The grand prize awaits! No one has yet received a perfect score to The Slovenian Food Quiz
Just when you thought it was safe to put your helmet away and burn your sweaty cycling jersey you have been dragged back to the hills. Grab your gear, we are off to the island of Hvar. (pronounced Var, rhymes with far, and a touch of h at the beginning. Not too much on the h though or the locals are apt to roll their eyes) Hvar can often be seen on a list of one of the top ten most beautiful islands; a Croatian Riviera stop. The beautiful people are often found here sopping up the sun and sipping drinks near pebbly beaches wearing large sunglasses and sporting designer bags. Quite the contrast to our Calgarian foursome arriving for lunch via a 20 km cycling route in the blazing sun with a 1400 foot climb. The wasps greeted us enthusiastically, the other patrons of the out door restaurant not quite so keen on our aromatic foursome.
Our day began with a two hour ferry ride from the mainland to the island which has been inhabited since the 4th century BC. A guidebook will tell you Hvar has perfect climate and is lush and green. It takes about 15 minutes on a bike going over the top of the island to realize that the author may not have been traveling on two wheels doing the research.
If you look very closely you can see a blue dot on the road which is me…luckily no audio available for this stretch. For the climbers reading this check out the limestone cliffs. When stopped for lunch I noticed a couple with a climbing rope …. I momentarily stalked them with visions of tying my bike to Dave’s.
This day outing was a self guided event…no Saso or the Nichols at our side to meet our every need. Our research had included that bikes could be rented in the town where the ferry landed. That turned out to be true….but a couple of kms from the docking but nothing a taxi ride couldn’t fix. So far so good. The rental shop required a passport to be left in exchange for the use of the bikes. Since mine has been attached to to my body since it’s adventure with iPad and those with me had been part of that heart stopping adventure, a Canadian drivers license got us the bikes. Next it was off to find some food and water at the tiny local market. Croatian hospitality toward tourists can be less than warm. We have found some extraordinarily helpful folks but in this wee grocery store the clerks seemed more apt to want to put my hand in the massive cheese slicer than actually serve me. Understandably poor Croatia has suffered far more than their Slovene neighbors. Where in Slovenia ten days brought independence from long standing communism, Croatia endured a brutal and recent four year war with their former countrymen the Serbs. Shortly thereafter another invasion hit Croatia, the tourists. They have come in unrelenting swarms like the wasps. Now in mid September the high season has just finished. My guess is the grocery clerks, in the tiny ferry town of Stari Grad are ready for the peacefulness of winter and an end to the vacationing invaders.
So we set out to Hvar town. We had decided not to bring our padded cycling shorts since it would be such an easy day. Apparently we lost our minds after two days away from the bikes. Suffice it to say no one seemed keen on sitting this evening.
There seemed to be a large amount of cemeteries, tombstones and memorials along the ‘bike route’. This more scenic path has very little traffic and noticeably absent of cyclists. Perhaps those on bike previously had not made out as well as we had with the local grocery clerks and perished along the way due to lack of food and water.
Now we need your help to figure out what these piles of stones are. On higher elevations the obvious old and often haphazard arrangements could be seen everywhere. Due to the language barrier and lack of information in guidebooks we are left a bit stumped. Any ideas?
While we waited to board the ferry back to Split we were front and center for the reporting of an altercation. In front of us the local police officer wrote notes as one of the sunglass, designer bag wielding passengers and her handsome man waved hands in the air and talked simultaneously about the incident. A third gentleman stomped about the ferry platform, his black hair shaking wildly as he ranted and paced about. Two crew members stood on the deck in front of us shaking their heads. Apparently even the drink sipping, sun worshipping crowd can have a hard day. We may have sore backsides but that ending looked far more favorable than being arrested in Croatia.
Leaving Hvar town after lunch to repeat the route back to catch the ferry. Once is just never enough and when you can’t hop in a support van it’s either carry the bike or ride it…or I suppose throw it in the ditch is always a back up plan.
Thanks to Joe for today’s title ( it takes a village to create a blog) and for offering up his drivers license when I desperately clung to my passport at the bike rental spot. I don’t think he could have endured another ‘Sue lost her passport’ adventure.