Day 99 – June 7th – Mjlet, canoe
Drive with canoe to Pristaniste, a tiny village on the side of the “salty lakes”; the main attraction of Mjlet National Park. Canoe around the lake, then fight the wind a bit to get over to Svetje Maria (a tiny island in the middle of the lake with an abbey and a small restaurant) for lunch, then we set off again to canoe round the other (smaller) lake. The whole place is very nice, obviously popular as there are plenty of other people hiking, cycling, canoeing and swimming, but it is not crowded at all. We sail back to our launching point, a bit of a hairy moment as we have to pull the canoe through a narrow channel against an extremely strong current but we make it back. An ice cream reward, reload the canoe on the car and back to our little room in Polace.
Day 100 – June 8th – Mjlet, bikes
Cycle to Pomena, and keep going out of village to cape. We find a nice, shaded pine forest on the coast, no beach but accessible rocks to sea, so stay there for the morning. Water is cold but Manu (of course) goes for a swim, while the rest of us splash a bit then retreat to the shade for our picnic. We explore a bit and find an abandoned tunnel (presumably from the war) as it looks military. We don’t have lights and it’s cold and eerie so we don’t stay long! Back on the bikes we try to find a different way back, unfortunately all the “roads” are really hiking paths, and not really passable for bikes. We try for a few hundred metres, get rather scratched and turn back to take the road. A stop for ice cream to perk us all up, then we pass by the salty lakes again. Sofia is sleeping so we stop there in the shade so she can rest, soon Giulia falls asleep too. They look super cute when sleeping, so attract a lot of attention from a group of aged French tourists! Eventually they wake up and we continue back to Polace.
Day 101 – June 9th – Mjlet – Lukovo Sugarje
Long car day, slow morning on Mjlet as we pack up the car and load the bikes again, ferry at midday then we’re on the road for quite a few hours. Take the coast road almost until Split, then the motorway until just after Zadar and finally we arrive just in time for a quick explore of the surroundings before dark.
Day 102 – June 10th Lukovo Sugarje
First proper day at “Maja house”. Easy morning, Fi, kids, Emir + Sola go for a walk, up a rocky hill then to a beach. Afternoon Fi helps Maja + Emir clear the grass in front of the house + digging/clearing a new bed for the vege garden, while Manu + kids go to another small beach with frozen water.
Day 103 – June 11th – Lukovo Sugarje
Rain in the morning delays our start, some bed digging and clearing back the pine tree which is covering the soil. Then we tidy up a big pile of assorted rubbish, wood + metal, rescue Sola who ran away, make lunch. Manu, G+S check out the delights of Karlobag (not many). Afternoon we get our first glimpse of the Bora (extremely strong north wind), so decide to skip the beach for today.
Day 104 – June 12th – Lukovo Sugarje
More digging, this time removing some big stones from yesterdays bed. Takes most of the morning, and is pretty tiring! Afternoon we return to Karlobag area, visit the “Kubos” monument/viewpoint at 900m altitude, a great view but it’s crazy windy so we don’t hang around long! Evening in Karlobag: supermarket, internet, dinner at grill and icecream for the kids.
Day 105 – June 13th – Lukovo Sugarje
Maja in Zadar so spend morning doing various small jobs, watering, cleaning, bagging dry rosemary, harvesting spinach from the garden.
Afternoon we decide on a canoe trip, as it is the first non-windy day we’ve seen. However the current is still quite strong, we fight against it for a while and make it to the next village (distance?), where there is a nice bay, but the kids are getting cold and we paddle back quickly. Need to get them some waterproofs or similar for the kayak.
Day 106 – June 14th – Lukovo Sugarje
Fi painting wood stumps for garden path and various bits + pieces (chair, fence etc) in morning. Afternoon we go to help a neighbour clean their apartments, then to beach, Maja + Emir try out the canoe while we play on the beach. Spanakopita for dinner, made with spinach picked yesterday!
Day 107 – June 15th – Lukovo Sugarje
Day off, so we go to Paklenica national park boundary, also to collect some more drinking water. A short walk in the forest, a paddle in a nice river and a picnic lunch from Starigrad, then home for sleep. Afternoon we go down to the beach, first swim for G, S + Fiona! Water is frozen as usual, but today the air at least is much warmer than it’s been the last few days. We’re joined in our swim by some of the old people from the houses around! Evening we spend packing up once again, we’re getting pretty fast at it, ready to head back to Bologna tomorrow.
Day 108 – June 16th – Lukovo Sugarje to Bologna (italy)
Pack the last things into car in morning and set off just after 10. We’re hoping to be in Trieste by lunchtime, but by 1pm we’re just outside Rijeka, so we stop for lunch at a gas station, then head off again. Once we get through Slovenian border and into Italy, onto the motorway and we make it to Bologna by about 7pm. Very hot day in car!