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Sunday, 28 September 2008

Cycling the Dalmatian Islands with Ana - Page 5

Written by Dale Fehringer
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Ana just might be the hardest-working tour guide in Europe. During the week she led our cycling tour around Croatia’s Dalmatian Islands she rode with us, entertained us, educated us, and watched over us – from breakfast until we were safely tucked in bed at night. Because of her efforts, we were transformed from a group of strangers into a cohesive group of friends … and in some respects into her temporary family.

Marco Polo’s Home Town

Korcula is one of the longest islands in the Adriatic Sea and we spent two days exploring it on our bicycles. The island is hilly and covered with forests of pine, cypress, and oak. It has been populated since prehistoric times, and has been occupied by Romans, Byzantines, and Venetians, among others. Our ride started in Vela Luka, passed Prizba, Brna, and Smokvica, and through the scenic village of Pupnat, where we had a fabulous lunch at a small café consisting of huge platters of antipasto and three desserts – a chocolate cake, flan, and deep-fried local pastry.

Cycling the Dalmatian Islands with Ana, Split, cycling croatia, cycling tour europe, Dalmatian islands, Hvar,  Dubrovnik, Korcula, Ston, Sucuraj, Jelsa, Hvar Town, Stari Grad, Vela Luka, Mljet, Prizba, Brna,  Smokvica, Pupnat, Dale Fehringer

After lunch we got back on our bikes and rode to the town of Korcula, where we shopped and explored. This ancient walled city is home to Marco Polo, and the house he was born in is being turned into a museum. Walking through the narrow streets and passageways feels like passing through history, and you can sense the presence of centuries of townspeople, soldiers, and royalty.

One of Ana’s “ducklings” was missing at dinner (he decided to go out on his own) and Ana was so concerned that she waited for him for nearly an hour, then walked all over town until she found him at an outdoor cafe. She scolded him (for not letting her know) and she was still upset about it at dinner.

After dinner, she calmed down enough to entertain us by singing a romantic local song. It was a softer side of Ana that we hadn’t seen before, and I thought I saw a hint of tears in her eyes as she sang.

Korcula to Ston

www.korculainfo.com

The ride from Korcula to Ston consisted of three parts – a quiet morning jaunt on narrow gravel roads, a ferry ride to the Peljesac peninsula, and an optional afternoon ride to Ston on a hilly paved road.

 

Cycling the Dalmatian Islands with Ana, Split, cycling croatia, cycling tour europe, Dalmatian islands, Hvar,  Dubrovnik, Korcula, Ston, Sucuraj, Jelsa, Hvar Town, Stari Grad, Vela Luka, Mljet, Prizba, Brna,  Smokvica, Pupnat, Dale Fehringer

Half of the group did the afternoon ride, which was 12 miles, mostly uphill. It was tough, and Ana rode with us, straining against the hills and cursing the wind. As we rounded the last curve and coasted downhill into the ancient walled city of Ston we cheered and gave each other high fives. It had been a tough ride, and we were proud we finished it.

Ston is a unique city. More than three miles of stone walls, built prior to 1000 AD, surround the old town. The walls are in amazingly good shape despite being bombed in 1991 and hit by an earthquake in 1996. They are some of the largest man-made structures on earth. After lunch in Ston, Boris loaded our bikes onto the trailer and drove us to Dubrovnik.

(Page 5 of 6)
Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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