During the night, two fellow cyclists have arrived and their small tent has been tucked in on the other side of the tree. For most of the morning I can just see two sets of feet protruding from the tiny tent door. As I leave, I offer them my Croatia map but they are heading South also.
I didn’t get too far – and hid from the sun again, in a bakers (Pekarna!) just up the road where two young women work behind the counter – with the most beautiful smiles that light up my world. I sit and paint the shrubbery – watched with the utmost concentration by a serious 4 yr old. I can see she is itching to have a go, and she draws a teeny tiny mark when I give her the pen. Then makes a small daub when I hand her the paintbrush – but she loves it! She is from Serbia, according to her brothers, and they “don’t understand” said in English, which I think is impressive. Sue Truesdale gave me a dragonfly when I left England, which has been sitting on my zipper tag until recently – when it fell apart. I present the little girl with the wings – much to her delight!
I finally get it together to move – and then find I cannot find Welly! After dismantling the bicycle and looking all over I finally spot her on top of a gatepost. She must have jumped up there when I wasn’t looking. Much pushing uphill follows with sweat dripping off brow into eyes and trickling, tickling down my back. My vest is sodden around the midriff. The traffic is constant and some vehicles beep their horns, which always makes me jump. Ofttimes it’s a greeting, with the passengers waving gaily, other times it’s a ‘get out of my way’ declaration. The coast road offers some excellent views, with bridges crossing ravines, but the sun is harsh, and I hate the billboards and hoardings.
I had to google to check what the critters were that ran across the road in front of me – two ran nose to tail with a third crossing shortly afterwards. They had white mask like faces and dark coats, and were the size of ferrets. They could only have been Martens – very handsome and exciting to spot. Sorry, no pictures as I didn’t have time to to get the camera out - like the time I saw a skinny snake slither across the road in front of me, you’ll just have to take my word for it.
I stopped at a restaurant on the sea front to eat – I see several stray dogs – one that has recently had pups by the look of her, and another young dog making play bows to another dog who responds and off they bounce. Most of the boy dogs I see are ‘entire’ too. From now on I’ll see more and more strays - and cats who look pregnant or need a good worming.
I’d forgotten how difficult it can be to extricate oneself from larger towns – especially after sundown. I went off into some residential back streets and ended up having to retrace my steps as I encountered several dead ends. Found the right road eventually and ended up camping out in a teeny place called Zaljevska Voda on the outskirts of Bar, in a brand new apartment block – on the upstairs marble balcony where I hoped no one would spot me. Fabulous views over the coastline and a quiet back road with very little traffic.