Posts Tagged ‘Vrsar’


I lie on the grass overlooking the pebbly beach. I hear the sound of the waves lapping. The stars are out, after the fading of colours of the high rugged mountains opposite. I am wild camping on Cres island in Croatia. Stunning.

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Today I crossed the Istrian peninsula from one side to the other. Its bigger than it looks and hilly to boot. I cycled along quiet roads that meandered from one little town to the next. I passed fields, forests, grassy plains as I climbed up a bit, then drop a bit, then climb some more.

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I don’t know if they are glacial, but I passed two very steep grooves in the landscape. Rolling hillsides, then bang – a steep rut in the landscape. They were sweaty work climbing out of, but were very pretty.

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Along the bottom of the grooves were lovely flat valleys, that rose up steeply on the sides like a glacial u-valley.

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I had a ferry to catch at 16.30 to the island of Cres. I thought at first I could catch the earlier one at 13.30. Silly me. It is hot and steep. In the end, I pushed myself up the steep hills, dripping in sweat to make it in time.

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I asked around for a flat bit of ground to camp. They pointed me to the village beach. Not a bad spot for my first wild camp..

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Postscript: Its 4:30 am in my tent. I look into myself. No. I’m not scared. But I’m listening intently. I can only hear. All I see is the inside of the tent with my big pupiled eyes.
I recognise the lapping of the water. Sometimes a gurgle.
The water is quite relaxing. I can imagine it lapping on the pebbles and the rocks on the end on the beach.
Then a snap. I twig breaking in the steeply rising forest behind me. My ears perk up. Then another one. Snap. Then a small rumble as a slide of small rocks chatter down the slope.
Gurgle gurgle. Lap lap.
I start to doze.
Then with an automatic jolt of adrenalin I am brought to my senses by a gallop of something across the pebbly beach.
Gurgle gurgle. Lap  lap.
Snap.
Then something running around on the grass. A reindeer? I’ve no idea. About that size, I’d guess.
Wait. Just then I heard a bird sound together with the snap and rumble. A big bird?
Gurgle gurgle. Lap lap.
I think I know all the sounds. Time for sleep. I have a big hill to climb before the next ferry to krk.


Croatia is the country of smells. Intense, varied and beautiful. It started at the border. Croatia is the country of challenging cycle paths. I pushed my bike for the first time. And now, in October, it is the country of closed camping grounds. 🙂

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It was amazing. At the border the cycle path left the car road and rose into the hills. Then it started. The smells. Fragrances that could be used in saunas. Beautiful exotic plants that I don’t recognize. Then pine. Then fennel. Burning wood. Every 100m it changed – the smell.
At first I meandered along breathing in deeply. It was a dirt path but fine to cycle along.

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Then the rocks on the road got more numerous. Big rocks in ruts to be avoided, and small rocks that slip under the wheel. Try to accelerate on them and the wheel skids. And then it got steep. Drahtesel slid out from beneath me as I slid into a rut. Then uphill I had no chance. Drahesel was pushed just as some strollers walked past. My failure was witnessed. And this was on the official istria tourist cycle path. I’m not tough enough apparently. Once I saw the asphalt road, I stuck to it.

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Istria is clearly the tourist drag. Villages bursting with places to eat and places to stay. Lots of ‘apps’ – not for smart phones but for staying overnight. 🙂 And, of course, the villages are cute.

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I read a blog of a young cyclist that has cycled around the world. He listed some things that he learnt in his trip. He said how he learnt to sleep anywhere. A park, a field, a forest, wherever. I haven’t learnt that lesson yet. As it gets later in the afternoon I feel the stress increase. Where am I going to stay? Camping ground? If there’s none, a cheap hotel. I am now at the only open camping ground on the Istrian peninsula. Everything is closing or already closed. The day is approaching where I will sleep out there somewhere. It will be exciting and scary. And after a while, it’ll be nothing. But that day is in the future. Today I’m sitting in a restaurant with people who are staying in apps, drinking wine as they watch the sea lap on the shore.

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I don’t look like the other diners here. Hairy and unkept, with sharp tan lines. I am leaving civilization as the winter falls. I feel alive!

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