…except it’s a sea, not an ocean and there are absolutely no waves, it’s as calm as a mill pond.
Much as I have enjoyed my evenings amongst the ancient buildings and narrow alleyways of Dubrovnik, I am not enjoying the crazy influx of tourists during the day, largely, I imagine, from cruise ships. The crowds remind me of the exodus from a large stadium pop concert – wall to wall people marching in columns behind their guide, thinking they own the streets and that anyone not in their group has no right to be there. It’s all too much for me – even the side streets have been invaded. I should have heeded Liza’s advice much sooner and visited when the cognoscenti had the place to themselves!
At this time of year (low season believe it or not) there is only one ferry per day to my next stop and it sails at 16:00 so I have a few hours to kill.
I wrote the above while sitting in the old port at the end of town where the pleasure boats pick up their passengers. My interest piqued when I saw a huge reproduction galleon approaching the quay. It was blasting some familiar classical music one might relate to the ocean. The deck hands were appropriately dressed in period costume. I got up to take a couple of photos and saw the cost for a trip was 150 kuna (around £18). Even my stingy nature could appreciate that it wasn’t too exhorbitant a price to pay for a treat. There is a replica of John Cabot’s ship the Matthew in Bristol harbour and whenever I’ve seen it I have always hankered after a trip aboard.
So I climbed the gangplank and took a seat on the upper deck. There were only a few on board – no more than 25 on a ship that could comfortably accommodate ten times that number. We were entertained by an actor who played the part of Miho Pracat, famous and wealthy Dubrovnik seaman from the 16C, who told us of his derring-dos. It was all very jolly, especially when we were served a glass of cava (a little early in the day even for me, but I didn’t let that stop me!). I think I smiled from ear to ear for the entire 50 minute voyage around the island of Lokrum. It was fabulous and really bucked my grumpy mood. Highly recommended.
And then to top it off, as I was wandering along the main street a woman stopped me. “Excuse me” she said “do you speak English? I have passed you a couple of times and wanted to say how lovely your outfit is.” Well, blow me down with a feather! My old camino skirt and top that has been screwed up in my pack for at least four caminos and worn countless other times when I want something that doesn’t crease, doesn’t show any dirt and has really useful pockets. That kept the smile on my face for a while longer.
I returned to the vegan restaurant Nishta for lunch. I had to wait for a table and whilst I was eating a constant stream of people enquired for a table. I said to the waiter that they need bigger premises (it is very tiny) but he responded that the owners want to keep it small and keep the quality high. Good luck to them for their principles.
I allowed plenty of time to get to the ferry for the next leg of my journey, which was just as well because I didn’t have a clue where to alight the bus and just followed the lead of others who were wielding suitcases and rucksacks, only to discover that I was at the bus station, not the ferry port which was a stop or two back down the line. 500 metres or so later I arrived just as the ferry was pulling in. No wonder the old town was so busy – I counted five huge cruise ships in the port plus the one moored up alongside the old town this morning.
The ferry makes various stops and I jumped off after almost two hours at Korčula island. I was expecting to have to take another bus into the old town where I am staying, but I was very pleased to learn that the ferry stops right alongside the town with just a few minutes’ walk to my accommodation. (Maria’s place – a double room with en-suite for the less than the price of a bunk in Dubrovnik! Excellent value at £17 per night for the room.)
By the time I had dumped my stuff and wandered back out into the streets it was dark. This town is very characterful, surrounded on three sides by the sea, with lots of arty shops and scores of restaurants, most of which only had a couple of tables occupied. I guess the season is coming to a close which isn’t good for business, but I shall enjoy my brief time here much better for being less crowded.