Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Korĉula and Hvar – 100th Post!

My internet search that showed a ferry leaving the next day to Hvar turned out to be false, so we hunted a bit and found a speed boat that carried folks between Mljet and Korĉula. We got up early and backpacked the 4 km over to Pomena. We met the boat and had a fun, fast, bouncy 45 minute ride to Korĉula Town.

Once again, we found a room near the harbor and rented bikes to explore this end of the island. Korĉula has a lot of vineyards. We biked to a couple different beaches and then took a trail along the coast where Darrell managed to get a flat tire! Our first flat in 12 days of cycling so that isn’t too bad. We found another bike rental place and traded out the bike so we could keep going.

Biking through the vineyards 
Korĉula is a smaller version of Dubrovnik – with a central church and then narrow stone alleys leading up inside the walls to the church on the hill in the middle. It wasn’t nearly as crowded as Dubrovnik, phew, so we could wind our way through the alleys without having to weave between the masses.

Korcula 
We had a 6 am ferry the next morning to Hvar. When we arrived we waited outside “Secret Hvar”, the company that Lonely Planet recommended for a tour of the island. Another couple our age, with two daughters near Lindsey’s age, were also waiting. Nick and Maggie are from Wellington, New Zealand so we had plenty of things we could talk about. Many tourists are either in the 20-something age group or the well-retired age group – so it was great to meet a couple around our age!

Hvar Harbor (Fort on Hill behind town)
We booked a tour together and shared a 4wd adventure that took us to the highest point on the island as well as to some abandoned villages. Our first stop was to the fort overlooking town where we got a great view of the Pakleni Islands (which we can also see from our apartment) and our guide gave us some historical background.

Hvar and the Pakleni Islands
One of the dominant features on the landscape are piles and piles, and rows and rows, of stones. Over hundreds, maybe thousands, of years, stones have been gathered into piles so the soil in between could be used to grow crops, lavender, olives, or grapes. In recent years devastating fires have exposed even more of the stones. Our guide called this area Machu picchu for the extent of the stones.
Stone rows and piles are all over the island
There used to be 10% of the world's lavender grown on this island -  but it is way down now because of all the recent fires. And the 5,700 hectares of grape vines are now down to only 300 hectares.

Lavender, stone piles, and a stone hut in the background

The stone hut you see in the background is one of many on the island. We went inside one that was 300 years old and still in great condition.

300 year old stone hut
Our last stop was to a quaint village, Vrboska, which is also called “Little Venice” because of its canal.

Vrboska (Little Venice)
We will spend a second night on Hvar, and then we are back to the mainland for our last day in Croatia.

1 comment:

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