Matea’s place, Dubrovnik - An Autumn by the Sea - CycleBlaze

August 26, 2018

Matea’s place, Dubrovnik

The flight to Dubrovnik was no worse than usual: only one stop (in Frankfurt), no unreasonable delays or hassles.  We flew on Condor to Frankfurt, which frankly I would prefer not to use again; and then on Croatia Air for the short hop to Dubrovnik, which we found much more pleasant.  We arrived in Dubrovnik a bit before 9, quickly cleared customs, and soon were in a taxi bound for our Airbnb in the old town.  We enjoyed chatting with our taxi driver in his broken English, learning of his background - some of his ancestors emigrated a century ago to Oregon, and then to Alaska to work the gold mines.  I would have relaxed more though on the narrow, heavily trafficked highway if he wasn’t scrolling through the mail on his phone the whole time.

As she promised she would be, Matea was standing by her car on the shoulder of the road when we drove up.  She’d been tracking our flight and knew about when we would arrive. Matea is terrific.  I’ve been communicating with her, arranging for the shipment of our suitcases to Girona, and she’s been extremely helpful.  She’s even better in person - and strong!  She insisted on carrying one of our bicycles up the stairs to our apartment, and didn’t seem at all fazed by it.  Her apartment, well located in the old town midway between the famous old town walls and the port, is pretty much perfect.  We could live here quite comfortably.

Finally, on the way out of town we get our first view of the mountains.
Heart 2 Comment 0
I’m really sorry that this picture of Matea didn’t come out better. She came too quickly behind me up the stairs carrying one of our bikes, and it didn’t seem right to ask her to go back and do it again.
Heart 3 Comment 0
Full moon over Dubrovnik - a promising omen to begin the rest of our lives with.
Heart 3 Comment 0

It was clear when we arrive last night, but along about 3 this morning a significant thunderstorm rolled in.  For the next several hours we were entertained by intermittent rumbling and crashing; and when we gave up trying to sleep this morning it was pouring outside.  At eight, when the rain finally tapered off a bit, we walked down to the port to look for breakfast under the protection of an umbrella we were happy to find in the closet.

Absolutely pouring this morning when we walked down to the port for breakfast.
Heart 2 Comment 0
It doesn’t show very clearly, but there’s a significant waterfall cascading down these stairs.
Heart 2 Comment 0
There’s Rachael, doing her rain dance again. I think this is the same step she used for her grizzly bear jig up in Revelstoke National Park.
Heart 2 Comment 0
They’re not going to dry very soon under these conditions.
Heart 2 Comment 0

We were pleased to find a cafe open at the port, and to find omelets on its menu.  As we ate, enjoying our coffee, watching the skies clear up and entertained by an affectionate cat hovering by the neighboring table, it began sinking in for perhaps the first time what a huge change we’ve made in our lives.  The fact that we won’t be back in Portland for almost half a year makes it all feel different somehow.  This isn’t really a vacation any more - this is our life now.

After breakfast, we continued walking past the end of the harbor and then partway up a small bay before turning back to the room.  The weather has turned decidedly pleasant - blue skies, warm but not hot.  A lovely walk, and much quieter and more enjoyable than I really expected Dubrovnik to be.  I’m sure we’ll find a crush of tourists later this afternoon when we head down to the walled city to find dinner, but this morning it’s just fine.

Back at the room, I reassemble the bikes.  Everything goes smoothly, except that somehow we arrived missing two bottle cages.  We add them to the short list of other missing items - one of the SD card adapters, apparently left behind at our apartment in Portland; and one of our current adaptors, apparently left behind in an outlet at the Frankfurt airport.  We chide each other a bit for our carelessness, but things could be worse.  We’ve done much worse.  No show stoppers.

