it to C.’s street, where we parked the bikes and staggered upstairs with our stuff. We went out after a while to a McDonald’s to get some food. I was pretty braindead by then.

I slept well that night. I also finally bid goodbye to the jetlag.

Ljubljana by day…

I woke up at 4AM this morning in spite of having gone to bed after midnight. I was still pretty tired, but completely unable to sleep. I lay in bed until Matej woke up to go to work at 6:30AM, then got up, got some breakfast and went to work on the bike a little.

It turns out that the bike does not have a toolkit, or rather the toolkit that was under the seat contained a screwdriver and a couple of wrenches. I thanked my stars that I had thought to bring the toolkit from my old wrecked F650GS. Most of the BMW spec torx wrenches worked on this bike.

I don’t know if the CS uses any tools that the GS didn’t, and if does, I hope I won’t end up needing them. I made some minor adjustments on the bike, like rotating the clutch and break levers higher. This had the unfortunate side effect of moving the mirrors closer to me at an
awkward angle. Try as I might, I could not get the bolts at the base of the mirror to loosen up.

I managed to get it at a somewhat okay angle. That will have to do for now.

Next up I tested that the GPS worked with the 12V adapter on the bike. I had to make a minor change to the mount, which I did at the apartment later. I’ll install it on the bike tomorrow morning.

I took the bike for a short spin around the underground parking lot, a little gingerly at first. It felt fine and should handle well on the road. The only thing I’m debating is the big Givi topbox installed on it. On the one hand it’s lockable, which is nice. On the other, it’s huge and I don’t like having that kind of extra weight so high up on a bike.

After I came back upstairs, I lay down to “rest” and ended up sleeping from 10:00AM to 2:00PM. So much for trying to work within the Slovenian time zone. After I woke up with a shock, still groggy, I forced myself to get up and take the bus to the city center (downtown).

The bus dropped me off at at Dunajska Cesta and Prazakova Ulica. I got a kebab wrap at Donner Kebab (I finally know what everyone was talking about!) and walked over to the PreÅ¡eren Square. I walked a lot and took lots of pictures. There were a lot of tourists in this area, but I managed to wander through several sidestreets and escaped the majority of them. I saw the Zmajski most (Dragon Bridge) of course. In fact, there were quite a few bridges crossing the somewhat dull Ljubljana river. Unfortunately the day was so gray and gloomy that I didn’t get very good photos. Ah well. The high point – literally – was climbing on top of a hill to Ljubljanski grad (Ljubljana castle). I got some fantastic views of the city from up above – a magical little old town dotted with red roofs and cobblestone streets.

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In between the sightseeing, I looked into the little shops and stalls by the river. Since I knew I could buy a few things and not have to carry them with me on the bike, I ended up getting a couple of pairs of really cute socks, a violet glass candle holder, some lightweight, windproof pants that will be perfect for riding in, an inflatable travel pillow and a compass.

Matej met me in the town square at the end of the day and we went to Cafe Romeo for dinner. I got a burrito, which was unlike any burrito I have ever tasted… lol… Mexican food in Slovenia! Matej got the tastiest crepe I have ever tasted with nutella, hazelnuts and almonds with fresh whipped cream.


It was a pretty good evening! As we drove back to his place, I noticed that I had an email from Christoph in Vienna who was in town now. We had tentatively planned on riding to Vienna together, although I wasn’t quite sure I’d be ready to ride on Saturday due to my jetlag. I’ll call him tomorrow morning and see what we can do.

I’ve already packed all my stuff and sorted out what I need to bring with me, so if I decide to go with him, I just need to load up the bike and go. It’s very tempting to start the journey with someone who knows the roads so that I can relax a little. Let’s hope I sleep well tonight and ready to tackle the day. Most of all, fingers crossed that the confounded rain stops!

For the rest of the photos, click here.