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Back to the mainland in Split (48/17,097k 675m)

(written by Nancy)

First thing, before I forget, I promised Dave that I would confirm in writing that he is my internet boy as he actually got the internet tethering on the iphone to work last night, despite an email from VIP customer service that said it couldn’t be used on a prepaid sim.  Hopefully it will continue to work without problems for the rest of our time in Croatia and they won’t figure out who we are or how we are using the phone.

Okay, back to today’s ride…  We rolled out of the campground this morning just before 8am.  What felt like a 10k diversion to the campground yesterday turned out to be just 4k back to the main road, so Dave had to take back all those disparaging things he said about the campground and its signage.  And less than 1k was really uphill, so we were obviously pretty tired by the time we got to there yesterday!

We had a very nice ride today – hot and a bit hilly, but beautiful views and very little traffic.  The theme of the day seemed to be rocks – lots and lots of rock walls and little rock sheds, all looking like they were painstakingly constructed even though they were way out in the boonies.  I suspect many of them are used to store tools for the various vineyards that lined the roadside and the hillsides, or perhaps are used as resting spots for the field workers.  Very picturesque, whatever their use.

It was hot again today – it wasn’t long after we left that Dave said it was 35C on his bike computer already.  Thankfully we didn’t have anything too bad to get over – there were a few 8% grades but nothing that went on for too long.  The heat really seemed to bring out the scents of the plants though – both of us were surprised by the strong sweet smell of the scotch broom and the smell of the pine trees.  A bit of a nice reminder of the plants in Oregon, though neither of us could remember such a strong scent coming off the scotch broom (perhaps something to do with the lack of hot sunshine in Oregon??).  For the record, scotch broom is native here in Croatia – it is not Oregon’s version of the Aussie cane toad.

Today we essentially rode from one end of Korcula island to the other.  The road meandered up and down the sides of the ridgeline and we got views of the water from both sides of the island.  There are only a few small villages along the way but it wasn’t too long of a ride so we didn’t have to worry about water resupply.  At several points we thought that we were for sure at the top of the last hill, only to dip a bit and come around a corner to see the road continue up.  We topped out at about 1500ft above sea level, which is pretty decent climbing over 40k when starting at sea level.

We made it to Vela Luka at the other end of the island by about 11am, well early for the planned ferry ride to the mainland that left at 1:45.  So, what better to do than to sit at one of the water front cafes and have breakfast for lunch.  It was a bit funny – they had omelets but Dave ordered fried eggs instead.  That seemed to confuse our waitress a bit so one of the other waitresses came out to check the order.  She first didn’t seem to understand what fried eggs were, repeating the words, but then it seemed to dawn on her what we were asking for and we thought it was fine.  But sure enough, the order came out and we both got omelets with ham in them and on the top.  Oh well, they were tasty, even though they don’t look good in the picture.  I was hoping I was not going to regret eating so much before the ferry ride.

The ferry departed right on time at 1:45 – it was a car ferry so we just rolled the bikes on and tied them to the side of the garage and then headed up to grab a place to sit.  The ferry seemed relatively full, with seating inside and out.  We sat inside for a bit but then went outside to sit for a bit as it was actually almost too cold inside with the air conditioning running pretty high.  The ferry wound its way between several other islands off the coast of mainland Croatia and it seemed like lots of folks were out in their sailboats taking advantage of the wind and the sunny day.

It was a pretty calm crossing – I wore my wrist bands and we snacked on some ginger that we picked up in Dubrovnik the other day so no problems.  Of course, I feel like I am on a boat right now, but hopefully that will clear up after a night’s rest.

We docked in Split harbour about 4:30 and rolled off the bike with the intention of trying to find the tourist information office to see if we could find out some info about campgrounds.  As we were trying to find the office we were approached by a relatively forceful lady who had rooms to rent.  She told us the information center was closed (it was) and that the campground that was about 5k away was closed and the closest camping was 30k (not sure if that was true or not).  After she lowered the price for her rooms twice, down to a level that was doable for us, I agreed to go take a look while Dave waited with the bikes.

The room (actually an apartment, with a little kitchen area) was right next to the old city area and decent so off I went back talk to Dave, hoping I could actually find my way back to where he was through the labyrinth of streets.  After only one wrong turn I found him again – given that it was already close to 5:30 and we weren’t sure about the campground we decided to go ahead and take the room.

We cleaned up and headed out to get something to eat and wander a bit.  After looking at a few restaurants we finally stopped at this little tiny restaurant that had all kinds of fish dishes.  It happened to be right next to the fish market so it could hardly go wrong – we both opted for the mixed fish plate, which had small sardines, big sardines and calamari.  That and a tasty tomato salad and bread made for a great dinner.  We walked around a bit more, stopping for an ice cream while we watched the buskers set up for their shows on the main plaza.

The long day and boat ride has now caught up to us (me anyway) so it’s off to bed.

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6 responses to “Back to the mainland in Split (48/17,097k 675m)

  1. Now Dave is the one who always has his helmet on in the photos. Used to be Nancy.

  2. Yum! Beautiful sailing pictures, too.

  3. Hi guys, I bet that if you had more time tethering on the iphone, you would have had live streaming…… go Italy…. ;-o

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