Island hopping to Histria

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Historic walls of the Roman Arena, Pula Croatia

The battle begins at dawn. The first rays of sunlight break through the clouds at the edge of the horizon, and the orange color washes over the evening grey. Almost as if taken by surprise, the clouds let the sunlight through, until they gather enough strength to hold it back. There is no hiding. At least for now, shadows begin to grow and narrow, and locals begin to inhabit the city streets. A few hours earlier, social interactions between strangers would be cautioned, now we are open, joyful and ready to start another day.  I am walking. Home finally, my gait is laborious, as I have been on my feet all night. Ten hours earlier, I stopped to get a falafel at Jerusalem Kebab, and quickly befriended the Palestinian owner and Nigerian chief. My long evening of festivities began. Now I am alone again and so close to sleep.

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Once you pedal down to the beach, you might as well stay the night

The road to Pula was difficult to say the least, I must admit I had to stop and rest while climbing the steep cliffs that hug most of the northern Croatian coast. I have entered Histria, the largest peninsula in the Adriatic Sea. The beaches once so accessible are now far below. At night, it is like riding into a void. The road traces the cliffs for 30 km and eventually leads into a large valley. It is foggy and extremely damp. I stop repeatedly to catch my breath, before noticing my rear brake pad rubbing the rim.
I have become more bold, or rather careless in my camping style. My first night, I slept in front of a summer hotel “Kimen”, and awoke before dawn to a team of drywallers unloading their tools ready to begin a day of hard work. After apologizing for waking they offered a bed in one of the completed rooms but I declined, and set off for a long day of riding. Tres, my island landing point between Krk and the mainland is more mountainous, and is barely inhabited. There is no silence, wind, waves and cow bells echo in the distance.

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It is very nice when you get to the point where your bicycle will move on its own will, in the direction that you want to go in. A much awaited down hill after a rough 10km climb, Tres

Traveling by bicycle is a constant shift from the 1st to the 3rd world. One day, hours are spent hours finding clean water, food and a safe place to camp. The next is in a café and it is time to decide what type of coffee beans would be good in a mocha.

Early evening window shopping

Early evening window shopping in the 1st world

Pula is a very sleepy, laid back city that employs most of its residents on the docks building ships. Summers are extremely popular here, and the small population of 60,000 grows to over a million during the cities music festivals, Outlook and Dimension. The old city is home to the Arena, a huge Roman amphitheater built 50 years after the completion of the Roma Coliseum.

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Pula Arena, had to sneak past a security guard to get this evening shot

It is hard to get a taste of what summer life is like here. Friday and Saturday nights were rather quiet but I some how managed to stumbled across parties both evenings. This is cycle touring at a different level , and sometimes seems to mimic a celebrity life style. I will be in villages and nature again soon and have decided to leave Pula tomorrow in order to see Croatia’s most beautiful national park, Plitvice Lakes. I have picked up a tarp and an extra dry bag to hold back the rain and snow, and I hope to hold up camping in the high altitudes. But need to leave the city lights and late nights.

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Underground shoe repairman fixes my leather saddle bag

Late night eats at the local bakery

Late night eats at the local bakery

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Le Pina (Croatian tortilla), Pljeskavica (mixed meat patty), and Ajvar (Bell pepper spread).Served at the famous “Fast Boys Outlaw Café”

Departing from Tres to the Croatian mainland

Departing from Tres to the Croatian mainland

An honest start

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I am pedaling again. Panniers over filled, and packed like I have never been on a tour before. I am being honest with myself, that I am a bit anxious about what lies ahead. I have spent a wonderful 6 weeks making new friends and becoming close to others, and it feels a bit different to be on the road again. Strangers, what an unintelligent word, there is nothing strange about the human beings around me, whether I am in a bazaar in Bosnia or in American Apparel in Los Angeles. We all have something inside that leads us in a direction and the only thing that I can see that is strange is when we don’t admit to ourselves what we really want. I can not expect another to truly understand what the world means to me, and I should not feel like I need to. My path is different than others, none is better than the one, and what brings us together is the passion that we have to get there, somewhere.

Blood sausage farewell meal

Blood sausage farewell meal

Thank you all so much for your Christmas cards and gifts! I received several emails with scanned handmade cards, and I am with friends in this world. I missed my 1 pm ferry to my landing point between Krk and the mainland. I will now arrive after dark and will have to search through the new landscape with little light. I went on a long trek with some friends last night to the supposed most beautiful place on the island, Paradise cove. I felt it while I was near the rocks and the water something inside is waiting the seclusion. The moon continues to grow, and the last few nights I have seen Orion through the cloud breaks. I will follow Orion all the way to Bosnia, and then continue to follow this isolated warrior to Egypt and Jordan.

Well here’s to starting new again, and I may I never stop learning about life. Will write again when I get to Pula.