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September 26, 2017 - Loop cycling tour around Hvar Island
We began the morning with a ferry transfer from Split to the island of Hvar.
The day was about 75 degrees and sunny - perfect for the rolling hills and long climbs.
We ended the day in the town of Hvar.
Hvar is a Croatian island located 29 miles south of the coastal city of Split, Croatia.
Hvar is known for lush greenery dotting the sides of its many hills and a
rugged coastline that is home to some of Croatia’s most scenic beaches.
Hvar's interior hides abandoned ancient hamlets, craggy peaks, vineyards
and the lavender fields for which the island is famous.
ABOVE LEFT - Port view of Split in the morning, before boarding the ferry
ABOVE MIDDLE - Close-up of the bell tower of the Cathedral of St. Domnius in Split
ABOVE RIGHT - View back toward the port town of Stari Grad
where we left the ferry and began cycling.
ABOVE LEFT - We cycled through vineyards, olive trees, fig trees most of the day.
We also saw lots of lavender fields & stands selling lavender products. The island began
producing lavender in the 1930s to boost the economy. In the 60s & 70s, Hvar was responsible
for 10% of the world 's production. Several devastating fires since 1984 have destroyed much
of the crops, but today most lavender is produced for tradition's sake and for tourism.
ABOVE MIDDLE - We followed several different cycling routes during the day. Each
route's rider was in a different colored national jersey - top is Italian, bottom is Croatian.
ABOVE RIGHT - Vineyards and villages
ABOVE LEFT - Another vineyard pic with stone walls as fences.
This is a VERY rocky landscape.
ABOVE MIDDLE - Grapes were being harvested in several fields and as we passed
lots of small wine production plants we noticed good aromas from the crushing process.
ABOVE RIGHT - We passed this hill town just as the noon bells were chiming in the church tower.
ABOVE LEFT - Climbing past a small hill town
ABOVE MIDDLE - Great view of the Adriatic and mountains
in the background (on the Croatian mainland)
ABOVE RIGHT - Our lunch today was wine tasting in the 300 year old cellar
of the Vina Tomić Winery near the small town of Jelsa.
ABOVE LEFT - Our lunch today. We tasted a rose, a white and a red
(all very nice wines) along with cheese and other "snacks" for our lunch.
Then we had a long 6 mile ascent AFTER lunch. Think the wine helped with the climb!!
ABOVE MIDDLE - Memorial to the donkeys at the small port of Jelsa.
Donkeys did much of the work clearing fields for planting.
ABOVE RIGHT - Judith is excited about her new lavender jersey!
ABOVE LEFT - Fantastic view on the long climb. This was taken about half way to the top.
ABOVE MIDDLE - All day we passed stone walls, stone terraces and large stone piles.
ABOVE RIGHT - Following Bicycle Route 1
ABOVE LEFT - At the pool of our hotel
ABOVE MIDDLE - View from our balcony in the town of Hvar. Hvar is a small bay town,
where 13th-century walls surround beautifully ornamented
Gothic palaces and traffic-free marble streets.
ABOVE RIGHT - Pool at our hotel in Hvar
ABOVE LEFT - The second highlight (after the wine-tasting lunch) of the day was dinner
at a private home. The chef (on the right) studied in Germany, worked in many
restaurants for 30+ years, then decided to change his life by moving back to his
home country, planting a large garden and cooking privately in his home on a small scale.
Our guide, Robi, on the left is translating the chef's description of
his "fresh out of the garden" (including his homemade olive oil and home dried salt)
ingredients and process for preparing our starter salsa course.
ABOVE MIDDLE - All ingredients are organic and picked about two hours before dinner
so that they are fresh. The chef even makes his own vinegar to use along with his olive oil
for the dressing. We were eating until about 10pm since there was a lot of discussion
about ingredients and preparation before each course. We all thoroughly enjoyed
this wonderful meal and personal experience with the chef and his wife.
ABOVE RIGHT - Fred is served by Bob.
ABOVE - On our walk back to the hotel.