Budapest was cool. We left at 06:15 on a (shh don’t tell anyone) train to Zagreb. We we’re expecting to feel guilty as hell about not cycling but actually it felt quite luxurious and we had a pleasant 6 hours snoozing and chatting to Johnathan, our compartment mate. Our purpose for this abrupt change of direction was to go and pick up a new recruit- Rhiannon. She has been working as a Artist Liason Manager at Outlook and Dimensions festivals in Pula and will join us for the next leg to Turkey.
We then spent a very pleasant 5 hours in Zagreb cycling around, sipping coffee in a trendy cafe and eating Burek in the central park. Burek is a cheap curly pastry with meat or cheese being the common fillings. Delicious if you like cheap, greasy filling food- we do.
We then took another train to Rijeka.
After worrying about the hassle of travelling with heavily loaded bikes it was surprsingly easy, but I think this was due to the fact that are boarding and alighting stations were that end of the line, giving us more time to lift everything on and off. The whole journey cost about £45 each.
The following day the main street was filled with people. It was some sort of Olympic sports day for kids. Rose spent 2 hours watching the gymnastics while I did some shopping for maps and food.
After 2 days of cycling down the main coastal road, pretty busy and hilly but with lovely views, we arrived in Pula and went in search of the festival site and Rhiannon ‘the bike’ Davies. We didn’t expect to find a honed athlete but even by her standards her current state of fitness has set a new low.
Rhiannon was nursing a 14 day hangover and clearly hadn’t slept for some time. She was also sneezing and coughing a lot. Each time she coughs she yelps like a dog whose tail has been stepped on, as she fractured a rib jumping off a homemade 10 metre diving board a few parties earlier.
Her bike (‘The doctor’) wasn’t much better either. 2 flat tyres, filthy drive train, no front brake and broken pedal straps. However with a bit of work and a lot of swearing the Doctor has been nursed back to health. Rhiannon we fear may take a little longer.
We slept in Rhiannons posh Shikar tent for free for a couple of nights but when they took all the others down and changed the code for the toilets, we knew we had to leave. So here we are in a cheap apartment (£9 each) on the edge of Pula waiting for the Saturday morning ferry to take us to Zadar where we will ride down the coast and across some of the larger southern islands towards Montenegro, Albania and Greece.
So it’s been a funny week with not much cycling. I think the rest is doing us some good but we are looking forward to getting back on the bike. It is difficult to sit still when you are used to moving every day and feels a little bit like we are under house arrest.