In Korcula - An Autumn by the Sea - CycleBlaze

August 31, 2018

In Korcula

We’re still working out our strategy for coping with the heat and humidity.  The weather profile is very flat: the low last night was 75, and the high today is 82 - only a 4 degree centigrade variation over 24 hours. It feels much more oppressive than that though - more like a 95 degree day - which I assume is attributable to the humidity.  And, the air is very still.  Last night at dinner on the Korcula waterfront we enjoyed a refreshing, cool breeze, which felt wonderful.  Today though it is completely calm again.  

In these conditions, only two things make much difference - easing the difficulty of the ride, and biking at the extremes of the day when it’s a bit cooler and the road is often in the shade.  The shade makes a huge difference in how oppressive it feels.

Our plan for this morning then is to take a short, easy ride north along the coast to the end of the road at Racisce.  We plan for an early start but first I need to walk through the old town with the camera, while it’s light out but before its streets are clogged by tourists and vendors.  I leave the room at seven, with the agreement with Rachael that we’ll meet on the waterfront in about fifteen minutes.

It is a beautiful time to see the city.  Korcula isn’t in Dubrovnik’s league as a tourism magnet, but it does get the crowds; and the old town is so small that it gets overwhelmed later in the day.  This early in the morning though, it’s very quiet - the vendors and restaurants haven’t taken over the streets yet, and the only folks walking around are a few other photographers and shopkeepers just getting started on the day.  It’s the quiet, white marble Venetian marvel I remember from our first stay here.

A trick shot. I’m actually a bit of a pigeon whisperer, and I managed to get this set to fly across in formation.
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I’m going to start an album of interesting pigeon perches.
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The staircase to Revelin Tower and the primary entrance to the old town.
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The Land Gate to the old town
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Saint Michael’s Church
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Some fine Venetian spindlework on the staircase to the Land Gate
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The old town’s waterfront is empty now. In a few hours the tables will be out and the street full of strollers.
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Gothic Saint Peter’s Church dates to the fourteenth century.
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Most of the older buildings on Korcula look like this - red tile roofs, and stone quarried from the island.
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Fifteen minutes wasn’t enough.  There is too much to see, and I waste a few minutes chatting with a fellow photographer - a young woman from Beijing.  I probably have taken more like 25, and am anxious about my lateness when I reach the agreed meeting place.  Surprisingly, Rachael is late too - she’s just rolling in herself, and is stressed.  She can’t find her glasses, after thoroughly scouring our small apartment.  Perhaps I have them?  Nope - I thought I put them in the rucksack at dinner last night, but they aren’t there.  Maybe I absentmindedly put them in my shirt pocket this morning, she hopefully suggests?  Yep.

The ride we’ve chosen for the morning is pretty much perfect - generally level, it hugs the shore for about ten miles to the small fishing/resort village of Recisce.  On the way there the road is often in the shade.  Views are splendid, down the coastline of the island and across the narrow strait to the northern end of Peljesac.  By the return ride though, most of the shade is gone and even these small climbs are taxing.  We decide that we need to do better in the days ahead at getting an early start, but for today we’re done.

Korcula’s waterfront, north of the old town. The first mile or two are lined solid with villas and apartments.
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Near the end of the road, the strait narrows significantly. On the right is the north end of Peljesac.
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The big climb of the day - about 150 feet. And we have to cross it again on the way back. Oof!
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Racisce
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The Dominican monastery of Saint Nicola
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We get back to town a bit after eleven.  Our ferry to Brac (the same hydrofoil we arrived in Korcula on last night) doesn’t depart until after six, so we have a lot of time to kill.  We start by setting up residence at the outdoor restaurant of Hotel Korcula de la Ville, which is perfect.  It’s an august establishment that looks like it’s been here forever, and occupies a prime piece of real estate that faces north, sheltered from the sun and receiving a bit of sea breeze.  It’s also spacious, mostly empty, and has strong WiFi - an ideal place to pass a few hours.  We enjoy an excellent omelet for breakfast, and buy some additional time with an iced tea chaser.  I get caught up in the journal, we enjoy a nice visit with an elderly couple from Oahu traveling independently up the coast from Bar to Slovenia, we stay cool.   Like I said, perfect.

Passing the early afternoon at Hotel Korcula de la Ville.
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After we feel like we’re overstaying our welcome, we leave the hotel in search of greener pastures.  We find a small one nearby - a tiny patch of shaded grass by the tourist office.  Rachael lies down for a nap for a few hours, until it’s time to seek out a dinner.  We’re going to have it early here in Korcula, because our ferry won’t a ride in Milna until nearly nine.

While Rachael dozes, I set out on my big errand in Korcula - to the catamaran ticket office, to try to redeem a ticket I purchased in error through the website a few weeks ago.  It takes awhile to find the office -it isn’t by the port where you’d expect it, so I do the unmanly thing and ask directions.   I ask three different people, all of whom direct me with assurance.  They’re all wrong, but each time brings me closer.  Finally I find it, practically back where I’ve left Rachael sleeping.

It’s closed, and won’t open until five.  It’s still not time for lunch yet, so I take a few more photos of the old town and then head back to the hotel restaurant for a beer and another chance to use their WiFi.  To my delight, the beer comes with a side of ice water and a dish of salted peanuts.  Snacking on the peanuts causes me to reflect again on Ston and its salt pans.  I suspect that for a long time to come the taste of salt will take me back to Croatia.

Two beauties. Rachael scores with one of the few shady patches of grass in town.
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The dome of neoclassical Saint Justine’s Church, built in the mid-nineteenth century.
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The frog fountain, at the base of the sea gate.
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While Rachael sleeps on the grass, I return to Hotel Korcula de la Ville and find everything I could hope for on a day like this.
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This is bad no matter which way you look at it. He’s starting to act drunk, and he’s drinking more than his share. Guess I’d better rescue him.
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Ride stats today: 19 miles, 900’; for the tour, 134 miles, 11,100’

Today's ride: 19 miles (31 km)
Total: 134 miles (216 km)

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Ron GrumbyThe adventure of the glasses.....
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