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Published: October 21st 2011
Monday, October 17
We had a leisurely morning in our beautiful suite in Podstrana. As we now had three "open" days with nothing planned, we decided to drive to Ploce and take the ferry to the Peljesac Peninsula. We had a nice drive down the coast along the Makarska Riviera. Beautiful coastline! It took a while to find the ferry in Ploce. We had an hour-long ride across the Korculanski Channel to Trpanj, then drove about 17 km to the coastal town of Orebic, and parked near the ferry dock.
We had planned to visit the tourist office to arrange our room, but it was closed in the afternoon. So we found an internet cafe and tried to book a room, but had no time really to wait for email replies. The cafe owner gave us the name of a place to have lunch (it was now about 4:00 pm) and while we drove along the little shoreline road (think of the Stanley Park seawall!) we passed a man in his front yard. We stopped and Jill asked him where we might spend the night. He said his neighbour rented out rooms and he called her. We checked out
her rooms and decided to spend the night there.
We decided to have dinner instead of lunch, but had trouble finding any restaurant open; it is the off season here. After walking up and down the main street looking for an open restaurant, Jill finally stopped at a bar and asked the owner where we could find a place open. On his recommendation, we drove about 4 km down the road to the next (even smaller) town and had a nice dinner there.
Tuesday, October 18
We had a rather cold night. I woke up early, went to the kitchen and turned on the stove to warm up. Apparently, most of the rentals have no heat; just air conditioning. After breakfast, we decided to move on to Korcula Island. Fred went online to book us a place just outside of Korcula town. We caught the 11:30 ferry, and were at our new place in an hour.
It's the Castello, a very nice place on the side of a hill overlooking a small bay. It has two unheated pools, several levels with terraces and lovely rooms--with heat! We explored the little bay then drove into town for
lunch where I had my first fresh octopus salad - delicious! (See picture) We then drove out to the village of Lombardo through a very narrow road (basically one lane enclosed by a stone wall on one side and a wire fence on the other) to see one of the celebrated sandy beaches of Croatia. Most beaches are pebble or gravel in Croatia. This one had sand and was about half the length of Kitsilano Beach.
That night I cooked dinner and had the Mioskas over to our room. We each made Skype calls to our children (who were all hard at work, heh, heh).
Wednesday, October 19
It's a cloudy day today, but a bit warmer. We had a "sleep in" morning. Finally at 10:45 am, we got going and drove into Korcula town and walked the old town battlements and streets. Again, lots of stone and lots of churches. After criss-crossing the old town, we stopped for a nice lunch in the sunshine. Jill had real fish and chips... that is deep fried sardines with French fries! (See picture!) Then we drove about 40 km to Vela Luca on the north end of the island.
We walked around there a bit and headed back for dinner at our place.
I decided to have grilled squid. When it came, I was astounded to find that it consisted of two big squids which had been pan-fried in olive oil. I found it hard to eat as the meat was very rubbery and the tentacles were just plain ugly! I did manage to eat most of it.
Thursday, October 20
We left the Castello about 9:30 to catch the 10:10 ferry. Everything about their ferry service is casual... they don't sell tickets until about ten minutes before the sailing, there is only one guy telling you where to park, etc. Also when you arrive, everyone basically jockeys for position to leave, you actually start leaving before the ship is tied up and everyone starts their engines about 5 minutes before you dock so the exhaust fumes are pretty bad. BC Ferries would laugh at these guys!
As soon as we got off the ferry, we stopped for coffee as we hadn't had any, and then continued south to the Matuska Winery. This is an amazing operation!
First they have to clear the land
and crush all the rock to get it fine enough to plant the grapes. Then they have to build rock terraces all the way up the slope. This is very expensive. Fortunately, the grapes need no irrigation as they seem to thrive in this semi-arid area. The Dingac grapes are grown high on the hillside on the south cliffside slope of the peninsula, then harvested and trucked to the north side through a 400 metre tunnel cut through the mountain ridge. This year was the best year since 2000 for wine as the summer was unseasonably warm with temperatures in the forties Celsius for several weeks!
Jill, Fred and Maureen tried half a dozen wines before noon and were quite "giddy" for the next few hours. We bought several different types of wines then continued south along the coastal route which again amazed us, not only for the beautiful, rugged coastline seen from high up the side of the mountainous ridge, but also for the fact that the road was very narrow and winding and there were no guard rails! In many places there was a sheer drop of hundreds of feet down the embankment. I suppose as a
concession to safety, the Croatians made the speed limit 30 km per hour which I had difficulty reaching as we were crawling very slowly along! Also, this was a little-used road, so passing was not an issue as we only saw 2 cars in 25 kilometres. We stopped at a small seaside town and sat on benches to eat our picnic lunch while enjoying the view of the harbour.
Soon we reached the small, well fortified town of Ston. It had a huge stone wall surrounding most of the town as well as walls going up into the hills above for protection from that side. We walked the walls around the town and up into the hills above where the view was spectacular.
Finally we arrived at House Tereza right on the waterfront in Zaton and met our host whose name is Tereza! We settled in, had some wine on the terrace beside the water and relaxed. Later we walked part way around the small bay to a restaurant for dinner.
Friday, October 21
The weather has finally changed to a light rain and wind with 18 degrees Celsius. We decided last night to sleep in,
and I slept from about 10:30 pm to 8:30 am! House Tereza has a toaster! The girls really wanted toast for breakfast so we had soft boiled eggs and toast--comfort food on a cloudy day.
Jill, Fred and I went for a walk around the bay. We were able to walk beside the water the whole way. At the far end of our walk we climbed a knoll in a park for a view over the north side of the Dubrovnik area, and then returned. We had a canine friend with us for the two hours we were walking. It was sunny during lunch so we decided to hang out here for the rest of the day!
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