Jeremiah Watt Cycling around God's Creation

long distance bicycle touring

Posts tagged ‘adriatic’

Blog31-Yup, its a lovers coast

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No sooner was I talking about it being a lovers coast, than I should meet a beautiful women in Zadar. A women with long Blay hair and cowboy boots…….God does listen to Prayers folks……….I mean how or who else would know I am sucker for the color Blay and cowboy boots over stillettos……only God can know those sort of intimate details. So for those wondering just what is going on in this paragraph opener……my wife flew into Zadar to meet me and spend about 8 days with me here on the adriatic coast. We had a nice supper out in the old town center, with waves washing up against the “wave symphony”, an ingenoius musical harbor platform inwhich wave action drives musical notes from harbor horns mounted under the platform which sits out over the harbors edge. The night sky turned dark and crystal clear, with a crimson sky as our backdrop.

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We were actually up pretty early so we could hit the road in very typical Watt fashion………we have some sort of inner fasinaction with gas pedals and steering wheels. We left Zadar in a spray or small rocks and gravel, we are headed south hugging the pine tree lined coast and staring at the azure colored sea in awe and amazement. The coast line color and clarity are such that I am not even going to try and describe it because you will think that its false or maybe I have added a filter to the camera to hieghten or enhance what we seen. So, get out ol,Merriam’s and just look up BEAUTIFUL BECAUSE IT ABOUT COVERS IT.

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Pulled over and had our first 1/4 cup of coffee. If you haven’t been to European climes, then you may not realize that a cup of coffee here is about 2oz in volume. Somehow then mix 1.75 ounces of boiling water with 2.25 pounds of superfine Espresso grind coffee beans…….and like a Pen&Teller act, they pour that entire concoction into a cup with 2oz capacity. 3 cups of this stuff injested in succession could put and end to Califoria’s death row issues.

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On down the road we blazed, we hit village after village, some we stopped and walked around in, other villages, we simply pulled a few of the pedestrians who had gotten stuck in our grill out which convieniently leaves them close to home albeit with a limp……and blazed on still further. We took a hard left off the coast line and beat a path for Krka National Park and we are so pleased that we took this detour from our very beautiful coastal route.

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Krka Park, not a real common tourist stop in comparison to say Plitvice or several of the Adriatic cities that dot the coast. Krka,is even hard to put to words, but for you I will give it a try. Croatias largest export product should be ROCKS, they are literally covered in those rascals. Its so bad that folks have to stack rock walls of immense size and number……not because they want a fence but rather just so they can get to some dirt to begin growing something. Limestone is maybe the most abundant type of rock they have, and Krka is based at the fot of limestone cliffs. Water, and I mean water from every possible direction and orifice comes boiling out of the ground, over the ground and from the heavenly skies above. All waters gather and disgorge in a crystal clear fashion over the rough hewn limestone cliffs and crags that constitute what we see as Krka, an elaborate system of waterfalls and spill ways. The limestone in the region have been washed now for several thousand years, and there if very little dust and dirt washing downstream. The water works its magic by activating the calcium carbonate which forms a mild acid and now the limestone is eaten or etched into immense underground waterways as well as those we see above ground. The washing of the limestone formations is also slowly eroding the surface liemstone and depositing it onto the stream bed surface which does 2 things. It creates a crystalline structure which reflects light differently, but it also induces an algae formation, both these aspects now play a part in the coloration of the water we see spilling over the whitish limestone rock. Thats the scientific dope, or we could simly say OMG but it is so darned beautiful to see with the naked eye. Which is also wierd when ya’think about it, how many times do you head out to look at something closely when yer naked????

