A fabulous adventure, exploring a stunningly beautiful part of Croatia. Great company, spectacular sceanery, challenging cycle routes (no-one told me it was a hilly place before I went) and wonderful ice-cream - what more could you want?
- What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
The best cycling day was definatly the last - the downhill coastal path was breathtaking, and we stopped for photos so many times that we missed lunch!
However, my personal highlight was when we were joined by a pod of dolphins in the water on the ferry crossing from Hvar to the mainland - absolutely brilliant watching them jump playfully in the water around the boat.
- What did you think of your group leader?
- Bojan is new to Exodus and did a great job organising and motivating such a diverse group of people. He was great fun, very sociable and was up to the challenges of games of tennis and ping-pong laid down by various members of the group (and he always won, I warn you now). He's also pretty good at eating ice-cream too, and you can be assured he'll point out the best places in town. His sense of humour was fantastic, and he seemed to really understand how to get the best out of each cyclist, offering the right amount of support to help us all achieve our full cycling potential.
- Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Looking back on the trip, overall I would say that it was fantastic, and I have come home with a great desire to visit the Dalmatian Coast again. The beaches and islands are absolutely beautiful, and cycling gives you the opportunity to explore the less well travelled paths (such as the coastal path on the last day). However, I would say that a few of us found that we were slightly unprepared for the level of fitness required for some of the more "undulating" routes! The first day includes a 10km uphill stretch, and if that doesn't mean that much to you (as it didn't to me before I went) then it means peddling uphill continuously for a very long time!! I certainly wasn't fit enough for it, and walked part of the way (and I wonder whether this climb ought to be removed from the trip) The second day also has a pretty long uphill stretch, which was very tough going in the heat, with a head wind - I guess I would advise you to carefully consider the time of year that you go, do some training beforehand to get the most enjoyment out of your holiday and, for the novices amoungst you, I would advise learning a little bit about how to work with your gears and how to maximise your efficeincy when cycling on very "undulating" terrain. But when cycling along the coast, every "up" must have its "down" and the downhill stretches were absolutely amazing.
As for other practical details: wear layers on the jounrney out to Croatia - it was about 8 degrees when I left my home in the morning, and about 28 degrees as we wandered round Split in the evening, so you want to make sure you're dressed for both! ATMs were widely available and we ended up spending about 50 kuna on lunch, and 100 kuna on dinner (minus drinks). (Ice cream was only 8 kuna!!). Other advice - wear lots of sun-screen and you don't need a water-back-pack (all the bikes have a water bottle holder). Consider isotonic sports drinks if going in the summer, as we ended up drinking huge amounts of water and yes - people did wear padded cycling shorts! Charging cameras and phones was not a problem, so go wild with your photos (and don't forget to look out for the dolphins on the crossing!)
- Is there anything else you would like to add?
This was a solo departure, and I have to say it was brilliant. The group was a fantastic mix of people, and even though we differed in age, we bonded well and I have made some great friends. I will certainly be looking out for solo departures again in the future. The days were also well filled, with the whole group staying together for meals, so the trip is well suited for the solo traveller.
Unfortunately we didn't get to go to Mljet, as Croatia's only two bad weather days that they get a year, fell on the two days that we could have gone, but instead Bojan found us a great little cycle route, and sandy beach to relax on (with ice cream of course). We found that we were very much in need of a relaxing day, however, despite finding the cycling hard work at times, I was heart-broken to give me bike back at the end of the week, and have come home eager to find my next cycling holiday.
So overall, as long as you're fairly fit, then I would highly recommend this trip!