Bill and Peggy's Travels

Retired
Living in: St. John's, Canada
  • Day21

    Lucca & Cinque Terre

    May 24, 2019 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    After Tuscany, it was on to Lucca, a small town that boasts something unique, a huge, perfectly preserved defensive city wall 4 km long, 12 m high, and nearly 30 m wide. By the standards of the day, it was an ideal defence system, never attacked since 1430. The walls may have been built to keep people out, but these days they are one of the reasons thousands of visitors flock here every year. Wide and tree-lined, they make the perfect spot for a walk or a bike ride.

    Along an isolated six-mile stretch of the Italian Riviera lies the Cinque Terre — five (cinque) small, traffic-free towns amazingly carved out of seaside cliffs. There isn't a Fiat or museum in sight — just sun, sea, sand, and wine. The Cinque Terre is a national park where all can enjoy the villages, hiking, swimming, boat rides, and evening romance of one of God’s great gifts to tourism. We spent our day hiking from Monterosso to Vernazza, exploring the villages, and sitting at a seaside bar enjoying some local wines. A great way to finish our three week trip to Croatia & Italy.

    So that’s a wrap for now!! Hope you enjoyed our travel blog. Until the next time, bon journo!! 😄😄😄
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  • Day19

    Tuscany: Volterra & San Gimignano

    May 22, 2019 in Italy ⋅ 🌫 14 °C

    Just a two-hour drive from Florence, you'll find Volterra, a walled hilltop town in the Tuscany region of Italy. This town has perhaps the best sightseeing of all of Italy’s small hill towns and plenty of history dating back to the 8th century B.C. Its out-of-the-way location keeps it from being trampled by visitors, and so this was an ideal location for us after bike tour in Croatia.
    One interesting story here was of the 2300 year old Etruscan Arch that was part of the defensive wall surrounding the town. During World War 2, the German army was retreating from Volterra on June 25, 1944. The locals were told that the Archway was going to be blown up the next morning to slow down the Allies who were approaching the next day. To save the Arch, locals worked through the night digging up paving stones making up their road and piling them up to build a wall within the Arch. The Germans decided that they wouldn’t waste their dynamite, and so the Arch was saved.
    San Gimignano is the epitome of a Tuscan hill town, with 14 medieval towers still standing (out of an original 72). Packed with tourists, this nearby town was worth a morning stopover with breathtaking views.
    Siena is nearby as well, and that is best known for its huge square (the largest in Italy) where the famous Palio horse race is held every year.
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  • Day15

    Last stop in Croatia: Solta & Trogir

    May 18, 2019 in Croatia ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    Our last cycle day was on the beautiful island of Solta. Weaving through small villages with many abandoned homes, I couldn’t help but think of rural Newfoundland. The town of Makarska was beautiful, a scaled down version of Split with far less tourists.

  • Day13

    The Island of Hvar

    May 16, 2019 in Croatia ⋅ ☀️ 16 °C

    Hvar has a hip, upscale-ritzy “Croatian Riviera” buzz and has turned into one of the most popular destinations in Croatia.
    Yachts are tied up five deep in the harbour with lots of wealthy yuppies dressing up for a night on the town. The formidable fortress hovering above town rewards hikers with stunning views.

    Dry stone walls are as much part of the landscape here on Hvar as they are in Ireland and Scotland. Over there, they pretty much mark the owners’s property, but on the Dalmatian coast they’re entirely necessary to hold in the soil. There would simply be no agriculture in this steep landscape without the back-breaking work over many generations to clear the stones – and keep them cleared!

    Today, we did two rides across the island of Hvar. The first two hour trek began with a 12 kilometre climb followed by another 12 km straight downhill with magnificent views of the ocean along the way. In the afternoon, there was a more leisurely 23 km ride through lavender fields, olive groves, and vineyards on a road that was initially built by the Greeks in the 4th century B.C.
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  • Day11

    Biking Trstenik, Mjlet, & Korcula

    May 14, 2019, Adriatic Sea ⋅ 🌬 16 °C

    Our boat docked for the third night of the tour at the small town of Trstenik with beautiful scenery, a nice beach, a few restaurants, and lots of abandoned houses from days of a fishery past. We were told that 400,000 people (10% of the population) have moved away from Croatia to the bigger cities of Europe.