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Water spills over the ground in stunning volume and from every direction you can imagine. I really have come to love the way that the Europeans handle the whole park and nature scenario because you feel like you are right there in the wild natural habitate. It is indeed very different and some would\will be insulted and angry at my attempt to describe what and how it is made so. For one, they are logging all over within this NAtioanal Park, just like every other National Park I have gone thru over here. And you know what, thier forests look to be very healthy as compared to ours which are in total ruin especially in California. There are no warning signs, no protective baricades, no yellow tape, no nti slip matts, no wire mesh fence to catch you……..there are not even hand railks to hold. If your that damed dumb to fall in, jump in, or push your friend in…….then adios idiot, because you are no longer in the gene pool. The Park folks have over time, beggining from as far back as 1865, built walkway completely over the fast flowing rivers surface……..no, no, not some 100 feet over with a plexi glass side and flor and constant caution signs ttype thing…..no, no. This is a walkway that skims the very water surface so that you feel as though you are simply walking the surface. Twist after turn, sharp corners and around trees that are not only alive but the walkway is built fully around them, you make your way, no handrails, nothing to impede your sensation at being right within the waters flow. At times the boiling water sprays up over the boards abd pas angrily at walkway corners. Boards are wet and slippery, and those with a solidified brain stem understand one listep and you are ina current that no one will rscue you from. Amazing to see and witness the awesome strength of flowing water. If ever you go to Croatia, which I thnk is a must for folks who love to trvel and nature, then Krka is on the must do list.

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We spent 4 hours up at the falls and arrived back in the little village with not enough light left to drive to Sibenik that night. So, we got a cute little room for 20 Euro which was just fine. Walked down into the tiny stone walled town center and dined with the locals on fresh fish and sea food. Fish 2 times a year for Jeremiah is some sort of milestone………..and my Pastor on the other hand has GILLS.

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Left that tiny village with empty bellies, and no coffee. To wind our way up and out of the Krka Park over some 10 miles of steep grades and switchbacks on barely 2 lane sized road. Pulled into a tiny village awash in Adriatic coastal spelndor by 8am and had a wonderful espresso and pastry from a local Pekarna along with some hand picked and unwashed locaal fruit from a rad side fruit seller. Imagine, we ate that fresh fruit and didn’t even wash it with our “organic sanitizer foam fruit and vegetable spray”………what the heck is the big deal about a little diarhea anyways.day seen us walking the cobbled streets of many small unknown and well known cities alike. Tried coffee in aqll, had pastry in each, plenty of fresh fruit and drove many miles doing it. Each turn, each steep grade and each tiny rustic village made the whole that much more enjoyable. This place is so subdued and quiet LOOKING as compared to almost anywhere in USA, it becomes a real noticeable visual treat after just a few days. The only NEON sign that we have seen is that of a Pharmacy which is a green cross, or a Hospital which is red.

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By the time that I am writing this, we have jumped out of Croatia and into Herzegovina, no, dont ask me too explain this tiny little piece of the world because I do not yet understand it myself. Different everything here including cultures and currency. Hardscrabble  rocky ground makes farming almost non existant….I said almost.There are fruit trees and olive trees which also are known to have once grown on the moon……so, no surprise seeing them here. Sheep and some mixed beed cows. On those slopes facing southwest……..there aint anything…….no, I said nothing. On the other side of those same slopes there will often be a small loggingindustry, more grass and more sheep just due to rainfall conditions. Stopped in Mostar to see that very famous bridge built in 1450 to appease a request by grand Sultan Suliman the Magnificent……….great name to have in WWF. It spans a rock sided gorge that is at the confluence of 2 rivers. Both flow fast and clean towards the southen seas. We got to the bridge by 6:30am and took walks and pictures till about 9am.

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Made our way out east to Blagaj, where we took in a 1225 Dervish House that has been built rught over a huge hole in the cliff face. Out of this gaping maw spills millions of gallons of fresh crystal blue water daily. The Dervish house is used by Muslims as a place of Prayer. On up over the rocky mountinside we go, always up it seems. Till we crest and then begin an ardous trek across the serpent like ridge on this mountain road. We stopped and ate under the roof edge of a Church built 1862, and at the very tiny tip top of a mountain peak with nothing but lush green valley surrounding it. Further down the road we would cross over into Bosnia for maybe 30 miles and then on into Montenegro. We took in a tiny Orthodox Monestary in Montenegro at Venovici. You would ner know it waas there but for an tiny plaque at rads edge. The 3km drive back in is just beautiful, thru spartan oaks, and red brambles, green grass and sheep. And the omnipresent rock walls which lay labor traces over the infertile soil as a slug lays traces over a tilled garden. Good night and God bless to all those who have Prayed for such. And blessings to those who have as of yet been afraid to Pray. 

