Having taken the overnight ferry from Ancona in Italy, I arrived in Split as the sun rose. Another short boat ride and I was on the island of Hvar, where I’ve been for the last ten days, staying at another friend’s house in the old town, Stari Grad. It has been the perfect retreat for writing, although with body in Croatia, head embedded in Africa and beer in my belly, it was rather surreal.

Sunrise on Dalmatian Coast - Arriving from Italy
Sunrise on Dalmatian Coast - Arriving from Italy
Split from the Sea
Split from the Sea

I’ve done less exploring of the island than I had imagined. But in between typing at the house, checking emails while drinking excellent coffee by the seafront and eating pizza, I have managed a couple of outings. I suppose the reason is I came here not to sight see, but write. Sometimes I put myself under pressure to see and do everything and this time I didn’t and it was lovely to be lazy!

Cobbled Streets of Stari Grad - the Old Town
Cobbled Streets of Stari Grad - the Old Town

There is a footpath to the top of the cross on the hill that overlooks Stari Grad and it makes a pleasant evening stroll. It’s also a nice round-trip bike ride to Vrboska and Jelsa across the plains that are filled with olive trees and vines and stone walls. The more strenuous outing was up the hill in the direction of Hvar, but I took a track when I reached the top and climbed some more on tracks before a slightly hairy ride back down to Stari Grad. Had I a bike with working suspension, knobbly tyres and been wearing a helmet, it would have been brilliant fun!

Plenty of boats on the quiet coastal ride via Vrboska and Jelsa
Plenty of boats on the quiet coastal ride via Vrboska and Jelsa
View from the Top, road to Hvar
View from the Top, road to Hvar
And then I turned off the main road.... (like the BikePack seat pack?)
And then I turned off the main road.... (like the BikePack seat pack?)
Back down toward Stari Grad
Back down toward Stari Grad

Since I was flying back from Zadar, I had a lovely 2-day ride up the coast from Split. The road mostly follows the coast and is mostly flat, but being rather unfit at the moment, it left me pretty tired in the evenings!

For this trip away, I packed everything into a 35 litre daysack , including my new BikePack seat pack (full review coming soon). Basically everything fit in the seat pack (RePack X2, large), except my 15” Macbook Pro, which I cycled with in the daysack. Not ideal and my shoulders did ache a bit but was much helped by having the seat pack. Since I was borrowing a friend’s bike without a rack this worked really well. And because it all fits in the daysack, I can fly Ryanair with it as carry on hand luggage and not pay for an extra bag.

And it’s amazing what a difference it makes with less luggage and no racks! I’d almost forgotten…

Trogir - riding the coast road north from Split
Trogir - riding the coast road north from Split
Can't want more than sun, sea and smooth flat roads!
Can't want more than sun, sea and smooth flat roads!
Beach time
Beach time
The Forum at Zadar
The Forum at Zadar