On Mljet - An Autumn by the Sea - CycleBlaze

August 30, 2018

On Mljet

The heat and humidity wore both of us down yesterday, so starting today we’re going to change our pattern and try to get our miles in early.  This morning we get out the door before seven and bike the twenty mile loop to the south end of the island and back before breakfast.  We’re rewarded with the most refreshing miles we’ve put in so far here in Korcula, and virtually empty road.  Even this early though, we’re pretty well drenched by the time we coast back to Sobra.  It’s a good thing that we find a well ventilated, secluded table at breakfast!

One of the rewards of starting early - we see the sunrise from our room. It was hazy last night and this morning, possibly from a fire.
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On the road by seven, we set off on a loop to the south end of the island before breakfast.
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The Sobra waterfront
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The road south is almost completely empty this morning. It’s about sixty five degrees out, the morning air is refreshing. We need to do this more often.
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Ron GrumbyEarly starts are great for this reason! But only when touring.
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3 months ago
Looking down on the ferry terminal that we arrived at yesterday
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The lighthouse at the head of Sobra’s inlet. Peljesac, just a few miles across the water, is indistinct through the haze.
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The ride begins with about a six hundred foot climb over the spine of the island, mostly in the sun. Even this early in the day, we’re soaked with perspiration by the time we reach the crest.
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Another advantage of an early start - long shadows.
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We’re in the sun on this hairpin, but mostly we’re in the shadows as we descend the other side of the ridge because the sun hasn’t made it across the ridge in most places. It feels cool and very refreshing as the perspiration wicks off us.
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There’s a beach bar and a small village at the south end of the road. The bar is open and setting up for the day, raking the sand. It’s a temptation to grab a cup of coffee and sit on the beach for a few minutes, but we head back. We’ll be at breakfast soon enough.
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The ride back is the reverse of the ride out - a few mile climb back up the ridge, which by now is in the sun so we build up a sweat again.
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Mljet is mostly very green and forested, but there are a few scattered villages. This is Maranovici.
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Mljet has a splotchy coastline, with many little inlets, islets and resort villages. This one is Prozurska Luka.
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Back to our village, Sobra. Coffee and omelets under the grape arbor await.
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The cerulean inlet is wonderfully clear and inviting this morning.
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After breakfast we pack up and leave the room just before the 11 AM  checkout time.  We have another twenty miler ahead, almost exactly matching the morning’s ride in distance and profile.  This early in the day, it is still reasonably pleasant out and enjoyable riding.  We arrive at Pomace, the best village on the north, at about one and settle in to a restaurant overlooking the bay, holding our table over a three hour lunch break, enjoying the shade, the waterfront scene and the free WiFi until it closes at four.

After breakfast we bike to the north end of the island, where we will catch the late afternoon catamaran to Korcula. We start riding north at 11, and there’s still enough shade on the road that ts not too oppressive yet.
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Most of the north end of the island is very lush, green, and densely wooded. Old walls and untended old olive rows suggest it was cultivated not that long in the past though.
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Much of the north end of the island is preserved as a national park.
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We arrive at police, the largest settlement at the north end, at one. We spend the next three hours nursing a slow lunch at a bayside table. The bay is filled with huge yachts and cruise ships bringing tourists to the villages to shop, eat, or rent bicycles for short rides through the national park. I recognize this one from our stroll along the waterfront in Dubrovnik a few days back.
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We leave the restaurant and bike the three miles to Pomena, the port village where we catch the ferry.  We lie in the shade for an hour until it’s arrival, surrounded by sunbathers, ‘entertained’ by the raucous drunken reveling by a crowd of young aussies reveling on the deck of a huge charter boat moored by the shore at the point where the catamaran will land,  They keep at it until right before the ferry arrives, pulling out into the bay only about five minutes before our boat arrives.

Leaving Polace
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Very nice, but it gets a bit old after an hour or so.
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Next stop, Korcula.
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Ride stats today:38 miles, 4,400’; for the tour: 115 miles, 10,200’

Today's ride: 38 miles (61 km)
Total: 115 miles (185 km)

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Keith ClassenHi Scott - just a small request for you to send some of that sunshine this way please. Looks like we are boxed in for a few days with west coast type rainy weather. The next section of our route apparently is very busy with traffic with several tunnels. The Schweizmobile site recommends a train as did the bike shop owner who replaced my rear wheel yesterday. Then we could then tackle a pass called Passo dell Abula which tops out ouver 2300 meters. Its all probably academic because weather looks pretty crappy so we will likely take a train possibly to St Moritz.

Enjoying your journal very much... never been to that part of the world. I had a look at your itinerary and amazed at the planning you must do. I hardly know where I am going tomorrow.

Hope our paths cross on this trip ...we would have lots to chat about.

Keith
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3 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Keith ClassenHow about we just send you the humidity? You’re getting wet anyway so you likely wouldn’t notice the difference. As it is, I suspect we’re ending up about as wet as you are.

It looks like you’re considering a train to Bolzano as well as St Moritz. If you haven’t been to the region before, I can really recommend the Engadine Valley (St Moritz lies there). We biked through the valley about twenty years ago, and returned for a cross country skiing vacation one winter. We didn’t visit St Moritz itself, but the smaller towns are distinctive and very charming - Pontresina, Zuoz and Zernez especially.

On the subject of tunnels, note that bicycles are prohibited in Munt la Schera, the tunnel north of Livigno, in case you had thoughts of crossing into Italy that way. A bicycle shuttle operates until September 16th, but after that you have to catch a bus in Zernez. That’s our plan - after scratching our chins staring up at Stelvio we’ll bike to Zernez, catch a bus, and head south into the Lake District.
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3 months ago
Keith ClassenTo Scott AndersonHi Scott - thank you for your recommendations. We are now in Zernez arriiving by train - a wise decision considering the weather. It was my intention to take this route down the Inn to Nauders then hook into the Claudia Augusta then head south. Despite the overcast skies it still was a pretty spectacular train ride to St Moritz. It was 6 degrees C in St Moritz when took a short spin around the town. Tomorrow also promises to be cool and wet when we head out in the morning.
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3 months ago