Well today was very special for us. It’s the first time anyone from our family has been to Croatia. I had booked an 8 day cycling/sailing tour around the islands of Southern Dalmatia many months ago and finally we have arrived. We have been through a fair bit in the past two months and both of us were looking forward to getting away and doing something different.
It was suggested that we arrive a few days early and soak up the atmosphere of Trogir, before the tour starts. We are so glad we took this advice. Up until now Croatia hasn’t meant much to me apart from tennis and soccer players and we are looking forward to learning more about this beautiful country. We are enjoying ourselves immensely. We also have a few days after the tour to enjoy exploring Split, another UNESCO site.
Our first day was spent getting settled into our hotel and finding our bearings. A storm came through in the afternoon but only lasted a short time before moving on, so we decided to walk into the town centre, a distance of about 4km. The houses along the way were all well maintained and each seem to have their own little jetty onto the water. Boats and fisherman are everywhere and in the height of summer this would be a very busy place with sun lounges in every available space. The sand isn’t really sand, it is small white pebbles and the water is as clear as the water in Jervis Bay back home. The beaches aren’t very big but are very pretty and people were out swimming still. The walk into the centre was a bit dangerous at times as the roads aren’t that wide and there weren’t really any footpaths to speak of but we thought the drivers were very considerate and understanding. It’s also odd to have drivers coming at you from the other side of the road than we are used to.
We were amazed at the old town of Trogir as it was just so beautiful and striking. It has been classified as a UNESCO site and we could see why. We couldn’t stop oohing and ahhing every time we turned a corner and saw another narrow alley with history oozing out of the walls. It was a bustling popular place but amongst all the history and touristy shops there were businesses going about their daily business – hairdressers, optometrists, jewellers – which seemed so out of place in many ways. The citadel at the end of the boardwalk is also a very impressive building. The stone of all the buildings is a clean white rock and has a lovely soft look. We will do some research and hopefully update our knowledge of this historic site. On the way back to our hotel the sun was setting through the many boats and was a picture perfect moment.
Day 2 saw us ready for some action so we arranged for two bikes to be delivered for the day. Given that I haven’t ridden in over 4 weeks due to an emergency appendectomy I was understandbly a bit tentative. We thought we’d go for a short ride to warm up but it ended up being a huge ride and all my sore, aching muscles are worth it for the fantastic views. We rode from our hotel up to Slatine along the beach front and up into the hills. This tested me out but the gears on the mountain bike were good once I worked them out. We rode up and up and then down and down until we could go no further. There was an amazing walking path around the cliffs but the bikes couldn’t manage it. We retraced our steps back up the hill until we found a bike track across the top of the island and pushed the bikes most of the way up due to the extremely rocky track. We persevered along this track for quite a while as the views were sensational. We finally found a track going back down and decided to take it. It was very difficult to ride so we ended up walking the bikes down as well. Then once back on the road we took off as it was mainly all down hill back to the hotel. It was a great ride and I think I managed very well all things considered. There was very little traffic and again we found drivers to be very considerate. After a short rest we went back out on the bikes into Trogir and rode around the old town. It was great to find our boat Kapetan Jure berthed and getting ready for our tour tomorrow.
In all we cycled about 30km today and some of it was very hard work, so I am confident that I all be able to keep up on the cycle tour given that I’ve booked myself an electric bike. It was great warmup ride and it was fantastic to get out on the bike today and feel so alive. I am really looking forward to sailing away tomorrow!