    Next stop for cycling was the National Park on the island of Mljet, the most beautiful and most forested island in the Adriatic. The Park makes up most of the island, and there are two salt water lakes here along with a Benedictine monastery on the island of St. Mary. Cycling here might have been the best of our trip with little traffic, warm temperatures, and great scenery.

    That night, the boat moved on to the island of Korcula. The walled town of Korcula is called “Little Dubrovnik” because of its medieval defensive walls and towers, squares, palaces, churches, palaces, and red-roofed houses. It’s also where Marco Polo, the famous world-traveller and writer, is reputed to have been born.

    Our 5 hour bike ride today took us 58 km across the island with a very hard climb of 750 meters. (Thank God for the e-bikes!) To put that in perspective, Marble Mountain’s elevation is only 536 meters.
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  • Day8

    Boat and Bike Tour: The Island of Brac

    May 11, 2019 in Croatia ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

    After leaving Split, our boat sailed for the island of Brac, where we did our first cycling. It was a scenic 25 km climb, very steep hills, but everyone was glad we had the little assist from our e-bikes.
    Brac is most famous for its beautiful white limestone which has been exploited since the days of Ancient Rome. The Diocletian Palace in Split was built from the Brac stone as well as parts of the White House in Washington D.C. Beautiful beaches and plentiful olive trees make Brac a great stop to begin our biking tour.
    Some rain on Day 2 resulted in a change of plans. A Newfoundland singsong, a game of cards, and the Captain’s Banquet resulted in a great time anyway.
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  • Day7

    Split and the Diocletian Palace

    May 10, 2019 in Croatia ⋅ ☀️ 20 °C

    Split is known for its beaches and its fortress-like complex, the Diocletian Palace. The Roman emperor Diocletian wanted to retire here so he built this huge palace over a ten year period from the year 295 to 305. Eventually, the Palace was abandoned but the Roman ruins here remain some of the best this side of Italy. Today, the maze of narrow alleys serve as home to fashionable boutiques, galleries, cafes, and restaurants with Roman artifacts around every corner.Read more

  • Day6

    On top of Mount Srd

    May 9, 2019 in Croatia ⋅ 🌧 14 °C

    We had a great last day in Dubrovnik climbing to the highest point at Mount Srd, a low mountain just behind the walled city. At its top is a large white stone cross and Fort Imperial, a defensive structure built by the French in 1810 during the Napoleonic Wars. From Srđ, it is possible to see the walled city of Dubrovnik, Lokrum island, and the Adriatic Sea.
    On our last night there, we experienced some Croatian cuisine at a local farmhouse. They cooked the main course of lamb and beef under the bell. When there is enough hot coal, they put the entire bell (with food inside) on the coals and covered the lid with some more hot coals, so that it is baked from under and above. This way, the meat slowly cooks in its own juices. Delicious!!
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  • Day5

    Dubrovnik, a Little Piece of Paradise!

    May 8, 2019 in Croatia ⋅ ☀️ 16 °C

    Dubrovnik feels like a small town today, but 500 years ago it was a major maritime power. Still jutting confidently into the sea and ringed by thick medieval walls, Dubrovnik still deserves its nickname: the Pearl if the Adriatic.

  • Day0

    Croatia Boat & Bike Tour 2019

    May 1, 2019 in Canada ⋅ ⛅ 5 °C

    It was once said, “Those who seek paradise on earth should come to Dubrovnik”.

    And so it’s off to Croatia we go this Saturday, May 4, seeking a little glimpse of the city voted as the “most instagrammable place in Europe”!

    Looking forward to this.

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