Happy May Day
Monday 22/04/2019 to 27/04/2019
Orebić, Peljesac peninsular
The port of Ploče was an interesting place. With it being Easter Monday, the inhabitants were gathered in the town square enjoying a loud PA system blasting out music, stalls of food and drink and a giant straw rabbit with real baby bunnies running around its base trying to avoid being prodded by small children through the wire fence. We arrived early for the ferry and were a little disappointed that the Lidl wasn’t open (that’s bank holidays for you!). We tried to find somewhere to park up (after already being moved on by a port official) and were rescued by a man in a big white van shouting “follow me”. We didn’t feel we could refuse such an offer and after a couple of minutes his arm appeared from the window gesturing off to a road on the left before he heading off up the road. Sure enough, we found a great
place to park for a couple of hours. The harbour area was pretty with miniature palm trees and lots of greenery. Overlooking the harbour were run down grey concrete housing blocks. At first we both thought they were half derelict and deserted but no, they were all inhabited. At the other side of the harbour is the industrial port with huge heaps of iron ore, coal and scrap iron. It is ranked as the second largest port in Croatia, hence the blocks of flats which I guess house port employees and their families.
The ferry journey to Trpanj was very pleasant and on disembarkation, we headed across to the other side of the peninsular to Camp Nevio on the outskirts of Orebić. The large campsite stretches from the main road down a steep hill to the sea. The terraced pitches all have lovely views of the sea and the island of Korčula. Being out of season, it was very peaceful but I can image that in the height of summer, it is a very different experience.
Orebić town is beautiful. It has a rich maritime tradition and during the 19th century, it had 17 of the most important nautical captains in Austria-Hungary Empire
living there in large beautiful Italian style villas. These buildings still stand and seem to be mainly hotels or holiday houses.
We spent a couple of evenings in Orebić enjoying nice food and watching the world go by over a glass of local wine. The very best of the plavac mali grape is grown nearby on barren, steep, sun baked terrain where harvesting is done by hand. Apparently it is these conditions that give it an intense flavour. I’m guessing that the £4 litre bottles of plavac mali I have been drinking aren’t quite the same quality.
The ferry to the island of Korčula goes from the small harbour and takes you straight Korčula town. It is described in our guide book as miniature Dubrovnik with plenty to explore. We climbed the bell tower to get an aerial
view before wandering through the narrow traffic free marble streets. All very beautiful.
Towering behind Orebić is Mount Ilija with various hiking trails taking you to its peak at 961 metres. The walk up was reasonably easy. We saw a couple of mouflon (wild sheep) and a herd of french walkers. The traverse down was little more interesting as the terrain on the east side of the mountain is more steep and rocky. The views at the top of the hill are stunning. We could see the length and breadth of the peninsular, Hvar island and over to the Makarska Riviera on the mainland.
The village of Loviste is at the tip of the peninsular and was our destination as we cycled along the coast through the villages of Kućište and Viganj. It is windsurfer / kite surfer paradise and we stopped to watch their skills before climbing a steep road inland (9%) and then dropping down to this natural harbour. It was a Sunday and the whole place was
We will be returning to the peninsula after our trip to Dubrovnik and plan to spend some time near the towns of Ston and Mali Ston to indulge in oysters and walk the walls…….
April to Wednesday 1st
The village of Mlini is about 10 kms south of Dubrovnik. Its name stems from the word Molina which is Latin for mill. Numerous fresh water wellsprings in the area meant that it was the place to build your flour mill in the olden days. Aside from a mill stone next to a huge plane tree planted a few hundred years ago there is little evidence of this industry today. Camp Kate (our campsite) is just off the main road and a steep path from the end of the site takes you down to the village and beach. The number 10 bus on the main road takes you straight to Dubrovnik – perfect.
In the next bay to Mlini is Kupari, a former military resort built for the elite of the then Yugoslav army. Built in the 1960’s, it included five hotels, a campsite and numerous villas. In 1991 when the Homeland War broke out the Yugoslav army bombarded and burned their former holiday spot. In 1998 the Croatian Army set up base in the resort, staying in three of the hotels until 2001. It has remained derelict ever since. In 2016, the Dubrovnik Times reported that it had been sold off and was to be demolished and converted to a five star Marriot resort. As of today there is no visible evidence this work has started. Having not encountered any such obvious evidence of the conflict Croatia endured in the 1990’s, it makes for stark viewing, especially against such a beautiful back drop.
We bought a 3 day Dubrovnik pass which gets us entry to the city walls walk and a number of museums as well as free travel in the city and two free journeys on the number 10 bus – bargain at £30.00 each!
lives up to its hype. We checked the cruise ship schedule (thanks for the tip Sarah) and tried our best to avoid the mass invasion. The city walls walk is fantastic and we now have hundreds of photos of the red roofs and bell towers of the city. We walked down the steps from St Ignatius Church chanting “shame” and visited the Red Keep but resisted sitting on one of the replica iron thrones dotted around the place (sorry if you haven’t watched Game of Thrones).
We also visited as many of the museums on the Dubrovnik pass so as to get our money’s worth but generally just enjoyed wandering around and soaking up the atmosphere.
Today we caught the bus to Cavtat, another picturesque coastal town in the opposite direction to Dubrovnik and the most southerly town in Croatia. It was founded by the Greeks in the 6th
century BC and then occupied by numerous people including the Romans. One of Croatia’s most famous artists was born here - Vlaho Bukovac whose work we had admired in the modern art gallery yesterday. His family home
was interesting with some of his sketches and paintings on display as well as his handiwork decorating the walls and ceilings.
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