topics: prs(h)ut (food), Katja, CARNet, Trogir, wind, chat 'n' debate, private accommodation, cycling; jump to dispatch

BikeAbout Log


Rider Notes: April 21-22, 1998

Food of the Day: Dalmatian "prs(h)ut"

Dalmatian "prs(h)ut," better known in the United States by its Italian name "prosciutto," is cured ham, served raw and usually as an appetizer or as a sandwich meat. Because of a special curing process, Dalmatian prs(h)ut is considered some of the best (and most expensive) prosciutto in the world.

Person of the Day: our friends at CARNet

Our friends at CARNet - Damir Mrkonjic(j) click to view a photograph, Professor Zeliko Markulin and Alan. click to view a photograph were an indispensable part of our experience in Croatia.

Damir acted as our point man for Internet service in Croatia. Besides making sure we received all the configuration and dial-up information we might need, he allowed us to use his computers in the CARNet office in Split, and even came up to Zadar to help us with our weekly Wednesday chat 'n' debate. Damir also did his best to alert other members of the CARNet network - mostly professors and computer scientists like himself - about our journey in hopes of organizing some school visits. It was his email which helped Jasenka Zuvela-Splivalo of the S(h)kola Likovnih Umjetnost (School of Fine Arts) to find us.

We met Professor Zeliko Markulin and Alan in Zadar. Notified by Damir, they had set things up for the chat 'n' debate. Unable to line up any classes to hear our presentation, they set up a little display about BikeAbout on a bulletin board outside their office click to view a photograph and allowed us to use the student computer lab after hours. They were joined by Damir (who drove in from Split) and served as our Croatian experts, helping to answer questions from students in the United States.

For all their help, and indeed, the help of the entire CARNet network, we make Damir, Zeliko, and Alan our persons of the day. We would also like to send a hello to thank Maja Cetineo of CARNet headquarters in Zagreb for helping to make all of this possible in the first place.

Place of the Day: Trogir

On the way from Split to Vodic(z)e, we made a quick lunch stop at Trogir, another lovely medieval city. Situated on a small island between the big island of C(h)iovo and the mainland, Trogir was founded by the Illyrians and later controlled by both the Greeks and the Romans.

Although we saw little sign of this earlier period, the medieval town retains many of the influences of later civilizations, particularly the Venetian and Austrian. But like Dubrovnik, Trogir's narrow marbled streets achieve a satisfying blend of architectural styles. And, like Dubrovnik, Trogir is the repository of some great works of art, most notably those of the medieval Slavic artist, Master Radovan. His portal to the Cathedral of St. Lovro depicts Adam click to view a photograph and Eve. click to view a photograph From the pictures, can anyone tell us whether Master Radovan portrays Adam and Eve before or after this couple's expulsion from the Garden of Eden?

We have become so used to these medieval towns that this nice Renaissance loggia attracted our attention but basically as a good place to park the bikes. click to view a photograph.

Since the cathedral and most of the town's museums and other sights were shut, once we had finished walking through the medieval city, we rolled out of the town gate click to view a photograph and biked around the entire circumference of the island (and thus town) until we found a good place for a picnic lunch. Here is a picture of town from the outside. click to view a photograph

Tech Fact of the Day: Croatian coastal winds

Perhaps because of their reliance on the sea, the Croatians seem to know a lot about the winds (where would sailors be without wind?). They know (and informed us) that during fair weather, the wind always blows from the west, that a wind from the south or east means rain, and that a north wind means cooler weather is on the way. When we learned this, we stopped complaining about the headwind that slowed our progress westward. We want fair weather, even if that means we'll have to battle a headwind.

Group Dispatch, April 21-22
photograph of Padraic

Our day began with a very unfortunate missed connection. We had arranged to meet our new friend Katja on the main road out of Split right next to the sign announcing her town, Solin (the ancient Roman city of Salona). However, we biked and biked and somehow never saw either the sign or Katja. By the time we realized that we had missed her, we were already long past Solin. In fact, we were so far along that we did not have time to ride back and then make it all the way to S(h)ibenik, our intended destination for the night.

