More on Croatia
06 July 2013 | Croatia
I’ll add some more travel details to the period when the Gillespie’s were with us in Croatia. They arrived at the Split airport, which is actually in Trogir. I had arranged to have a tour of Diocletian’s Palace in Split that afternoon. The palace dates from 614 ad when the Roman Emperor Diocletian retired his rule. This was unusual because the normal way Emperors retired was via a cup of hemlock or a sword in the back.
The palace is now a Unesco World Heritage site and is fairly well preserved given its age. It is also an unusual ruin in that villagers occupy it. Diocletian at the time was a Christian persecutor and upon his death the rising Christian population destroyed much of this palace. Our guide, Vjeran Malacic, was very good and kept us entertained with detailed information.
This had been a long day for the Gillespie’s so we returned to Trogir, had a mediocre dinner, and retired to sleep. The following morning we headed out to Stari Grad, stopping on the way to swim in a nice protected bay. Stari Grad was again excellent and our dinner didn’t disappoint anyone. From Stari Grad we headed to the Pakleni Islands to enjoy a day on a “beach”. I’m putting this in quotes as there are actually very few true beaches in Croatia. This was called the Carpe Diem Beach Club and had nice loungers, waiters to bring us drinks, and decent food. That evening we anchored off of Hvar town and the crew went ashore to tour and Jeanne and I stayed on Palarran to decompress.
During the night a Bora came up. It was not a strong one but enough to cause many of our neighboring boats to drag anchor. Nick and I decided it would be prudent to distance ourselves from the potential carnage and raised the anchor, moved off into deeper water (70’), and laid out some serious chain. No problems and the next morning we set off for Korcula.
Korcula is very similar to Dubrovnik in appearance. It’s the ancestral home of Marco Polo and was very fun to visit. We had good food and a lot to drink. Bob, Phillip, Nick, and I rented motorcycles to tour the island. What fun it was to rev up those 50cc motors and scream through villages at 40 kilometers per hour. I think this was the most beautiful of any Croatian island we visited and for the first time this year would commit to returning sometime in the future to better explore it. As Maureen described, we did have problems that night with another Bora wind and the surrounding boats. In the morning a local charter boat captain warned me that it would be even worse the next night so we took off for Polace on the island of Mljet. This is an excellent place to hole up when bad winds are predicted and it met our expectations.
Mljet is a national park for Croatia. It has several saltwater lakes and miles of beautiful walking paths. We visited a monastery, which wasn’t worth it, then walked around for the day. We spent two nights in this sheltered bay and I personally enjoyed them. From here we headed to Dubrovnik to tour the city.
Our guide in Dubrovnik was mediocre at best. She focused too much on the recent war and devastation caused to the city without detailing it’s more ancient past. Regardless, Dubrovnik is a city that you must see if possible. It really is beautiful with the red roofs and meandering streets. Bob, Elise, Elaina, and I arose early in the morning in order to get one final walk around the city. Unfortunately much of it was still closed but it was nice to feel tranquility of the empty streets and watch as locals woke up and started their day. Today the Gillespie’s would fly out and we would pick up Sam. A short motor brought us to Cavtat, a city near the airport and all the transportation was arranged.
To wrap up Croatia I’ll say that it is very beautiful and there is a good chance I’ll return some day. But I’ll definitely do it different, focusing on smaller bays and more out of the way destinations. The main tourist spots were nice to see but very expensive to moor in. The people are pleasant but not overly helpful. It may be due to the sheer amount of tourists they deal with on a daily basis. I hope my cousin and his family enjoyed their stay with us. I know we enjoyed having them along.