After phone calls and much discussion they eventually gave up and let us through the border into Croatia. Great - we now have insurance again. We decided to head for Dubrovnik.
We put the Tourist Bureau address into the GPS and off we went, but the place was very confusing, eventually we ended up at the north gate of the old walled city.
A couple of women came up to us as we pulled into a (very loose) gravel area trying to get us to stay at their places. The girls would go off and have a look, we’d stay with the bikes. One of the places turned out to be OK, it was next to the old gate and had lock-up parking and a couple of neat apartments which would accommodate us all.
Dubrovnik is a popular tourist spot and it was interesting to see what it was like now as I had been there in 1971. It looked basically the same, but when you look down on the buildings from the wall you could see that most of the roofs had been remade as they were bombed during the Balkan war.
We took a ride on the 800m cable car which takes you up to the top of the hill overlooking Dubrovnik, you could see how easy it would have been to bomb the place, they were sitting ducks. But back at sea level, sitting on the water side of the wall in a small bar having a beer, and the girls a wine, overlooking the Mediterranean was, as you can imagine, hard to take.
After a couple of days there we headed further north along the coast hoping to get a ferry to the island of Korcula. When we left the old city we crossed a suspension bridge, not that big, but it was very windy, the speed limit was restricted to 20kms and the bike was at a crazy angle.
I’d looked at the weather forecast and it looked like we would catch the top end of a major storm front coming through. The clouds were getting blacker and blacker to the west of us and then it hit, it was torrential, there was nowhere to stop, so we kept going eventually riding along a long peninsular which would take us to the ferry.
We were soaked, wet weather gear as well. Riding through a small village - Orebic - and I could feel water going over my boots, there was no drainage and the road was completely flooded, that was it, pull into the first place we can find.
We found a very small tourist bureau, the girl couldn’t speak English but made it clear she thought we were mad. She pointed us towards some hotels. We tried to get in the first one, but they told us they were shut, the next one was OK, we could park the bikes by the entrance and the rooms were, as usual cheap compared to Australia.
We were soaked, and all our gear that we were dragging through the foyer was leaving rivers of water.
After finding our room I went back down to the foyer and there were 3 people with mops fixing up our mess!
Shortly after, the storm passed and the sun was again shining,
Chris and I had a walk around the village, it was lovely. The
hotel was very much communist-era, high ceilings, everything
squarish and nothing fancy, but it suited us.
Next morning we took the ferry to the island of Korcula (70kms long) which was reputed to be very pretty. They weren’t wrong and the road was bendy for the full 70kms. At the end is the village of Vela Luka which was as you would imagine this part of the world to look. As we were off-season, once again the place was deserted, although the locals were preparing for the tourist rush. We didn’t think we’d like to be there mid-summer.
Back to the village of Korcula (where Marco Polo was born - we had a look at where he lived) and then the ferry to the hotel at Orebic. There was another island that we were hoping to get to (Haga) but the ferries weren’t running yet.
So back along the peninsular and through the old town of Ston. At least we could see now. When we came through a couple of days earlier, all we could see was water.
We continued our journey up the Croatian coast - its hard to describe how good this road is, bends, scenery and lack of traffic, just great.
The only problem I had with riding on the right side of the road was first thing in the morning if the road was deserted it was easy to forget and take the left lane. If there was traffic it was easier - Chris would let me know very quickly if I was on the wrong side, but the rest of the time wasn’t a problem.
Our next target was the old town of Trogir, just up the road from Split. As soon as we pulled up a group of local bikers welcomed us to their city before taking off pulling wheelies, showing their skills. Again we went to the tourist bureau and they found us a house with four apartments just over the bridge. The girl who ran it rode over on her scooter and led us back. Great place.