Of course, we felt awful that we had missed her. At every pause in our ride, we jumped to the phone to call her to apologize. When we finally reached her, however, she wanted to apologize to us! Apparently she had seen us on the road, but could not attract our attention. She waved her arms, yelled at us, and even chased us for a couple of kilometers (miles) but couldn't catch us. Or even attract our attention!

We attribute our remarkable heedlessness to a number of factors. We might not yet have been awake. Ethan once slept for 50 km (31 mi) of a ride. More likely we missed Katja because BikeAbouters are notoriously deep in thought as they cycle (e.g. Ethan: "I'd better not tell Padraic about the Roman ruins or he'll start talking about the importance of Mediterranean society in the shaping of the world." Padraic: "Wow, the Mediterranean was really important in shaping the world." Anthony: "Food, food? Food! Food. Food?!!.").

Sorry again for missing you, Katja. We will make sure to find you the next time we pass through.

So, having missed both Katja and the ruins of Solin, we decided to take a short detour into the medieval town of Trogir for both a visit and a lunch break. For more about Trogir, see our Place of the Day.

Out of Trogir we took a shortcut recommended by our friend Damir. Not only did it cut off about eight km, but it also gave us the opportunity to climb a really big hill (much to the joy of at least half the group - see Anthony's "biking is pain" digression). Of course the views of Trogir click to view a photograph and of the entire bay all of the way back to Split click to view a photograph made the climb worthwhile for everyone.

However, once on top of the plateau, a headwind picked up and so slowed our pace that even the downhill into S(h)ibenik was a disappointment. Not that we necessarily wanted a switch in the wind - a tailwind would have meant rain (see the Tech Fact of the Day).

We had hoped to stop in S(h)ibenik for the night, but we had based our decision on the faulty assumption that such a big town, with a ferry and a couple of sites of touristic interest, would have plenty of accommodation. It did not. We discovered that reasonably priced rooms - and even sobes - are hard to find in S(h)ibenik. Unlike other Croatian cities no one approached us at the bus station offering rooms. We saw no signs. And, the people we asked knew of nothing. With the daylight fading, we decided our best option was to give up the search in S(h)ibenik and push on to Vodic(z)e, a much more heavily touristed town in which we could be sure of finding rooms. We wearily climbed the big hill out of town, rode 12 more km (7.5 mi), and then chose a cozy set of private rooms from the dozens on offer. We showered, found a restaurant, and made it to bed in record time.

The next day was an easy 60 km (37 mi) and even with a late start we arrived in Zadar by 1:30. But once again finding a place to stay proved both difficult and time consuming. We checked two private accommodation offices and were turned away at both. Fearing another housing crisis of S(h)ibenik-ic proportions, we rode out to the bus station where someone at the Information Office finally found someone willing to offer us rooms. The gentleman in question actually drove to the bus station to pick us up, or rather to lead us to his house. Although he promised that the rooms were " just two km from here and one and a half km from the city center," our bicycle computer registered an additional seven km by the time we reached our final destination. In total we had added 16 km (10 mi) to our daily total just riding around town searching for accommodation. Still, our search for a place to stay ended happily, and the rooms really were just a couple of km from the city center.

By the time we had showered and changed, we had to run off to meet our friends at CARNet for our weekly chat 'n debate. We met Damir, Zeliko and Alan in a computer room located on the top floor the Faculty of Philosophy, a magnificent building right on the waterfront in the oldest part of town. The beautiful views of the bay from the computer lab windows distracted us briefly (particularly at sunset click to view a photograph click to view a photograph), but the lively chat usually kept us glued to the computer screens. click to view a photograph click to view a photograph click to view a photograph

Exhausted from riding, searching for accommodation, and chatting, we headed back to our rooms immediately after the chat ended. Well, we did stop to eat a pizza on the way. Food before rest, we always say.

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