Tourist Advice From A Croatian Olive Grower

Pics:

  • Passed a rock that looked like it had a blood stain and I was riding around without a helmet
  • Three rusted wheelbarrows
  • Charger GX Touring in front of a Croatian village sign
  • The fifth largest Roman Colosseum in the world is in Pula
  • James Joyce was here!

Although unable to snap a few pictures of the olive farm we went to yesterday on account it was raining like crazy, at least we now have eight bottles of delicious Croatian olive oil to take back to Germany, which we will use for salads, flavouring and, as recommended, for toping vanilla ice cream. That’s right, dear worst-reader. Did you get that? That’s the advice from our friendly olive grower after I asked what I should do with olive oil that is too good and too expensive to cook with it. She said to get your favourite vanilla ice cream and eat it with a few drops of olive oil on top. Since I’m not a big vanilla fan I immediately asked if it will go well with pistachio ice cream. Although she never tried it with pistachio, she thought it a good idear. Btw, between the olives, the grapes and the truffles–and the things you can do with all three–Istria, Croatia, has got to be one of the finest places to hang out if you’re into all things fine that won’t break the bank. Even though the weather has kind of turned on us the past two days–it rained cats & dogs last night–we’re still enjoying it here. The air is fresh, the views are brilliant and if a neighbour gives you a few fresh Anchovies all you have to do is slightly coat them with flower, add a touch of salt and pepper, and fry them up in olive oil. After the little fish are browned to perfection, all that’s left is to add a fresh salad and glass of local red wine. While enjoying it all, though, I couldn’t help but think of the one more piece of advice we received from a very friendly olive grower.

“Don’t come here in the summer. It’s hell here in the summer. Too many tourists. Too many!” -A Croatian olive grower

Rant on.

-T

Link that motivated this post:

Speeders Beware

speeding ticket Croatia

I should consider myself lucky, I guess. I mean, if the Croatian police officer with the fine penmanship could read my mind about what I was thinking at the moment I received my first speeding ticket in this really, really, beautiful, picturesque country, I’d be in jail right now. But I kept my cool. I paid my fine by credit card and I moved on heeding the officers warning as he returned my papers and gave me the receipt: “you drive slower now.” Indeed. After driving around Istria for a few hours the other day, on the return to our villa, after about a five kilometre downhill trek, penmanship police officer waved me over at the base of the mountain. Of course I was going too fast. I was driving down a fcuking mountain! Although I can’t remember how many times within that five kilometre downhill stretch the speed-limit changed between 40, 50 and 70 km/h, I was obviously in a 50 zone doing 74 when his speed-gun caught me. Yeah, he was even kind enough to show me the speed gun. Did I mention that I was only a few hundred metres away from the base of the mountain? Oh well. So that’s what they do in Croatia, eh. Be warned those who might come here by car. They wait for the tourists to struggle between engine braking or over-heating your disc brakes and if you let go of either for a just a second or two, perhaps while conversing with someone in the car, the downhill slope of 10-15% degrees will rocket your vehicle to excess before you know it. There were at least four other cars behind me doing the same speed but not one of them was pulled over (Croatian plates?). In fact, at the top of the mountain I was passed by at least two cars doing excessive speeds and not one of them was pulled over at the base. Dumb me, eh, for getting caught and/or not knowing how the police fill the coffers of the state here. Oh well. No hard feelings.

Rant on.

T

Labin E-Bike Tour And Testing Limits

My better half surprised me with some R&R that includes e-biking. Since I’m staying at one of the higher elevations as my e-bike starting point, heed this: you’re either going up or your going down any given surface when riding an e-bike in Labin, Croatia. Other than the backyard where you rest your machine, or the beach where you stare at the euro-bikini-chicks (the flat area in the graph below), there’s no surface here that is NOT going up or down. I suppose that’s not such a bad thing if you’ve got the right e-bike–or if you’re a bit younger and not suffering from too much wine and too many truffles with noodles. With that in mind, hats off to my boys and gals at Riese & Müller–my favourite bike maker in the whole world. And since I’m not the great photo-maker (I am worst-photographer), let me share a few worst-words on what I’ve just experienced.

