8 May – Beautiful but exhausting

8 May – Beautiful but exhausting

Today we exhausted ourselves on the small mountainous Croatian roads. In the end we rode 90km, although the ride from Trogir to Vodice was meant to be around 70km.

We had a good breakfast at the hotel, and enjoyed chatting with a Swedish couple. They showed us a photo of their summer home in Sweden which is still under a meter of snow. Evidently this is not normal – we seem to come across people every few days who talk about the climate changing. The last conversations were with Anna in Umbria about the trees not fruiting.

It was heavenly setting off in the cool morning air, alongside the coast, riding off the island and passing the old town of Trogir again. We detoured off the main road about 20km later to try some small rural roads that would take us around the coast and off the main coastal road. We were soon doing a big hill climb – with amazing views of the little town, harbour and boats below and the coastline beyond.

It was dry and rocky at the top of the hill, with many olive trees – I was fascinated with the way they were growing. Some were surrounded by loosely packed stone walls. Some had stones packed around their roots, in a circle around the tree.

We passed a couple who were tending their olive trees. The man was hauling rocks out and his wife was carrying them away.  Croatian farming starts with the clearing of rocks.

It was very quiet, with hardly any cars passing or people about.
At the top of the hill, we found a maze of little roads criss crossing along the hill.

Every now and then we rode past a small group of houses, but with no one about. To my dismay, we had to ride along some unsealed roads, I am still a little nervous after my fall.

Eventually we concluded that it would be too slow to make the journey on these little roads, so Kris tracked us back down the hill onto a more conventional secondary roads.  The road we chose was tar, but still quiet. However we had more uphill climbs. It was getting very hot now, as it was around midday. We were still riding past olive trees, and occasionally vines – which also had stones packed around them.

After much climbing we came to the top, and could see how far we had climbed – there was an amazing vista down below of the rugged countryside, and the coastline with the busy coastal road.

We had a huge downhill run of about 5km and one of the most beautiful we have done with blue sea inlets, rocky mountains, brown houses with red roofs and a bridge.

After this, we were forced back onto the main roads coming into Sibenik, which was less fun. A bus passed us too closely, which was scary.
We stopped at a Lidl supermarket just before Sibenik for some ice cream, juice and pastries. I am loving the pastries you can buy here – both savory and sweet. We then negotiated some busy roads to make our way into the town, where we had a picnic on the waterfront, watching the boats go by. On the seafront water floated the first swans of my trip.

After Sibenik we had to go back onto the Jadranska Magistrale (busy road) to get across a long bridge on our final stretch to Vodice.

We left this busy road as soon as we could to head back for the coast and Vodice, via the adjoining town of Srima.

Our accommodation is a large apartment, again very cheap as we are out of season and there is obviously a glut of accommodation here – every second house has a sign outside advertising apartments for hire.

We did a quick ride around town to buy some more food and drinks, before heading back.
Kris tried to fix a wobble on his tire, unsuccessfully – it seems that maybe the rubber tire needs a preventative maintenance replacement.

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