From Sunj I cycled my way south down the hilly coastline of Croatia. To my left, mountains and to my right, the sea with countless islands. Whoever told me that the road is flat is an idiot. At least I got a fantastic view. A couple of hours down and I reached Prizna where I took the ferry (4 euros) over to one of the bigger islands, Pag, which about 50km further south has a bridge joining it back to the mainland.
This is going to be cool, I thought. I’m on an Island in Croatia. As I was departing the ferry I heard some nasty scraping noises against my wheel and looked back to see that my bags were lop-sided and hanging off my bike. A screw on my pannier rack at the back, which essentially takes half the weight of the bags and tent, had snapped inside the bike frame, meaning I couldn’t just replace it.
I tried everything to get the other half of the screw out but it wont budge. I need to somehow join the rack to my bike. I looked in my wallet: there lies 10 Kuna (1.30 Euros) and a bunch of receipts. The nearest shop and cash machine is 10km away. I have no water, no money and no way to fix my bike. And it’s getting dark.
What’s more my dreams of lush, green, grassy fields and palm trees were crushed by a rocky, desolate landscape akin to that of Mars.
All I need is a ball called Wilson. I’ve literally come to a desert island. I did the best I could with cable ties to just about hold everything onto my bike whilst I made my way up the hill to find somewhere to sleep. It was difficult. Not only do you stick out like a sore thumb against the sandy coloured rock but there is no flat ground. The only place I found was an abandoned military base or something (photo above top, couldn’t get a good picture of the front because I had landmine fear). All I knew was it had a flat roof, where I could sleep and worry about my bike in the morning. When I climbed up there, out of all the things that could have possibly been lying around, in this uninhabited, empty place where there is only me and some sheep, was a bag of rope.
I slept better knowing I had this miracle. In the morning I woke up and spent the next hour fumbling and lashing my rack to my bike and testing it with my weight to make sure it wouldn’t shift. It worked. On with the journey.
Once over to the far side of the island the landscape changed to provide slightly more, albeit dead trees and more importantly civilisation. I stocked up on food and water and made my way towards the small town of Pag (most of the islands seem to be named after a town residing on them). From the high cliffs above I got a great view of the town and the ever present Velebit Mountains.
After some ice-cream and swimming in the sea I cycled on and wound up in another one of the many picturesque bays, where I made some dinner and watched the sun go down.
I woke up early to head to my hostel in Zadar. Apparently I’ve arrived a day later than I booked and need to pay still for my stupidity. Never-mind. At least I managed to catch the sunrise over Velebit this morning…