We’re half way through our two-week bike trip and, as Mark already noted, the days have a distinct regularity. Get up, have breakfast, bike from sea level to the top of some hill, bike back to sea level. Usually a swim or two somewhere in there, often while the boat just anchors at sea, which can be fabulous.
One change that we’ve made is that Mark & I typically figure out the route on our Google Maps and head off on our own before the rest of the group. That gives us the chance to bike on our own – with Mark on his e-bike far in front – and avoid the regular stops to regroup and all that. Big improvement.
We started Day Five on the island of Lastovo, one of the smaller inhabited Adriatic islands in Croatia. It’s also further out in the Adriatic than most islands so during the years of the Cold War Yugoslavia used it pretty much exclusively as a key military base barred to foreign nationals; even Yugoslavs were discouraged from coming to the island. As a result the island suffered economic stagnation and depopulation. It’s been reopened now for some 30 years, but it still has the feel of a place that time has kind of passed by. Which actually makes for some pretty good biking as the 18 miles we did across the island saw little traffic but some great vistas.
After the ride, over lunch, we sailed to the island of Korčula, one of Croatia’s premier tourist islands. The next morning we set off on a serious ride, by far the most difficult so far: 38 miles from west to east including not one but two big climbs. Definitely some rewarding views but I was exhausted. The good news was that there was a nice beach waiting for us at the end of the ride that included a cafè with cold beer. It may well have been the first beer I’ve had in four or five years and oh heavens was it good.
Finally, the next morning over breakfast we cruised to the town of Prapratno on the mainland and bike on to Slano, less than 20 miles northwest of Dubrovnik. After the previous day’s 38 miles, this 17-mile ride seemed like a breeze. On the way we passed the town of Ston, which claims the second-longest stone walls in the world after the Great Wall of China. That may be true but having been to the Great Wall, well, you just shouldn’t make that comparison. It’s worth noting that the stop in Ston to see the not-as-great wall (honestly impressive but not a Great Wall) was our third stop of the day after just four kilometers. From there Mark & I took off on our own again.
From here it’s down to Dubrovnik for a rest day before we head back up the coast for week two.