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Blog30 -Dalmatian coast

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The Dalmatian coast is often referred to as the “romance coast”. Due in part to the quiet tranquil waters of the Adriatic, an equal measure of modest sincere surroundings, nothing pretentious or gawdy arrainged here to overwhelm the senses. Just the pure majesty of His heavenly handi-work, fringed by a crystalline blue sea. That is the Dalmation coast.

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Dalmatae: a tribe or people group associated with sheep raising culture, the origins for the final name given this eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea. Once a much larger body of land than what it comprises today, reaching further south than present day Albania, and on important region to Roman history. Milini, a tiny village located in todays southern end of Croatia, the birthplace of Constantin, the man credited with bringing Christianity to Rome and for Canonnizing the Holy Scriptures. Gently rolling and thouroughly rock strewn hills are carpeted in schlerophylis shrubs and plants. Few trees exceed 20 feet in hieght, and most are closer to 10 feet. It seems that every plant is designed to rent the flesh of passersby, by the thorny maw that festoons each limb. One brief walk into untamed while wearing cycle shorts will quickly hail a retreat…….only to get back to the roadside and then notice the “warning minefield” sign just 50 yards yonder.

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Attributting to the color and clarity of the eastern shores of the Adriatic are reasons several fold. For one, these shores lie very much protected from the ravenous actions of its Atlantic ocean mother-in-law. The softened and mellowed mediterranean climes produce less storm action than in other areas around the globe. The Adriatic’s far lying geographical position within the Mediteranean, ensures that it has a lower salt content, this fact combined with huge inflows of fresh water that have been percolated and purified thru limestone on its journey towards its final destination ensures its chrystaline clarity and rich blue coloration. Like no body of water I have ever witnessed before.

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The predominance of Croation soil is poor and mostly untillable, by some accounts as much as 70 percent falls into this catagory. What can be grown on this poorest of land seems to be olives and certain wine grape varietals. Though not in huge numbers, these crops are seen with regularity to be sure. Where rock strewn ground gives way to areable land, then all form of row crop and fruit tree are seen. The hardscrabble land, clotted with limestone rock, which  forces grasses to grow in clumps as and where it can find room to take root. The grass is rich, and produces richer flavor yet in the dairy product produced from its yield. One such product known world wide and much sought after, is “Pag Cheese or Paski Sir locally”, considered by many to be the supreme sheeps milk cheese in the world. Thats alot of territory to take in with one block of cheese……further proof that somhewhere along the line Croates are somehow related to Texans. Another of infamy would be “Prsut or sun cured hams and backstraps”, this rich flavor-filled regional delicacy is a part of every celebration in Croatia. Traditionally made in the fall of the year when dry cool coastal temperatures allow slow curing which draws out the flavors and richness. 

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Currently, I sit in Zadar. A city located north within the Ilurian region of Croatia. Life within Zadar can be traced back to the stone ages by way of tools, bones, fossils remains,  and some recently found concho die plates made from old washers. Gosh, and we thought we invented that stuff. Very few spurs worn here in Croatia thru days of old when horses in war ruled……no model T car axles to make spurs out’a. So, they rode into battle bare heeled, natural. The adriatic, the romance coast. Of that we shall soon findout, as my darling bride arrives tomorrow to join me for 8 days of travel and liesure, not even a fleeting thought about my trusty bike as I have found it safe harbor for it’s moorings while we take in Croatia, Montenegro, Albania and portions of Bosnia. So now you know why the wide smile, the light heartedness, the almost giddy demenour that have overtaken my rain soaked soul, the women I love and married thirty some years ago will join me on the Romance Coast.

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PS- a little heads up for those traveling abroad in Europe and close proximities. On most occasions when I need a room I simply search out a motel/hotel. In Belgrade I mentioned I found a cheap but very nice apartment right in the heart of old town and was really impressed with it. So, while in Zadar, I tried my luck again, and have to say, that for less than half the price you get a very nice homey feeling and equipped apartment. The apartment that I am in now as I sit and write this taradiddle, lays but 100 meters from the Zadar harbor foot bridge, the red tiled rooves of medievil buildings and Cathedral domes decorate the view of the sky from out my living room window. Hard to beat at $41.00 per night. So, keep that inmind should you ever be traveling over this way in the future. Good night and God Bless.

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