Saturday, August 30, 2008

Buffet Strategies: Eat the High Dollar Items First

Day 336
Zagreb to Mostanje
Time: 4:04:00
Distance: 70.90 kilometers
Avg Speed: 17.4 kph
Terrain: Flat
Location: N 45˚ 27’ 59.7”, E 15˚ 33’ 34.2”

We enjoyed our second morning of a great breakfast buffet. Unfortunately, we haven’t been riding enough in the last few days and our per plate average was pretty low. Last evening I was getting psyched up for the feeding frenzy and discussing options with Chris. Should I start with the healthy stuff and then work my way to the eggs, butter and croissants? His cold, calculated response was “eat the high dollar items first, period.” I guess if you grew up in Reno you would know how to tackle a buffet.
Our first day riding in Croatia was very pleasant. We rolled out of town with a bike lane part of the way and then found the country roads fairly quickly. We are once again in farm country and passed row upon row of corn. We enjoyed all of the little villages along the way – familiar territory.
Time for the geography lesson…
Croatia is almost as much sea as it is land. The land area is just under 57,000 km² while the sea area is a bit over 31,000 km². The landscape is diverse and has both continental and maritime climates. Interestingly enough, it is possible to see ocean, karst topography, forests, mountains, and plains, all within 100 kilometers. The highest peak, Dinara, rises to 1,831 meters.
On the political front, Croatia has seen its fair share of war and conflict in the last 15 years. Independence from the Yugoslavian communist regime was declared in 1991 but heavy fighting broke out as minority rights were not guaranteed and many Serbs were dismissed from public service. The conflict lasted for six months in which 10,000 people died, hundreds of thousands escaped, and massive amounts of homes were destroyed. I’m sure remnants of those days will be visible at some point along the way. I’m also sure it will be a candid reminder of how good we have it in the States.
Finally, there are definitely a few interesting people in history that were Croatian. Nikola Tesla, scientist not band member, is responsible for many contributions to science. His most significant was the innovation of alternating current. Ivan Vučetić invented the modern fingerprint method called dactiloscopy.
Tomorrow we hope to pedal to Plitvice National Park, spend a rest day, and then make a push for the coast. We’re looking forward to discovering, as Alfred Hitchcock once declared, “the most beautiful sunset in the world”.

Hope all is well with you,

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