Bike Trip to Dalmation Coast
Dubrovnik to Split
September 15-22, 2007


Participants: Trip Leader Rick & Donna, Candy & Bob, Rick & Susan, Maria & Wolf, Esther & Tom, Steve & Dodie, Vince & Kathy, Charles & Susan, brothers Mick & Joel, Joyce, Kim, Robin, Michael, Bart, Ron, Bill, Mike Z, Frona, Penny, & Mike

Boat: Kapetan Jure Crew: Captain Anton, Miro, Mate, Manda, Branko Bike Guides: Sascha & Jennie

Wow, Croatia is a beautiful place to visit! Everyone had a great time on this trip, and each person certainly has their own stories to tell. Make sure you ask next time you see one of the participants. The biking wasn’t as difficult as it was in the very hilly Greek Islands (2006) and was harder than in fairly flat Holland (2005). Biking was never mandatory, and options were always offered (stay on the boat, take a bus, take a walk). This year’s boat lodging was much nicer and more comfortable than last year’s. The food was plentiful, tasty, and fresh (especially the fish!). It was amazing how much food Manda could make in that tiny galley. We kept Branko busy serving beer, wine, soda, and cappuccino.

We arrived in the city of Dubrovnik late Saturday afternoon and boarded the boat. After dinner, many of us explored Old Town, the old walled city. Everyone went back Sunday morning for a guided tour of Old Town, and a few walked around the top of the wall to enjoy the view. Along the way to the island of Sipan, Captain Anton found a nice swimming spot where the gutsy folks jumped in. The Adriatic Sea was cool and invigorating, salty and very clear. We took our first bike ride on Sipan, a very pleasant 10 km round trip to the other end of the island for a beer and back. The hardest part of the nearly level ride was the hill at the beginning, a feature of every bike ride thereafter.

On Monday, the boat took us to the island of Mljet. A small group of more ambitious riders disembarked at the far end of the island for a 30 km ride to Pomena to meet the boat, and the rest got off in Pomena to explore Mljet National Park for a 12 km ride in the park via bike. After lunch, Captain Anton found another beautiful swimming spot along the way to the island of Korcula. Sascha gave us a very informative tour of Korcula town, supposedly the birthplace of Marco Polo. On Tuesday morning, we were given 2 hours to ride a leisurely 10 km from Korcula town to Rascisce to meet the boat. Joyce and Kim were nearly left behind in Rascisce as Captain Anton hurried to leave the harbor due to traffic and weather problems. Luckily, trip leader Rick noticed they hadn’t arrived with the rest of the riders, finding out later that the bike guides hadn’t actually followed the end of the group. That’s the last time that happened! The boat headed to Vela Luka where the guides took a small group on an adventurous bike ride, and another group biked and hiked to a cave (guess who led this trip?!). Tom and Wolf found a place selling homemade wine and led some folks on a trail ride to sample the guy’s wine and grappa.

On Wednesday, we motored from Vela Luka to Hvar town on the island of Hvar. Jennie gave a short cultural tour of the city, then we were given the option of taking the bus or riding bikes about 20 km to Stari Grad. Ten chose to ride and the rest chose the bus. It was the hardest bike ride of the trip, 8 km of unrelenting uphill, 3 km of level, 500 m of uphill, and 8 km of downhill hairpin turns in the rain. Fortunately, the rain didn’t start until after we started downhill with brakes squealing. The bus riders claimed they had a hairy scary ride too, but at least they were dry and warm.

Bikers on bridgeOn Thursday morning, we rode about 12 km from Stari Grad to Jelsa, passing through the lovely town of Vrboska and vineyards on the way back to Stari Grad. Although we’d just finished breakfast before the ride, many of us enjoyed Jelsa’s very tasty ice cream. Our next stop was the island of Brac where the boat docked at the town of Bol so we could ride our bikes the short 3 km to the famous Zlatni Rat (Golden Horn Beach). We had a short time to spend on the beach then the boat headed to the island of Solta. We stayed in the harbor town of Stomorska, the home of our cook Manda.

On Friday morning, we did our last bike ride, approximately 19 km across the island of Solta from Stomorska to Maslinica. Despite the longer distance, the ride wasn’t particularly difficult as the terrain was mostly level with small hills and the weather was perfect. It was a great last bike ride to end a very fun week. We gathered, as we did after every ride, to enjoy a Croatian beer and talk about the ride. Captain Anton took us to one last beautiful swimming cove before motoring to the mainland old town section of Trogir where we docked for the night. Manda prepared a final dinner of Croatian specialties, including Dalmatian ham.

On Saturday morning, we loaded our luggage on a bus and took a guided tour of the old town of Trogir. Then we rode the bus to the city of Split for a guided tour of the old town and Diocletian’s Palace. After lunch, it was time to go to the Split airport and fly to London for 3 nights and 2 days. In London, we all did our own thing on our own schedule. Most rode the Tube and took the bus tour of the city, getting off and on at various tourist spots such as the London Eye, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower of London, London Bridge, Westminster, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park, Harrod’s, and Thames cruises. Quite a few bought half-price tickets and saw the Monty Python musical Spamalot, a great show to see in London. Two days whizzed by, and we headed back home.