Again time as flown by, but here we are again with the next final instalment in Croatia…
Omis was our next stop, a lovely small town in central Dalmatia on the left bank of the mouth of the Cetina River.Camp Galeb, were we stayed is just behind the trees in this picture...a lovely pool and restaurant .As you can see in the pic below there were not many people on this site .. in fact we were the only ones on a strip where there were at least60 pitches free .. but old mate, Harry no friends pulled up 2 metres from us and parked his little red bus next to blocked our lovely view and the sun! Alpal of course warmly welcomed him in for drinks and canapés NOT. I am sure he’s getting grumpier as he’s getting older. 😂🤣Stocked up on a few essentials from the supermarket just outside the campsite. We bought the best meat we have had in a long time. Lovely beef and pork fantastic on the bbq. Sauntered into town which was a short ten minute stroll and explored.
The memorial below honouring lives lost in the war that ended in the mid nineties. All young men of course with everything to live for...We climbed up to Fort Mirabella (climb is probably too strong) to a gorgeous 360 degree view ..not sure what this quirky art work was about, but it was interesting on the beach. Alpal used something a little more descriptive than quirky.
We had said goodbye to our new Aussie friends Lisa and Joey a couple of days earlier but who should be on the same site when we arrived …. so of course sunset drinks and nibbles on the beach jetty were naturally required.I think we had a pretty early evening as Lisa wanted to watch the Eurovision Song Contest! Alpal politely declined ...There is a lovely boat trip through the canyons up the river from Omis to a lovely restaurant on the water called Rathdown Mills ..for one reason or another we did not get there by boat , instead we left it to the morning we were leaving and chose to drive there. A big mistake, the receptionist had informed us that we could drive up in our Motorhome quite easily . What a hairy hour that turned out to be . A wrong turn up a steep mountain and then no where to park a Motorhome , well if you had a little VW camper and not on a Saturday it would have been fine! We hopped out and I took a couple of quick pics and skidaddelled again before we got blocked in by cars.This lovely lady was making one of the Croatian specialities Soparnik.. a thin spinach or kale flat pie.. Apparently there is a Soparnik festival held every July in Dugi Rat … I think rat translates to beach, so yum we have tried a few variations of this recipe .. nearly as addictive as our love for the Portuguese tart when we were in Portugal last year … not quite .. we were real piggies then 😂Time to head further south …(after a coffee to calm the nerves,) once again along the stunning coastline ..honestly pictures do not do it justice …...stopping for a stroll and morning coffee in beautiful Markaska situated along what’s known as the Markaska Riveria.we had planned staying around here but not many camping options close to town. We were tempted to stay in a hotel here for the night as it had such a lovely feel … and Pinot as you can see was quite at home in the hotel car park ..but decided our hotel on wheels was just fine .
Think there has been a lot of good luck wished for here, with the shiny boob being rubbed so often ....Our next destination is the island of Hvar ..on the ferry from Drvenik to Sucuraj ..
As we had just missed the ferry and we had to wait for the next one ….there was time for a quick refreshment ..before I zoomed around the little inlet while Al had a little snooze. I know … I don’t like to miss a thing …glad I did ..somewhere there in the distance is Pinot in line for the ferry.the short 35 minute crossing was a breeze and the water was flat as a tack ..Arrived on Hvar ..Croatia’s fourth largest island.. lying between the islands of Vis ..Brac and Korcula.into Sucuraj’s tiny port.
Our home here for the next 4 days was camping Mlaska .. a basic campsite but what it lacked in amenities made up for with it’s location. While we were here there were no more than four Motorhomes parked at any one time . Our view from our front door was a little hard on the eyes ..and to say our days here were chilled was an understatement.lots of R & R .a couple of visitors came by on a a yachts for an hour or so to take a dip. How dare they !!!!!!. .it was very busy in the water .. I am in there somewhere.
The evenings were beautiful tooperfect for the odd romantic dinneror two ..
We also caught up here with the lovely Rachel and Derek who we met in Beynac , on the Dordogne in France last year .. we had a great night with them and a meal in the restaurant .. forgot to mention there is a very nice little restaurant here too. mind you the owner doesn’t offer a menu, he simply asked “meat or fish”.. ..this was the only time we had neighbours … in this picture ..and that was Derek and Rachel’s mo ho..
oooooo can’t forget this …the campsite has a nude option …. of course we choose the not nude option. We Anglos are quite prudish about public nudity aren’t we. Very common for our European neighbours here … however the young lady camping 50 metres away had to have her morning swim in her birthday suit and give Derek and Al Pal a lovely start to their morning😂 Of course they thought it was great !
