14 September 2019

Over

Our week in Croatia is almost done. The transfer bus will arrive at 5.45 in the morning so we want an early night.

It's been good here. The weather gods blessed us and the sea was clear with a pleasant temperature. Green pines and cedars fringed the coast. Mostly, we kept ourselves to ourselves and ate well. As you could drink as much wine and/or beer as you wanted with dinner we imbibed rather more alcohol than  our weekly quota normally allows.

This morning we had another ferry trip across the water to Korčula town and there I bought a souvenir T-shirt. A cruise ship had anchored off the coast and American tourists were being brought to shore by a relay of tenders. Many of the passengers appeared elderly.
In Korčula
While we were observing paintings in an art shop, one of the Americans came to the entrance and said to the proprietor, "Do you know where there's a water closet?" The owner, a Croatian woman, was confused. She thought the elderly lady needed a drink so I stepped in to translate. None of the Americans asked me about Brexit which was a relief.
A final view of  Korčula
A bit more aimless wandering around and then we caught the twelve o'clock ferry back to Orebic for an afternoon of lounging and reading and swimming before another delightful buffet dinner. Only the desserts have disappointed.

Back to England in the morning.
View from the monastery boathouse, Badija Island

13 September 2019

Plodding

At Kućište today - typical Croatian scene
This morning I put my walking boots on and marched west - four miles along the peninsula. Shirley was happy just to veg out by the hotel pool with a book.

I stopped two or three times to read more chapters of "Beloved" by Toni Morrison. I am finding it hard going. It's not the kind of novel you race through.

At one of my shady stops I was joined by a thin fellow from New Jersey. He had just got off a motor launch.
 "Mind if I join you?"

"No. Go ahead."

"Say. Where are you from?"

"I'm from Yorkshire. Yorkshire, England."

And that was his invitation to hammer home half-formed views about Brexit. He wanted to say something along the lines of - We've got Trump but your shit is worse buddy! No nice questions or remarks about family, pastimes, music, the meaning of life or the loveliness of Croatia - just straight into Brexit like a bird of prey. Quite annoying really. Perhaps he didn't realise that he had rudely interrupted my reading.

After ten minutes he got into a black Mercedes people carrier and was whisked away with his holiday companions. I was glad to see the back of him but I waved anyway. I suspect his name was Dick.
View from our room on Thursday evening
It wasn't the loveliest walk I have ever plodded but it was nice to be right next to the sea, burning off calories. I found a small village supermarket in which I bought a bottle of Diet Coke, an orange and a curly sausage roll. This was my lunch and soon I was walking back in the direction I had come from.

Back at the hotel it was time to swim - both in the sea and the pool. I fell asleep briefly on the white sunlounger and then came up to our room to polish up a short story I have been working on for an annual competition that is held in Sheffield. One thousand words is not very many.

Meanwhile our daughter Frances is now on the island of Hvar about thirty miles from here. It is a long weekend office getaway beano and she is there with fifteen work colleagues - all paid for by her company. That kind of thing never happens to schoolteachers.

Finally - a mummy cat and her four kittens in the hotel grounds. They have attracted a lot of happy attention from guests:-

12 September 2019

Niceness

"We hope for reports of blue skies, sunshine and pretty scenery, and the occasional description of good food to cheer us..." - Coppa's Girl
___________________________________________________________________
Bronze bust by the wharf at Badija
No ambulance reports today.

This morning we were down for breakfast before eight o'clock. I had a glass of orange, two white coffees and the following food items - a bowl of muesli with some extra dried banana slices, a plate containing a scoop of scrambled egg, two slices of grilled bacon, a spoonful of fried mushrooms. some fried onions and a sausage. I also had a buttered bread roll.
I threw a crust of bread into the sea at Badija
Then we walked to the wharf at Orebic where we boarded the M/B Papa just before 8.45 am. We had booked a leisurely day trip. It took us along  The Pelješac Peninsula - almost to the very end and then  across the channel to the coast of Korčula. 

We travelled along it until we came to the island of Badija where we had a three hour stop for exploring, swimming and perhaps visiting the large Franciscan monastery there. At 1pm we had lunch aboard the boat. The blue skies were blue, the sunshine was bright and yellowy and the scenery was pretty and green or aqua blue.
On the M/B Papa
Shirley and I hiked all the way round the island that probably has a population of no more than twenty including some surprisingly fearless deer. After lunch we were on our way to Lumbarda which is a seaside village to the east of Korčula Island. We were there for two hours and found a surprisingly sandy beach. No diving shoes required. 
The Franciscan monastery on the island of Badija
Deer chewing melon rind
I swam far out like a sealion but I did not clap my flippers nor shout "Arf! Arf!" and I certainly didn't balance a beach ball on my snout.
Naturist bloggers like Tasker Dunham please note.
There - the blogpost is done. I sincerely hope that it meets with Coppa's Girl's approval. After all, I don't want to upset anybody, do I?
Returning to Orebic

11 September 2019

Ambulance

Two shifty looking Croatian men were in the lobby entertaining us. One had a guitar, the other had an electric mandolin. They specialised in distorting the English language - mangling it in fact. But they didn't seem to care. They could play their instruments pretty well. The mandolin player kept looking towards the hotel entrance as if he was expecting a visit from the cops.

