Croatia is the next country after Austria where we spent a few weeks. Most people probably think of the sea with turquoise water, beautiful islands and lots of sun. We do too, but not only. We also think of expensive campsites, hilly roads, hot afternoons, surprising places and incredible hospitality.
We decide to do some island hopping after Rijeka, as Croatia is known for its beautiful coastline and islands. Therefore, we take the road towards Krk. This island is connected to the mainland by a bridge. We are quite overwhelmed by the many cars and campervans crossing the bridge. Without a gap, one car after the other thunders past us, we have to take a break in between to catch our breath. Once again we realise that we are in the middle of high season. Fortunately, we find side roads where it is a bit quieter. Krk is not exactly our favourite island. A lot of traffic, overpriced campsites that offer unsuitable infrastructure for tents, and we don't see much of the Croatian island charm. That's why we cycle on immediately the next day. The ferry crossing is a pleasure for legs, buttocks and us. On the ferry we meet some like-minded people for the first time, who are also exploring the country by bike.
The next island, Rab, gives us a much friendlier welcome. As it is lunchtime and therefore hot once again, we go straight to the beach. The sun is burning for the first days in Croatia and temperatures of up to 36°C are the reason why we are more like dead flies than active bicycle travellers at midday. There are sandy beaches on this island, which usually isn't the case. We camp almost directly by the sea and enjoy our first beautiful sunset. But we also feel our Swiss roots. We still think a lot about wild camping. It is officially forbidden, but nobody here really cares. Nevertheless, we sometimes still have a sinking feeling in our stomachs. We are slowly learning to put aside our coon side.
As we have discovered an interesting campsite where you can only get on foot, we stay on the island of Rab for another night, enjoy the day by the sea and treat ourselves to 'Rösti' and fried eggs, what a pleasure. We cross the island to the main town of Rab, where we want to take another ferry. The pretty little town invites us to linger, so we carry our bikes including all the luggage up the stairs. One after the other we discover the town on foot, as someone has to look after the bikes with all our belongings.
The boat to the next island only takes pedestrians and cyclists. Unfortunately, it is already quite full and we can't find a place. Without further ado, the captain organises a second boat, which takes us to our destination with two Italians, who are also on their bikes. That's how quickly problems are solved. Diligent readers of our blog might think, two Italians, I've read about that too. That's right, later they cooked us the best tomato sauce, as you can read in an earlier blog entry.
We reach the island of Pag in the evening after a short boat trip and we are immediately captivated by it. Olive groves, roads with few cars and sea views on both sides, every cyclist's dream. We cycle leisurely through the beautiful landscape during 'golden hour' and can hardly believe our luck. We finish the evening with delicious pasta and swim in the sea at sunset. After this beautiful island, where we spend 3 nights, we return to the mainland via a bridge. And what awaits us there, we will write in a next report.