We decided we would hire a car for a day and explore the island .. unless you are with an organised group and off the main road on cycle tracks … bike riding is a hazard ! The Croatians are wild drivers and love cutting corners and playing dare devils ..Definately not as pike conscious as some other European Countries like Spain. We hired this little car to see the Island.a tad more expensive than Spanish car hire but worth it for the brilliant day we had it to explore.
Beautiful Jelsa was first on our list.... Stari Grad followed. It is one of Croatia’s oldest towns founded in 384 bc by the ancient GreeksAl really loved this place because there was a hardware store and was able to buy nuts and bolts ..Last time Pinot was having some work done under the bonnet .. the mechanic foolishly forgot to put a couple of screws back in place .. Al only found this out when he was filling up the liquid to the windscreen wipers and then couldn’t not shut the bonnet back down. !.Hvar next was beautiful, surprisingly quiet while we were there. Next to Dubrovnik this is the most expensive place to eat or drink. It’s a classy place so many beautiful restaurants, swanky hotels, cafes and bars to choose from. But we felt it had such a chilled out feel to the place , maybe it was the time of day we visited.The pic above taken while walking up the fortress walls.The beautifulSt Stephens cathedral …timing obviously right not a soul in sight.another set of stairs ..another pretty pic.swanky restaurant for lunch , sat on marble seats enjoying people watching and eating our new favourite ! ..I don’t think he is listening to you ..The last spot of the day was Vrboska the smallest town on the island known as little Venice ..a lovely way to end a perfect day .After a wonderful time spent on Hvar Island, we returned by ferry to the mainland and on to yet more oo’s and Ar’s as once more the scenery continued to impress, all the way to our next destination.....but, not before we reached the Bosnian border ..the trip through lasted the sum total of seven minutes , then back once more into Croatia and the Dalmatian coast again.Quite a few people had advised not to go this way and catch a ferry instead from Polce to Orebic to avoid the crossing and stay in Croatia. Naturally it was because insurance is not usually covered in Bosnia . The guy at the border glanced at out passports then waved us through. We took the risk and were rewarded with more scenic delights !!.right up until arriving into Dubrovnik..We stayed at Camping Kate in Milini, a bus or a ferry trip into Dubrovnik. A quaint bayside area. Dubrovnik … The Pearl of the Adriatic. Tourists on steroids, yes and we were part of the equation, Wow ! It was busy… maybe we are just not used to seeing so many people in one area over the last eighteen months of travelling. But oh so worth it …
Dubrovnik was severely damaged by an earthquake in 1667 , it managed to preserve its beautiful gothic , renaissance palaces and fountains. Damaged again in the 1990’s (does not seem that long ago) by armed conflict it is the focus of a major restoration program co ordinated with UNESCO.
well I thought so Al Pal was getting a little restless 😂 I have come to the conclusion, he prefers villages and small towns more than Cities.Arriving at the Pile gates we began our tour.Note Al’s beaming smile here … well I think it’s beaming before we hit the main Main Street , Stradun into the tourist hoardes..The first thing I wanted to do was turn left and do the city walls , but even I was reluctant to do this when I saw the ants one by one climbing the said stairs . Al Pal was relieved to say the least when I said let’s not bother … tinged with great sadness 😂🤣 one thing to do when in Dubrovnik is walk the city walls , more on that later .ok, well clearly this pic above was taken later on in the day when obviously the cruise ship tours had departed.continued on through this magical place and savoured every minute...–..After lunch and a gelato my eyes kept wandering up to the walls again , ever so discreetly but longingly enough to catch Al Pals attention and before we knew it we were buying our tickets … yes !! 🤣 at 150 Kuna a pop around 32 dollars each I thought it was over priced but I loved it..and by now the crowds had well and truly subsided.Al Pal said he could have had a better view from the bus stop for free🤣 sure he was joking ..maybe .A fabulous visit to Dubrovnik complete, another wonderful day in Croatia.
Another day another fab drive ..sorry if it’s getting boring with all this talk of wonderful vistas but it’s so true.
We had planned to explore Montenegro then head further down to Greece and Meteora and the Peloponnese peninsula, the route we had intended to do when we got back from Australia but for one reason or another it did not work that way. After hearing about people’s negative experiences in Montenegro and then Albania in a Motorhome (awful roads etc) a huge detour involved trying to avoid Albania etc .. by going back to Italy by ferry then catching another ferry to Patras in Greece, sowe gave it a miss. We have had some fabulous holidays in years past on mainland Greece and many of the islands like Mykonos and Santorini, so do not feel like we are missing out.
