Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Croatia by sea

I have now finished my Adriatic cruise out of Dubrovnik and have arrived in Rome.
It was just  a small ship, the Adriatic Pearl seen here docked in Puscisca on the island of Brac.

There were 33 guests. I think 14 were from NZ, about 10 from Australia, 2 USA, 2 Bosnia (one of 2 honeymoon couples) and 4 UK/Ireland. There were 2 sisters and everyone else except me were couples.
Our planned itinerary had to be changed due to weather forecasts. We were mainly docked at night. 
Saturday night was at Korcula where we had a tour of the old town guided by a very amusing lady.

 On Sunday we sailed to Pucisca and had a tour of the Stone masonry school. There was a swim break in a sheltered bay on the way. Due to the weather this was the only such stop although some did swim at beaches near where we docked.

On Monday I was disappointed when strong winds forced us to miss a stop which would have involved a river cruise in a National Park. Instead we sailed to Split where I had stayed overnight the previous Tuesday and were bussed to yet another old town, Trogir. However this UNESCO world heritage site was one of the best preserved and pretty of the many such towns I visited.
The fort

and a street in the town.

Another walk included a serenade of Croatian songs a cappella.

The afternoon was spent visiting the Diocletian Palace in Split which was built in the 3rd century. Diocletian’s mausoleum is now a cathedral. His remains were removed as he was probably one of the worst persecutors of early Christians and the cathedral is St Dominius one of the martyrs of that time. I also visited Jupiter’s temple nearby.

On Tuesday we sailed to the very pretty island of Hvar. Some of us climbed up the stairs

 to the fort above the town for  a view before lunch.

Afterwards we had a talk and demonstration of lavender oil for which the island is famous and another guided walk. Unfortunately forecast  storms meant we did not stay the night there but instead went to Vela Luka on the other side of the island of Korcula. We did not go ashore there and left again at 3am on Wednesday to sail to Mljet.

I was glad of this as it is a National Park. We walked to the large lake and crossed in a very small ferry to a monastery on an island. Returning to the mainland, I left the others and walked several km around the large lake and back then round the far shore of the small lake and arrived back at the dock with 15 minutes to spare. I estimate I walked over 8 km but it was lovely. The large lake is a deep blue seen here with the monastery in view

 and the small lake a brilliant green.

This was even more obvious when I flew over it on the way to Rome on Saturday.

We had to go to a more sheltered harbour for the night on the island of Sipan. This was not on the original itinerary but was a small, less touristy town where I tried some artistic photography.

On Thursday we had to keep to sheltered waters so went to the mainland town of Slano where we boarded a coach for Ston. Ston is famous for its salt pans producing a lot of salt in the original methods and we were given a talk then we climbed part of the “Great wall of Europe”.

 Apparently this is the longest such wall in Europe though much smaller than its counterpart in China. We needed a drink in town afterwards. The coach took us to a wine and liqueur tasting. Most were not impressed with the wines and I did not try any of the wide range of very sweet liqueurs, not to my taste. Then it was on to an oyster tasting, for which the area is also famous. I am told they were not up to Bluff oyster standards but still they were quite good.
On Friday we sailed across the biggest seas of our journey back to Dubrovnik. Again we had a town tour, so I learnt a little more although I had wandered by myself in the town a week earlier. Probably the worst of the town’s long history was in the siege from October 1991 to May 1992. Thankfully most has been restored.

It was time for a final dinner and sleep aboard before travelling to the airport on Saturday for the afternoon flight to Rome. 15 went to the airport and 7 were on the Rome flight.

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