World Cycle 2014: Croatia and Bosnia Herzegovina

Pointy mountains and islands protruding from the crystal blue waters. Croatia was swimming, climbing, lots of crying out with joy moments, and meeting James – my new cycling companion. A short excursion into Bosnia Herzegovina was moving. Such a different place. We saw and felt the troubled history.

Overview: here

Last country: Slovenia
Next country: Montenegro

wpid-20141011_095230_richtonehdr.jpg Day 29. 97km. Koper – Vrsar: 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. 🙂
wpid-20141012_181016.jpg Day 30. 93km. Vrsar – Porozina: 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.
wpid-20141013_104614.jpg Day 31. 55km. Porozina – Punat: Cres is a beautiful island! And my it’s hilly. Climbs under a clouded sky, and drops. From high high above the still blue water, the view back at the road traversed is spectacular.
Day 32. 88km. Punat – Valbiska: Today didn’t go as it was supposed to. Suboptimal weather, suboptimal ferry timetables, and late ferries meaning I missed a connection. In summary, I am 20km from where I started today, and am trying to practise my life philosophy and am ‘letting it go’.
wpid-20141015_152337.jpg Day 33. 60km. Valbiska – Novalja: I enjoyed today. The islands are beautiful. Pag island is bleak. The mountains on the mainland loom over the coast shrouded in cloud. And it bucketed down.
Day 34. 79km. Novalja – Zadar: The weather was meant to be a repeat of yesterday, and I was planning to have a R&R day in Novalja. I looked out the window and the sun was shining. Today was a cycle day. I’m writing this sitting in the main square in Zadar with guitar music playing in the background, people dining, and others strolling past the art stands.
Day 35. 84km. Zadar – Šibernik: Warning. Repeat. Repeat. Croatian scree slope bike paths (like Istria). Beautiful coast with lakes and islands. Searching for the peaceful cycling road. Oh. And an amazing sunset in a beautiful town – Šibenik.
Day 36. 93km. Šibernik – Split – Stari Grad: Someone switched on the colour switch – like when Dorothy clicked her red shoes in the Wizard of Oz. The water is turquoise and warm, the villages are beautiful nestled in little coves, and lonely islands dot the coastline. Cycling the coast road to Split is like heaven on earth.
Day 37. 53km. Stari Grad – Hvar – Jelsa: As I rolled down the hill I saw him waving. This meeting has been weeks in coming. I stopped the bike, took off my safari hat (which looks like a cycling helmet), and exclaimed: “James Lambie, I presume!”
wpid-20141020_200324.jpg Day 38. 76km. Jelsa – Ploče: Peanut butter and salami on dark German bread, watching our tents dry on the traffic barriers while waiting for the ferry. We were quite the attraction for the Taiwanese tourists that descended from their coach.
AND, I used my universal sink plug. Yay!
Day 39. 78km. Ploče – Mostar: Isabella, persimmons and the search for the Snoopy snack bar. My first impressions of Bosnia – the country of happy, laid back people.
Day 40. 0km. Mostar – Banja Luka (bus): Today – the start of our rest days – the weather changed. Our cycling plans may have to as well. Looking out of the window of the bus on the way to Banja Luka, I see snow. Visiting my good friend Aleksandra in Banja Luka.
wpid-20141023_175812.jpg Day 41. 0km. Banja Luka: Alcohol, food, markets, alcohol, food, Banja Lukan hospitality, alcohol and food. A great mix to spend a rest day and to catch up with a friend. Banja Luka.
Day 42. 0km. Banja Luka – Mostar (bus): The last rest day. Local haircut, fortune telling and a hot bus ride through the cold mountain landscape. Tomorrow back on the bike towards Dubrovnik.
Day 43. 84km. Mostar – Zavala: Today was powered by Choco Lips. This scrumptious chocolate bar brought me through the hilly and beautiful landscape of southern Bosnia Herzegovina. Up glacial valleys and across beautiful plains, with an amazing cloudscape as backdrop.
Day 44. 66km. Zavala – Dubrovnik: Man, what a day! Blue skies, climbs, mountain landscapes, wild boar hunts, amazing coastal roads, swimming in the turquoise water and an evening in Dubrovnik with the greatest group of cyclists ever. Life doesn’t get much better than this!
wpid-20141027_170704.jpg Day 45. 67km. Dubrovnik – Herceg Novi: I am sitting on the beach in Montenegro with the waves lapping on the pebbles. The lights from the town are shimmering on the water. The dishes are washed, cleaned in the beautiful warm sea-water. James and Willem are here with me, enjoying the beautiful evening.

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