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.