I slept in this morning and didn't leave until well after 9am. I pedalled the short distance to Ploče in search of breakfast. Today was a search for proper food and suncream. I probably failed, no suncream and only apples, bread and tomatoes.
Ploče has a Lidl where a friendly security guard came over to me and started chatting. I was a bit too grumpy to really engage with him but as I sat outside to devour a loaf of bread he bought an energy drink and followed me out to the carpark. We then had some sort of conversation where he showed me his bike and I explained where I was going on my bike.
I carried on with a raging headwind and a dull, busy and hilly road. Despite rolling through lots of small towns I felt totally isolated and totally alone. I stopped off in a large town for lunch to escape the midday heat. A pizza and Wi-Fi raised my morale and provided respite from todays 48 degree (celcius) heat. It also allowed me to go to the toilet, avoiding the need to squat by the road!
My hands were suffering today though. Both my ring and little finger of each hand were tingling and numb. [They are still tingling today as I'm writing this - nearly 1 month later - although I do have feeling in them now].
Besides the finger pain the heat was the main problem with the headwind making the stifling temperature slightly more bearable, although having no suncream did mean I could feel myself burning fast. After what felt like forever I could see Split in the distance and instead of continuing up the Croatia coast I decided to get the ferry to Ancona, Italy. I was sick of the one, busy coastal road littered with hills and headwinds and saw the ferry as my escape route. Italy would be a change of scenery at least.
After dodging the hustle and bustle of the ticket office I queued up to get on the ferry. Here I finally spoke to some people. Firstly, a Croatian doing his first cycle tour in Italy who was amazed at how little I was carrying and secondly an American from Denver who'd just finished interrailing and was on their way back to Rome.
The day was finished off with a long phone conversation home, a nice shower and a chane to wash my clothes, I could go to bed happy tonight.
I was hoping for a tailwind at the very least, to perhaps end my depressive self-pity party slog that had been Dubrovnik to Croatia. Whilst in Split I remember looking back on the previous two days and feeling they were simply miserable and I would rather have been anywhere than on the busy Croatian coast. However looking back retrospectively a month later, as these things always do, the pain fades and I look back on it through rose-tinted lenses, having learnt lots of lessons and seen some amazing scenery. It's this retrospective rose-tinting that leads all of us to question whether we really pushed ourselves hard enough, or if we could've gone further.