Friday, June 12, 2009
Thus far I’ve written mostly about food in Croatia, and one might think all we did was eat and drink, but Christie and I did much more than that. We rented bikes for the day for 60 kuna (less than 10€) and rode south.
We left Rovinj around 10 a.m., and rode through RV parks filled with badly sunburned Austrian and German tourists. We rode past nude couples, old couples, babies, and techno-pumping Euro Spring Breakers. (Truly, one little beach resort was roped off for Europe Spring Break 2K9, which looked sparsely attended despite loud house music before noon). We rode through Croatian vineyards, carpeted with red poppy flowers. Unintentionally, we rode through a rock quarry and a cement factory, and left covered in a white dust. We also crisscrossed Croatian farms with ostriches, goats, and horses.
As we rode, we kept saying to each other, “We’re so far off the beaten path, there are no tourists here, this is great!” and “I bet other cyclists don’t have the legs to bike this far!” when in truth we were just lost. We had really made a sharp turn away from the coast and we had been biking away from the beach.
After riding for four and half hours in jean shorts and sandals, the sweat and dust in our eyes forced us to reevaluate our navigation skills. We flagged down a young man on a scooter and he informed us we had actually ridden off the map. We turned around, in desperate search of the closest spot to swim and refresh our overheated faces.
When we finally got back to the coast, we jumped in the water immediately and found the Adriatic to be remarkably salty, so salty that you don’t have to try to float. If you just sit there, or inhale deeply and lay back, you’ll float easily. The water was cold, but not to the point of taking your breath away. We swam and picnicked, and allowed our legs to recover after our long ride.
I hope I make it back to Croatia soon. It would a fantastic place to visit during the World Cup to root with fervid Croatian fans. It would also be a great place to ride a bike down the entire coast for a month or two. We saw many people with saddle bags on their bikes for longer bike tours along the cypress-lined beaches.
When I go again, I might avoid the grappa and honey shots, but I will certainly look forward to another glass of Karlovaćko beer.
at 8:45 AM