Cycling

Cycling Day 17: Podaca To Stobrec (Near Split)

A few months after I had published “Crossing Europe on a Bike Called Reggie” (available in all good book shops, a few not-so-good books shops and online), a chap contacted me to say how wonderful it was (honest) and I subsequently exchanged a few emails with him about cycling and writing. It culminated in me suggesting to him that he should write about his own cycling adventure to which he replied “I would, but nothing particularly interesting happened…”. At the time I shrugged my shoulders and thought well that, I suppose, is the art of writing; turning something run of the mill into something that at least sounds as though it wasn’t. After today’s cycle, I have to say, I’m beginning to see his point. Nothing particularly interesting happened. [Now please don’t stop reading. It will be a test of my writing abilities to turn a bland day into something a little more colourful.]
Hemmed in between the mountains to my right and the sea to my left, route planning is currently on hold as all I need to do is follow a road that runs near the coast and is heading in a general north-westerly direction. Leaving the excellent Autocamp Uvala Borova close to Podaca required me to do one thing; turn left and cycle. At no point between there and my current location – the even more excellent Camping Stobrec Split (it was Croatian Campsite of the Year in 2012 and it would have Alan Rogers quivering with delight should he ever visit – he hasn’t by the way, I just checked) – did I have to resort to Google Maps to figure out where I was. I just followed the road in front of me and I arrived. Now at this point in the book I will no doubt give a potted history of Alan Rogers. I’ve just found out that he died in 2000 so it’s unlikely that he’ll ever be seeing Camping Stobrec Split anytime soon. Or at all. But it does sound as though he had an interesting life…
I forgot to mention the lack of running water this morning back in Podaca by the way but I won’t lay that at the door of the campsite who were cheerful to the end. I simply bought a couple of bottles of mineral water and used one of them to first brush my teeth then pour over my head. The effect of mineral water left me looking like Brad Pitt (but it didn’t prevent the two cyclists that I met at the gates of the campsite from completely ignoring me despite my cheery ‘hi’). I’d bought a simple breakfast at the campsite shop along with the mineral water – bread and cheese – but did want my morning coffee at some point so I stopped at the town of Makarska, the town after which the entire Rivera was named (see yesterday’s post). And a very nice place it was too. I’d like to pause at more of these towns and villages but the problem is that it usually requires a significant descent into the town centre and then a climb to get back onto the main road. If I did so at every nice looking populated centre I’d still be cycling now.
Most of the heavy traffic had been taken off the red A road by the motorway which runs about 10km inland for most of my route to Split and beyond. This didn’t prevent the buses and coaches giving me a run for my money however, some of them coming far too close for any kind of comfort whatsoever. Back in Albania and Montenegro (once I found out that it wasn’t actually part of the European Union) I kept my feelings to myself as to the driving abilities of the lorry and coach drivers. I made the perhaps erroneous assumption that if I got thrown into an Albanian or Montenegrin gaol for abusing other road users it was somehow more problematic on a legal level. And I have assumed that the Croatians will have to abide by the norms of civilised society. It’s probably utter legalistic nonsense but the upshot is that I have felt much freer to make visual signs and shout abuse at those who would like to bring me closer to Alan Rogers. I only wish I knew how to do it in Serbo-Croat.
That said, even Serbo-Croat would be lost on much of the traffic as I head north. In Greece almost everyone on the roads was Greek. In Albania it was a similar story. Having now arrived in Croatia it’s much more cosmopolitan. The British are still fairly few and far between but the Swiss have hit the Adriatic coast en masse and the Dutch, Germans, Austrians, Poles & Czechs are here in big numbers too. Not too many cyclists today however; just a couple of pairs heading in the other direction to me.
At Omis, a town about 25km south of Split I did sense for the very first time a hint of the northern Mediterranean. The high street was shaded in ash trees and it was significantly much more green than any town I had passed through up until that point. The shade as I cycled through the town centre was much appreciated although at that point clouds had appeared in the sky and I even felt a few drops of rain as I continued further north. I was hoping for a great downpour of the wet stuff but it didn’t come. I am looking forward to the day when Reggie and I can cycle through the vertical wall of a Mediterranean rainstorm. I hope we get one before our arrival in Portugal (if only so that I can make carrying my waterproof jacket all the way worth the while).
I’ve been neglecting my guide book since leaving Dubrovnik and am probably cycling straight past some very interesting places. I’ve just turned to the page all about Makarska and it gets quite an entry. I sense that it might be tonight’s bedtime reading…
The plan for tomorrow is to breakfast in Split and then have mid-morning coffee in Trogir. My German friend Claus (him of Strasbourg and the psychotic girlfriends fame in the first book) recommends it. After that the coast starts to fragment somewhat and I will have to make a few more decisions than I have had to make today.
So, lets face it it was a bit of a boring day but I’ve got plenty of time between now and writing the book to dig the dirt on Alan Rogers. And read my guide book. Failing that I’ll just make the whole thing up. Oh! Look! Brad and Angelina have just walked into the campsite bar…20130721-194407.jpg

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3 replies »

  1. “Nothing of importance happened today”. Not George III (as in X files episodes) but better still Louis XVI of France who wrote “Rien” (nothing) in his diary on the day the Bastille fell and heralded the French Revolution. That was on 14 July 1789.
    Now there’s surely a gift to a writer…
    All the best,
    Duncan.

    Like

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