Progress across the flat green plains of the northern Italy had been faster than expected so we spent an extra day at Gabicce Mare in the Monte San Bartolo national park. It was a lovely small campsite overlooking the Adriatic, paradise as Paolu, the friendly campsite owner described it. He was right it was paradise and he loved this place.
After a day of swimming, eating ice cream, meals out, watching the sun set, and drinking beer, we cycled the final 50 miles down the coast to Ancona to get the night ferry to Croatia.
As we waited for the ferry we chatted with a friendly Albanian who had spent some time in Ford Prison, or as he put it stayed for a holiday at Ford!
The ship slipped away from its berth on time and once clear of the harbour and underway at full speed the pilot boat came alongside, lurching around in the swell, until it stabilised to match our speed and was holding steady alongside us just a meter or so off the ships side. The pilot, appeared from a door and did an impressive leap onto the deck of the pilot cutter and with a wave to the onlooking passengers, they peeled away and traveled at speed back to Italy.
Our cabin was comfortable and it felt good sleeping in a bed after the camping. We woke to views of limestone mountains of Croatia, spectacularly rising from the clear turquoise sea. A mass of islands of all sizes.
The final days cycling was from Vela Luka to Korcula and then onto to Viganj to meet Becky Katy and Chris for a few days of windsurfing. It was a hilly hot ride through olive groves and past vineyards. The landscape was beautiful, lightly wooded limestone mountains falling to tranquil coves with deep blue clear sea. Villages with stone churches and houses blended with the rocky landscape.
Once at Viganj, a real favourite of ours, having spent many family holidays here, we met up with Becky, Katy and Chris which was lovely. We also met up with Francisco, a local bike shop owner, who has kindly saved us some cardboard boxes for packing the tandem for the flight home.