Ferries, Errands, and Islands

By Jane | April 13, 2013

“Nothing I can say, a total eclipse of the heart…”

I guess I can think of worse things than being woken up by 80s pop hits at 6am on a ferry that has left a lot to be desired in terms of home comforts, but it seemed like a major trial this morning. By 7:30 we were docked and being ushered off the ship, even though the scheduled arrival time was 8am. This left us feeling both rushed and groggy at the same time.

We disembarked with fellow cycle tourists Colette and David and bid them farewell as they went off to find a SIM card and we wanted to enquire about ferries to the islands. We knew we’d likely see them again in town before long.

Croatia-Split-1

By 8:30 we were sitting in a scenic waterfront bar, sipping cappuccinos and wishing our computer was powered up so we could use the free WiFi. We ran into C & D not long after and we all decided to get the ferry to Korcula Island later that afternoon.

It’s been great trading stories with a couple of people who know exactly what we’re going through. Like us, C &D are planning very little and taking one day at a time, making the best of what comes. They are a little more efficient and organised than we are when it comes to moving panniers around and getting bikes locked up, but they’ve been on the road a few more weeks than we have, so we predict we’ll slowly get better at it.

We discussed leaving friends behind and feeling guilty for doing so. We laughed together about the idea that those friends think we are on a “holiday” when it is so much work just to get ourselves fed, transported, and cleaned each day.

Their stories of rain and cold put ours to shame; we have been downright lucky with the weather in comparison and I might have quit in the first week if I’d encountered some of the storms they came across.

Collette is especially proactive at quizzing everyone for needed information, so we’ve been riding her coattails a little. It’s nice to have someone else doing the asking for a change.

We spent our day in Split doing little errands, like buying groceries for dinner, getting a SIM card for our phone, going to the bank, and looking for a place to plug in our computer. In between all this, we managed to push our bikes through the old town of Split, with its narrow, twisting, stone alleyways. There are plenty of modern restaurants, shops, and cafes tucked in amongst crumbling ancient ruins. It’s all very charming.

Being Saturday, there was also a huge fish market which meant scores of locals walking around town with plastic bags full of little fishes (poor little guys!). The fruit and vegetable market was more up our alley, and we were pleased to see that every stall had almost exactly the same thing, since they were only selling local, in season produce. Women seemed to rule in this market, with all the stalls begin run by ladies in their 60s and 70s. We wondered what their lives had been like and thought about how recently these happy, friendly people had been embroiled in a brutal war.

We got on the ferry at 3pm and quickly found David and Collette. They are full of fascinating stories about their travels (they are new to cycle touring, but not to seeing the world) and their life at home in Australia, so the time flew by.

Before we knew it we were on the island and safe in our guest house, cooking dinner, and sharing more stories from our past lives.

4 comments

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  3. Comment by Graeme

    Graeme Reply April 15, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    Hi. I can remember driving down the coastal road from Split to Dubrovnic in 1967. It had just been built and the rock on the side of the highway was pink.

    Originally, all the coast used to be heavily forested. The Romans used the trees and the earth was eroded into the sea. Beautiful country. In those days very poor people The toothpicks in the restaurant were hand made.

    Keep safe & have fun.

    • Comment by Jane

      Jane April 19, 2013 at 11:50 am

      I wonder how much it’s changed since ’67? I suspect very little, since the buildings all look like they haven’t changed for hundreds of years, and everyone drives a little broken-down Lada. The land is still all worked by hand and everything is still handmade by people in their little cottage industries. Hard to imagine forests where all the vineyards are now.

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