They would probably ask what the hell I’m doing to myself..
My flesh makes a good comparison to a peach – I’m always rocking a few mystery bruises and my legs are generally fuzzy. The former doesn’t exactly mix well with my adventurous spirit nor clumsy nature, but it does make for regular entertainment! And this is how the last weeks in Croatia left their marks on me for a while.
We had more or less done everything there was to do in Split and were looking for something to liven up the week. We discovered a canyon rife with sport climbing just down the coast in Omiš, a beautiful small town about 30 minutes from Split. Unfortunately one-bagging it around the world doesn’t leave much room for all the gear you need to climb so we had to send it on a day trip with a guide instead of just being able to DIY it.
The cheapskate in me didn’t love having to rent things I had sitting back at home but the money was worth it for the opportunity meet another local – COVID has made travel a bit isolating since, well, it’s still kind of dangerous to socialize with people you don’t know. Our guide was a super cool, kindred spirit and man of adventure. He’d been climbing for like 20 years (on top of biking, marathoning, and spear fishing) and glided up the routes like a wolf spider reincarnate. In my infinite (almost zero) experience, I obviously did not. But, I’m not one to turn down new challenges.
I wasn’t really sure if I’d actually like climbing but it’s been rewarding to push myself through a novel physical and mental gauntlet. I was able to top out two of the four routes I attempted before my arms felt useless and my feet were crying from the rental shoes. Apparently that was enough to impress our guide knowing my short history with the sport. I certainly have surprised myself given my small stature and general lack of coordination, on top of the fact that I broke my leg the first time and only time I gave bouldering a shot.
The coast and canyon were so pretty that even after a great morning of turning our limbs to jello, we hadn’t gotten our fill. Luckily there was a roadtrip plan in the works for the following weekend, so we added it to the list! Little did I know, this would also add more color to my lovely canvas of lower legs (:
Now this is some full circle irony about to play out. Like I mentioned previously, I broke my leg bouldering. This prevented me from experiencing my first motorcycle ride slated for later that same day. Well, after seven years of doing neither, Omiš would be the place I’d end up successfully(?) doing both.
It wouldn’t be without mishap though, as most things I try for the first time. That next weekend we set off on a national park tour on the back of a bike. We detoured back through Omiš on the way to a mountain pass… and with mountains come switchbacks. On literally the first hairpin turn, the jockey forgot the basic rules of manual transmissions and didn’t downshift, killing the engine.
We were on the inside of the turn, on narrow country roads (read: no shoulder) and having just lost power, started a movie reel slow-motion tipover down the sloping edge. Somehow all three of us came out with minimal damage – thank God the bike didn’t roll down the hill onto us – but it did smush my ankle enough to leave me two goose eggs.. inches from where I broke my fibula years ago 🤣
After we righted the bike, inspected it, and laughed off the tumble, the natural thing to do was get back in the saddle and keep going. Except it wouldn’t start. It took an embarrassing amount of time for us to figure out that the bike could roll start, but theoretically needing a hill to get going didn’t give me the warm & fuzzies about three more days of riding.
We tried to call the rental shop to figure out what to do, and only after stopping for lunch realized that we’d been trying to start the bike standing, with the kickstand down. For those of you who also have no clue about motorcycles, some of them apparently have a mechanism that stops the engine when you flip the kickstand for ease of stopping. Insert facepalm 🤦🏼♀️
You might bet at this point that think I’m done with the bodily harm and hilarity, but just like Vegas, the house usually wins. Details, including non-injurious beauty of the Croatian countryside, coming in a future post…