Our last days in Dubrovnik were slow and lazy, making the most of the beach weather. We would usually start the day with tea which always came with honey and lemon instead of milk.
Cycling in Croatia is hugging the white line with no shoulder, sweat dripping down your nose, climbing hills and getting cramps in your fingers from grabbing the breaks. It also has an incredible landscape, rocky and mountainous, with tiny bays, fishing villages, and gorgeous beaches one after the other filled with restaurants serving freshly grilled seafood.
At 5.30am in the morning Cleave shook me awake begrudgingly and with much complaining. After seeing three cruise ships docked in the harbour oozing out thousands of people onto the dock and being smushed by the crowds in Old Town we put on an alarm hoping to beat the masses. Of course now that it was the crack of dawn it was hard to remember the enthusiasm we originally had. At 6am we stood bleary-eyed at Pile Gate, the main entrance to the old city. Usually packed by ice-cream fuelled crowds by day it was eerily devoid of any signs of life.
As soon as we rode into Omis, we could tell this place was really unique. Located approximately 25km below Split, the landscape of Omis looks like it’s right out of the Jurassic Age, surrounded by mountain ranges whose rocky steep slopes rise dramatically behind the town.
Croatia in summer means an enormous array of fresh produce ready for the picking. I’m totally crazy for summer fruit. In our family fruit reigns as dessert with big bowls of fruit salad, berries and cream, stewed plums or peaches with ice cream or big inviting fruit bowls front and center in the fridge. Also in Australia summer fruit means Christmas and with that holidaaaays. So imagine my excitement when we started riding past cherry, apricot and fig trees laden with heavy branches! It felt like Christmas had come early.
Have you ever seen a more eclectic mix of cars in one spot? This photo of an instant car collection or giant money pit was taken at a mechanics shop on the Croatian coast near the town of Trogir.
Croatia was our stopover to extend our Schengen visa. Now with unlimited time (well, up to three months) and long sunny days we slowed our cycling right down. Basically we would ride 30-50km as early as we could before the heat set in and stopped with long muti-day rests in-between. The Croatian coastline is filled with beautiful inlets and marinas, tiny beaches, old stone towns and hundreds of campsites and apartments. The difficulty now was deciding which gorgeous spot we should stay at!
As soon as we began riding in Croatia everyone seemed to mention Plitvice as a must see. From Croatian friends back home to apartment hosts to shopkeepers, all fingers seemed to be pointing us straight to that direction. But nothing could have prepared us for the incredible natural wonder that is Plitvice.
Arriving in Zagreb, Croatia’s northwestern capital and transport hub, we were greeted with the news that no further trains within Croatia would take bicycles. The trains either had no luggage compartments or they switched to buses which they refused to give us a ticket for. We would have to ride from here on in.