Monday, May 20, 2013

Day 9 -- Touring the Island of Korcula and Swimming in the Adriatic

It doesn't get much better than this. Today we had multiple riding options -- long or short, flat or hilly, to the beach or to the interior. I did them all, for a total of 44 miles and just under 6000 feet of climbing. The base route today was a loop which started with our familiar climb from the sea. As we neared the top of the climb, I took the optional out-and-back to the town of Cara. This meant descending almost back to sea level and then climbing back up to the departure point. It was worth it, with another descent on a great paved road with magnificent views of the sea. In Cara I stopped for coffee and then made the return climb.

After getting back on the original loop, there was a very steep descent for 5 kilometers (three miles) down to the sea. 
Typical vista (taken on second major descent of the day).
Here I took the side trip to the small fishing village of Racisce where I joined several of our group and two of the guides for an "Orangina." Refreshed, I pedaled back to Korcula (where our hotel is located) and happened to see four more of our group just starting lunch. I joined them and had an excellent seafood platter.

Then back on the bike and past the hotel for an additional three mile ride to the beach just past Lumbarda.
Cycling through vineyards in Lumbarda
 Here I ran into Ante (one of our guides) and George (another of our riders, last seen at Racisce). Ante joined me for a swim -- there was a small sandy beach and the water had a nice sandy bottom with very few rocks. The water was much warmer than on my previous dip. In a pinch, bike shorts make a very good bathing suit, and they dry off quite quickly in this warm weather.
Swimming in the Adriatic Sea

Finally, back to the hotel, with Ante and I riding together. Time for a shower and a blog update before our nightly group meeting to discuss logistics.
Approaching Corkula
Old Town of Korkula
I forgot to mention that yesterday's breakfast included an offering of freshly prepared mint juice. I had never had this before, but it was quite good. Almost colorless, clearly tasting of mint but not overpowering, and slightly syrupy in texture. Today I noticed a lot of mint growing wild on the side of the road.

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