So Next on our list is the Peljesac Peninsula, the best known winery region in Croatia. An hours drive from Dubrovnik. Our morning coffee stop was the small town of Ston, famous for its walls, salt pans and mussels and oyster farms. The walls were built in the 14th and 15th century as an additional defence and to protect the salt pans in the area. Sometimes referred to as The European walls of China.we had planned to walk , climb the walls but as Al was feeling a little off colour we opted just for a coffee, not sure if I was happy or sad, It looked hard work! After Dubrovnik it seemed ghostly quiet wandering around the small town.The salt pans which are apparently 2000 years old, and are the oldest in Europe.
Once more we continued through Olive Groves,vineyards and ever changing landscapes .before realising to Al Pals horror that we were on the reserve tank of Diesel and not a petrol station in sight , well there was one 39 km’s away which was not going to work. Maybe as i am getting older I wasn’t at all concerned … just wave down a local and get him or her to take us to the nearest station with our empty jerry can, in return for a light meal or refreshment ? As Al did not seem to think that was a good idea, he was thrilled as we limped into this tiny village to find this station that was closed, but would be open in half an hour. So while we waited, found this little winery’s cellar shop door just across the road, had a tiny taste and purchased some of the offerings .
Now feeling more relaxed, tank full we were on the road again to Orebic. This is the place to catch the ferry over to Ploce if you want to avoid the Bosnian border. It also services other islands in the area too.
We just love it here and it will be hard to leave. Camping Nevio among the top three campsites we have stayed in on our travels …location , location ..we are on an upper terrace facing the ocean, mountains and vineyards to our left …. small islands and views to Korcula island on the right. The site has a swimming pool, tennis court, outdoor gym..great restaurant..the best shower blocks with piped music..even comes with free dish washing liquid in the washing up area , bonus 🤣. A bonus for the kitchen …best Rosemary bushes I have ever seen ..used as hedges !The picture below is our swimming pool , the day this was taken the campsite once again was really quiet …a few days later we were invaded by Germans …it felt like an Invasion because all of a sudden they appeared enmasse, we found out later it’s Germany holiday break. Great spot to try out our flashy reef shoes for all the pebbles and rocks under foot.
Orebic itself is a small town, once a maritime hub, fresh seafood abounds in all the cute little restaurants that line the small coastal boulevard many with huge pine trees that form canopies to retreat under in the hotter parts of the day. We have been blessed with great weather these last few weeks in the mid to late twenties, just perfect….
.this place is so chilled, such a laid back feel and all the locals are super friendly.just an empty facade, with only a washing line and me inside its walls.The old and new blending in together perfectly.just love it here.my favourite inlet on our daily walk or passing through on our bikes … a romantic spot, room for two chairs a glass of bubbles maybe, the best seat in the house behind the pink oleander. Unfortunately it was part of a private villa , dream over !
Lots of options to cycle, along the coast ..or perhaps up to the monastery.. Geez, this was a day that was just about going for a little ride into town for an ice cream but we ended up here. Clearly not dressed for the challenge, but it was worth the effort and the feeling I was about to explode. .
There are also lots of mountain bike tracks around here too. I still sometimes feel slightly envious of the cool cats that glide past us on their electric machines, especially on a steep incline. I do wonder though why they need all the gloves, Lycra and clip in shoes. But then we do get it, especially as you get older or bigger, perhaps it is the way to go.
Our days here also have been about relaxing and enjoying the surrounds. Lots of swimming in crystal clear waters, a tad fresh at first but by the end of our stay had warmed up considerably to allow us to swim every day, Lots of walking , of course, and a visit to the well known winery in this area KK.. Korta Katarina, owned by a wealthy American..A tour group had just left when we popped inside this winery. It’s was just Al and I, but the friendly host offered us wine and explained the winery history and that of the island and the owner. He then offered another, well we had no choice he gave us another, and then another ! We graciously declined and asked for the bill. Oh goodness he replied, thank you for coming, hope you enjoyed your visit there is no charge, darn it we should have tried the red.
The H2O options are readily available along the waters edge too..A visit over to Korcula, one of the islands we over look in the distance from our site. It’s a gorgeous medieval town and a much smaller version of Dubrovnik with much less crowds. We caught the local passenger ferry right into the old town harbour 24 Kuna return per person.Another gem of a place where we spent a few hours wandering around.and up and down the many steps leading to more photo opportunities …where do you stop ! 😳The birth of Marco Polo ? Who knows but Korcula claims it is and along with museums and the like he features quite a bit around the town.......loved it !
A quick paddle to end another brilliant day .We had nine wonderful days here in Orebic. A couple more in Drage, near Biograd.Al’s last look at a marina for a while. another sunset..Then it was time bid farewell to this beautiful country. It was every thing we imagined and more. Six wonderful weeks and so many more wonderful memories to cherish.
Until next time
Love to all xx