Sunday, 13 February 2011

Dubrovnik Croatia


Nearing the end of my Croatian tour, can you believe I have another super tall guy to introduce.

And I just realized, they got taller the farther south I went in the country.   I didn't know this, but anonymous wrote on my last post that 5 NBA players in the USA come from Split Croatia!  Sorry, I like basketball, but I don't follow it and I appreciate the info.  I can certainly see why the Americans come after the tall Croatians for sure!  I've been just joking around, but is there research on the height issue, is it truly the water?

Anyway, meet Dino Radja.. another person passed on in the chain of great Croatians looking after me! Dino did play for the Boston Celtics for three seasons, so I was able to look up his height.. 6'11" or 2.11m.  Rakela wanted me to meet Dino, because he has offered a place for me to stay in Dubrovnik, my next stop about 265 km south.  It also turned out Dino had answered a question I posted on Horizons Unlimited ages ago, however it got lost in the shuffle after my computer died my first day in this country..  He reminded me and I found the message!  Both Rakela and Dino have BMW1200gs Adventure's, and they are heading over to good ol' USA to ride Route 66 in May this year.. ! So if you see two big Croatians riding middle America late spring 2011, give them a big wave!

I am laughing here because Dino's friend Josko, nickname Crazy Joe.. a keen Harley Rider, took a photo on the iphone and cut our heads right off..       

We met at the brand-spankin-new mall in Split on my way out of town so that we could organize getting a key to the property he's offered.



I was late leaving and saying goodbye to Anton, Marija and their little Paulina from Trogir this morning, so I didn't hang around long here.. It was after midday, and I wanted to ride the coastal road to Dubrovnik.


I've had enough of this weather, but honestly get entranced by the clouds and the colors quite often.. would enjoy it more if it wasn't so windy,  even though at first it really wasn't that bad. And, it might be 2012 before the rain stops around here, so I decided to ride south regardless.


The road is extra slippery from the limestone and the weather is gradually getting worse.. have a look below at that cloud bellowing over the mountain.. the wind is so strong at this point and it was freakin' scary to look at as I rode..

Dino and I discussed that I could jump on a new highway in Split and make it to Dubrovnik so much faster, but he thought I better not miss this popular ride.. I'd take scenic over boring rainy highway any day, but this time was a bad mistake.  265 km is not that far, but by time I was back on the road after 1:30 and it gets dark now around 4:30, could be a challenge ahead of me.  I don't have photos from this point.. the rain started bucketing.. and then it got dark.. add to that the wind,  a very slow ride and I was miserable!!

By grace only, I made it along that mountain/ocean road to Dubrovnik.. and to the house of the lady who has the key.  She is not home, even though I messaged her just 50 km from town and said I would be there soon.  She had decided she wanted to go out for a while?  She asks me to meet her at some gate.. I say, I'm sorry I've never been here before and I have no idea where the gate is she speaks of.  If she had an address I could punch into gps.. but she doesn't.  Then she sends another message, meet me at the Hilton Hotel!  Again, I have NO idea where the Hilton is in this town so can you give me an address?  She says no.. and it also didn't show up in my gps.  But I told her I would ask and find it.. I make my way through the rain and unfamiliar streets and found the Hilton!  She is not there!  I call her again, and she says, "Oh, I've come home now with my baby, can you come back here?!"  It was so frustrating, I was cold, tired, and not liking this chase the mouse game.  But I had no choice, I went back to her address and she finally gave me the key.


Dino had given me a printout and map of what building to look for, once I arrived.  First I need to walk through this gate..could have been where the lady was originally, but then there are a few gates around the city.

I was watching my drawing from Dino melt away from the rain drops and looking horribly lost, I'm walking  through this old town with my boots on and my helmet on holding a paper map while carrying my big wet bag.. quite the site I am sure! ;-)

When luckily, a most wonderful Croatian man stopped me and insisted on carrying my bags and helped me find the right door.. thank you..!


My Rukka riding suit and gloves keep me dry, thank goodness for that.. but I was so glad to get all the gear off and into layers of warm normal clothes.   And where the heck am I??  The street I walked on was so shiny and perfect, and this is the main street??

View from my window..

I had lots of questions that I will tackle tomorrow.. my main goal now is to lay everything out for it to dry and have a celebratory "I can't believe I made it!" drink, then off to bed.


This is a lovely little investment property for Dino, and being out of season, it was completely available. He refuses to accept payment for my stay here.. and I am so grateful.

I hadn't researched Dubrovnik, but normal for Europe,  I understood when he said I can not park on the street near the apartment.. but outside the old walls.  Anyway, I parked my bike here amongst the local scooters the night before..



I was quite worried through the night having it parked so far away from me.  But all is well. Since I arrived in the dark, might have a little look around this morning. Now I can get my bearings and things around me make more sense.


That's the walled old town Dubrovnik behind my bike.. I'm staying under one of those little orange roofs! It's like living in a fairytale, or I can call it  "my life in the museum.."

And a closer look at those still usable gates.  It's interesting to see all the things that survive after so many wars and changes in leadership over the last 14 or so CENTURIES.  There actually was quite a bit of damage from the Yugoslav war inside the town in 1991.  But from the Croatians I have talked about this subject.. all is in the past.  I really don't sense a rivalry or hatred toward the recent war.. more that it was stupid and time to move on.  I hope the countries around the world currently at war with each other can do the same.. soon.



It is such an enchanting old town to live in.  I can't believe the surprises and opportunities I get from this crazy journey. I honestly had no idea that Dino was sending me to live inside THIS MUCH of an amazing place!  Like Trogir, it's unreal to imagine you are living amongst the same walls and walking the same streets the people have done for hundreds of years.  So sturdy, they don't have road replacements and bricks like western world.  The steps here are smooth and worn where people most often step, but they are the same ones.. wow!




This is my door, the green one.


I am here for a few days.. the weather was horrendous and so bad that it was making top news.

This "no comment tv" video on Youtube is from ONE DAY before I arrive.  If I could I would even point out to you my building.  The boys had called before I left Split to make sure the water was down enough for me to get in. Because I don't watch t.v. here, I didn't know it was this bad until I saw this video. And I am amazed all this flood water was cleared out when I arrived the day after.. I even rode my bike over that broken road you see in the video!


Needless to say, I stayed put for a few days.. I cancelled my plans to continue on down to Greece merely because I am only struggling on the bike and not enjoying the trip through the rain.. and I am nearly due to go back to Italy for the housesitting in Tuscany.  So my decision is to stop here for now, where there is easy access to the ferry.. and I will pick up where I left off when I resume the journey in spring.

In the meantime, I have plenty more to show of Dubrovnik in the next post.  See you next time!

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4 comments:

  1. That's one aspect of driving a bike is that you experience the elements like they are. Kind of like it, as long as you can stay dry!
    Luckily you didn't arrive a day earlier.

    Peter

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  2. Amazing adventure and detail, thanks, thoroughly enjoying it. Be safe

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  3. The center of Dubrovnik is a very nice and special city (all there is great History) and the road of the coast, so amazing...

    Un saludo.

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  4. Told you about nba players :-)
    What a pity that you had so bad weather during stay in Dubrovnik...
    Did anybody told you that Dubrovnik in the past was "Republic of Dubrovnik" and it was first state to recoginize independence of USA.

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