Split to Dubrovnik, Croatia

Heavy rain greeted us this morning as we prepared to leave Split and head to Dubrovnik. The rain lifted about nine and we were able to start packing the bike. The owner didn’t arrive on time to pick the key up so after waiting thirty minutes we sent a message and they told us to leave it under the door mat. Just on eleven we headed out of the city, under cold dark skies full of menace. The roads were pretty slippery so we had to take extra care, especially on road markings. More than once the bike stepped out a little bit as we rode over pedestrian crossings.

Our first stop was Makarska, only 60 km’s from Split but we agreed to stop every hour. Michele was keen to revisit the gelateria we’d visited last time in Makarska, however we went into a cafe by mistake. Instead of a repeat of th delicious pancakes it was cake 🙁
Leaving Makarska light rain started to fall. I’d borrowed Michele’s boot covers to try and keep my boots dry, as I ship all the water off the front tyre but soon found that they kept moving and the strap kept catching on the foot peg. Really dangerous when I’m trying to put my foot down when we stop.

The ride south was a real mixed bag of landscapes. From Makarska the road followed the coast and we had views out over the islands. Down towards Ploće the road curved inland before emerging from the hills with great views over Baćinska Jezera (Bacina Lakes). We stopped off to take some photos and met a local guy who was showing his girlfriend where he was born.
The boot covers only lasted until this stop when I took them back off. It was better to have wet feet than to chance an accident. I’ll have a play with them in Dubrovnik and get them sorted.

Skirting around Plocé the road took us down into the Neretva Delta. It’s quite surprising after all the Croatian coast we’ve travelled along to see this huge flatland before us.
The Neretva River starts in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and winds through the country before emptying into the Adriatic Sea, near Plocé, in Croatia.
The delta is ringed by limestone hills and supposedly covers about 12,000 hectares with some extensive land reclamation. Most of the original wetlands have been replaced by fields of orange trees and market gardens all surrounded by a chequer work of irrigation channels.
Not far from Plocé we reached the Bosnia and Herzegovina border control. It’s seems weird that Croatia is split on the coast by 20 km’s of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The checkpoint was pretty easy as we only stamped out of Croatia and travelled 20 km’s through the city of Nuem before stamping into Croatia again. It was funny seeing the Croatia symbol painted on the hill overlooking Neum. The Bosnians must get annoyed looking out their windows looking at that every day.
It was surprising how quiet Nuem was as it seemed every apartment was closed for winter and the streets were fairly empty.
As the time was getting on towards two, we thought the chances of getting lunch was pretty slim. We passed a konoba where a heap of people were leaving so took a chance that they’d be still cooking. Well Konoba Arcimum, in Doli, was a great choice. It seemed that we arrived just in time, for as soon as we were seated a crowd of locals started rocking up. Pretty soon the verandah was chockas with Croatians all smoking and drinking. The lady who ran the konoba was rushed off her feet serving drinks and cooking food. It was funny how we were the only people in the non smoking section. After a great mixed meat platter it was time to hit the road again for the final run to Dubrovnik.

The rest of the run was nice cruising along the coast and looking out on the islands. It’s interesting how the landscape changes with a little bit of rain. Almost as if the land comes alive.
Pretty soon we were passing over the Franjo Tuđman bridge and we were heading towards our apartment. Soon we were hanging our wet bike gear around the apartment and as Michele was settling in for the night, I took a walk around the suburb to get a layout of all the local cafes and supermarkets. Tomorrow we head down to the old town of Dubrovnik for a look around the city Michele has wanted to visit since her twenties.

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