The island of Korcula was a real treat to make it to. I had to take the ferry from Dubrovnik to get there, but it was well worth the trip. And the actual ferry trip itself was actually quite fun. There are several islands that you can visit if you are in Croatia. Korcula happens to be the island where Marko Polo is from.
I didn’t really do much bike riding in Korcula, but the first night I did spend the night at a campground. After being semi-attacked by bees there, I decided to rent out a room at a private house for the next two nights. The island is not too big, and without knowing too much to do, I pretty much just walked around all the time and tried to just poke around. There is a pretty impressive old town/main part of the downtown. I ate at a few restaurants there and did the normal relax all day with some coffee stuff. It was pretty relaxing, and so beautiful on this island too. Being out in the Adriatic Sea and not with any cares at all definitely has its rewards.
The bike ride from Sinj to Split Croatia was pretty uneventful as I recall. It was relatively downhill as you are going from the mountains to the Adriatic Sea. What was really cool though, actually a bit scary was the huge tunnel that I had to go through before entering Split. I had never been through a tunnel like this one before on this bike trip. I made sure to stop beforehand, and put on my flashing light on the rear of the bike and then to make sure to pedal pretty quickly because I wanted to get out of that thing right away. Nothing bad happened, and eventually I was out of there in quickly.
I know that everyone says Split Croatia has the nicest looking girls in Croatia, and stuff like that, or at least that is what all types of guys were telling me when I was in Croatia, but I really didn’t think Split was too impressive as a city. I know I did not really give it much of a chance either. I was only there for one day. I arrived probably around 3pm, and was out of there the next day. I do remember walking around some very old parts of the old town I suppose and finding it pretty interesting, but in many ways, it was just another big city. At that point in the trip too, I was more concerned about getting down to Dubrovnik, where I needed to take a ferry to Italy to go to a wedding. And, since big cities are usually a drag for a transient bike rider, Split in some ways was just that. It was a bit hard for me to figure out the next morning which roads to get on to get out of there etc… But eventually, I was on the coast road heading south, and looking for the town of Makarska.
Makarska is a beautiful town right on the Adriatic Sea. If you have the opportunity to visit Makarska, I suspect you will be impressed with its beauty. There is a huge mountain, I believe the tallest mountain in the country that you can climb which is just in-back of the actual town. You can see if from most points within the city limits. There are plenty of restaurants in Makarska, and some nice night-life. I ended up meeting a girl names Eliska, and her boyfriend and girlfriend, and they offered me a place to stay for the night for a reasonable price. It turned out to be Eliska’s parents house. What was great was her boyfriend named Chris was actually German, and he spoke no Croatian. So the two of us were able to talk in English, and the other girls spoke excellent English as well.
Makarska to Dubrovnik
I don’t recal that many details from this stage of the bike trip, other than it being right along the coast for most of it. I did have to spend the night in Bosnia in the town of Neum, which I did not particularly like too much. But since I had been biking all day long, it was pretty neat to have spent the night in Bosnia, even if it was only one night.
Not too long after getting back on the road and heading towards the wild west town of Knin, Croatia, there is a very large hill or actually, I would say it is even a mountain. It was the biggest mountain I biked on the entire trip, and thankfully I had a good night sleep and a great dinner the night before, otherwise, I’m not sure I would have made it to Knin before the late hours of the evening. Again, the road conditions were great, there were not many cars at in this stretch of road from Gracac to Knin. The one concern I had was with regards to land mines. The father at the house I stayed the night before told me to be careful and to “NEVER” go off the road as the whole entire area was mined during the war. There were signs posted all over the highway stating the exact same thing. So, please, stay on the road if you decide to bike this area too. Why on earth do people setup land mines? Such waste of time and effort and money and lives doing stuff like that.
The town of Knin, Croatia
Staying and getting to Knin was a highlight for me. I had been reading about this town in my guide book for several months, and for some reason it stuck out to me as a place I wanted to visit for sure. Sure enough, I made it there. This town is characterized by many Croatians as the wild west, cowboy style town. The rule of law just might not be the same as in other parts of the country. I think it is fair to say that outsiders from other parts of Croatia look down on Knin as a subordinate/ second rate town too. This is strange to me. I don’t understand exactly why because to me, everything about the place was pretty darn cool and interesting. Especially the people I met there.
Hotels and Places to Stay in Knin
This is where things might get a bit interesting for you if you stumble in here on bike. I had no idea where to stay, and I was a bit lost in terms of figuring out the map my book had. So, like all good travellers, I went into a coffee shop much like I had done the day before in Gracac. This time, the young girl working there was not very helpful, and the young guy patron was not too helpful for me either. Actually, that’s not true, the girl told me to go to “restaurant Tri-Lovca” which is exactly where I stayed. I guess I just remember her not being too friendly with me which kinda pissed me off momentarily.
Restaurant Tri-Lovca is a great place to stay and eat. It is run by orthodox Christians I believe. And they were all super friendly. The price for the night was somewhere in the $15/night range, and the room was huge and worked just fine. I was even invited to watch them slaughter the pigs and lambs at six in the morning. This was also a unique experience.
That night that I was there in Knin, I met a few guys who took me out to the local night clubs and discos. What was really interesting was that the first part of the night I was with some Bosnians doing their thing, and the end of the night I was with some Croatians at a totally different club. From what I could tell, these two groups of people still segregate themselves from eachother, but there was no hostility when walking down the street and the two groups of people would be next to eachother. Also, I am sure there were Serbians and other groups mixed in, and no real issues.