Barge & Bike Trip / Dalmatian Coast of CroatiaCarolyn Myers-Woods & Dick Woods
The next morning, we boarded our Barge – the Kapetan Jure. This was a 100 ft. sailing vessel, with huge sails, but they used the motor to sail between islands. There were 15 cabins that each accommodated 2 persons, each cabin had shower and toilet in the cabin. Thirty people made up the bicycling group – the ship had a crew of 5 and 2 bicycle guides.
In the group of 30 bicyclers were people from 8 different countries – Canada, Germany, Switzerland, England, Scotland, Australia, Spain, and Dick and I from the USA. The bicycling group was divided between road bikers and mountain bikers. The ship provided the bicycles – all part of the cost of the trip. Some of the people who drove from Germany and Switzerland brought their own bicycles. We were in the road bike group and our guide, Elvis, was a 21 year old Croatian. The mountain bike group’s guide was 25 year old Thoralph from Germany and he loved the mud!! Typical mountain biker! Most of the bicyclers spoke at least "limited" English, but there were a few Germans who did not speak or understand much English. The guides gave the day’s instructions in Croatian, German, and English.
The ship provided all meals – even lunch – and when we were out on the bikes all day, they sent a sack lunch. The food was very good, and each night at dinner we had a luscious desert.
Croatia has over 1200 islands along the Adriatic Coast, and each island has a name. Including all of the islands – Croatia has more coastline than Italy – which is just across the Adriatic Sea.
We bicycled on a different island every day, including Brac, Korcula, Hvar, Pucisca, Solta, Pomena and Mljet. Seven islands in all; the first day we bicycled on the mainland outside of Split. These are volcanic islands, and had very steep inclines. The boat docked and the guides put the bicycles off, and we started the day’s journey – straight up!! One day, the road did go straight up – looked like a wall – in fact; the guides called it the WALL. It had 18% grade in most parts. We walked a good part of that hill!! It was even very difficult to walk and push the bikes. The distance was only 4 Kilometers, but gained 1869 feet! That was the morning ride – in the afternoon another big climb of 1500 ft in 4 Kilometers, or 2.48 miles.
On Korcula we visited the home and birthplace of Marco Polo, and this island was also the birthplace and early home of the scientist Nicolas Tesla. The island of Brac has a large quarry of limestone and marble – and some of these have been used in the White House in Washington, D.C.
The islands were beautiful – this area is the new playground for wealthy Europeans. There were lots of big, fancy yachts in the harbors, and ferries had regular routes to the islands.
We had a lovely time on this trip – it was fun to get acquainted with the people in the biking group who were from different countries. Most of them were the age of our children – some were the age of our grandchildren!!
There were small villages in the hills away from the port towns and they were very quaint, with people having large gardens and lovely flowers. On these islands, there were limited retail stores – but many outdoor markets and vegetable and fruit markets.
Hvala lijepa – Thank you very much!