Sunday, 28 September 2014

back from Dalmatia

Actually, I've been back for over a week, but I've had my head down in an attempt to power through the last bits of this thesis. And a CHI submission. And a paper review. And two paper proposals. I haven't even got my holiday photos off my phone yet. But the blog must go on.

I spent two weeks cycling on four islands off the coast of Croatia: Brac, Hvar, Korcula, and Lastovo. My wonderful funding body came along, of course, as well as Stephen, who helped me build Collect Yourselves!, and his partner Miki, who fed and humoured us while we worked. We were joined by Stephen's friend Lana, who lives on Brac and acted as our tour guide for the two weeks. Some observations:
  • Lana's accent made me think of Boris and Natasha cartoons every single day.
  • If you can't eat potatoes or swiss chard, you'd better get creative with what constitutes a vegetable.
  • Roads on these islands are steep as HELL. Not only did we have to get off and push, but at some points I could only even push my bike an inch or two at a time. These were well-laden touring bikes, not carbon-fibre racers, but still!
  • In Croatian and Serbian, 'macadam' refers to a gravel road. And not just any gravel, but gigantic chunks of jagged rock interspersed with skid-inducing pebbles. Know this before you agree to ride your skinny-wheeled Dawes on a 'macadam' road (says Stephen). Much pushing was done.
  • The water is almost as clear and warm as in the Caribbean, which I was completely not expecting.
  • Tie-dye sarong-style wraps are great for changing into your bikini in public. 
  • They're also great for covering your arms while you sit at your computer back in the chill morning air of Old Blighty.
  • If you can get yourself up to Pupnat, the ride to Vela Luka is unbelievable!
  • If you can get yourself up to the summit of Brac, the ride down to Bol is even more unbelievable!
  • Campsites with their own beaches. Genius!
  • We enjoyed the very best campsite bathrooms we've ever used, near Supetar on Brac.
  • We also enjoyed my favourite place to camp ever, anywhere, in an olive grove on Lastovo.
  • If the weather is crap, do not get on a boat!

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