Croatian cruising

11 Oct

Hello one and all.

I will keep this one fairly brief because I am in a darkened internet cafe that stinks of onions with groups of rowdy lads playing computer games and shouting around me. Not exactly the best atmosphere to describe my thoughts and experiences. Before I forget, I have updated the map, found on my route page. And I have uploaded and tagged some photos here:

http://s1171.photobucket.com/albums/r558/philb0412/

 

I left you on the coast of Croatia, I am now in Mostar, Bosnia and what a week it has been; fantastic cycling in spectacular countryside. I began by heading inland to Porec, a town famous for the chasm that Jules Verne wrote about in one of his novels. I rode through the scrubby forests, up and down hills, through little villages and got to the chasm. I was really looking forward to it, expecting an underground grotto and waterfalls. I descended the ravine and walked past without even noticing it only to be charged 30 Kuna (about 3 pounds fifty) for the pleasure. I spoke to the disinterested girl and she said it was closed because it was dangerous. Well I am not paying for nothing I thought. So I went back down.This time when I reached the river I followed it. I scrambled over the rocks, having a great time exploring and getting grubby. I did have a nagging thought of 127 Hours (the film where a guy gets his arm caught under a rock and has to hack it off with a penknife) in my head but the climbing was and I made sure of my holds. It was a nice little excursion and nice to do something off the bike for once.

I carried on heading East and the next day had the first of many climbs in Croatia. This one was a 900m pass in the Ucka region that lead me to Rijeka on the coast. It was really steep, I had a cycle of pushing a bit, spinning in gear 1, climbing out the saddle in gear 3, spinning in gear one and then pushing again. I got up in a couple of hours and enjoyed the long descent with great views of the sea.

I hugged the coast for about 100km, it was really pretty but the roads were busy, clogged by the many tourist buses full of retirees. What I really enjoyed about Croatia were the inland regions. At Klenovica I took the road inland, over a 700m pass that I cruised up and down into a verdant valley. After that range the scenery was completely different, the soil had changed from a terracotta red to a deep brown and it was lush and covered in grass. I saw old men chopping firewood (winter is definitely coming!!!!) and working the land and lots little old ladies with gnarled faces hunched over and covered in shawls. You could tell the area had seen conflict by the houses. Some were debilitated old stone building that shrubs had taken over, some were crumbling concrete shells, others were either unfinished and lived in or reclaimed, it was hard to tell judging from the grey blockwork facades. 

 

I made an unintentional detour that took me over another 700m pass, in the wrong direction and lead me to Obrovac but it was worth it. The view of another national park was brilliant and as I was descending rays of sun began to break through clouds.

Anyway the time on the computer is about to run out so I will have to end abruptly. But the riding was great and my legs felt strong on the climbs all the way through. I am now in Mostar, very smelly and bearded going to treat myself to a hotel room for the night.

 

Bye for now.

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3 Responses to “Croatian cruising”

  1. Cj October 11, 2012 at 3:03 pm #

    Philis I am so jealous! It all sounds amazing… x

  2. johnsch123 October 12, 2012 at 2:52 pm #

    Fantastic photos and excellent blog. Following your every stage and looking forward to the next instalment. Take care, Love Grandma and Granddad.

  3. Tony Wilkins January 25, 2013 at 9:20 am #

    Hi Philip
    Following your adventures and relaying it to my Mother – Mary Wilkins Tynwald – she is loving it and thinks you are very brave. She wants you back soon!!!! Take care and have a lovely time. Don’t worry about us in the snow and freezing cold. Tony Wilkins

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