Euro 2012 fever from Split to Sibenik (97/17,189ks, 620m)

(written by Dave)

Folks outside Europe may not know it but the Euro 2012 football (soccer) tournament is on right now.  Croatia is one of the 16 teams to make the tournament and they are playing for their survival right now against world number one Spain.  This is the last game of the pool matches for both teams.  Croatians are very much behind their team.  Many of the cars today had Croatian flags and people walking the streets tonight are in team kit.  I don’t think anyone here gives their team much of a chance against mighty Spain but at halftime it is nil-nil.  Nancy is letting me watch it as for some reason, our rented apartment only has German and Arabic channels, no English.

Yes we are in an apartment again, one we arranged through the tourist information office here in Sibenik.  We had planned on camping but after passing by a nice looking campground at about 60k, nothing further looked all that great.  We had a planned campground stop out at about 85k and we actually checked in but we just couldn’t bring ourselves to stay.  There was no grass, and only spots in among trailers and campers.  Worst of all, it was only very expensive, only $8 more than the apartment that we ended up with.  The campground was billed as a major destination and had supposedly won some awards but it was just too big, had too much dirt and too few other services to pay the kinds of rates they were asking, cashing in on their awards I suppose.  We voted with our pocketbooks and moved on.

We were both a little flat this morning and got a late-ish start.  There were three other touring bikes in the hotel lobby but we never did meet their owners.  We rolled out of oldtown about 8:30 and with only a few map checks we made it to the main road heading north.  We were thinking, “this is not a great road” when the four lanes with no shoulder turned into 2 lanes with less shoulder.  From about the 5k mark to the 30k mark we both we rode in perfect straight lines trying not to inch anywhere closer to the traffic lane.  We both had hands falling asleep but were too afraid to do much about it.  Finally at Trogir we pulled over to take a look at the nice oldtown area and get something to drink, and more importantly to give our nerves a rest.

From Trogri there were a couple route options.  We took the long-cut along the coast and had considerably less traffic to deal with.  The route now was also along the sea, so there was more to look at.  The sea here is just as blue as it was when we rode in Turkey but as we are now riding north, the best views are on the “other “ side of the road.  There are some famous rides in the world where they suggest you ride on the coast side; the Great Ocean Road in Australia and the Oregon coast in the US are two good examples.  Today was scenic but probably would have pushed closer to stunning had we been riding the other direction.

I mentioned finding an apartment at the tourist bureau  and should probably describe how this works.  At least now, outside July and August peak tourist months, it is pretty easy to finds a place to stay in these towns.  Actually, the places find you.  All you have to do is ride slowly, through the tourist area, be that the water front, near the ferry, town central, etc.  Before long, someone will yell out to you, “do you need a room?”.  If you stop and engage, something will turn up.  This is negotiation time as well, prices come down greatly if you are hesitant.  The second option is to stop at the tourist bureau, always in the same area.  The tourist folks are funny.  They listen for you want and then pull out the one room that matches features and price.  They act like it is the only room they know of until you come up with a deal breaker reason that it won’t work, then suddenly they have one more room that fixes the issue.  This goes on until you relent and go look at the room.  If you don’t like, it, you can go back to the office and as luck would have it, they have another option for you.  We have yet to get a look at the tourist bureau list of rooms so that we can make our own choice.  I think that they are trying to manage their commission and probably do better on some rooms than on others.

Our apartment today had a washing machine.  Not one in the room but in the hallway.  I was able to ask nicely and get the owner to let us do a load of wash.  After a long sweaty day, that was a nice treat.  We had planned on cooking dinner at camp so we had everything we needed for dinner.  We still went out for a stroll to look at some of the sights.  The main attraction in town is St John’s cathedral , built in 1536, rumored to be the world’s largest church built out of stone, without brick or wood.  It has an interesting row of friezes containing 71 heads of ordinary town folk of the time, with happy, sad, excited and other various “normal” expressions.  Better looking than gargoyles I guess.  The builders must have had a sense of humor.

We have two or three possible plans for tomorrow.  We’re going to have to see how the day goes to decide which one we take.  The destination for the day is Zadar.  We will either be camping just before or after town, or possibly in a room in town.  They have a sea organ there that is supposed to be worth a look/listen.  We are not really sure what it is but will report back.

Score update…  nil-nil – not good for Croatia as Italy is beating Ireland in the other came.  Come on guys!!!

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5 thoughts on “Euro 2012 fever from Split to Sibenik (97/17,189ks, 620m)

  1. Beware of rogue road flares from the angry Croatian fans! Can’t fall asleep that close to the end, great match though! Spain and Germany in the finals! Hope your bike rash is not too bad! Keep it real.

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