Raining: Neun To Dubrovnik - Lookin For John Fairweather - CycleBlaze

January 5, 2014

Raining: Neun To Dubrovnik

I write my journal for today in the dim light of the head-torch. I'm afraid it won't look too nice and legible tomorrow, nor be a great essay. After a day riding, I lay down and usually sleep, then write when I wake up later in the evening. It's always an effort to sit up and get the notebook out and begin writing. But once going, I scribble rapidly; if anything just to finish and get laying down again, as sitting upright in my small tent soon becomes uncomfortable.

Works best when the climate is warm enough and still to sit comfortably outside.
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I settle down for the night listening to music on the computer which I also use to tell the time: my watch being out of order for the moment until I'm somewhere to get a new battery. And hopefully that new battery will last unlike the last one.

In the morning it's the same. I switch on the computer to see the time. It's 06.34. It's still a little early so, I lay down for a while. I listen to the wind buffeting the tent. I must've slept then. On waking again, I hear not only wind but the drumming patter of rain on the fly-sheet. It feels a shame to get out of a nice dry sleeping-bag and face riding in the rain.

My breakfast is an orange, muesli biscuits and coke. I pack the sleeping-bag first and with my dune-jacket which I use as a pillow, I go out to put them in their pannier. Opening the pannier I see a puddle of water in the bottom. I know there's an ever so small hole halfway up the pannier's side, but if I was trying to harvest rainwater I couldn't be more successful.

Thick grey cloud has descended in along the coast and it's raining persistently. I must ride through streams of water and soon my shoes are saturated. The wind is flapping the arms of my rain-jacket. Its a crosswind or headwind depending on which way the road turns as it makes it's way over coastal headlands. Progress is therefore slow.

The border guards are in good humour today sitting dry in their booths. The one sees I look miserable and waves me on when I stop to take out my passport. He says in good English "You can't cycle today. It's raining. Where are you cycling to?" I reply "Dubrovnik" "oh its too far" he nods in disbelieve.

There is nothing to say about the ride but to say it's a slow slog in rain and buffeting wind. At last I see the town spread over a peninsular with a modern suspension bridge taking the highway over the inlet. Then a steep descent to the old town; wearing to the full, the diminishing rubber on my mushy wet brakes.

The rain eased off so I could get my camera out.
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I past the walled citadel. A bit like Carcassonne in south west France, though not quite. The stone is light brown rather than grey.

I find the tourist office. The young woman behind the desk says when I enter dripping and ask the whereabouts of a hostel "I'm not allowed to give information on accommodation". That's a new one: a tourist office that doesn't do information on places to stay. Though, she is nice about it and straightaway picks up a city-plan and marks with her pen a hostel, then explains how to get there.

The receptionist at the hostel is a stout fortysomething man with a German accent. When I ask is there a place to keep the bike, he screws up his face nodding and says, "The chief doesn't like bikes in the building. You will have to lock it outside. There was one smart man kept his bike in the room. It left marks on the wall and tyre-marks on the floor.....Nobody will touch it there" he eyes the yard out through the window and reassures me it is safe. There is a high fence round the yard , so I take his word.

I am the only guest in the hostel and so the only one in a dormitory. No one to annoy or to be annoyed by. But the best is I can hang my tent up to dry; also the sleeping-bag; it got wet too. In fact I take everything out and spread what's wet around a radiator.

It continues to rain all afternoon and by evening there is no let up, meaning I can't get out to eat. I have only the half packet of biscuits and two bananas to make do for supper.

I remain in Dubrovnik Monday and Tuesday. The hostel receptionist said if I pay for two nights, I get a third night free. You cannot argue with that. It's a Hosteling International, which works out more expensive at 97 Kunas per night, than the independent hostels I usually stay in when in cities. Though, breakfast is included, so that counts for something. It's nice to get up of a morning and not have to prepare food but just eat.

The town of Dubrovnik I don't know what to make of it. Two days here and I'm pretty bored. Perhaps it's the season: the place is near empty. I was expecting a place full of young travellers from all over Europe and further afield. The sort of chaos of a city. Instead everything is so spick and span: clean and tidy. There seems no human life and soul in the place.

There are a lot of cats though. I sit on a step and a playful black cat come over and rub against me purring, then rolls on its back to play. A pretty Japanese girl sees this and looks over and smiles. I return her smile but she goes back to looking at her tablet.

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Some sightseers.
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I like the "From 20 Euros" That really means much more.
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Today's ride: 61 km (38 miles)
Total: 8,916 km (5,537 miles)

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