Sea legs and jelly legs
The sweat dripped from our foreheads as we turned another uphill corner in the 400m climb over a beautiful Croatian island.
The legs have been tackling elevation of around 800m each day for the last five days and have been pleading for a break (we haven’t told them what’s ahead yet). Meanwhile, the eyes have been spoiled with with some spectacular views and have been pleading for even more.
The terrain on some parts of the Croatian coast is referred to as moonscape, because of the hard white rocks (note, there’s no chance of us feeling weightless lugging our heavy panniers through the landscape). One island, Pag, stood out in particular for its incredible sheep cheese which is flavoured by the famous island wind.
In spite of our island hopping, this week has shown us that no cyclist (or traveller) is an island. First we were joined by Matt’s friend James (aka Legal Appetite) for a few days cycling along the river Po in Italy. It was great catching up and benefiting from James’ fluent Italian. One highlight was going to a restaurant which specialised in pesce gatto; we couldn’t work out what it was. We had no idea but James was positive, it was catfish.
We also had a delightful evening with Donatella and Fausto. They host travelling cyclists on Warm Showers (couch surfing for cyclists). They gave us a beautiful pitch for the night, a big Italian meal and even sold us some sturdy tyres to help with our punctures (thank you!). But more than that, we had a great evening sharing cycling stories and hearing about Fausto’s trans-continental races.
We’re currently on a rest day in Split in south Croatia. Next week, we plan to follow the coast south to Dubrovnik, Kotor in Montenegro and then inland to Tiranë in Albania. Our exact route is still tbc, so let us know if you have any tips!
This week’s highlights
Following an old international railway line that climbed up from Italy into Slovenia
The surprising but delightful attention that Harriet’s hand painted t-shirt has been receiving from passers-by. It serves as a wonderful icebreaker for meeting all kinds of people in all kinds of places, Italian road tunnels, supermarket aisles, you name it!
Cooking and eating a kilo of gnocchi between two
This week’s lowlights
Harriet accidentally breaking her Votes For Women mug in the bottom of her pannier on a particularly rocky descent
Leaving gelato behind in Italy
Only realising at the border that Croatia is not in Schengen
Only realising in Croatia that the currency in not Euros