written 22nd April
No really, it is! Well it says it is anyway... Good enough for me :)
We did find somewhere to stop eventually on Tuesday night after driving much further than we anticipated. We are not totally sure that small vans are welcome overnight outside of campsites so are very picky about where we stop. In Slovenia there were at least some spots marked on the map and in other places we tucked ourselves away somewhere quiet and cooked in the dark. here we tend to cook in one place then park very very quietly somewhere else, trying to hide ourselves in residents parking and the like where there are plenty of other cars overnight. Bit of a worry at times but have been ok so far - out of season probably helps, as does being in something small and car sized which isn't the traditional white motorhome shape. The legal limit for alcohol and driving - which is zero! - is also leading to a change in lifestyle as, because we are not 100% sure we won't get moved on, we can't risk even small beer or glass of something in the evening - would be pretty terrible to get done for illegal camping and then DUI at the same time! Yes I know we could stop in campsites but we're kinda out of the habit of that now - freeloaders that we are... ;) - and have better things to spend the budget on anyway, like beautiful lakes and the promise of icecream to come.
Pag is unexpected and gorgeous, in a way which is totally impossible to capture without being a better photographer than I and having a fancy panoramic lens.
It is connected to a peninsula of mainland by a bridge and the difference is marked as soon as you cross over. There are bushes and grass on the mainland but nothing but cream rocks as far as the eye can see on the other. Pag consists of four long, thin, stretched out islands which are loosely connected together round elongated bays, the whole ensemble extending finger-like into the Adriatic, with . The main town, also called Pag, is about halfway up, spanning an long inlet, and it was there we headed first.
There are two famous things about Pag, we discovered from the tourist office; lace and cheese.
Pag cheese is also pretty special. It is sheeps cheese, from the sheep which graze free range on what flora the landscape does sustain and the tang of the salt which permeates the ground and the plants is transmitted to the milk they produce. The cheese is apparently only made from milk collected in May, when the flavour is deemed to be at its peak, and it is left unpasteurised to allow the flavour to develop further during fermentation. Once it is made, it is rubbed with sea salt and olive oil and left to age for 6-12 months in stone. And it is yummy.
I was very nearly not allowed to buy any! Evil husband who spoils all my fun, said I still had montepulciano cheese left, not to mention gran padana so didn't need any more cheese! Since the horrible spanish cheese incident, I have a new policy on cheese, whereby I will spend more money per kilogram on small amounts of nice or special cheese and make it last, rather than the same amount of money on larger quantities of cheap (but at least of the right country)supermarket cheese which I may not like. As a plan it is working (and it is definitely better for the quest for fitness) and as I say, I surprisingly still have some yummy montepulciano cheese to nibble on, but still, this is not a valid reason to be denied new special cheese, particularly as I missed out on Slovenian cheese from Bohinj (evil husband wouldn't take me to the alpine dairy museum and cheese shop in the village round the lake) and as I keep telling him, the gran padana/parmesan is an ingredient of dinner, not cheese for pleasure!
Fortunately he is not actually evil and he does pander to my every whim (and fix my van) even after 10yrs together, three years of marriage and six months living in a small campervan - lovely husband - so I did get my delicious cheese, albeit by advice from the tourist office, from a supermarket where you can buy smaller quantities, rather than my romantic notion of haggling on a farm doorstep. Ho hum, can't have everything.
The path profile shown looked a bit alarming at first - very steep - but it soon became apparent that that was the xy scales used - x axis: 1cm = 1km, y axis: 1cm = 10m - which made it steep, not the physical landscape :) it was actually rather pleasant, if quite stony and jarred my arms a lot going over rocks or into ruts - despite what my bike may proclaim, I am distinctly not serious about mountains, or even slightly bumpy tracks, give me nice smooth tarmac any day!
try anything once (well twice but that is another story...)
Today has been usefully spent in a bit of fettling on Will's part and some photo sorting and uploading on mine - flickr is now up to date as far as february and gun emplacements... I have a long way to go... The camera - which is excellent, thanks to Austin for his expert recommendation! - which was bought specially for ths trip as a leaving present from work as the old one stopped focusing with 2 weeks to go... - thanks so much to everyone! - has just clicked round to into the 6,000th picture taken. I am a bit behind...