Fortunately, we survived the night without a Croatian farmer (or weirdo) happening upon our campsite, and without the rumoured €400 fine you can incur for free-camping in Croatia.
As Jane mentioned in yesterday’s post, yesterday was a tough day for me. I had allotted only so much energy for our first biking day after a few days off and we ended up needing to push on 20 km further than I expected.
This morning I awoke tired (I am also having trouble sleeping comfortably in my Big Agnes sleeping bag) and anticipating another long day – we had 60 km between us and our goal of Makarska. Fortunately the road proved to be well paved and without extreme climbs.
You’re Going To Need To Be Patient With Me
Just outside Ploče we stopped for second coffee so that I could wash my hands and put my contacts in for today’s ride. As Jane has mentioned before, she is working hard to mentally manage anything she sees as an unnecessary delay to our rides.
This coffee/contacts break took her to her edge, and while I was finishing my coffee and getting on my daily dose of sunscreen, I noticed she already had her cycling gloves on. To help move things along I suggested she go inside to pay for my coffee, since she was clearly ready. I am still not sure why but this was a huge ask. Grudgingly she paid and with tensions high we set off again.
Put On Your Headphones Before You Explode
I put on my headphones to help myself go inside so I could reflect, think about what I could do to be more compassionate, understanding, and honestly, to let myself vent a bit. Music has a great way of taking you out of yourself, out of your situation, yet at the same time allowing you to reflect.
It seemed as if every song was directly relating to the day and it helped a lot. Thanks Wilco.
We cycled on and on, with, as per usual in Croatia, stunning views on both sides.
Instead of following the EuroVelo 8 cycle route, which runs inland between two mountain ranges, we decided to take the older highway (the D8) which weaves its way along with the Adriatic coast to the west and an immense, incredible mountain range to the east.
Every town we cycled through was bustling, despite this being Sunday, and everywhere there seemed to be men hanging out outside, enjoying a beer very early in the day while, we assume, their wives were at church.
Every Wave That Hits The Shore
Jane had chosen Igrane for lunch since her paper map seemed to suggest it was bigger than most. It was just a bit too far for my crazy high metabolism and I was starting to crash around 7 km from the town. On the last hill I had to stop and eat trail mix just to give me the energy to get up it, while Jane cycled out of view.
When I finally caught up to her, we could see there was more climbing to do before we got to the descent into Igrane, so we looked at Pocket Earth and decided the best option was to go back down the hill we had just climbed and go through Źivogošće, a small town we had just passed, and wind our way along the water into Igrane.
Once we finally got there we discovered that, unlike every other town we had passed today, Igrane was essentially a ghost town.
Not a single restaurant was open, and this meant we had to cycle back to Źivogošće, where we had passed a hotel and the smell of food cooking. It turns out the hotel was filled with all-inclusive package holidaymakers, and the restaurant was only open to guests of the hotel.
By this point I had completely crashed and desperately needed to eat. Fortunately, we always carry at least one meal with us, so we headed down to the beach, set up our Trangia stove, and set about cooking a meal more delicious than anything we would have eaten in a restaurant.
The setting was incredible: a beautiful pebbly beach (which the hotel clearly imports each season) with crystal clear water lapping up lazily at our feet as we (desperately in my case) waited for our pasta to cook.
Fed and fuelled, we prepared ourselves to head back up the hill we had climbed and rolled down once already.
Tires Type Black When The Blacktop Cracks
As it happens, it wasn’t such a big hill after all. Without any fuel in my body it seemed a lot worse than the reality, and we got up it without much effort. We were only 16 km away from our destination of Makarska, and Pocket Earth was showing what looked to be 6 km bike trail along the beach from just outside Tučepi into the heart of town.
Sadly, Pocket Earth was attempting to route us down a flight of stairs yet again. Instead of off-roading down the stairs with our fully loaded bikes, we stayed on the highway into Tučepi and made our way to its seafront promenade. They call this area the Croatian Riviera and, with ocean view cafes, fancy hotels, and rows of palm trees, it’s not far off the real thing.
After a quick beer break, we pushed on to Markarska, a bustling, lively town filled with caffe bars and people socialising, drinking, eating, and generally having a good time. We have a full kitchen at our disposal at the hostel, but after the day’s earlier food struggle we plan to go out tonight.
The weather forecast for tonight is thunder and lightning combined with a nasty rainstorm for tomorrow so we may spend a rainy day resting at the seaside.
Soundtrack: Wilco, Sky Blue Sky | Wilco, Wilco (the album) | Efterklang, Magic Chairs | The National, Boxer ♥