Croatia in a nutshell

27 Oct

We’re on a boat! Conditions improved once we got to Zadar. It had stopped raining and we found a hostel pretty easily. We were both looking forward to a shared community as it has just been Dave and I for the past month and we haven’t been able to communicate a whole lot with people. We found some stimulating company in a great little city.

The next day we took off for a push to Sibenik a little over 70 km away. We were excited to cycle down the coast and i think that we both had the notion that it would be similar to highway one along the california coast line. To our dismay we were kept pretty far from the ocean with glimpses of it here and there and also a lot of trash along the side of the road. The first half of our day was spent passing by one closed resort town after another and then after Drage the road opened up into the mountains and we were met with beautiful scenery and the start of inclines.

By the time we reached Sibenik we were both pretty tired and quickly realized that it was not a bicycle friendly city. It is composed of small streets and alleyways that terminate abruptly or turn into stairs. We had hoped to see a tourist office on the way in but with no luck found ourselves by the water without a clue as to where to go. Luckily we had written down the address of the hostel we had intended to go to and after asking around and carting our bikes up a flight of stairs we finally found the place- closed – with a note on the door and phone number…great. luckily a woman at a nearby clothing boutique was kind enough to call the number and the owner met us there shortly.

What we are realizing about Croatia is that they are not used to people travelling in the off season and the hostel owner asked us what in the world we were doing there in October.

Sibenik turned out to be a charming little city and we greatly enjoyed our brief stay there. And thus begins our bout with trying to make decisions for the next steps in our journey. Our next destination was Split and there were two roads to get there; one kept us by the coast and we assumed was relatively flat but some where around 100km long, and the second was more direct, around 70km but through the mountains. We opted for the mountains which for the first half of our trip kept us huffing and puffing up 8% grades. We both started to lose heart when we realized we had only gone about 25km and were still in the mountains. On either side of us were huge ranges and we just kept on praying that we would not have to go over them.

Luckily our next 30km winded between the mountains and stayed relatively flat. And then all of a sudden it was all worth it. We opened up to glittering sea and a breathtaking vista of Split below us. After our twisting descent down the mountain we were greeted abruptly with a big busy road filled with cars, and then the road turned into a “dual carriage bi-way” as it was labelled on the map. In reality we were on the highway and it was terrifying. We hugged the guard rails, i kept my head down and focused on keeping my front tire on the white line because there was no shoulder. Some cars were sympathetic and gave us space and others sped by us honking obnoxiously. As far as we knew this was the only road into the city and after 60km of mountains it was hard to keep it together.

Eventually we found our way to the old town and our hostel. Our worst entry into a city yet. Once settled in though and less rattled we explored the city, met some really great people at the hostel and decided to stay a second night and contemplate our next move. And that brings us up to date, we are on a ferry going to one of Splits islands which we will cycle across and from there down to Dubrovnik.

And then we make the big decision. We are a little tired if coastal mediterranean towns, Greece is filled with islands that are closed for the season and mountains and the only way we can ferry there is to go to italy first and then back across the sea. We are contemplating a huge change of plans, cycling southern italy, ferry to Barcelona, and then cycling down towards Morocco. There are so many places to go, so many options…how do you decide?


3 Responses to “Croatia in a nutshell”

  1. Shelli the Fridge October 27, 2011 at 6:32 pm #

    flip a coin.

  2. good luck October 28, 2011 at 11:52 pm #

    It seems much better plan, I think Greece is almost same as Croatia, Italy can be nice change. Pictures are beautiful, keep us posted. Mom

  3. Lenka October 31, 2011 at 12:22 pm #

    What a nice idea, go for it!

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