Sunday, September 28, 2014

On to our last Croatian stop…..Dubrovnik

Buying ferry tickets in Croatia is not easy!  First we bought our tickets, and then we were told we had to come back the following morning for the boarding card, as they are only allowed to give those on the day of the ride.  So back we went……to find out that now we must go back again 30 mins before the ferry departs as it could be leaving from either port of the town!!

So we decided to have an early lunch on the promenade where we could see boats approach…..
and we left our table once we saw where the boat was heading!  No need to return to the Jadrolinja office!

We were a little surprised that we had to climb up essentially 2 stories with luggage to get on or off the boat!

Unfortunately a catamaran was not an option! And this particular ferry was the last of the season between Korcula and Dubrovnik……so we definitely did not want to miss it!  The alternative was a ferry to the mainland and then a minibus journey!

The mainland as seen from the boat seemed rather forbidding……

Dubrovnik when we reached it looked very busy compared to the islands, or even Split.
We checked into our apartment and admired the view from the windows……..
There is a plaque on the outside wall of the building…. presumably Kathleen Wilkes lived here….

This little port under the Lovrijenac Fort……. is apparently where scenes for the Game of Thrones takes place. Apparently they are filming here for the next few days…..but we have seen no evidence yet…..

We couldn't resist a nighttime stroll into the old town……

but were surprised at the numbers also out strolling……

There was a jazz concert at the end of the town so we assumed this was unusual and most people were here for the concert…

…...… until we saw some night time guided tours!

We had dinner in a very good restaurant, Sesame
It was a little funky but the food is excellent….

It took us a little while to find as we thought it was on a back street near the fort. This involved going up and down many steps!! However it turned out to be on the main road, a little uphill from the Hilton hotel.  Definitely ask for a table not too close to the traffic noise!

The following morning proved to be more of the same……..many, many tourists. Apparently there are 4 cruise ships in and that means about 7000+ people seeing the sights!

We found a great site which gives dates when the cruise ships are docked so that one can choose less busy days to visit, unfortunately too late for us to change our plans. The September schedule shows that
tomorrow looks better for us to sightsee…. only 2 boats in!

The main square had a local food products market, which was very colourful….with the producers in national costume...

It was lunchtime for some…….
We checked out the port area……

…..looked at the people walking around the walls….but were not tempted to join them!  26+ degrees, full sun!

As we exited Pile Gate we were happy that we had gone into the town earlier on…..
…….looks a little like queueing at Disneyland!!

Wine tasting in Lumbarda, Korcula

We made a side trip to the wine growing area of the Grk grape. We had heard about this difficult to pronounce grape which apparently only grows in this particular area … it needs sand.
So we set off from Korcula Old Town to Lumbarda…..again taking a bus!

We couldn't resist trying to find some wineries…….but this would be  a little different from our winery tour in Hvar. Most of these wineries have a very small production….most less than 10000 bottles a year. And of course this is their busy time picking and pressing the grapes, so they were not really open for wine tasting.
We did walk to a few as we were told that the owners lived in the winery and would no doubt be there.
We were amused to see the road being vacuumed on one side and on the other the grass between the grapes being cut…. they did have a little discussion!

Heavily laden vines….growing in the sand..
This particular winery did have the family there…... working……

grapes being pressed…….

..and bottles waiting for labels……
Their view was magnificent…. and we really liked their wine, which was lighter than others we tried...
The next winery we visited seemed to have packed up and gone for a rest!

We decided to head for the water….

We ended up having lunch in a delightful restaurant….good food, great location…. the Konoba Feral..

and we tried their own wine, Fides, which has won awards.
Back in Korcula Old Town we explored a little more…… keeping in mind that we didn't want to keep going up and down…

There had obviously been some well heeled noblemen once…..
but we noticed that a lot of buildings had been abandoned…..
…..even those next to the birthplace of Marco Polo…..
We returned to a nice sunset view from our hotel room….

….before going for dinner at a local restaurant…the Konoba Adio Mare...

and 'yes' we did have to go up to the top of the town again!  But we were lucky… we got there before a thunderstorm with a huge downpour……lots of people were turned away…. and we were very happy not to be seated on the terrace!!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

And on to Korcula…..

We decided on an early ferry to take us from Hvar to Korcula…..
this time traveling by a speedboat ferry….

not quite as comfortable as the catamaran!

Our first view of the town showed a very large cruise ship docked…..

and it turned out it was right in front of our hotel….as viewed from our window...
The view after it left was much nicer…..

 This is apparently the island where Marco Polo lived before his extended trip to Asia…..

and this house/tower was where he was born in 1254……

The whole town is built on a hill with the Cathedral being on the only flat ground… at the top!

 We were lucky to be able to be there when they were recording a classical concert that evening…..

..with a Tintoretto in the background!

….and some spears from the Battle of Lepanto…… not clear who brought them back….

Little steep narrow streets lead up to it from all sides.

It was heavily fortified at one time with high walls.  These have now been removed.

However the main 'land gate' is quite impressive

as are the corner fortresses….

There are only 2 hotels in the old town…
the Hotel Korcula, where we are staying….

and the Lesic Dimitri.

They are worlds apart!
One is still in the past, the other seems to be extremely up market.
We did eat at LD, their restaurant…..excellent food.
Their location is fantastic…..
the view is magnificent…..
 ….and looking over the wall was also fantastic…...