Day 8: Marco! (Vela Luka to Korčula)

Vela Luka was a pleasant town which seemed like a place for local live-aboard boat people; pretty but not super-touristy. There was a place near my hostel where you could pay 5 kuna for a shower. 

Vela Luka

Dave and April’s group were doing a loop ride from Korčula city, so it was possible I would run into them on the road on the way. Dave shared his location with me via his phone, and we got rolling from our separate ends of the island. The riding was great, farms and vineyards with sea views, not much traffic. 

Vela Luka to Korchula City

I stopped at a winery for a tasting; the young girl working there and chatting with her friend (probably the daughter) didn’t know much about how to present a wine tasting, but I bought a bottle (Syrah) anyway.

Vela Luka to Korchula City

The timing didn’t work out to meet the group on the road; I got into Korčula city just as they were finishing lunch and heading to the beach. I went and found my guest house, which was super-fancy, but another place with no street number and no sign, what’s up with that? Then I rode out to the beach, a nice ride through vineyards on an isthmus. The water was beautiful and felt great.

Korčula claims to be the birthplace of Marco Polo. The veracity of claim is fairly uncertain, but it’s at least visually plausible, as the town does look like a Venetian port city.

Vela Luka to Korchula City

Dave and April had kindly arranged for (and paid for) me to have me join their group dinner at an agriturismo that evening. We saw how lamb and veal were cooked under a “bell” (coals piled on a metal cover), and heard about the strong, dry winds from the northwest needed to make Dalmatian prosciutto.

Agroturismo dinner

Their guide, Robbie, breaks the ice by requiring people to tell jokes, especially Chuck Norris jokes. I told the one about the rabbi walking into a bar with a talking frog on his shoulder. The bartender asks “Where’d you get that?”, and the frog replies “Brooklyn! There’s hundreds of ’em!” Later, we had a great conversation about bike touring, guiding, and Croatian identity.

Agroturismo dinner

On the way back to my place I started to feel sick to my stomach. I think it was the water from Vela Luka, which tasted salty in my CamelBak. The host at the hostel had told me, “You can drink the water”; I hadn’t considered until then that maybe I shouldn’t have. I felt like I wanted to throw up but didn’t, and went to bed with the chills. (unfortunate foreshadowing…)

Daily musing: Mileage

This was unquestionably the most pleasant riding day of the trip, partly because it was so short (~50km). The longer days aren’t physically difficult for me, but they force me to be more goal-oriented, worrying about time rather than just enjoying the ride, taking pictures, and seeing interesting stuff. I don’t think I’d plan another tour with such long mileage again, especially because you can tack on another 10-20% for diversions and navigation errors.

Ride stats: 50km, 1085m climbing

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