22,23/09 The Big Wind

We woke up in our secluded little alcove well rested despite the calls of unidentified animals throughout the night. Maybe it was just the fact that we hadn’t stumped up 17 euros for a small patch of grass to sleep on, who knows!? We headed back in to Trapanj for a quick breakfast of bananas and yoghurt on the pier before starting our first climb of the day. The road was pretty quiet and we made height fast, making progress over the peninsula towards the mainland. As lunchtime approached, we picked up provisions in a small shop and decided to find a spot to eat lunch. As the road neared the sea, we decided to have a look if there was a beach we could eat at. There was, complete with benches and turquoise green waters. It was too good an opportunity to pass up, so we went for a quick pre-lunch dip. The landscape here hasn’t been particularly inspiring, but I love being in the water so much it makes up for it. I’ll be sad when I can’t take a dip when the mood takes me! As we sat munching our luncheon, we picked up some wifi and discovered Slano was quite a bit further than we wanted to go. So we decided to go to Ston, a further 30km where we had located a campsite.
As we tripped through the seemingly never ending up and down, we came across a monument reaching for the sky. It came along with a mural depicting what bastards the nazis were, being mean to babies, pulling womens hair and whipping men. This continued on with the afore mentioned babies and women and men kicking the living daylights out of the nazis. Also, just in case we weren’t able to identify the members of the third reich, someone had thoughfully painted on swastikas to each and everyone of their helmets in the recent past. Funnily, the only two cars to pull up while we were there were German. Strangely enough, they ignored the mural and admired the view instead, I wonder why?
We continued on undulating hills, and bladders full, halted for quick call of nature. Sam went first and I held his bike. When he returned, I was thinking, time’s a wasting, better get a move on. So I handed him my bike, ran like the wind and took a pretty bad tumble.There was a small wire barrier about half a foot of the ground and I hadn’t noticed it. I went flying, like a sack of potatoes kicked off a cliff. Ego sorely buised, as well as one arm and one leg, I shed a few little tears. Thanks trip wire, I hate you!
Still and all, the cycling won’t do itself, so I hopped back on my bike and we set off once again. As we hit the crest of a hill a few kilometres outside Ston, we saw a campsite signposted. But we were sure the campsite was in Ston itself, so we headed down the steep hill to the town keeping an eye out for signs. When we go to the village, we filled up on supplies for the evening. We both had a sinking feeling that the campsite was the one we had passed. Back up the massive hill. There was nothing to do but turn around and slowly make our way back up. Once we got to the top of the hill, we had to go back down one. Knowing you will start your next days cycling with a 10% incline is always a little difficult, but it was a pretty spot. Filled with Germans. This whole peninsula seems to be filled with Germans. If you were to get beamed here from outer space, and were to base your assumpions on the language being spoken  and the number plates of the cars, you would DEFINITELY think you were in Germany!
We cooked up our dinner and as we did,  a big stormy looking cloud passed over head. It produced a few little drops of rain, so just in case, we moved all our bags and the cooking operation to the gear porch. And it’s a good thing we did. That night, we had the longest set of storms I have ever been though in a tent. It started at 2am and we alternated between fitful sleep and trying to make sure the tent was ok until about half four. Luckily, the storms for the main part passed to the left and right of us but the wind was ferocious. We took turns getting out to replace a tent peg that was reluctant  to stay put and in between, I huddled close to Sam for reassurance that we wouldn’t blow away. Sleep came gratefully to us and the next thing we knew, the sun was shining in our tent, creating a sauna like atmosphere. We emerged into the sun, where the wind was still gusting like it thought it was in the west of Ireland. As we strolled around the campsite, we surveyed the damage caused by the night’s storms. We had fared pretty well. The people in a tent a few meters away from us had narrowly avoided being squashed by a massive branch that had fallen from a tree. They were moving their tent, and I couldn’t help thinking that it was closing the stable door after the horse had bolted! Everywhere we looked, Germans were dusting off their satellite dishes so that they could return safely to their Campervans, flick on the latest episode of whatever is hot is the world of German soap operas, and avoid interacting with the outside world.
Between my busted up knee and the need to do some washing, we decided it wasn’t a bad place to stay put for the day. This was concreted by the fact that cycling up the hill with the wind at our faces would have been about as productive as a trying to get a Croatian shop assistnat to crack a smile. So our day was spent washing out our sleeping bag liners, smelly clothes and socks so dirty there’s a danger they might walk off by themselves. We did a little bike maintenance and got my cycle computer working at long last. By late afternoon, the wind finally decided to get lost. We headed to the beach for a swim and to try and work on my tanlines. Unfortunately, it’s gonna take a lot longer than one afternoon on a Croatian beach to stop me looking so daft. I have brown arms, back and legs. My thighs and my tummy still remain that shade of white that only Irish people posess. It’s blinding!
Our evening consisted of a tasty dinner and a few rounds of pretty competitve Yahtzee. I lost badly. But revenge is a dish best served cold, I will bide my time. Our impromptu day off was great and much needed. As I drifted off, I imagined every small puff of breeze morphing into a raging storm. It never did, and I slept the sleep that only those who spent half the previous night holding up their tent can. It was blissful



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