I just finished the hardest 4-5km bike trek I’ve ever been on. The whole ride was about 17km. Of course, this isn’t an issue of endurance or physical stamina (I have neither), it is instead a testament to what I consider to be one of the most difficult surfaces I’ve ever ridden on and the only bike I’d ever do it on again. As you may (or may not) note in the pics above, the two pics that show the trail and the gravel road are what you must face here if/when you leave paved roads. The trail, btw, (the one with the red sign) I haven’t done as of the writing of this worst-post–but I’ll get to it soon enough. The gravel road, on the other hand, I just finished riding UP. As you may (or may not) note in the pic below, that area where “Rocks, boulders and bears” is indicated is pretty much a pseudo-road filled with baseball and softball sized rocks that goes for about 3.5km… UP! The area approaching the serpintine (see the map) has grades of (I’m guessing) 20% before and after it. I didn’t make it up the front of the serpentine without having to get off the bike due to lack of control on the rocky surface. But I made it up the back after having learned/adjusted a bit how to navigate under e-bike power over the large and loose rocks. The average grade of the entire distance of the hill is about 7-12%. Would I ever attempt this without e-bike power? Only if I stop drinking wine and eating truffles. But then, if that happens, I wouldn’t be in Labin, Croatia. Or?

17km ebike trek Croatia

Although it only took me about half an hour to make it up the hill (Rocks, boulders and bears side of the graph above), and I plan on doing it again for practice, I’ve never before experienced my bike in this type of environment. This bike is so well built that I enjoyed feeling the tires gorging on the edges of rocks. The Bosch CX motor was brilliant in assisting me and not allowing any overcompensation with wild pedal kicking due to the rocky, loose surface. Also, I noticed for the first time how the Bosch computer was telling me when to up or down shift. In fact, for the past 5000km I thought the shifting indicators of the computer didn’t even work because this bike has a derailleur. Goodness knows, the “mountain biking” I’ve done up to now, which has been mostly in and around Wuppertal and Solingen, Germany, doesn’t compare to this rocky Croatian surface. With that in mind, I really feel as though I’ve finally tested my Charger GX to its limits. After riding just under 100km in this area as of this post, the bike is rattling, humming and weirding out on me as never before. But not one thing has snapped off, broke or come loose. Can’t wait to get back on it and find new trails tomorrow.

Note: The pic with my bike and the Adriatic Sea in the far background should provide some perspective on how high we are. The 3-4KM ride is up the side of the hill (cause it’s not quite a mountain yet, is it).

Keep up the good work R&M!

Rant and worst-ride on, baby.

T

PS The reason the grey Ortlieb bag is strapped to the top of the rear rack is because they jostle and bang around too much when hung on the side. Seriously rough surfaces here.

First Time In Croatia

Although there are lots of Das Volk out there that don’t mind long car drives, I ain’t one of them. So. On our way to Istria, Croatia, for a bit of R&R we stopped for two nights in Salzburg. Perhaps more on Salzburg later. Exhausted from the drive from Salzburg to Istria, we eventually found our way driving up and through winding, barely paved road-ways to a luscious Tuscany-like villa with heated pool and a view of the Adriatic that is to die for (pic not included YET). The only problem is the heated pool can’t get heated enough with the chilly fall winds that have suddenly turned on. In fact, after one or two tries and my better-half catching a cold we’ve given up on swimming in here. But enough bitchin’ and moaning (ranting).

Istria is gorgeous. Can’t recommend it enough. Even though you have to drive to get around, if you stay in the outer hills, as opposed to a village or resort hotel, there’s very little traffic–other than a few minor delays due to road work–to stop you from getting around. The only problem is, once you start driving around and looking at all the little walled-in, mini-towns built waaaaay back atop rolling forever hills (mini-mountains?), like Motovun (above), you’ll want to stop at them all.

And then there is the food. Or should I say: the truffles. If you like gorging on truffles, this is the place to be. I only wonder how long it’s gonna last as an affordable place to hang out for a week or two and eat this delicatessen–as opposed to how expensive it is in Italy or France. If you find the right place along one of them hill roads, all you need is a few Euros for plate of perfectly cooked noodles in a butter-wine sauce and then topped with dark truffle shavings (above). The cats seem to know what they’re begging for under your table, too.

