After our indulgent week in the villa, celebrating all wonderful things with our friends (T&S) we were thrown right back into it with a bang. The heat, scary traffic, coastal cliff hangers and cycling! I still don’t think we have found the rhythm yet and often yearn for the ease of a real holiday and company of great friends.
The last week has not taken us great distances but it has taken us along the coast (route 8), which is stated as a national cycle way. However, cycling along side coaches, trucks, lorries, vans etc is not a a good plan with no space for a hard shoulder, just a drop or plunge into the sea. There were several occasions where we both saw the other come close to the side of a metal surface. Barbara has become very vocal and hand gesturing follow after one of this machines comes too close! To avoid the road we took a 1 hour ferry to the peninsula to escape the traffic and see a wilder side of the coast. A very beautiful option but the Croatian cartographer on our map has some explaining to do as roads indicated as local roads became almost invisible rock tracks, disappearing. One one occasion we ended down into a beautiful bay for a lunch time swim to find the road went into hiding and we had a climb of 600-800metres in the heat of the day! Several switchbacks were experienced. The campsite at the end of the day was great, modest, friendly and only 2 others there. We were greeted with cold beer and the day felt much better. Cold beer at the end of a ride has been a routine in Croatia and I wonder for how long?!
After a couple of days on the peninsula we continued towards Dubrovnik and enjoyed a rest day exploring the old town and walking the walls. A stunning city which is still hard to imagine the destruction from the 1990’s conflict. The restoration work is very well done and amongst the throngs of people Dubrovnik is a great place to visit.
Croatia has surprised us with it’s stunning coastline and sea quality. The interior is also breathtaking with fauna and flora to excite any outdoors person. We even saw and saved a couple of wild tortoises along a side road, confused with a high kerb obstacle. There have been scores of dead snakes along the roads and to be honest I’m not sure what I’d do if one slide between my wheels!
Another positive about Croatia is the camping, most sites have been great, small and modest (apart from camping solitude in Dubrovnik- overpriced and not solitude). If you are thinking of Croatia go but try and do it before peak season as I am sure it will be crowded.
On our last day here we had a nice ride through the hills that have been scattered with Cyprus trees, and verdant vegetation. The border crossing was on the edge of a cliff on the tip of land. Not sure I have ever seen such a picturesque passport control.
1km of no mans land took us to the border control of Montenegro and today we have cycled around the fiords passing mainstream seaside places to more genuine local bays. Resting our heads tonight in a pension as the campsite on our Montenegro map closed down years ago! Another cartography non update! We do have online/offline maps but we are trying for more tactile mapping ( if not to be completely trusted).
Our future route has had a bit of a knock as the ferry from Burgas, Bulgaria to Georgia is in dry dock and the replacement is not equipped to take passengers! There does not seem any other ferry other than going to Ukraine! At present we think we will continue to Istanbul (1200km away and some serious mountains to climb) and maybe take some public transport as we had plans to meet friends in Georgia mid July.
(Images below from Croatia June 8-14)