180520-The Wild Life. Cycling the Ćiro Trail Part 2.

This morning I tweaked the bicycle. My knee has been bothering me, so I lowered the seat a bit. I also changed the seat position slightly; let’s hope that’s better. I also moved the new shifter; the replacement is surprisingly intuitive, but still not quite right.

Today on the Ciro went much better. Almost the entire day was level single-lane road with no traffic. Because the trail follows the contours of the landscape actual forward progress slowed as I wove back and forth. It wasn’t until the final climb out of the valley before Ivanica that I had to work. In the last few kilometers before the border I passed numerous warnings for land mines.

Only 6 km from where I started, I came across the Vjetrenica Caves, the largest cave system in Bosnia. I arrived just as a tour bus began their tour, and caused some confusion in the head count. They’d woken the guide up; he’d been at home abed for Sunday.
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Corpses of the same type of round snake litter the back roadways. Yesterday one moved as I passed it; just napping in the sun. The sides of the road are alive, slithering and rustling as I cycle past. Lizards scamper out of my way; one raced me today for a few meters, moving as fast as I rode. I came across a turtle crossing the road today, and stopped to nudge him on his way.

The Ćiro Trail (and associated roads) are cut into the mountainside, or raised track, sometimes hundreds of feet above the surrounding countryside. I startled a fox today, 10 meters ahead of me, and to my shock he leaped off the edge! I stopped to check on his fate. A jagged rock wall comprised the edge; the fox must have leaped from rock to rock on the way down – incredible!

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Bosnian border control guards paid me little notice as they stamped my passport. Crossing back into Croatia again was notable only for the 45-minute wait (in blazing sun) as the line of traffic slowly edged forward to pass through the Croatian check point. I didn’t see any signs for the Ciro, and chose the highway, bringing me into Dubrovnik with a steep climb.

At the top, with the city spread beneath me, I encountered two British cyclists taking a break before the drop into Dubrovnik. Seeing their route onto a smaller street when they left, I followed suit. Onto a one-way street. Figures two UK cyclists would end up on the wrong side!

I arrived at the site of the hostel to find … no hostel. I wandered back and forth before calling. It took a few calls to get things straightened out; the hostel is 300+ meters further down the road, and they know the coordinates are wrong! Between the frustration of not finding the hostel, and having run out of food I was cranky, but the host was friendly enough, and the hostel is quite nice.

I wandered into the Old City to find something to eat and explore. The Old City remains in much its original state, with high walls and narrow streets. Dubrovnik is the largest walled city I’ve visited with the greatest vertical changes. I walked the stairs, for to move anywhere in the city entails changing your elevation.

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Tomorrow I have a short ride to Herceg Novi in Montenegro. From there I work my way down the coast until I decide I want a ferry. The coast looks rugged and steep, so that might not take long.

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