As we’ve traveled for longer than we’ve ever done before, we’ve quickly discovered that Ben’s ability to run at a really fast pace day after day really outlasts mine. On a normal, 7-10 day vacation, I can usually make a noble attempt at keeping up, but as the weeks come and go, I’ve found myself really struggling to keep pace with his endless sense of adventure that embraces anything that is wet, cold, and steep. Yesterday as we pedaled across the causeway in a torrential downpour, with Ben thinking he’d died and gone to adventure heaven, all I could think of was the opening scenes of The Emperor’s New Groove when Kuzko shows up on screen in the pouring rain looking downright miserable, and wonders what sequence of events brought him there. I wondered if I would have seen this moment before we decided to come on this trip, soaking wet, in a howling side wind, and not even sure we would be able to get on the ferry at all, if I would have set out on this adventure to begin with. I like to think that I would have, but at times I’m not so sure. Since then though, I’ve learned to be all kinds of brave. I willingly put on my rain jacket and pedal through downpours that in a former life would have kept me going to indoor spin class for months. Bugs which would have gotten a good squeal out of me at home I now pick up with my bare hands and toss outside our tent. With six weeks on the road, I’m getting tougher and braver than I’ve ever been and I’m pretty proud of how far I’ve come.
Last night after we finally closed up the tent and went to bed, a quick rainstorm hit which was followed by a big lightning storm that somehow didn’t come with any thunder. Wide awake with Ben sound asleep next to me, I laid in the tent and watched the world light up over and over again and enjoyed the soft breeze blowing through our olive groved campsite. Morning delivered beautiful blue skies and we decided that heading north toward Rovinj was how we wished to spend our first whole day in beautiful Croatia.
Our first order of business once we got packed up was to check out and purchase some bread for breakfast, but first we needed some Croatian kuna. Unfortunately it seems as though the debit card we have been using has been flagged by our credit union and is no longer working. Gratefully, the campground changed some of our Euros over to kuna to buy us some time to get it figured out (difficult without a phone…).
We took our tasty bread down to the rocky shore and ate our picnic breakfast sitting on a wall watching the waves crash and boats head out for the morning. The quiet of the morning was refreshing after the crazy day we had yesterday and we were happy to note that the coast was just as beautiful by daylight. As the morning warmed up, we realized we had better hit the road before it got too warm.
As we were pedaling around a kilometer out of the campground, a car pulled up next to us and the guy who helped us check in pulled over to ask us if we’d had a good stay. We were so impressed by his hospitality and by the lovely night we had at his campground!
The first bit of the ride was on nearly empty roads through forest and scrubby trees and occasional olive groves and vineyards. Soon though, we turned onto a much busier road that had been scraped to be resurfaced but apparently never re-paved. We weren’t loving the bumpy ride or the traffic but gratefully it didn’t last too long, and soon we were back to rolling hills on pretty quiet roads. With a few days off the bike, the gentle terrain was sure welcome!
Before we hardly knew it, we were a few kilometers out of Rovinj and the campground hunt began. We rolled past a few and even went into reception at one large campground but we just weren’t loving it so we headed right back out to a different spot just north of town with a nice overlook of the water and the old city. Once we had a chance to read about it, our guidebook actually notes that the first campground we stopped at is a nudist camp although we rode clear through it and everyone we saw was fully clothed. Weird!
Once we got camp set up we made an early dinner and showered before heading into the city for some groceries and sightseeing. We spent quite a bit of time rolling around the quaint harbors and eventually walking up to the old church.
The city is full of artists shops and we spent forever looking through each of their galleries and admiring their work. Finally, we stopped for groceries before heading to the dock to eat our pastries.
As we sat there eating and photographing the sunset, multiple people saw our bikes and our food panniers and stopped to chat about our trip. We are always amazed at how much attention we generate when we go out in public with our bikes, even when we aren’t fully loaded! Today we met a nice couple from Indianapolis and another from northern Germany, both here on vacation for a few weeks.
We watched the sun set most of the way before rolling back to camp to blog and photo process before bed!