During "My Way" there was a kerfuffle at the reception desk. A middle aged German woman was panting and clearly distressed. It concerned her husband. The head receptionist asked the shifty guys to stop playing.

Soon an ambulance with blue lights arrived. The grey-faced German husband was strapped to a trolley and then transferred into the waiting ambulance. 

The blue lights flashed again and the emergency vehicle drove away. It is a long way from here to a hospital of any significance. At least two hours I would say.

With the German fellow gone, The  Shifty Band started up again and the song they chose to punish was "Let It Be" by The Beatles:-
When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom
Let it be
OR
Ven ah fend moresell in toms o travel
Mudda Mayway come timmy
Seekin worms oh Wisden
Lettuce bee
Perhaps the German casualty heard the song faintly as he was whisked away into the Croatian night.

One day the blue lights and the siren may come for me too  - and surely for you as well dear reader. But it wasn't our turn to go last night and hopefully not tonight either. Ambulances are like grim reapers on wheels. We have all got to go one day, one night, one time. Hail and Farewell. Leaving - not  to angelic music but to blue lights flashing in the night. Roy Orbison singing, "It's Over" comes to mind.

10 September 2019

Monastery

This morning, after a hearty breakfast, we plodded up the side of the mountain that looms behind our hotel. We were not heading for the summit as I might have wished but to a sixteenth century monastery that looks out to Korčula across the Pelješac sea channel from a craggy stone ridge.

The monastery was originally Franciscan and in Croatian it is called Gospa od Anđela which means Our Lady of the Angel. 
View from the monastery to Korčula
There was a museum within - dedicated not to matters monastic and religious - but to Orebic's seafaring past. In glass cases there were many models of old sailing vessels and pictures on the walls of famous sea captains and more ships. Sadly, that heritage died out in the mid-twentieth century.
Captain Mato Zupa  of Orebic - born in 1855
We wandered amongst the graves in the attached churchyard. Great slabs of polished granite and imposing family vaults. Here and there carved anchors spoke of lives lived and sometimes lost upon the sea. The view down to Orebic and beyond was spectacular.
At twelve o'clock the monastery bells pealed frantically for ten minutes or more, echoing above the pine forest below. But by then we were on our way down, following a zigzagging stony path through the trees, enjoying the shade on what has been another hot Adriatic day.

In Yorkshire the word "nesh" suggests someone who won't take risks, preferring safety and comfort. Lady Pudding seems to be habitually drawn to that camp but after our hike to the monastery she ventured into the sea in spite of claiming it was "cold". In fact the September sea temperature here is very pleasant indeed and in the end she enjoyed her ten minute dip before lounging by the hotel swimming pool for most of the afternoon.

Another sea captain - Mato Kovacevic (1891 - 1975)

9 September 2019

Korčula

Korčula seen from our room
We went to Korčula today. It is an island off the Croatian coast. In fact you can see it from our hotel room - across the Strait of Pelješac - the sea channel between us.

The main town on Korčula is called... wait for it... Korčula. Its most ancient parts crowd round the main church on a small peninsula that is redolent with history. According to legend, the island was founded by Trojan hero Antenor in the 12th century BC. During the Byzantine period. the town was an important staging post and its limestone alleyways still echo with the sounds of a rich, long and influential maritime heritage.

Unfortunately, I had not fully charged my camera battery so I did  not gather the number of images I might have done today. Still, I collected enough pictures to provide you with a flavour of our trip across the water. And especially for dog lovers I have included a photo of a black hound we spotted in a first floor window. He was desperate to get outside.
After four hours over there we jumped on the ferry back to Orebic and returned to our hotel from where I swam out to a distant orange buoy that I clung to before swimming back to the shore. Dinner this evening was again scrumptious and when wine and beer are effectively free, why stand on ceremony? Hic!
Korčula Town
The ferry back to Orebic with our hotel in the middle
Typical street in Korčula

8 September 2019

Arrived

View from the "Bella Vista" restaurant where we stopped for coffee.
We set off from home at 3am this morning - bound for Manchester Airport. The flight left at 6.15 am.

Two and a half hours to Dubrovnik and then a further two and a half hours in a small transfer coach up the coast north to Orebic.
View from our hotel room
Soon after arriving we strolled into the little town. Later we were swimming both in the pool and the sea and then this evening we feasted in the buffet restaurant, making use of a holiday package deal that includes wine and beer with your evening meal. It would be very easy to be gluttonous like all-inclusive passengers on a cruise ship.

Anyway, so far so good here in Croatia where "hvala vam" means thank you. The temperature is pleasantly warm. It takes longer for summer to evaporate here on this balmy Adriatic shore.

It has been a long day. Lady Pudding is already between the sheets. Time for me to go there too. Night night...
Outside a restaurant in Orebic
Monument inside the main Catholic church in Orebic

Most Visits