7604km so far
Dubrovnik was one of those places that every time I wanted to leave, it just kept pulling me back in. It is a beautiful city and has a charm about it that makes you feel welcome and relaxed. It has been ravaged by war, and a major earthquake but today is a bustling tourist and cruise ship destination and rightly so as it is a must-see and a place that should be visited whether by bike or by boat! It is relatively expensive for Croatia but I was glad to be surrounded by life, after spending days in a country which has all but packed up and closed for the Winter.
Last night I made an attempt to leave, to find a campsite outside and I was offered a room for the night in the centre of the old town for 200 kuna. That’s less than 30€ and I took the offer. A night with locals just outside the walls in a place called Pinky involved learning the word Jiveli, which means cheers! I woke with a sore head.
As I pushed Silver to the exit, I was asked “where are you going Ed?” By a lady who could read what my friends had written on my shirt, and she turned out to be a massage therapist. I went back into town and had my first sports massage and made a new friend. Janet was Canadian but her family background was from the Balkans (her surname is Alilovic) and she had made the brave step to move from Toronto to start a new life in Dubrovnik. Well I was greatful she had, because she worked wonders with my legs. She also is one of those interesting people who go out and grab life and we immediately got on well. As I said goodbye to Janet, her next client started a conversation with me. He was a retired diplomat and also was once the Croatian water polo coach. And he gave me a book he had written about his life in Croatia and his attempts to help it through very troubled times called “serving my country”. It was these chance encounters that make me happy I stayed an extra day in Dubrovnik.
With new legs, the road to Montenegro felt easy, even the climb out of Dubrovnik and into the hills past the airport and the 8% climb as I reached the border crossing. I rolled down the hill into Montenegro and it was already getting dark. I cycled around the Risan-Kotor bay which was long (about 40km) but quite flat to the old town of Kotor.
I am staying tonight in the Stari Grad (Old Town) hostel in Kotor for just 9€ and have already met two other cyclists, Seb from Boston and David from New Zealand. It is sociable and warm and I must thank Janet for recommending it to me. I think I will like it here.