Revisiting the plan - Balkan Dreams - CycleBlaze

September 16, 2020

Revisiting the plan

On to Istria

We’re at a transition point in our tour of Croatia.  We’ve been here about a month and have about the same left.  We’ve departed the interior, and for the next week we’ll make a loop through Istria that looks like this:

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At the end, we’ll double back to Labin, where we’ll also stay tonight on the first overnight of this loop, and then drop down to the coast to catch the ferry to Cres and the start of the final phase of our tour of Croatia.  One thing we’re especially excited about is that we can travel light in the coming week.  Since we’ll be returning back to our hotel in Labin, we can leave some gear behind.  We should be able to cram everything we need for the week into a single pannier each.

Beyond Istria

You’ll recall that at the start of the tour our plan was to return to Zagreb at the end, and then if luck was with us we’d fly to Greece for another two month tour before returning to smoky, war-torn Portland in mid-January.  We fixed on Greece because it’s far enough south to be plausible as an early winter destination; and because two months ago it looked the most promising, Covid-wise: infection rates were low, and like Croatia Greece was stretching to allow tourists in to help revive their struggling economy.

Plans have changed.

First off, we’ve decided not to return to Zagreb.  Split’s international connections are as good or better than Zagreb’s anyway, and this will spare us either a train trip or car rental to make our way back t9 the Capitol.  Our hotel in Zagreb  helped us out here by mailing our suitcases to our hotel in Split, for just the cost of shipping - about $35.  They’ve already arrived, and are waiting for us.

Second, we think we aren’t going to Greece after all.  We will if that’s the only option available at the time, but if we can get in we’ll go to Italy instead.  At this point, it appears we can get into either country as long as we present a clean Covid test, which we’ll plan on getting in Split.

There are pros and cons to Italy in comparison with Greece, but Italy draws us more at the moment.  Our original plans for this autumn’s tour before we cancelled everything was to spend late autumn in Tuscany and fly home from Rome, so with luck we’ll be getting back to that idea and then tack on a month in Puglia at the end.

And, there’s the big plus that we won’t need to fly.  We can catch the overnight ferry from Split to Ancona and just start biking from there.  At the end we’ll pick up our suitcases in Lecce, where we’ll have had them shipped a second time; and then catch the train to Rome for the flight home.

Something like this. In the middle we’ll likely catch a train from Latina to Foggia, because that late in the year it’s probably too cold and wet to want to bike across the spine of the Apennines.
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Bill ShaneyfeltItaly is quite a wonderful place! Our youngest spent a year studying in Perugia and then went on to Rome and finished at John Cabot University. I quite enjoyed our 2 trips there and wished I'd had a bike to get around. That was 15 or so years back, so being Italy, likely not much has changed.
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