Day 9: Sibenik to Split

Total to date:  2928km:  Day totals: 90km and 600m of climbing

What makes this day different to the day before and the days that will follow? Possibly not much to be honest – but we are 90km down the coast. So what were the high and low points of the day.

Started with a low for sure – kitchen in hostel locked at 5.30. Seems they don’t expect anyone up before 8, so had to start with no tea or coffee. Bernie helpfully pointed out that the fact that we felt so much better after a double expresso – 30km into the ride – shows we are weaning ourselves off the stuff. I confess to not being convinced. Staring with no caffeine was not a great start.

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We saw some wonderful coastline and a fantastic village of Primosten which perches on a little islet and was the place of the wonderful coffee. We had tried to get coffee earlier but the 2 drunks running the front of house could not raise the lady of the mansion and so nothing happened. We moved on.

But it turned out to be a place the boats of the rich and famous (or at least the rich) land and so prices were sky high. The yachting community seem to corner the market in beautiful coastal frontages which is hardly surprising. They usually look on our mode of travel with bemusement but then they are in good company there.

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We did find our first “English Pub” here – cultural imperialism!

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Another 30km and we reached Trogir with its utterly beautiful cathedral and brilliant if eccentric bell tower. The cathedral was small and simple with some amazing stone and wood carvings. The chapels decorated with marble, paintings and statues but not as flamboyant as Italy and elsewhere so more pleasing to our eye. Whilst exploring the church we met a young English boy aged about 6 who was trying to persuade his mother he really was 14. The reason was, at that stage, unclear. However we later saw a sign in multiple languages saying that children under 14 were not allowed up the tower.

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The steps are steep and there is not great protection when you get up there. But the answer to the boy was to work harder at his French and Italian classes because the 14 year old rule clearly did not apply to the French or Italians; who took babes in arms, toddlers and irrepressible 6 year olds up without a second thought. So why do the English naturally obey the rules (albeit they complain about them) whereas the French and the Italians – maybe for different reasons – don’t bother complaining but just ignore the rules. So the steps at the Cathedral at Trogir were a lesson in how the EU functions – or does not function – or sort of works for everyone in thier own way. (David has tactfully left out that while 6 year olds happily skipped up the steep open steps up the tower a 50 something wimp had her legs shaking! I therefore elected to stay at the first stage on the roof of the cathedral while David went on up and I enjoyed the view vicariously from the photos. Miraculously both the 6 year olds and David emerged alive from the little tower door!)

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After that we cycled on and the heat got hotter (as heat tends to do). So we stopped for pizza and beer (essential) and then had a swim amongst a group of over-weight cigarette smoking Russians (or possibly of other slavic origin) whose life expectancy seemed less than mine despite being 20 years younger. Delightful people no doubt but not to be messed with in a dark alley with a grievance (apart from running away of course which may be a highly effective tactic given their bulk).

We arrived in the port city of Split, found our apartment – which was delightful – did jobs, shopped, and cooked supper. By that time the evening had sort of gone. That comes of getting up at 5.30am. Lie in tomorrow.

(Those of you who were concerned with my obsession with heat and risk of heat stroke will be pleased to hear the temperature seemed a couple of degrees cooler, the road hugged the coast and we had a sea breeze the the sights to see for the day were well placed so were able to keep out of the hottest part of the day. Having experienced oven like temperatures, we’ve decided anything under 40 degrees seems OK!)

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