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Chapter 3: The Riders of the Zodiac.

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We grabbed our gear, paid the butler and set off. And in the first 10 minutes of pedaling, we were already lost, the GPSsent us one way, then the other, a lot of uphill zigzagging, going up almost the whole way we had come down the previous day. And to avoid the main highway, the GPS took us into a parallel road that passed through several villages, the difference is that the highway didn't have many uphill sections or curves, while on the parallel roads there were plenty of curves, and ups and downs, and almost no endgame. Long story short: on that parallel road, we did 18 kms in 2h20 of cycling, yes, that's right, now you have a pretty good idea of how much we went up and down that morning, so many hills! In my physical peak and on flat terrain, I've already done 110 kms in 4 hours of straight pedaling without a single stop!

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With the hour or two of sunlight that we had left, we pitched our tents and settled in without much of a hurry. We had our first Croatian beer, Kar- lovacko, like the Croatian standard beer, we played with some kittens that were lost in the neighborhood, about seven or eight of them, and we later went to eat something in the restaurant next door, and I took the opportunity to write and edit a week's worth of traveling that I hadn't written about yet.

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And it was during this stop to eat that the rain started to pour and the fog thickened for good, the clouds that previously seemed grey now opened up on us, I could feel how much rain they were carrying and we couldn't see much in front of us. And we cycled through that harsh, cold, wet and dangerous weather for 12 kms, until we arrived in Prizna.

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All I know is that on the E65, where we were pedaling, we started to see signs showing a ship pictogram and asking to take route 406 to the right, and that’s what we did, we turned right and started to descend, and the wet wind lashed at what little skin of my face showed between the helmet I was wearing and the scarf that covered the my neck, mouth and nose.

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Tired of so much climbing, we arrived in Novalja, for a change there wasn't a living soul along the way and the water was pouring down the gutter on the sidewalk, the rain came down really hard, but it would soon stop. Hotels, hostels, everything that could serve as a shelter, were all closed. And we went down, entering the city and hoping to find something. We pedaled, and pedaled, we went down a long road until, standing between houses and small buildings, I saw a door and an old blue car parked out- side. There was a little sign on the door that read "Apartments for Rent", I had nothing to lose, I stopped to knock on the door to see if anyone was in and a nice lady, with wild eyes, came out and said something in a foreign language, probably Croatian.


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After we settled down in our rooms, an shooed the cats that surrounded us everywhere, we went to visit the surroundings, the touristic part, which is very small, you can see it all in less than five hours. The main attraction is the Sea Organ and the sunset one can watch from it, which was really beautiful! The maritime organ - or Sea Organ, as it is known - is an inte- resting work, to say the least, designed by Nikola Basic in 2005 as part of a strategy to recover the Zadar coast from the damage of World War II and thus attract more tourists, and it worked! It's an experimental musical ins- trument made from white marble steps and a set of tubes that is underwater.

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The Zadarian technical day!

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And I suddenly realized that it was karaoke night in the pub, and a bunch of weird Croatian songs kept playing, the music was awful, but the beer and the women made up for it. In between beers, our alcohol level went up and our shame was gone, it was time to make ourselves known, and nothing better than to sing karaoke in front of everyone there, yep, the alcohol level really was through the roof! And there I went to talk to the DJ, I asked if he had any Brazilian songs on his computer, expecting him to say no and me to get that "At least I tried" feeling and that's it, only he did have some! Of course, it wasn't Sepultura or Ratos de Porão, it was obviously college country music, and even more obviously it was Michel Teló's "Ai Se Eu Te Pego". As I was in a place far from home - very far away - where no one had any idea who I was, I told the DJ to start playing the music...

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We had breakfast, we listened to Dimitri talking about zucchini for the last time, and we left. The initial plan was to continue cycling to Šibenik that day and to Split the next, only due to technical causes (read, a hangover and our total lack of shame), we had to move to "plan B". Already in Split and once again, a very well preserved location and another trace of Roman presence along the Adriatic. Split was also declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, and you can quickly see why with a look at the buildings which mostly date to the Middle Age and the Renaissance. 


Quer saber como é pedalar e se aventurar pela Europa? Saiba todos os detalhes da aventura com o livro "Pelos Cantos da Europa", já a venda nas principais livrarias e plataformas digitais!

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