Category: Croatia

Dubrovnik to Sarajevo

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A run was definitely order given my ankle seems to have recovered. I find it is further than I realised and is 5.7 km to the outer  edge of the old dock. After getting back to the hotel I make way to Cava beach .I snap a few shots from my phone of the surrounds. The little fish of many colours accompany me while I swim. In fact where the water depth drops off sharply to 5-6 metres they are still calmly there – I guess that means everything that eats them has been caught. As I am getting my gear back on my eye is caught by a couple covered only by a towel no doubt getting their rocks off on the rocks.( If you look closely at the image you may see them in the shadows – I didn’t when I took the shot ! ) Following a buffet breakfast at the hotel we get a bus down to the main bus depot . The lady opposite  us doesn’t realise Lil understands her swearing in Croatian about all the tourist’s bags! We purchase tickets to Sarajevo. The trip goes over 3 borders , from Croatia to Bosnia back to Croatia and finally into Bosnia . We get to see Neum and Ploce in the daylight this time . The trip goes through spectacular country following the Neretvar river . Along the way there are many buildings riddled with shell and bullet holes and I note about 10 identical gravestones dated 1994 as the bus slows down alongside a Mostar cemetery. There is a gradual change as we travel from large crosses to more and more  Mosques ,yet there are still ,in Sarajevo even ,very few women in head scarves . How do you tell the difference between a Bosnian Serb ,a Bosnian Croat and a Bosniak — you can’t and what are 3 main causes of war – religion , religion ,religion . Sarajevo ,despite Torvill and Dean , unfortunately is not spectacular; maybe it is in winter.

Dubrovnik

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Woke to a glorious Mediterranean morning but it was going to be warm. After a big feed at the buffet breakfast we made our way down , the 5 km or so ,to the old town of Dubrovnik . You enter over a drawbridge , through a stone gate and onto the cobbled main road. I presume in the past there was a water filled moat rather than the road that is now underneath. We joined the queue for tickets to the walls before it got too long. The guys that walked these walls must have been fit as the steps are steep – no OH&S back then . It is a total of 2 km round the walls. There is evidence of recent damage from Serb airstrikes and shells , re-rendering and new rooves etc. The town has been rebuilt several times over the centuries due to wars and after the earthquake of the 1600’s. The coast around the walls is beautiful like the rest of the Adriatic. We watched a 3d movie on the history and walk round the old port. It is busy in the main port we note there are 4 large cruise ships docked which dwarf the Jadrolinja car ferry. After a drink at one of the cafes we make our way back up the hill to hotel Tirena. A swim at the nearby Cava beach is in order and refreshing though Lil decides it is too choppy. I note the first evidence of current here which is very gentle – apparently the tidal movements are undefined a metre.

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Trogir-Mali Drvenik-Stari Kastel-Dubrovnik

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The next part of our trip was a short ferry trip from the historic town of Trogir to the island of Drvenik Mali for a stay at Nedeljko’s family house.  The ferry nosed in to the narrow dock at the island and drops the bow door which we walk over to the dock and find Nedeljko there to welcome us. Lily immediately recognises her cousin Marica and I am introduced to her and her husband Miljenko. The island is like stepping back in time and definitely stepping back in pace , but with the convenience of modern services eg electricity. We walk up the narrow streets lined with stone fences up to the house. The house was originally built in the 1930’s  , the walls being solid stone.  After a traditional welcome with a drink of Rakia ( a distilled Croation spirit) we have Rucak(lunch ) in typical style with chicken soup , chicken , potatoes and beef cooked in the traditional style accompanied by home brewed red wine . There is much of conversation and much of it I get the gist of due to my rudimentary grasp of Croation – though my attempts at speaking it are usually met with amusement.  We take a walk down to the “beach” and take a dip in the Adriatic – which this time is in crystal clear waters free of the rubbish that accompanied you in Split. There are many small fish , sea snails and sea slugs and sea grass in the deeper waters. We go back to the house and have Vecera( dinner ) , and then take a trip around part of the island on Nedeljko’s “traktor” which travels slower than walking pace and overheats several times.

We sleep like babies. My ankle is still too sore to run so we get up to walk around the,  island. Nedeljko is waiting for us downstairs and offering me a cup of Croatian coffee. This is made very strong , black , sweet , and of course you should add just a little Rakia ! It is followed by a glass of water . Lily and I go for a walk around part of the island managing not to get lost . Along the way we pick and eat grapes , figs ,  almonds and rugac(carob) either from the street sides or overhanging peoples’ fences . Finally we make our way down to the water . I step out the distance to a mooring and decides 3 laps will be close to 1.5k . The Adriatic is warm as usual and there is a chop this morning caused by the wind coming of the mainland from the land generated breeze. We continue snacking on the fresh fruit ( figs, almonds) while Nedeljko prepares a  feed of  Sarum ( Mediterranean Horse Mackerel) , which are cooked over an open fire after marination in olive oil and salt – they are delicious ! We take the midday ferry back to Kastel Stari – I note the tuna farms on the way which will soon be the only source of the Atlantic/Mediteranean bluefin tune , I suspect.  A feed of  cuttlefish , previously caught by  Nedeljko is prepared for us all . After many pleasantries and photos , Nevena kindly drives us to the  terminal in Split for us to catch the bus to Dubrovnik . The bus leaves at 7pm – it is a very scenic journey with steep country next to the coast. We have to have our passports handy as we make 2 border crossings  – Croatia- Bosnia-Croatia! The area around Ploce in Croatia and around Neum in Bosnia are spectacular despite us seeing it in the dark . We arrive at Dubrovnik after 11.

 

Split

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We are staying in a apartment very close to the tourist district so have been walking down to the beach and the old Split which  is similar to Venice, and probably dates back to the Roman empire that is  stone buildings, narrow cobble stone streets. The old castle was built by Diocletius around 300AD and much of the original walls and gates are still standing . Over the years many other buildings have been constructed within the walls. Being Sunday there were markets alongside Masses. Has been very hot, but sea breeze came in in the evening. No buffet breakfast this morning so we bought a mushroom omelette for brunch and 1kg of figs and 1kg black grapes for mid-afternoon snack and later out for dinner!  Had a dip in the Mediterranean again, and the water was just right, but for some floating rubbish unfortunately.