Well – the hotel Bellevue was a real find.
I came to it from the back; it’s just a small sign and a door in a long wall; doesn’t look glam from that side at all….
Too crook to ride, so I’m camped here for a couple of days. I say camped – but this a good pub.
I found a chemist and got some stuff, which seemed to help. Breakfast is included in the cost of the hotel, and it’s a great spread – beans, bacon, sausages, fried and scrambled eggs, muesli, cornflakes, juices, yogurts, and coffee – plus a range of croissants and pastries, sliced meats, cheeses and jams. Best I dared risk was a bowl of muesli, then off around the old town.
First stop was the ferry port, the international side, not the domestic one, where I booked a single cabin for Ancona, leaving at 8:00 pm tomorrow. I’ve cycled all of Croatia’s coast from Rijeka to Trieste, and then done the Northern Italy bit to Genoa, so this time I’m heading across central Italy towards Pisa, then up the West coast to Genoa – that’s as far ahead as I can plan, realistically. So; ferry booked, back into the old town.
Which is magnificent.
One half of it is the remnants of a Diocletian palace, still largely standing, converted into apartments, shops and such over millenia(!!!) and still in use today. The basement is in original condition, and it really astonishes me how they built – massive columns, huge blocks of stone, all assembled by hand.
The promenade along the quayside is a marble-paved terrace a couple of hundred metres long,
lined with cafes and restaurants, and all busy. They overlook the “pretty”
harbour, where all the ferries arrive; all the working stuff is hidden away around the adjacent headlands. At each end of the terrace are minor roads, which form a loop
around all of the old town – the only traffic allowed in the old town is pedestrian, or small electrically powered trash vans and workmen’s carts, neither bigger than
a Smart car. There’s an ancient cathedral, a Roman forum, a couple of Moorish buildings, a 6 storey bell tower, and several markets, plus all the touristy stuff -and all the “normal” shops too, as people live and work in this fabulous environment, which they perceive as quotidian (always wanted to fit that word in somewhere).
I had lunch in the forum, (Note the Roman soldiers) –
OJ and a shrimp risotto, then back to the hotel- it was around 5:00pm, and I was fairly knackered. And.. the gut decided to throw a severe wobbly.
Most of the next 14 hours were spent hovering on the loo, not sure which end was going to chuck up next. A really bad night. Rosalie rang, and we had a great chat; as she always does, she got my head straight, made me a plan, and told me to implement it. It’s all so easy when you have a natural sense of order, and are gifted with an organised mind; skills I’m pretty deficient in. Thanks, gorgeous one – I am truly blessed with you in my life 🙂
I took a taxi to the hospital, got a reference to a specialist, off to her in another taxi, examined, prescribed and told to take it easy for a day or so. In retrospect, it was all so simple; Heaven only knows why I couldn’t think of it myself. Is it a bloke thing? It may just be me…..
So. A taxi back to the hotel, checked out, but left bike and panniers there, then went and took a couple of guided tours, blending into the throngs. Touch wood, my innards
have settled, and the liquid cement she’d prescribed for me kept the bomb bay closed, so to speak. I’ve paid a fair portion of Croatia’s national debt though; health care here is not free.
I’ve now seen several cities in Croatia by bike over the past two years: Zagreb, and a couple of others up in the high country; Pula, on the West coast, heart of the farming, fruit and vegetable heartland, and Rijeka, Split and Dubrovnic on the slender Adriatic strip (though Dubrovnic is separated from the rest of Croata; Bosnia has a tiny strip of coast at Neum, which means Dubrovnic can only be reached from the rest of Croatia via a border crossing. Or boat. The proposed bridge is a long way from being built, too.
I’d rank Dubrovnic a definite last. It’s too small for the tourist traffic it attracts; it’s greed will ruin it eventually. They really need to cut down on something; cruise ships, I’d suggest. Zagreb is just another big capital city, OK in parts, but Pula, Rijeka and Split are great cities; small enough, but also full of good stuff to do and see. Well worth the cycling. I’ll have great memories of Split, that’s for sure, but I’d recommend Croatia as a holiday destination to anyone.
Still weakish, I packed the bike (I’d left it and panniers at the hotel), and walked the bike to the ferry. Through customs and border control, and onto the boat to Ancona.
See you down the road