Beauty of Dalmatian islands is unsurpassed. The air, the scents and the sounds are something special. I was enjoying every breath, every view and every melody this amazing nature created, while I was riding from Bozava towards Sali.
I didn't join my team Velebitasi for a nap in the grove near by the lighthouse on Veli rat, a place that emanates very special energy (something that Sai Baba himself mentioned when he was there). Instead, we woke up in Bozava, where our hosts from TZ Sali set us up. I don't know what this place looks like at the height of the season, but the view from my room, looking over few small houses, a small marina with a couple of yachts and a completely calm sea in a green bay, seemed more like some surreal picture from a dream than a scene from a real life. And nothing was disturbing this perfectly serene peace and quiet.
The one and only road on this island, 45 km in its length, connects Veli rat with Sali, that is the Telascica bay. It is beautiful for cycling since it is pretty flat, and the sights are magnificent. There are views over the unique sandy lagoon Saharun, the playful island ridge, there are small bays casting glimpses to the open seas and to Italy, there are small places nested afoot of small hills and bays turned to the shore and one of the most beautiful Croatian waters with a dozen of islands spread between Dugi otok, Ugljan and Pasman.
I'm just whizzing through these kilometers of delicious sights and sounds, filled with gorgeous scents of blooming Mediterranean, accompanied by a buzzing orchestra of bees and bumble bees completely drunk on flower nectar. This is another destination where I could just spend endless days and months exploring everything around me, but for now its all being left behind under my wheels. I know I won't get a chance to see some amazing gaping holes of underground tunnels from the old Navy, nor will I have time to have fun on some magnificent, hundred meters high cliffs and roam around in centuries old vineyards, orchards and fields. Every so often there is yet another sign pointing to some interesting landmark which I'm not going to have time for. Reading these guides I'm becoming aware of the fact how nearly every place around here seems to have a thousand year old history to it. I'm beginning to wonder how aware are we of this absolutely priceless, abundant heritage we've been given?
Easter in Sali. After the Easter mass we were given a very spontaneous welcome organized by Ante Mihic, head of the town library and spiritus movens of numerous unusual and unique projects on the island. At the end of this religious promenade in the church of Uznesenja Marijina from the 15th century (which, of course, isn't the eldest, but was built in place of an earlier pre-Romanesque church) I was greeted by Ante with a welcome speech and a short, but formal interview, and by the director of the Tourist board Ivana Mirkovic.
Our cameraman Marko hasn't been the same since he got to Dugi Otok. He adores Sali and has been coming here for over fifteen years. And Sali feels the same for Marko. Wherever he appears, women, men, young and old come to say hello. I don't know what he's been up to in this lovely place, but it's pretty obvious it was good times. He took us through small streets of the town, telling us with such sincere affection, stories about almost every house, every yard, every corner... He showed us a palm tree with a fig tree growing underneath its tree top, he showed us a ruin of the legendary „Betula“ club, destroyed by the locals, visitors and the owner Motka, another special soul from Sali, when he couldn't get a location permit.... Marko took us to „Lincarnica“, a concrete plateau on the docks perfect for lazing around since it is in the shade for most of the day, telling us all the tales and adventures of this little town that got under his skin.
Next, we were sipping coffee at a patisserie by the sea and trying to think where to go for a meal, since all shops and restaurants in the place are closed due to Easter break. At that point a very cheerful girl approaches us inviting us to her home. She says we are not going to have anyplace else to go for food, and that she and her family are certainly not going to let us starve. We are soon sipping homemade walnut brandy and Bozo's white wine, and feasting on his wife's cakes, with Maja serving us food and making us feel as part of the family. At their lovely terrace we are soon joined by Motka with his unbelievable stories and comments about the island. And then, the young representative of the legendary Tovareca muzika, and a few of Maja's friends started singing. Everyone else of course joined in and it was a proper little celebration.
An unforgettable Easter and a great end to a letter „L“.