And by-the-buy, check out the arrogant über corporate message from LA Times when I was trying to read up on some #SCOTUS bull$hit this morning. Even though the message is trying to be sympathetic and show interest in problem solving, any rational mind knows that what they’re really trying to say is that my grand & missed United Mistakes of #Americant is having a hard time getting-on with the EU’s attempt at reigning in on digital greed and abuse. The whole point of what the EU is trying to do (I hope!) is to right a long standing wrong–as long as the attempt is about users being the ones to decide what happens with their data. FB, Twitter and even the LA Times have no business whatsoever thinking they can own and manipulate what I do on the Interwebnets. That’s right, baby. You may own your software, you may own your website, but if you put it out there on a public network–which is what the Interwebnets is–then you have no right to own, sell or manipulate my data–even if it’s going through your website (or software).

Or something like that.

Rant on.

-T

How Do The Oh So Very Few Convince The Many?

There you are, dear worst-reader. You’re right in the middle of a mob. Pitch forks, shovels, maybe a few axes here and there, and let’s not forget the tiki-torches. They’re all waving around your head as you try to speak some sense into the crowd. Does it work? Of course not. This is #Americant! Fcuk Yeah! So your head is cut-off and your body is quartered by tying it to monster trucks at a Mississippi mud rally. Out of pure spite your head is placed on a stick and the grand children Republican Senators and a few from the mob are all given rusty darts to throw at it. For those kids who actually hit the head and the dart sticks, they get a greed t-shirt and greed hat that reads, that’s right, you guessed it, #MAGA.

With the above in mind, how the heck can anyone take this NYT brilliant tech-savvy online article seriously? I mean, come on. I’m mid-fifties and I grew up in and around the Washington DC area–albeit the lower middle class area. #Trump has been around in my life since I can remember. In fact, weren’t there at least two other times in the 80s and 90s–before one could google it?–when the issues addressed in the brilliant online article linked to below (yeah, the tech behind its multimedia presentation is gaga-cool!) show #Trump–now President Stupid–as a swindling con-man? And that’s not even the reason no one should take this article seriously. Indeed. President Stupid should not be taken seriously is the real deal. And not just because of his dubious family connections to sub-par NYC wealth. What need be taken serious is the reality that #Trump represents exactly what most #Americants are and how they’ve lived their do-nothing lives post WW2–the whole historic deal culminating in yet another anti-democratic election. And let’s not forget how my grand, beloved and missed united mistakes of #Americant squandered what should have been the benefit of having won a/the ridiculous Cold War. Generational greed-mongers riding the laurels of others. Time to learn it. And now school is in session, biatches.

Trump is all-truth in #Americant today. The NYT article (below) really shoots the $hit about not just #Trump but what every American (except worst-moi, of course) would do in a heart beat, if given the chance–to make a friggin buck. Perhaps that’s his only genius. Doing the best he could with the chances bequeathed him? That he was unable to make something worthwhile with his cheating, con-man, grifter wealth is nothing but a sad, sordid story. And now you’ve made him President (albeit Stupid). But that’s going too deep, eh? And so. This is what happens when you take advantage of so much stupid and then realise you’ll never run out of stupid–unlike oil, living-standards, nature, human rights, etc. Way to go conservatives, GOP, neo-liberals (corporate Dems) and all those voters who don’t mind grabbing everything by the pu$$y because, well, most a$$hole middle-classers can. Right #SCOTUS suckers?

But I digress.

Good luck, suckers.

Rant on.

T

Link that motivated this post:

The Legitimatisation Of Bad Behaviour Per President Grab Them By The…

The saying “you can’t write this stuff” doesn’t apply anymore. Reason? Someone has written this krapp down. My only regret is that I ain’t that someone. For it is indeed a script for the history books, don’t you know.

Welcome to the #Americant b-movie or hyper soap-opera that is the beginning of the 21st century. And what a better way to bring it on than to appoint yet another sexually repressed $hitbag to #SCOTUS. But I’ve already kinda ranted about that here. Indeed. So what I really want to rant about in this worst-post is the reason, dear worst-reader–according to worstwriter–why President Stupid actually picked this guy.

Is there a better way to legitimise bad male behaviour than to pick a $hitbag just like you as though normal is only normal as long as normal comes from me (#Trump)? Not only that, as with most other stuff coming out of the White House, this is a great smoke-screen. But I don’t want to get into President Stupid being on the verge of firing the guy that is in charge of overseeing DOJ money being spent on that BS that is Russian election interference. No. Let’s stay on topic, eh.

