DAY 10: SPLIT – KORCULA
CROATIA WITHOUT ISLANDS is like bread without butter. I cycled one of them. (13/2/15)
Tomislav, my host in Split, did not have to tell me much about this island to make me go: The sea is supposed to be clearer than elsewhere, you can see the ground up to 15m, and even the smell of the sea is said to be more intense here on this second-largest populated island of the country. Korcula (pronounce Korchula) is the name of this diagonally situated piece of land that lies South of Split.
First thing in the morning, I ride to the port. I’ve learned from yesterday’s mistake and don’t take the foot trails along the main road, but smaller roads along the sea. It turns out there is more to Split than six-lane roads and car stink. The famous Diocletian’s temple for example. It was the opulent dwelling of the so-called Roman emperor quite some time ago. Later, the people transformed the palace according to their needs, completely rearranging parts of it. More recently, the original state was restored as far as possible. I only read all of this on an information plaque, as I was not able to go in without leaving the bike and all my luggage unattended. (The perks of bike traveling!)
My ferry to Korcula leaves at 10:30, which gives me a lot of time to chill and have breakfast. Maybe even too much time, because the ride itself takes another three and a half hours (!) and voila, that’s how you spend almost a whole day sitting around.
The ferry’s late arrival turns out to be a party bummer. In my imagination, I already saw myself bathing in the fresh clearness of the turquoise sea, but reality looks different. I first have to buy enough food and water to make it through the next 20-something hours, and then I pick the wrong road. The main road connects all villages, but it has one disadvantage–it follows the spine of the island, not the coast. As the island is quite hilly (small mountains up to 500m), it’s not as easy to progress as I thought. I end up trying to get to a small bay, Pupatska Luka (Luka meaning “port”), before sunset. And I fail. It is peaceful, deserted port with a couple of abandoned bars and a rocky beach, but I’m just too late to really enjoy it now.
Maybe it’s loneliness
I waste an hour looking for the right camping spot (inappropriate perfectionism right there) and it is almost completely dark as I pitch my tent. I don’t feel comfortable. Maybe it’s the deserted cottage next to my tent that seems to creepily stare at me, maybe it’s the man in orange trousers who stops by in his motorboat twice and checks on something. Or maybe it’s this light notion of loneliness that haunts me here at this place almost too beautiful to be true.