Sorry, I'm a bit behind with my blog - to busy having fun...…………..
May to Saturday 4th
We are now retracing our steps back to Split. We passed Ston on the way down to Dubrovnik but the nearest campsite didn’t open until 1st
May. The campsite is about four kilometres outside of Ston at Prapratno tucked into a steep sided small bay with the car ferry to Mljet leaving from a jetty at one end. It is an idyllic setting. We found a walking path to Ston that avoided the road and took us past smallholdings with vegetable patches, strawberry fields, cherry orchards, vines, olive trees and beehives.
I have seen a few snakes on our walks up in the mountains but today John overtook me in the snake spotting stakes after seeing two to my one. I don’t think they are venomous as they are a plain brown colour. Luckily they seem more scared of us than we are of them.
Ston and its little friend Mali Ston sit on the isthmus that
connects the Peljesac peninsular to the mainland and was an important salt producing town. Due to its economic importance, a wall 5.5 kms long was built in 1333 to fortify the town and still stands today. For a small fee you can walk the wall from Ston all the way over the side of the hill to Mali Ston which is exactly what we did. Mali Ston is a small harbour with views out over oyster beds. We got a table at Bota Sare, a restaurant housed in an old salt warehouse and ordered half a dozen oysters with lemon juice, followed by seafood risotto for me and Tuna steak for John. It was delicious and with the added bonus that our lovely waiter looked like Pasha from Strictly.
The following day we walked from the campsite along the hillside that forms the deep valley where the campsite nestles before climbing up through vineyards and eventually finding the Napoleon Road that runs from Ston along the ridge of hills that form the backbone of the peninsular. We had views of Ston, its salt flats and wall and to the mountains on the mainland.
It had been very windy yesterday with a forecast of wind and rain later that day. It started raining when we got to the top of the hill but luckily we were well prepared. On our way back, we passed a road side stall selling local jam, honey, liqueurs etc. so bought some plum jam. We finally opened it the other day and it is one of the most disgusting thing I have tasted. Even John doesn’t like it so it has gone in the bin.
May to Thursday 9th
Makarska is a port town and tourist resort. We are in the Rivijera Resort campsite just around the headland from the harbour in what is classed in our guide book as the party end of town. The harbour area is lovely with its historic centre backed by the stunning mountains of the Biokovo National park. This is the reason we are here as opposed to partying ……..
The weather has been very changeable ever since we arrived in
Dubrovnik with days when it has poured with rain and been very windy. Luckily the wind was so noisy overnight, it drowned out the incessant drum banging and shouting coming from the holiday apartments next door filled with what looked like college kids letting off a bit of steam.
The rain at sea level had fallen as snow on the mountain tops but the sun was shining the next day so we headed up the hill to the village of Makar before picking up the steep zig zag path to a viewpoint at Serbina at around 1400 meters. We could see Svete Jura in the distance (Croatia’s second highest peak ) still with a dusting of snow and topped with an ugly TV mast. We had our butties and then headed back down.
to Sunday 12th
We are camping in Strobrec about 5 km’s from Split. Yesterday we found a Decathlon and John bought a new tyre and brake discs. The suburban sprawl of Split isn’t particularly attractive
but the town centre is lovely. The main draw is the Diocletian’s Palace which isn’t a palace or a museum but some impressive Roman ruins that have been built on and around over the years and serve as the heart of the city. After walking through a busy open air market we entered the Palace through the Golden Gate by the massive statue of Gregorius of Nin with his shiny big toe (apparently rubbing this will ensure you good luck and a return to Split). I was impressed with the two horse sculptures flanking the gate until I realised they were part of a film set that was being built around the stone archway. Inside the Palace walls, the narrow streets are packed with bars, restaurants and shops. The Peristil is the courtyard at the heart of the palace entrance court and probably the most photographed part of the city. As if the six granite columns to one side of the square and the Imperial chambers to the other aren’t impressive enough, pairs of hunky Croatian men dressed as Legionnaires mingle with the tourists to enhance any photo’s you may wish to take. John managed to capture a couple of
them when they snook off round the corner for a crafty fag break. We had a look around the cathedral and the ethnography museum the highlight of which is the reconstructed roman staircase leading to a terrace providing great views of the city.
Leaving the Palace through its substructure (now lined with market stalls) and the Bronze gate brought us to the bright sunlight of the Riva, the waterfront parade lined with cafes and restaurants overlooking the harbour.
Whilst the city is busy with tourists, it feels more like a lived in city rather than just a tourist destination - I loved it.
The next day, we escaped the crowds and walked in the hills south of Strobrec. After a steepish climb we made our way along the ridge taking in four crosses, three peaks and two churches enjoying extensive views along the coast.
May and Tuesday 14th
We are just north of Split on the small island of Ciovo. The island
can be reached by bridge from the mainland via the tiny island of Trogir which is a medieval walled town. More maze like narrow marbled streets and gorgeous old buildings to explore. We walked there from the campsite and climbed the church tower just as the rain started. We found shelter under the canopy of a café and watched lines of tourists traipse past in matching blue plastic rain capes.
The weather improved the following day so we had a cycle ride inspired by a leaflet we had picked up from the tourist office. We clearly missed an important turning as we found ourselves on a rugged coast path when we should have been on a paved road inland. After retracing our route, we met a Norwegian couple also trying to decipher the leaflet and thanks to google maps, we eventually found the road we should have been on. The route took us almost to the eastern tip of the island before heading south to a small chapel clinging to the cliff side. Our route back took us along the north coast with excellent views of the aeroplanes coming to land at Luka
airport and luckily the stiff breeze was now behind us.
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