Exploring the world by bicycle is a wonderful way to see the environment, smell the aromas, hear both the sounds and the quiet, and taste the pungency of the culture. A great way to meet people, too, since they appreciate our willingness to be vulnerable in their spaces. You’re not just a face in the window of a car or bus. You can wave, smile and say hello and get a response in return. You can take photos with ease. At any moment. You don’t miss much.
At the same time, you are vulnerable. On roadways with shoulders, small roads with little traffic, country lanes, and single track trails you can relax and enjoy the places you’re traveling in. On busy highways, city streets, and lanes crowded with people, cars, other cyclists, all senses have to be focused on the dangers. No time for the imagination to soar, or the camera to come out. All you smell are the highway fumes. All you hear is the rush of engines and the blaring horns of impatient drivers.
All that said is a prelude to my comments on Croatia. It’s really a stunningly beautiful country. The topography is either up or down. The ocean a very vivid blue. Food is fabulous and people open and friendly. Everything is clean and maintained. The only complaint we have is that the smaller highway that much of our route has followed has no shoulder. It’s quite busy and narrow. Much of it has a six inch drop instead of a shoulder for water to run. It’s a dangerous place to cycle.
So we left our EuroVelo route to take an alternate route out on the Peljesac Peninsula and then a ferry out to Korcula Island. We then peddled the length of the island to the delightful seacoast town of Vela Luka before taking the ferry back to Split on the mainland. We had a day off in both places. It was a great choice on our part as both the peninsula and Korcula are breathtakingly beautiful.
It was a long day with lots of climbing to reach the remote little village of Zuljana. Our apartment host there was a charming woman who readily volunteered to make us tired cyclists dinner and treat us to a bottle of her homemade Black wine. What a treat to sit next to a small still harbor in the quiet air of a slumbering village. To take a deep breath after a hard earned arrival and be so satisfied with the day. And enjoy a simple country meal with a couple glasses of very good wine. Not to forget the company of true friends.
It was a short ferry ride to Korcula where we heading right out on our route to Vela Luka at the far end. The mountainous ridges drop very vertically to the sea here making for steep climbs for cyclists. Also the sun is gaining power. Our route put us on a steep two track loose gravel road which was causing us problems. In the end we voted to head for the paved road and save our legs and tired bodies from the punishment.
Tonight we’re in an apartment in Split. We worked on bikes and rested. It felt good.