At the port, passing the lineup of yachts and day cruisers. The sky is starting to lighten up, the sidewalks are quickly drying out.
Heart 3 Comment 0
The view across the port inlet to Lapad Peninsula. It’s hard to believe this is the same day, it is clearing up so quickly.
Heart 3 Comment 0
A new species for Andrea to identify. Grows erect in an evenly spaced array to a height of twelve feet. Likes sun.
Heart 1 Comment 3
Steve Miller/GrampiesA little known variant of the umbrellensis rufus family of urban vegetation. Famous for being one of the varieties which unfurl in a non predictable pattern. Most often found in urban environnents, also fiund in sububan or rural back gardens. Enjoy your new life. Dodie, and Steve
Reply to this comment
3 months ago
Andrea BrownTo Steve Miller/GrampiesCan confirm.
Reply to this comment
3 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Andrea BrownOh, sure. Easy when someone passes you the answers!
Reply to this comment
3 months ago
Looking across the bay Rijeka Dubrovachka at Moksica, a suburb of Dubrovnik.
Heart 2 Comment 0
Franco Tudjman Bridge, spanning Rijeka Dubrovachka, is the main approach to Dubrovnik from the north.
Heart 0 Comment 0
A hot, humid, windy day - a great opportunity to show off one of my favorite shirts.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Gruz Harbor, Dubrovnik’s main port.
Heart 2 Comment 0
The Sv Ivan
Heart 2 Comment 0
Mount Srd, the small mountain that backs Dubrovnik
Heart 1 Comment 0
The staircase to Matea’s place. Not as bad as I expected - straight, wide, not too steep, with breathers. 41 steps up, followed by 15 down.
Heart 2 Comment 0

Something I missed mentioning above: while  was reassembling the bikes Rachael went out exploring on her own and hiked up to the top of Mount Srd - a 1,500’ climb and six mile hike.  She came back with evidence from her phone camera so I wouldn’t question her.

The old town, from Canada he op of Mount Srd
Heart 1 Comment 0
Looking east into Bosnia from the top of Mount Srd
Heart 0 Comment 0
A panoramic shot of Dubrovnik
Heart 1 Comment 0
Rate this entry's writing Heart 7
Comment on this entry Comment 4
Bruce LellmanConsidering it's only your first day (jet lag and all) you got some beautiful photos.

Have a great trip (new life)!
Reply to this comment
3 months ago
david alstonScott and Rachel,

More commonalities: On several occasions we have done six month stints. Six months with no fixed address except for your bike saddle. The first time we did this we few from Dubrovnik after spending a week there. We loved itWe rented our home on these occasions rather than selling it as our jobs at Deer Valley took us back to Salt Lake every winter.

And one trip included sailing in Greece. We loved that too and reading your journal makes us want to go back. Now, however we have a shorter tether, namely my eyes and the need to see the retinal specialist theoretically once a month. I can talk her into two months if things are going well and I am aiming for three, the length of the Schengen visa.

Thanks for your journals. We are cooling off in Santa Monica, a good choice as it turns out with respect to air quality which is important to us.
Here at sea level we are riding our little sport, racing bikes but when we return home we are going to spend the fall dissecting your Southern Utah rides into old folk chunks and see how we do with our new ebikes. We have reservations in Moab and St. George and are looking forward to it as we are to continuation of your adventures.
Reply to this comment
3 months ago
Scott AndersonTo david alstonI’m envious of your sailing experiences, David. Rachael and often talk about combining biking and sailing in Greece or the Turkish coast, but it would have to be a commercial experience - neither of us knows thing one about boats more complicated than a canoe or sea kayak.

I’m sorry to hear of your eye condition - macular degeneration, I assume. I’m familiar with it because my stepfather has the same condition, which perhaps he inherited from his mother, who was eventually blinded by it. He’s been taking the shots for about fifteen years now, and they seem like they must be quite effective - the condition has been stable for a long time now and he still (at age 90) reads and drives. You’re at least fortunate to live in an era that a promising treatment finally exists.

New ebikes! How great for you! Have a wonderful time in southern Utah, and don’t miss the ride out Potash Road. Are you going to post your rides?
Reply to this comment
3 months ago
david alstonTo Scott AndersonPotash is a perfect example of a ride we used to do all the time but now haven't for a long time and are looking forward to doing again. I have ridden Arches in chunks and Maun has done the whole thing and she has ridden the La Sal loop but she is a much stronger rider than I am. These and Dead Horse Point are on our October list and I am excited. We'll see how we do.

And if I can ever figure out how to post a journal on this site we'll journal our rides. We've also had a fairly active summer for someone nursing a broken hip so we'll talk about that as well. In the meantime we will be looking forward to every day of your ride.

David and Maun
Reply to this comment
3 months ago