September 19 2011
It’s been some time since I had to deal with anything other than hot weather. No rain since Romania. The 10th of August was the last day I donned the wet weather gear. Two and a half wet days out 54 is not bad going really.
But it was very humid on Monday morning when I set off from Mostar, headed for the Croatian border. And it was very windy. A storm was brewing.
I got to the border expecting a lengthy formal process to get across, given my ordeal and refusal the previous evening. But no. Sure they checked my passport and registration at the Bosnia and Herzegovina exit checkpoint. But I was simply waved through by the Croatian authorities. They did not even see the colour of my passport to consider my nationality or credentials.
I would have almost preferred to have my bike searched thoroughly to justify the attitude of the jobsworths that refused my entry the day before. So much for Croatian border security.
Soon after crossing the border heavy drops of rain started falling, stinging my face as I rode towards the coast.
A petrol station appeared ahead so I pulled over to put on the wet weather gear. It was still humid.
Then the storm hit. It was a beauty too, something we would have been proud of in Queensland. Thunder, lightening, strong winds, heavy, horizontal rain, lost power. Good thing I pulled over. I’ll just sit this one out – let it pass. Some other bikers from Hungary had already decided the same thing. We chatted and shared our travel plans. They had no wet weather gear and were headed for the national parks in Montenegro.
It took about half an hour for the storm to pass. As soon as it did the sun reappeared and I got going. Before long I had a choice of Dubrovnik (left/south east) or Split (right/north west)
At the very last instant I decided to go for Split almost as a protest for not being allowed to get there the day before.
Plenty of new highways are under construction in Croatia so initially my GPS and signage was a little unreliable. Or perhaps my attention was just poor.
I was intending to travel along the coastal road but somehow managed to find the inland road yet again, which ran close to the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina. The coastal range continued to provide few opportunities to get to the Dalmatian coast. The roads were good though and I’d get another opportunity to ride the coastal road in the next day or two.
Dark clouds appeared over the coastal range and it felt like more rain. I pulled over for lunch to let it pass. It never ended up raining but the clouds accompanied me all the way to Split. On several occasions I considered stopping under a bridge or in a tunnel to put on the wet weather gear.
But I chose wisely and kept going without getting soaked, arriving in Split around 1600 and getting the last room available at my hotel of choice. Even managed to get a discount on the room rate first quoted. Good result and an excellent location within the old palace walls.
The evening was spent blogging in the hotel restaurant – I’d fallen a little behind as a consequence of my poor navigation on Sunday afternoon.
So I explored the old city Tuesday morning. And it was superb. Finally, it felt like I was back in Europe. There are mostly Roman and Italian influences here. I wandered around the narrow, mostly pedestrian streets for almost two hours. It’s simply not possible to find a bad view of this place. It is very photogenic. Have a look for yourself.
Can’t linger for too long, time to leave for Zadar – this time along the coast road. The inevitable long haul back to London phase of my Turkey motorcycle tour continues.
Distance travelled today 128 miles (206km), cumulative 8,144 miles (13,106km).