We got up early, 6 AM to get all the way from Split to Dubrovnik in one day of riding. Not that the distance is that far, but one never knows what happens on the roads in foreign countries. Detours can alter the timing, Traffic jams are unpredictable, etc. We wanted to make sure and it is a pleasure to ride in the early morning hours. It was a double pleasure this day because it was Sunday and the roads were almost void of vehicles. We made amazing time, riding through towns, having all the space for ourselves. No restaurants were open, just a few early morning folks were about, but most of Croatia, on a Sunday morning, sleeps in. The towns are nice towns. The roads are in wonderful condition. The way follows the coast line and winds itself up and down hills, around every conceivable shore with beautiful vistas. It makes for good riding. It was a fantastic ride. There are not many places on earth that are like this for a motorcycle fan. Not dangerous, not extreme, just sweeping and a relaxed way to go.
We arrived just before noon and the hunt was on to find a place to stay. First thing is to get a hang of how the town is laid out. We found the old city, our target and it is huge, immense, walled,
with only 2 gates and only for pedestrians. Hotels! Where are they? I saw one place (Hotel Sesame) I read about in Carol’s book but it is a bit away from the main gate. It looked pretty; I knew it had 4 rooms and each one rented out for 150 Euros, if they are available. I saw a few signs for Apartments for let. We needed to think and were just stopped and talking to each other on our bikes near the bus station, when Edi asked us if we were looking for a place to stay. Edi Mačinko is an operator. I believe he is a good business man. I reminded me a little of Francis in Lima Peru. Edi (like spaghetti, he says) owns two houses near the Pile Gate and rents rooms and apartments to tourists. His place is set back from the street and no signs would yield enough customers. His houses are down a narrow alley nobody walks through. Edi stands near the bus station, near the main entrance to the old city and scans for potential customers. He can sort out not so good people, he tells us. We looked like the kind of customers he would like to have. With Edi’s help a lot of things about Dubrovnik became very easy. He helped us move our bikes into a free parking space. The parking space is a public space for scooters and bikes but Edi said, is very safe with camera security and it is ok to leave our bikes there. Naturally we took all of our possessions with us. The first night we had an apartment with a small kitchen and a bathroom under the stairs. Yes, with a hand held shower, that is just how it is down here. Yet this clean but eclectic room had a partial ocean view. At night, with the windows open you can hear the waves break on the rocky shore. We moved from this spot the following day just to get a real, American style, shower. Edi made a list for us of places to eat and gave us some hints as to what to do and when to do it. It was a question of do we trust Edi or do we look at him as an operator that cannot be trusted. We chose the former and it worked out well for us. Sometimes help sits right next to the road, even talks to you but you need to decide if you want to take it or not. We walked the town this first day of our visit and explored some of the narrow alleyways until our feet hurt. We ate dinner at the ancient harbor, dating back to Roman times and strolled along the Main Street (Stradun) licking an ice cream cone. Life has been good for us in Croatia thus far. Let’s see what tomorrow brings.