Right hold on to your seats we are going down. We have just driven into the town /village of Trsteno and have spotted the sign for Autocamp Trsteno. That is where we are parking in order to take you on a tour of the wonderful arboretum next door. We will park overnight here too even though there is little else to do in the town. It is a sharp turn off the road.
Ok I know perhaps we should have realised the road was more car sized than Gabby sized. But the sign says camp site this way so there must be a way down. So on we go ever downwards to the gardens.
Surely once we get round the first bend it will become a little easier . We just need to do a bit of manoevering. A few inches forward . A few back and we are round the first corner. No it does not get any better. All I can see is another bend that requires more shuffling and patience. . We cannot go back and have committed ourselves. It is forward or nothing. It is going to be slow progress as there is yet another
tight bend in front of us. I shall get out and guide us down. I need three pair of eyes. One to watch the right side of Gabby to ensure she does not scratch herself against the walls. We don't want a paintwork job. I need a second pair to watch her left side . Stones and hedges stick out everywhere. There is every sticky out bit known to man on the descent . . The third eye is required to watch underneath where her water tanks and emptying devices live. One slip there and we have a massive bill on our hands.
We get round the fourth corner and are faced with another tight right hander . I walk in front of Gabby . All I need is the red flag to wave in front of us. Luckily no-one is coming up the hill as there is only a bit of wet grass to pull on to. Gabbys wheels are thick with mud as we have one point where we need to use the grass to help us gain space to get round the corner. . We do get to the bottom but not before much cursing and
much bottom clenching and concentration.
Once down we see a large motorhome parked up. Well he hasn't come down that helter skelter of a road. He is too big , It is then that we realise that there is another entrance with much better access. We knew anyway . We had seen it on Google EArth so why did we end up down the wrong one? Ah well we are here. We got down safely and are parked up. Come on with me we need the owner. Let us go and hunt the man out. We have a garden to see.
We have to walk down to his house. It is locked up. There is no sign of life . Eventually we do come across a guy cutting the lawns. Owner in Dubrovnik he says. Not sure if that means he has gone in shopping or he lives there. I don't think we can work out if and when he is coming back. Lets just park Gabby and go to see the gardens. If he is here when we come back we can pay . If not - well lets see shall we.
We are heading now
down the road to a garden of trees. In my mind Garden of Trees is quite appropriate as we heading for another G.O. T site . No we are not doing a Game of Thrones tour following all the places used for filming. We knew of these gardens years before Game of Thrones . We just never got here.
In 1502 someone wrote of the site " Neighbours speak highly of me, yet I please more with the waters, the mild climate and the zeal of a demanding master. Behold visitor for these are the tracks of man, artistry perfecting the wild nature"
We are walking down through a wild nature , a jumble of ancient trees under which little grows. The canopy over our heads is a mass of green cutting out the sun. We reach the ticket office and pay, we are handed a beautiful ticket but for once I cannot remember how many kuna it cost to enter. We are walking around the sole arboretum on the Adriatic coast of Croatia.
I wonder if Monty Don visited these gardens on his programme "Around the World in 80 gardens". Trsteno gardens are not full of
flowers but more a collection of Mediterranean and exotic species plants which were planted in 1948 by the wealthy Dubrovnik patrician family of Gucetic-Gozze. We have 70 acres of woodland to walk around, a Renaissance garden and villa to see, an historic Olive grove, pines, cypress woods and a large fountain. The house was summer residence for the family. Originally in 1494 Ivan Gucetic - Gozzi erected his house and it quickly became one of those humanist centres where thinkers met.
We have reached the bottom of the path and it is time to turn into the garden - the Main Walk - which housed the villa and the original gardens. There are a network of walls built of the fine stone from the area and box hedges . Between the hedges are lavender plants and amaryllis. From the villa look one way and you see the openness of the sea. In the other direction look up and you can see the moving water of the fountain. It was on the loggia - the pavilion that some of the scenes from Game of Thrones were filmed. The garden is full of orange and lemon trees, pomegranites and grape vines
, roses , jasmine and rosemary. All plants brought in by Dubrovnik sailors .
To get to the fountain we pass St Jerome's chapel and then reach the fountain. Some facts - the water is supplied by an aqueduct hidden behind it. It is 70 metres long and has 14 arches. The statues are of Neptune and a nymphaneum. The god of the sea the central character. Yellow water lilies float in the water and white Arum lilies grown in shady corners. Goldfish swim in the clear water. It is very peaceful here .
Luckily we almost have the place to ourselves . We had expected it to be heaving with G.O.T fans but it wasn't . Our last stop is the beach. It's a long way down but worth the walk. The jet skiers love the place too. They are out in force.
It is a long walk back up to Gabby. Let's get going and see if we can find the owner to pay him for tonights stop.
We get back . He is still not around. We make a decision . Stay here and wait for him or move on. Moving on wins.
We head for Dubrovnik. The roads have frightening drops down to the sea. We are staying at Camping Kate. Last time we were in Dubrovnik we stayed at the much larger Solitudo camp. A bit big, a bit out of the city. A bus ride away. Very expensive too. This time we have picked a smaller site , cheaper as it is ACSI and we can go to Dubrovnik by boat . This is the only way to see Dubrovnik. We buy our tickets 200 kuna for a return. The boats will run tomorrow if it is fine. If not well .................... Not sure you even get your money back if they fail to run. The weather is not sounding good tomorrow so who knows if we will get our water trip or not. If we decide to stay we might even get the boat to Cavtat.
Just as an afterthough. If you love flowers you will understand this . "Happiness radiates like the fragrance from a flower and draws all good things towards you" Maharishi Mahesh Yogi . I hope you enjoyed the tour of the garden as much as we did. You cannot beat a good garden
to make you smile.
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