Category Archives: Croatia

Through Dalmatia

Have I been to Bosnia and Herzegovina? Though I have only cycled 10 kilometres in Bosnia and Herzegovina, I have also slept two nights in that country and had a meaningful conversation with a Bosniak and a less meaningful conversation with the cashier of the supermarket. So I think it counts, but I still find it awkward to say I have travelled in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Geographically, Neum lies in the country Bosnia and Herzegovina, but it is not in Bosnia. It is in Herzegovina. Logically, I have been to Bosnia or Herzegovina, but that’s not a country.

People had warned me of  the Adriatic Highway,  but it was not a bad road and the traffic wasn’t worse than it was in Italy. What I liked was that it wasn’t very steep. That meant I didn’t have to brake during the descent as I often had to do in Italy, but could make full use of my built up momentum.

Roadside selfie

Roadside selfie

Accidental sunset

Accidental sunset.

Dubrovnik has an interesting history, but these days the people are mainly occupied in stuffing tourists with seafood and selling them expensive cold drinks. There was nothing authentic left of the city life and it felt much like wandering through an open air museum.

In the Assumption  Cathedral I was interested in the museum where several showcases were filled with what seemed different parts of mediëval plate armour. They were the reliquaries which contained the holy remains of the corresponding body parts of saints. Amongst them were an arm and a leg of Saint Blaise, the patron saint of Dubrovnik, and a silver box which stored nothing less than a diaper of the Infant Jesus. Now that September has come, most young families with children have gone home, so I shared the cathedral with the nearly dead gaping at the Child Jesus’ nappy…

The traffic on the Adriatic Highway is at its worst around Dubrovnik, with some hairy parts where the road is particularly narrow with crash barriers on the cliffside.

In the evening I walked back to the campsite from the village where I had bought some groceries. At the side of the road I picked some ripe figs. Because I am tall it was easy to find some good pickings , but the lower reaches were empty. Figs must be picked when ripe because they don’t ripen once picked. A lot of people must have picked half ripe figs, because if they wait too long, someone else might have taken them. It’s a nice example of the Tragedy of the Commons, an interesting phenomenon if you are interested in Behavioural Economics…

My next post will be from Montenegro.

To Split

From San Marino I cycled to Ancona in two days,

Arch of Trajan in Ancona.

Arch of Trajan in Ancona.

At the end of the harbour of Ancona stands the Arch of Trajan and, although ít’s built long ago, it still looks pretty good.

From Ancona I took the overnight ferry to Split in Croatia which left at a quarter past eight in the evening and arrived at seven in the morning. I had left the bicycle wit h most of the luggage on the car deck and just took my sleeping mat and sleeping bag to one of the upper decks where I slept very comfortable.

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The above images (1 and 2, as I mysteriously labeled them) are from the Sulphur Spa, an Art Nouveau building in the centre of Split. Walking along the Riva, Split’s promenade along the Adriatic, the smell is distinctive and reminiscent of that of a broken sewer. While making these pictures another smell was apparent from the adjoining Ribarnica, the fish market, which was built here on purpose as the flies are repelled by the fumes of the Sulphur Spa as are most tourists.

Split selfie

Split selfie

The old town of Split is built in and around the palace of the Roman Emperor Diocletian who wished to retire there. Much to everyone’s surprise he actually did as he said and by doing so became the first emperor in Roman history to abdicate his office. It is suggested that he built his palace on that particular location because of the nearness of the sulphurous wells which are supposed to help against rheumatic diseases of which the emperor might have suffered. This seems likely because he also exempted sufferers from arthritis from paying taxes. Otherwise, Diocletian is known for the killing of several hundred (?) thousands of Christians. After his retirement he grew vegetables in his garden.

From Split I cycled to Makarska which has a long and boring history during which it was built and conquered and destroyed by several different empires and kingdoms. In its present day it is swamped with tourists.

The following day I cycled to Neum, a small corridor which forms Bosnia and Herzeogovina’s  only access to the sea. At the border I waved with my passport and the border guards waved back. The Croats want to build a bridge because they don’t want to be dependent on transport through Bosnia. The Bosniaks want the bridge, for which the Croats don’t actually have the money, to be high enough because they want to develop a seaport, for which they don’t have money themselves.

The  next day it rained, so I stayed another day.