President Stupid has picked this upper middle class, über-privileged white guy–that hides behind #Americant Christian $hitbaggery–because it’s time for Das Volk (deplorables?) to learn that everything, no matter what it is, especially when it comes to all-things submissive and sadistic (sex), is ok as long as privileged ones do it. You know, if you’re a star–or a republican judge–you can grab women by the pu$$y or cover their mouths at seventeen (to stop her from screaming) anytime, anywhere, anywho. Of course, the worst part about it all is that most #Americant women don’t mind this behaviour. How else could so many of them have voted for #Trump? As long as the behaviour lands a woman the legitimacy and financials of marriage, they’re up for it. The problems arise, though, when enough gets to be enough for all the women-folk that weren’t so lucky in their quest to land those financials–or become Mrs. #SCOTUS. Talk about $hit outta luck, eh.

My worst-point is this: you gotta hand it to President Stupid. His ability to take stupid to the next level seems to have no end. Fill the world of (judicial) power with those who think/act like you or, at the least, legalise and protect reverse Robin Hood tax breaks, protect you (President Stupid) from money laundering and election fraud and, let’s not forget, over-turn a woman’s right to chose what to do with whatever it is a $hitbag puts in her body–forevermore.

Where will all this lead–in a country run by so much greed-mongering stupidity?

Rant on, suckers.

T

Links that motivated this post:

Narrative Non Fiction And Too Many Unnecessary Words

rubicon cover.jpg

Actually I’m not done with it yet. In fact, after about half-way through it, I put it down last week and have been reluctant to return to it. Reason? I know most of the history already. What I was hoping for, though, was that Tom Holland would consolidate a bit. You know, cliff-note the history but then go crazy with some interesting narrative. For it is, dear worst-reader, a narrative non fiction book. Boy, were my hopes misgiven. That worst-said, Holland is not a bad writer, but he does write a lot–where perhaps a little less would be just as good. Does he have to fill pages? Is there a publisher out there wanting to print more? It doesn’t matter. History is history. With that in mind, I enjoyed reading Caesar’s Civil War more. And so…

Currently reading the book Rubicon. It’s a celebrated narrative non-fiction of the rise and fall of the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire. That’s right, dear worst-reader. They were two different things. But, as previously mentioned, I’m not as tickled with the book as I had hoped to be. Holland’s writing does not pull me in. Does it push me away? I’ll hold off on that question for now. Of course, this book did make my reading list a few years back after reading about it. And now I’m battling through it. So let me just worst-write a few thoughts based on what I’ve read so far–in case it joins my list of I give up books.

Even though the author is British, I get the sense that through his “narration” he is chronicling the fall of today’s Western empire–with my beloved & missed #Americant in mind. Considering that one of the reasons I chose this book from my to-read list now is the fact that #Trumpism and his lust for authoritarianism is running amok, I’ve always wanted to know why it is that so many many many people can fall for something as stupid as, well, believing and then electing… a President Stupid. I mean, I get it that there is a faux-newz channel in the united mistakes of #Americant. I also get it that Rush Limbaugh has played a major role in corrupting already vulnerable half-baked minds. In fact, the whole right-wing narrative that has corrupted practically everything in #Americant, has never been more obvious. Yet, even after Ronald Reagan, after what one side of politics in the US has done (I am NOT a both-siderist!), I’ve always believed that more than a few people by now should wake up to reality and do the simple task of not voting for the shit side all the time. As usual, I am wrong and I am probably off subject.

The only thing that stands out after reading half of Rubicon is the relationship between the ruling elites and the willing slaves that supported those elites through both the Republic and the Empire of Ancient Rome. But then again, if you’ll allow this tangent, I am obsessed with hating not just President Stupid (the perfect imbecilic example of a 20th century wannabe emperor) but the minions (modern slaves?) that put him there–just like those idiots of Rome that ransacked the world in the name of greed, lust, hoarding, spite and bigotry, etc. Yeah, history sounds familiar, don’t it?

I guess there’s no point in reading a book that tells me neither anything new or anything original about ancient Rome. But for those who know nothing of it, this book might be a great place to start. Who knows, I might finish it eventually out of sheer boredom and that unwillingness to put Caesar’s dagger through my left temple.

Rant on.

T