Tailwinds Along The Croatian Riviera
DAY 6-7: SENJ – ZADAR (rest day)
MAY THE WINDS be with you—today they were. Shredding the majestic Ocean road via the Isle of Pag, I felt like I was flying. Only those last meters are always in for a surprise… 9-10/2/15
The last kilometers always take the longest. So it was with Zadar. After a majestic 120 km ride on the coast road, those last 20 kilometers to the city felt like an eternity. Also, it was getting dark once again. But let’s start from the beginning.
My night out in the cold went well. No remaining damage. I did not exactly sleep well though, not because of the cold–I was completely warm in my fifty layers. It was the rocks that I was lying on which made it hard to get to comfortable.
New day, new luck. Especially with the winds. They have not decreased in strength, but they have turned–to NNW. Tailwinds all the way to my desired destination, Zadar.
Following the majestic ocean route, I soon take a right turn down to a ferry port. I want to take the shortest and most beautiful way to Zadar–via the Isle of Pag. A 90 km long strip of land that is quite diverse in vegetation: Completely deserted in the North (red rock moon landscape), minorly vegetated on the rest, pine woods in the West. The rare meadows are taken care of by sheep–the exact same sheep that provide the raw material for the islands cheese “Paski sir”. A savoury low-fat treat (of course I tested that myself).
Cruising down the Isle of Pag with the winds in my back feels like flying. The island is connected to the mainland via bridge. (Not the viaduct shown on the photo, that one was still on the mainland route.)
Weather is not too shabby either, up to ten degrees and sunshine. In terms of traffic, islands are ideal: almost no cars at all. (What you see above is really the most youll get this time of the year.)
I make it to Zadar, the regional capital with Roman roots, around 6 pm. The last kilometers are most challenging–and most dangerous: At dawn, sight is diminished by the (amazing) sunset, plus theres more city traffic during rush hour.
I bumped into a car 500m before my destination
On the last few hundred meters to my hostel, the unexpected happens: I run over a car. (Im glad it wasnt the other way round.) That is, I gently bump against a stopping vehicle at 5 kph. I was looking at the map and just oversaw the car breaking in front of me. I touch it on the side, leaving no (visible) marks on it, nor on myself (no injuries whatsoever). But still, my first thought is “Oh boy, lets look for those insurance documents…”. Car drivers as I know them (and I myself am one from time to time) would have gotten out, yelled at me, filed a report and what have you. But this Croatian driver? He just looks in the back mirror and does not move his car. Until I give him a sign by hand that he–should he be willing–is more than welcome to proceed. And he just goes on. I used some good karma on this one, I guess.
Taking a day off in Zadar (Tuesday, 10/02)
A delicious meal at the local restaurant–fried calamari with fries and the local brew–make up for all of todays hassles. Overall, it was a brilliant day of cycling. Fantastic landscapes, great weather conditions. But I also feel that my muscles–still training and gaining–could need a break. So I decide to take a day off and check out the city. But most of all: relax.
Do you know the song “Lazy Day” by Jazon Mraz? Well, I am the personification of that song today. I write a couple of blog posts (which, should you argue, is not work, its fun–otherwise I wouldnt do it), I read (The Catcher in the Rye, a classic) and I find a very interesting sound installation along the sea promenade.
Have you ever heard the sound of the sea?
Having a picnic near the main square, I keep hearing damp noise in the background. Maybe a concert or something. Soon after, I stand at a phenomenal sound installation called “Sea Organ”, which translates the energy of the waves into music. Heres what that sounds like:
The Sea Organ creates an inspirational environment, this calm, serene atmosphere. I spend a couple of hours there, just enjoying the whole scenery. Knowing that tomorrow already, I will be taking off again like this sea gull on that picture, to Split and beyond…