This morning Mike decided to do some work so Elysia went off with some of the Americans (6 in total) for a hike around the town and into the surrounding mountains. We wanted to get up to the top where there's a church and the old town of Podstrana, but we didn't know the way. So we just started walking up. We tried to find any little trail that we could that looked like it was heading up the mountain. At times, we were wrestling with the bush because there wasn't really a path there. There was definitely no straight line to the top. We often had to find something that looked like a path, but would end up being a dead end so we had to retrace our steps. A few times we reached some farmers fields, but still couldn't find a way from there. Also a few times we ran into a rock wall, and we had to find a way to climb it. But Elysia kept up with the boys (and the other girl, Mary) and found a way up it!
The brush contained some really sharp plants and sticks that scratched Elysia all over the legs,
especially when she was trying to climb over what looked like a canopy of sticks thrown together, and her legs fell right through. There was some blood lost on that one! The scariest thing for her was that they kept finding traces of snakes everywhere! There was surely some in the vegetation they had walked through. Thankfully we only encountered one snake, and no other animals. We eventually reached the old town, in which there were some ruins of old houses, and also some people living there. It was quaint, but the view from there over the ocean was amazing! From there, we finally found the path which zig-zagged its way up the rocky face of the top of the mountain and we got to the top.
At the top, there was an amazing view of the ocean, Split and other towns. You could also see more mountains inland. There was a little church as well. After a brief rest we walked a bit higher (because we weren't quite at the top and wanted to say we were right at the top), and then we headed home. We figured the way back would be much easier because we could
Hiking up the Mountain
L-R: Matt, Jeff, Danny, Chris
follow the road down, but when the road ended shortly after we got on it, we were left in the same position as we were on the way up: no direction to follow! So, we found whatever trail we could and walked back down through the brush, through a sandy old river bed, until we fnally found a rugged trail that led us back down to town. It was quite a hike and took us just over 3 hours. The girls especially were left with huge scrapes across their legs from climbing the rocks and all the sticks they walked through.
After the hike, Elysia joined Mike and we retired to the beach for a bit, but it was a bit colder than the day before, and there were huge waves so it was too cold for us to spend too much time in the water. We played with a little friendly local dog that llikes to escape its owner's grasps and follow us around. The group dubbed the dog "Monster" and he would be a great challenge to anyone wanting to play soccer with him.
That evening, ironically, the entire group went back up to the old town
for a traditional Croatian dinner. Our landlord (who organized the dinner- nice guy who's only slightly older than us and is a doctor here), took us up the last part of the hike we did this morning, zig zagging through the rocks. At least the rest of the group got to see the beautiful view from the top, although we were dressed for dinner, not for hiking! We hiked back down into the village to a terrace that we had dinner on, overlooking the ocean. This wasn't a restaurant we went to, but a family that puts on a dinner for big groups and you order it a few days before and they get the dinner ready. Of course it wasn't cheap, but it was a nice experience.
We had appetizers consisting of prosciutto, bread, local cheese and this traditional crepe thing filled with swiss chard (we don't know the name if it). For dinner, we had basically veal and roast potatoes (veal peka). The veal was cooked on a wood fire and a lid placed over it and covered in ashes (a peka). It's only cooked for 14 minutes in this little hut outside (not a kitchen) and
it was very tender. They gave us so much food and we got to take it home. Sadly we didn't get any desert, but the wine did keep flowing and we got to take the excess with us too! We sat there for 3 hours basking in the moonlight until we were too cold and then headed home to finish off that wine! We were stuffed!
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