Rocky beaches and seafood

Day 61 – Saturday 24th of August – Omis (0km)

We got up very late, happy not to have to wake up to sound of the alarm clock at 7 am for another day of riding, and spent the day doing what I had come to Croatia to do – nothing.

We took the sleeping mats and our books and headed down to the beach. We were in an area just two kilometers from Omis, with a lot of apartments, and we were a bit afraid that the beach might be too crowded, as beaches are somewhat hard to find in Croatia, most of the coast are just jagged rocks where it is very hard to take a swim, but it was a very nice surprise to find that there was a lot less people than we had feared and the atmosphere was very quiet and relaxed. We laid down our mats and spent the whole day sunbathing, reading and swimming in the crystal clear waters of the Adriatic Sea.

In the evening we rode to the center to find a place to have a seafood dinner. I had spent one of the best holidays of my life in Croatia years back, and one of the things I remembered most fondly was having such a meal in Omis.

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We found a nice restaurant in a narrow street in the old town, and enjoyed a huge platter of fresh seafood and fish. After that we bought a couple of ice creams and then walked up a steep narrow path cut into the rock to the town’s fortress, where a concert was just finishing. It was already dark and there was a beautiful view of the city from the top.

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Riding back to the apartment, I remembered how, when I was preparing the trip and seeing that I had no budget left for a pair of extra spotlights for the motorbike, I had told myself that I would not ride at night, and here I was, not only riding at night, but riding in shorts, flip-flops, a short-sleeved shirt and a passenger. After so many days of stifling heat and freezing cold in the bulky riding suit, feeling the warm sea breeze on my arms and legs was a wonderful sensation.

Another swim in the Volga and a tattoo

Day 20 – Sunday  14th of July –Astrakán (0km)

Today I spent the morning updating the blog, counting days and kilometers to see what I can do once the bike is fixed, and I sent an email to Stephen Stallebrass, who did the same route as I am now considering.

In the afternoon, Dasha, one of the CouchSurfers from the city took me for a swim in the Volga. We had arranged to meet at a bus stop by the big bridge that crosses the river through an island, which is where the beaches are, and I walked more than 6km in 40ºC heat to get there because I wanted to walk through the center rather than take a bus.

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The river beach would have been a nice place if it had not been for the fact that there were empty bottles and plastic wrappings everywhere, the Russians can not seem to be able to keep a place other than their own home clean, which is a pity, as it was quite a beautiful place. I went for a swim and then Dasha took out a henna pen and started to practice drawing a tattoo on her leg. She told me that she wanted to make some extra money that summer painting tattoos on people on the beach, and when she was done she asked if she could practice on my arm too, so I got a nice souvenir from Astrakhan.

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Back at the apartment I checked my mail and saw that Stephen had replied, with some advice about the route he took. I also tried to find information online to see if I can unlock my phone myself, which might be easier than trying to get some Russians at a phone shop to understand what I need. More news on that tomorrow.