This morning started early around 6:30 when we were leaving the harbor in Stromroska. The clouds were absolutely stunning and darkening the sky. Thought we might get some rain but luckily we didn’t get any… Yet.
On our way to the island Hvar, we had an amazing breakfast and got debriefed about our trip today. On this visit to Hvar, we would be doing two tours in one day. The morning would be about a 15 mile round trip to the city of Jelsa, and then back to the harbor of Stari Grad.
At 9 o’clock we headed out toward the city of Virsnjk, which would he the the highest part of the route. With storm clouds ahead of us, we headed through ancient Venetian wine fields along a hilly and winding road. The smells of the foliage, fruit, and rain filled the air. It was MAGICAL.
We then went through four small towns; Vrbanj, Svirče, Veisnjk, and Pitve before arriving in Jelsa. The way up was much more lush and green than yesterday on Šolta.
Upon our arrival to Jelsa, we had the opportunity to explore. Mom and I decided to go see a fortress with a nearby church called the Ascension Parish Church. We couldn’t go into the actual church because it was Sunday and mass was being held, but you could hear singing and prayer the whole time we walked around the fortress. This church was built in 1604 by the order of Bishop Petar Cedulin.
Upon our arrival back into Stari Grad, we got back on the boat for lunch and had a break before the second leg of our trip to the city of Hvar.
Right when we started off the clouds opened up and it began dousing us in water. Our guide Petra asked if any of us would like to go back, and of course we said no; we were already soaked! It turned out to be a blessing that we got rained on because it kept us cool for the 7 miles uphill. I can’t say that I’ve ever biked a 10% grade but I can now!
From the top of the mountain, it was just a 7 mile trip downhill into the city of Hvar. Once we got into town, we got off our bikes and walked them to the harbor (biking through town is forbidden). The views along the way were beautiful stone walkways and large temples.
After some hazelnut chocolate ice cream, our captain picked us up and we headed out to sea to anchor. It was REALLY cool to watch the captain basically parallel park the boat and leave the harbor in less than 10 minutes! They are some skilled seamen!
The harbor master doesn’t let anyone dock in the harbor until 7 o’clock, so we had to wait an hour or so. Long enough to shower, relax, and have some dinner.
By the time it was 7 o’clock, the clouds had really rolled it. It was blackening around us and lighting was flashing across the sky. It was a sight to behold while eating our dinner. The clouds once again let loose, unfortunately dousing my shoes that I had put on the line to dry. After the clouds cleared, a few of us went to get drinks on the town, followed by being rocked to sleep on the choppy sea.
We visited Hvar again two days later:
For the first time since we started out bike and barge tour, no waves awoke me in the morning, just the motor as it roared it life. It was later than usual, around 7am, when I headed out of the cabin to the lounge area at the back of the ship.
As we ate breakfast, we got debriefed on what our second tour of the island of Hvar would be like: undulating hills up and across the backbone of the quiet side of the island with 500 vertical meters to gain. Compared to some of the routes this week, it was going to be pretty easy. Once we docked the boat, we got off and prepared our bikes amidst some really cool graffiti. It was then time for our 20 miles! It was honestly pretty easy. After a few miles of hills, we started seeing the ocean on both sides of the road: we were officially on the “backbone” of Hvar. We passed through 3 small villages along the way: Selca kod Bogomolja, Bogomolje, and Pokrovénik.
At one of the villages, Bogomolje, I bought an adorable lavender ornament from a local man who had set up his shop next to the road. Man does she smell WONDERFUL! It was then undulating up and down until we headed down into the bay of Pokrivénik. Probably one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. It was once again time for lunch, but not before a swim and a 30 ft jump from the top of the Azimut with Nancy!