We left Dubrovnik via ferry, headed towards the island of Korcula where we planned to begin traveling north through some of Croatia’s most beautiful islands. We were really surprised to find that the cost to bring our two bicycles on the ferry was almost the same as one car – $45!
The ferry ride was beautiful. At one of the ports along the way some of the crew fished off the side of the boat. They used only a piece of fishing line (no pole) which they’d rigged to end in two small hooks, side by side, baited with pieces of bread or old mussels. They’d throw a slice of bread into the water to whip the fish into a feeding frenzy, then toss their line into the fray. They’d almost immediately hook at least one fish, sometimes two!
We’d originally planned to ride from the east end of Korcula to the western-most port, then catch a ferry north to the next island. Upon arrival we found that this wasn’t possible – the ferry that carried cars and bicycles only departed from the eastern city. After a quick brainstorm we decided to spend one day riding west across the island, spend the night on the west end, and then ride back the next morning in time to catch the ferry to the next island.
The ride was breathtakingly beautiful – Croatia is definitely one of the most beautiful spots of our trip so far. The island of Korcula was only 46km long but very hilly – we climbed a total of 800 meters to get across the island!
We took a detour off the main road to avoid traffic but were surprised to find our chosen road was in the process of being rebuilt. It was 11km of loose gravel along the steep coastal cliffs, which made for some hair descents!
Along the way we passed pomegranate trees, sampled fresh figs from trees growing beside the road, and passed many olive groves and vineyards.
We spent the night in the sleepy town of Vela Luka. It was a pretty town with, as our guidebook put it “an embryonic tourist industry.” They weren’t kidding around – we had a tough time finding a place to eat dinner! It was fun to hang out for a day in a pretty little town that wasn’t full of tourists.
The next morning we rode the 46km and climbed the 800 meters back east to catch our next ferry to the island of Hvar. We arrived on the island at 4:30 in the afternoon but quickly realized that we hadn’t been dropped off in the island’s main city of Hvar, but instead a small port city called Stari Grad. Hvar city was 15km away so Jamie and I had to get back on our bikes and started pedaling again. The 15km ride was stunningly beautiful – we rode up and down along a cliff that soared straight out of the ocean.
We reached Hvar city one hour later and after checking our altimeter found that we’d broken our record for vertical meters climbed in one day since we started tracking this stat in Germany – 1,100m!
Hvar is almost as beautiful as Dubrovnik, but less busy and crowded. The harbor is chock full of multi million dollar yachts and the city is brimming with cute cafes, bars, and restaurants. We’ve been hanging out here for the past few days and tomorrow plan to take one last ferry ride to the town of Split where we’ll stay for a day or two and then part ways with our friend Sean.
I can’t forget to mention that in a Dubrovnik bookstore I picked up a copy of the 2008 Guinness Book of World Records and found the entry for my dad and brother’s record setting “largest free floating soap bubble”!