On the move again

In true breakfast of champions style I had lasagna and cookies along with yoghurt, coffee, and fruit. It just seemed fitting. Some of the other things on offer were cold cereals, green/tossed salad, grilled vegetables, eggs, and sausages that looked like mini-hot dogs. The breakfast room had interesting light fixtures consistent with the bathroom door and glass shower in our room. You know how you kind of disconnect lights so you can paint the ceiling … leaving them dangling on exposed wire? Well there seemed to be no painting underway; the large lights were designed to dangle, I guess, and had dusty looking batting tied around them.

I digress. By 8:15 we had all piled on the bus and began backtracking through the mountains to meet up with the car ferry for the 20 minute ride back to the mainland. When we arrived, a fishing boat had just come in with their catch of sardines which were being cleaned right in the boat. Folks were buying them on the spot. We drove in the direction of Ston, home to an amazing walled city. Amazing in that the wall went up and over a small mountain. Come to find out this five kilometer wall, which dates back to the 1300s, is the second longest in Europe (Hadrian’s wall is the longest) and the best preserved. We also saw ancient salt pans that used to be the claim to fame in this area and a major contributor to its wealth and influence. Salt is so available these days and so cheap that the owner does not make any profit and has trouble unloading the salt, so he donates it.

From Ston we headed north to the Bosnia and Herzegovina (one country with two regions) boarder. We were in this fine country for a whopping 12 miles exiting on the other side to more Croatian coast. To be able to say we had actually been in the country and not just driven through, we stopped for a quick coffee at an overlook.

We continued along the coast road past small bays and inlets, mussel and oyster farms, and small villages to a ferry that delivered us to our destination for the day, Hvar, population 11,000. It is rated one of the world’s Top Ten islands by Cande Naste Traveler magazine and the most popular of the Croatian islands with vacationers. We docked on the east side but are sleeping on the west side which is a 77 kilometer ride. This ride took us over the 1,200 foot mountain to Hvar City, population 4,000.

The day’s drive was very nice and afforded us amazing views. We are ahead of the tourist season, so it was open road ahead and behind us all day. Sometimes it reminded us of the Colorado Rockies with loads of pine trees. For the most part, however, we saw olive trees, grape vines,  and loads of lavender in bloom. We went inland for awhile where we saw vineyards that in one place were afforded salty ocean breezes thanks to a wind tunnel that had been bored through the mountain separating them from the coast. Ingenious is all I can say. We made a quick stop at a small, charming Catholic cemetery where we learned that 90% of Croats are active Catholics, third in the world to the Poles and the Italians.

The most amazing sight of the day: countless, centuries old dry stone walls made of rocks and stones that had to be cleared away in order to cultivate crops. Some were in terraces, some went in stripes from the top of a mountain or hill to the bottom, and some marked off small areas. There were way too many walls to count plus in some places rocks were piled up and looked like they were waiting for a gravel truck to come by and haul them off. The mountains are so steep and the work so labor intensive that more fields were left unplanted than planted. It totally rivals Ireland for rocky soil!

Our hotel is right on the bay with yachts docked right outside the main entrance. I’m not talking pretend yachts with an identity crisis, these are huge, for-real floating homes worth millions and millions of dollars. I’ve never been that close to so much money! The hotel is very modern with large charcoal nudes on wallpaper in the halls. Another glass wall is in our bathroom! This time, however, it’s the sink and the tub that look out onto the room with a glassed-off toilet.

The day ended with the highlight: Sandy and Alan treated us to dinner in celebration of my retirement. They hired a small, fast water taxi to take us to the island where the restaurant is. The taxi was a hoot: open air with two rows of saddle type seats with grip bars to hold onto. The restaurant and the meal were wonderful! The setting was somewhere between Cabo and Key West with loads of vegetation, bright colors, and a huge outdoor charcoal grill not to mention the life size painting of Adam and Eve situated in the trees along the path from the boat dock to the restaurant. So sweet of them to treat us to such a nice evening.


3 thoughts on “On the move again

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