Day 23+ The return
With our overnight ferry not leaving until 9 pm, we had a whole day in Split to explorer. Looking at the weather, something wet seemed best, and so we signed up for canyoneering! We figured out a place to keep our panniers and bikes and meet the guides for a great day of swimming, climbing around the river, jumping off rocks (30 ft!) and rappelling down next to waterfalls. No pictures due to lack of waterproof camera, but the guide will send some.
The ferry let us on at 7 pm so we bought some food for dinner and rode our bikes on with the huge trucks and campers. The ferry was super comfortable and our sleeper cabin even came with a shower! It was quite an experiencing, as the shower was also the toilet, and it wasn't clear how to manage that, but it worked super well in the small space and after showering with the toilet we all fell asleep quickly to the hum of the engines. At 6 am the stewart went around tapping on the doors to get everyone up. We packed and were peddling off the boat by 7 am to the train station a few km away.
At the train station we were able to catch a regional train (since they take bikes) to Bologna that was leaving in 10 min with a 3 hr trip. We arrived in Bologna very hungry, and found coffee and food and then did the challenging bike transfer to platform 7 (many train stations we were at had no way to get between platforms without carrying the bikes up and down stairs, and this one was no exception) for another 3 hr ride to Mestre Venice. Finally a short hop to Dolo on the train and a 6 km ride back to our starting point for the night and returning the bikes! Full circle!
Gianluca and his wife greeted us and we chatted about how the trip went and explained all we had done. They were quite surprised as they hadn't fully grasped the extent of our travel plans on the way out.
After the night there, we caught the bus to Venice where we spent 2 days exploring the city, Murano island, and all the beauty here. A great way to end the trip and we are ready to head out in a few hours for the 24 hrs of travel home!
Summary: Slovenia and the people won our hearts! We enjoyed it tremendously! Croatia seas are amazing and and we loved the ancient cities! We felt Croatia is probably best seen by sailboat if possible, but we did really get to experience a lot of the islands that are really off the beaten path. It was an incredible trip with challenges, triumphs, and a lot of laughter and some tears. We are so lucky to have been able to spend such an extended time together as a family in such an intimate way such as cycling.
We are entering a new adventure this fall with with Sara entering high school and Andrew heading off to Germany for a year (yikes!). We will have a German student living with us for the year as well which we are looking forward to. Trip finished, next adventure in the planning!