One of the beautiful things about solo travel is that you don’t have to follow anyone else’s schedule. You don’t have to feel competition. And, you only “cheat” if you break rules you decide are follow. It means there is a built-in flexible schedule.
When I woke up this morning for the second time to a dripping tent and aching legs, when I growled audibly and swore at the mountains I had to climb, questioning my motives for doing it at all, and when the prospect of cycling 100km out of my way to see the ancient gnarly olive trees no longer appealed to me at all, I reminded myself that it didn’t matter. Most probably those olive trees will still be there if I come back, and there are many, many things in this world to see, far more than I’ll ever have time to fit into a lifetime. When traveling, I try to take the approach that if I stress myself out about everything, then I’ll never enjoy what I see. Today, I decided to take the ferry, get a coffee, catch up on writing and continue on my way.
Apart from Lun’s olive groves, Pag is also renowned for it’s aged sheep’s milk cheese with many little stalls along the road and “Paški Sir” (Pag Cheese) signs. Just outside of the town of Kolan, I came across the Gligora Cheese Factory, Tasting Room and Shop. I stopped in at the shop and chatted with the very friendly assistant and tried a number of excellent cheeses. The tasting room is open during tourist season and in the off-season. Just give them a day’s notice if you want to visit. Tours cost 9 euros – walk through the factory and finish with a tasting platter and wine. I walked out with a good-sized truffle-infused chunk of aged sheep’s milk cheese for 32 kunas (little over 4 euros) and a smile.
Zavratnica is an inlet a kilometer to the south of Jablanac. Just in front of of the stairs, leading up to Planinarski dom Jablanac, is a white gravel pathway that takes you winding around the cliffs, through little tunnels and over stone archways until you come down to a secluded and tranquil waterway where a German military ship from the Second World War was sunk by the Allies. The water is clear blue-green that parts of the skeletal remains of the vessel can be seen quite clearly. Traveling in the off-season allowed me to enjoy this site for free because the ticket office was closed. I left my bicycle at the top of some steps and walked the entire way around until I reached a bench at the very farthest point of the bay. All I could hear was the buzz of bees and the gently lapping ripples of the water on little white stones. I took full advantage of the seclusion and went for a dip in clear blue ocean. Icy and totally refreshing, it was my first swim in the Adriatic Sea.
Jablanac is a very tiny, sleepy village, especially when no tourists are around. I treat myself to an early dinner back at LUX Restoran Kavana. In the sunny balcony, ćevapi (spicy little sausages) with grilled onion and a crunchy salad of shaved cabbage, washed down with beer, was totally worth it!