After a brief visit to Omiš, just after Christmas, we decided to head back down for another look around. The ride down along the coast was pretty quick, (note to self do not watch land speed record videos before getting on the bike, it’s a great way to attract undue attention by the law enforcement) After a police officer stepped out of a hiding spot, my mind got back on the job and we settled back into a sensible speed. Well actually feeling Michele’s legs squeeze the seat was a heads up to slow down. It’s one of our signals which works pretty well as she sometimes sees things that I don’t.
Arriving at Omiš we parked the bike down close to the beach and had a walk along the Cetina river back towards the old town.
Omiš is quite proud of their pirate heritage and happily celebrate that it was the home of legendary Corsairs of Almissa. The corsairs would sail from Omiš and attack the merchant vessels before escaping to the safety of the Cetina River which dissects the town. The sheer cliffs which tower over the town provided safety to the pirates. In later years when Venice ruled Croatia the old pirate lookout point was transformed into a fort.
It was pretty quiet around Omiš as we walked through the old section of Priva. It’s quite a nice area to walk around with skinny cobbled streets and little bars which add to the pirate feel of the town.
We even found a little pirate cartoon graffiti. All the buildings throughout the section date back at least a few hundred years and the little church of St Peter just off the main road dates back to the 10th century.
Overlooking the town are the two fortresses of Mirabella and Starigrad. Built on sheer cliffs the two fortresses were built over the pirate lookout points as defences against Turkish invaders. To check them out involved climbing up a trail on the face of the cliffs. The trail to Starigrad was estimated to take two hours, which I sadly declined. Around Priva there wasn’t too many places open so we bought a few things from the local supermarket and enjoyed a picnic in the sun.
We returned along the river where we spotted a heap of blokes of all ages playing bocce. The French call it pétanque but as there’s more Italians in Australia than French people we all know it as bocce. They certainly love it in Croatia and in most towns we’ve visited, we’ve seen blokes out playing it.
As we’d ridden through the south side of the Cetina Gorge the last time we visited we decided to follow the road on the north side of the river and head up into the hinterland.
Travelling up through the gorge were spectacular. The road zigzagged back and forward as it climbed up the shear sides of the gorge. It was nice riding on a high quality road. Once on top we had great views down through the gorge to Omiš and up along the Cetina river towards the hinterland. We decided to head south towards Gata and the road skirted the edge of the limestone escarpment passing through a tunnel hacked into the limestone overhang.
Heading south we passed through a few villages and were surprised at some of the terracing of fields around Gata. In areas some of the land seemed quite productive. Nearly every house had grapevines, fruit trees and a vegetable garden in the front yard. It seems quite common in Croatia, along with a Peka, (bell oven) and a well used concrete mixer.
The further south we travelled through the hinterland towards Seoca the land became stonier and scrubbier. It explained why the area was pretty deserted, almost a wasteland. The only arable land was in people’s front yards in the scarcely populated villages. Looking out across the landscape it seemed pretty deserted all the way to Mount Biokovo. Many places around this region make a living from adventure tourism such as canyoning, rafting, climbing and zip lines.
Arriving at Blato Na Cetini we at first thought that we’d discovered an ancient settlement, however it was just piles and piles of rocks that had been picked up to make the land usable.
As we were getting close to the border we decided that it was time to head back to Split. The big toll road cuts through the area but it was much better heading back along the back roads and just looking at how people survive in this hard area. As we passed through Trnbusi we spotted another big group of blokes out playing bocce. We gave them a wave as we passed and were greeted with smiles and waves.
As we neared Bisko we came upon a detour which pointed us towards the toll road. We were having none of that and headed down into the village instead. What a fabulous little village it was with lots of old buildings with heaps of character. A few of the old ladies were even wearing the black dresses which would’ve been traditional one hundred years ago. It gave them a sweet grandmotherly look.
Eventually we arrived in Dugopolje, (where we had that delicious Peka a few days ago) and picked up the highway back over the hills down into Split.
Tomorrow the forecast is for rain so we might visit the local cinema and if the rain holds off I’m hoping to do an oil change on the Princess. I’ve just got to find a quiet spot.