Could this really be the final day? Do we want this to be the final day? Can we do this for one more day?
Lots of questions hung out there with varied answers as we readied for an 8:45 AM departure to ride up the Peljesac peninsula toward Dubrovnik. Tonight we would be in Dubrovnik and the bikes would be cinched atop the Andiamo van on a ferry back to Italy. We would be afoot in a very different milieu.
Spirits were high—hurrah!—for the last day, and Jeff T., Ken, Pat, Ben, Laura (Andiamo guides) and I left early so as to ride 11 km up the mountain above Orebic before the others would van up and join us at the top. We were sweaty wet after 2 late kms of 9-10% slopes and pulled off on a side road to wait for the others to arrive.
Then we all headed off down the busy main road for a few kms until we could turn off through a tunnel to a coastal road where few cars interfered with kodachrome coastal views. We gradually descended until we reached the Grgich winery—famous for its founder, Mike Grgich, a native Croat who first put California wines on the international map before returning to build this winery on the Adriatic Ocean.
We sampled, purchased and took advantage of the photo op, then returned to our day’s work—a 4 km climb back up to the main road down the Peljesac’s spine. That earned us a light picnic at an overlook, which we followed with a long slow rolling descent toward the mainland and the historic town of Ston. Ston has lots of rock, of course, like all of Croatia, but is actually best known for its salt.
It was the end of the road for us. Ben and Laura loaded up the bikes while we savored pizza and beer at a local cafe. Then we piled into the vans and headed to Dubrovnik—but not without a stop at a local oyster shack to sample the region’s famous fresh oysters.