Omis, Croatia: Hong Kong is a long way to go to get laundry done, but that’s what I did for some clean clothes and to take care of personal business. Last night I felt like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, reliving the same day over and over with a slight variation of the last. For the third time in four months, I flew from Hong Kong to the Old World for this Eurocycle. For the third time I said my goodbyes, which get increasingly harder, at home. For the third time I faced the anxieties and pressures of hopping on the bike and starting anew.
They say the third time’s the charm. They better be right.
Today I reconnected with my touring bike Bubba Too with a sharp and specific focus to arrive in Istanbul in just three weeks. Three flights and 24 hours after leaving my Hong Kong residence, I naturally but abruptly shifted from manic Hong Kong mode yesterday to Croatian cycling mode today. Shortly after touching down in Split I began rolling once again, this time on cobblestone streets. I didn’t even change out of the street clothes I wore from Hong Kong. It is time to finish what I started in Lisbon on June 5. Only six countries, 1,600 (or so) kilometers, the Balkan mountains and a weakened body from jet lag and a nasty cold stand in the way.
I suspect the last weeks of this journey across Europe will be perhaps the most interesting and dramatic, especially as I cycle through part of a country that is on the brink of economic implosion (Greece) and another country that is in the news for all the wrong reasons (Turkey).
Today has been a very long one, but today’s ride was short. It was a cinch exiting Split, Croatia’s second largest city. In less than 45 minutes I was on coastal route 8, with the Adriatic on my right, a mountain on my left, and a feisty headwind in my face. I cruised along to Omis, a very pretty seaside town with a good vibe and a castle to boot. Last week Patrick and I had visited Omis by car so I knew the lay of the land. I rolled up to the Hotel Plaza and checked in, the cycling routines very familiar by now. It’s a clean and modern hotel and just what I need on this first night back on the road.
For dinner I revisited a restaurant Patrick and I dined at last week, ordering grilled calamari and veggies. I was starving. My last hot meal had been a crappy breakfast served by Lufthansa somewhere over Russia at 4:30am local time. Tonight I was the restaurant’s first customer and it’s a slow evening. I ate my calamari as the elderly and heavyset restaurant owner sat at a table near me looking at porn on his laptop.
It’s good to be back in Croatia and rolling again.
Day 61: Split — Omis, Croatia
Distance: 27.04 kilometers
Ascent: 84 meters
Weather: Headwind aside, perfect cycling weather. It’s nearly 10 degrees centigrade cooler than it was last week.
TransEuropa 2011 Trip Summary:
Distance: 4,246.88 kilometers
Ascent: 29,972 meters
Countries: 10: Portugal, Spain, France, Switzerland, Austria, Liechtenstein, Germany, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia
Incidents: 4: flat tires on Days 45, 53 and 56; police reprimand on Day 2