Thursday, May 10, 2012

Biking around Konavle

We woke to another absolute scorcher. Marko, one of our guides from yesterday's kayaking, met us outside the Pile Gate for our biking and wine tasting tour. Once the other Scottish couple arrived, we hopped in the Adventure Dubrovnik van, for Gruda, the muncipal capital of the Konavle region.

The equipment -- really nice stuff, too -- was stored in a shipping container on the grounds of the nearby Dubrova─Źki Podrumi winery. The 8 km circuit would bring us back there for the tasting. We enjoyed their award-winning Ragusa white so much, we decided to buy a bottle; only then did we find out that you can buy it there for 30 kn! (That's about £3!)

Beside a war-damaged house -- why are we smiling again?

Our route took us through Ljuta and Lovorno, to a Franciscan monastery near Pridvorje -- where we stopped for a quick lunch under an ancient oak. Once rested, it was time for a bit of off-roading: at one point a lady in a vineyard beside the knee-high grass we were plowing through gestured and shouted something. Tea, who was farther back than me, said she seemed angry, but Marko assured us she simply thought we were lost. (U'm, I know I don't understand Croatian, but... O.K.) On the way back, we stopped near Ljuta to see an old watermill, and replenish our water in the river of the same name. We also picked up a bottle of orahovac, a home-made walnut brandy that the region is famous for, from a small stand outside a restaurant.

Didn't quite make it across -- clearly the bike's fault.
Marko was a fantastic guide: really down-to-earth, with a great sense of humour. You can tell he loves his job, and who wouldn't, out amongst such beautiful landscapes every day. He also dropped tidbits throughout the day; one that stuck with me was passed on from a woman who'd spent time with Australian Aborigines, according to him: when water is in short supply, place a small stone under your tongue; the salivation will keep your mouth moist, easing discomfort and slowing your heart rate. Thankfully, we didn't have need of this today.

And now, for a kip.

Update 9:51 p.m.: We decided to have supper at Lady Pi Pi again. Excellent choice!

Octopus salad appetizer
Seafood platter for two

For more on this trip, check out our album and the dubrovnik label.

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