Paradise Lost (At Least For Another Year)
It's said the water along the Croatian coast is so clean and clear because it comes up from undeveloped Albania, thus no pollution.
I am back in Prague, having spent the past two weeks in the lovely Croatian village of Brela, 50 kilometers south of Split, on the Adriatic Sea, where the water is swimming-pool clean and clear, the white wine is crisp and cold, the calamari is lightly grilled and tender, and all is right with the world.
We first went there because "Forbes" magazine had voted Brela as having one of the world's 10 best beaches. It's also still unspoiled by overdevelopment, and boasts some eight kilometers of beachside walkways shaded by overhanging pines. There's nothing not to like.
We love it there.
It's our fourth year in a row in Brela. It's nice to know exactly where you're going and what you're going to be doing -- swimming, reading, drinking, eating and socializing with great friends.
Stewart and his family joined us for one week of our stay.
In fact, they're still there as I write this. Stewart and his two boys are staying for a total of three weeks.
The closest we got to riding came when Stewart rented a paddle boat (right) and he and I pedaled out to sea with the kids.
I am eager to get back in the saddle.
Unfortunatley, I seem to have caught a post-vacation cold (the weather in Prague has mostly been cloudy and chilly, of course), and am not feeling great at the moment. I'd hoped to have been out by now, but you don't want to hear excuses, so I will only say I will be back on the trails as soon as I can, most likely this weekend.
This uninhibited family stood right in front of me as they bought some figs and watermelon from the fruit boat that arrived on our beach every day. I had no choice but to snap this photo.
In the meantime, I plan to post my thoughts -- hopefully tomorrow -- about an article in this week's "Prague Post" newspaper about cycling accidents in the Czech Republic. A lot was said in the article, and a lot was left unsaid. I'll help with the latter.
In the meantime, I'll post a few photos from my trip in the hopes that it will inspire you, too, to check out Croatia for a holiday.
You will not be disappointed. For once, the advertising is spot-on -- Croatia really does seem like the Mediterranean as it once was.
Ships in the harbor at sunset in Baska Voda, a village just south of Brela (above), and in the harbor in Brela itself (below).
The setting sun cast a silvery light on the Adriatic one evening as we watched from our balcony.
A parasailor is caught in midflight against a backdrop of unusual clouds in Brela. To me, this almost looks like a picture taken of the Earth from space.
Brela is a small, quiet place overwhelmed by the Biokovo mountains that rise above it.
A classic view as the sun sets behind the spectacular mountains that stick out like the spikes on a stegosaurus' back along the coast south of Split.