Friday, 31 July 2009

Croatia - Day 5, Korčula

Booking a ticket for the six-kilometre crossing to Korčula was very straightforward and didn’t involve the same administrative arrangements of providing passenger names that there are in Greece. I suppose that because Croatia isn’t in the European Union yet then it can safely manage without some of its bureaucratic procedures. The ferryboat was part of the Jadrolinija fleet, which is the largest in Croatia and carries nearly ten million passengers a year. It was called the Sveti Krševan, which is the name of the beautiful Romanesque church in Zadar that we had visited last year.

Once on board we found a seat on the top deck, opened a can of Karlovačko and sat in the sunshine to enjoy the thirty minute crossing to the island. The Croatian archipelago is the second largest in the Mediterranean after the Greek and there are that there are approximately one thousand two hundred and fifty Croatian islands in the Adriatic stretching all the way down the coast from Istria to Dubrovnik. This compares to about one thousand four hundred Greek Islands but includes quite a lot of islets and reefs so although this sounds a lot only sixty-six are actually inhabited compared with almost four times as many, two hundred and twenty seven, in Greece. Last year we visited Hvar, this year we choose Korčula just lying to the south of the slightly bigger island.

The ferry docked efficiently just outside the medieval city and we drove the short distance to the old town and after a bit of parking confusion found a perfect spot just outside the harbour and we set off to explore. Immediately it was obvious that Korčula isn’t very big and so because we had all day there pencilled in for tomorrow we decided not to do too much of it today. We walked around the outside of the town and restricted ourselves to the main street that runs through the middle and then found a pizzeria with a table overlooking the sea and the Pelješac peninsular. We choose a speciality pizza and the waiter asked if we wanted it cutting into six or eight slices, we said six because we didn’t think we could manage all eight.

It was a pleasant little lunch but as we sat there the sky hazed over and although it was still bright and warm the new arrangements robbed us of the blue that we like best. On the way out of the old town we visited the Konzum mini-market, which is the largest supermarket chain in Croatia, and purchased breakfast items for tomorrow and alcohol supplies for later on.

Our accommodation was just a few kilometres out of the town in the village of Grgic and the driving instructions were perfect until we reached the final few metres where the instructions petered out into an unhelpful ‘take the turning up the steep slope to the apartments’ – not very helpful because every turning had a steep slope so it looked as though we might have to try them all until we struck lucky As it happened there was a village shop where we stopped for directions and when we arrived the owner was waiting to greet us. We told her that a sign would be useful and she said that one was being fitted that very afternoon.

On the website the accommodation looked quite special but it didn’t quite live up to its billing. It isn’t very often that we are disappointed but this was one of them. The place wasn’t finished and it appeared dull and in need of a freshen up. The room was pleasant enough with a large balcony and a good view but inside the furniture was desperately out of date, the bed linen was old and faded and the towels were threadbare and worn out. Worst of all as we had the guided tour I spotted a cockroach in the kitchen area so I quickly stepped on it and hoped that Kim didn’t hear the crunch as its disgusting shell split in two and killed it instantly. I scooped the remains up in a tissue and flushed it down the toilet.

It wasn’t all bad of course and on the positive side it was in a very good location and the views from the pool side terrace area were magnificent. We sat and chatted to other guests and were served some home made liquors and pastries. These other guests were just finishing a fortnight holiday here and I found it almost impossible to comprehend how people could spend so long in one place. They seemed fascinated by our do-it-yourself approach to travel and spoke to us as though we were great adventurers so we felt obliged to tell them just how simple it is – book the flights, find some cheap hotels, hire a car and off you go!

The sun stayed behind the high haze for the rest of the day so eventually we abandoned the pool and retreated inside to prepare to go out for evening meal. Later we drove out and as we left the driveway to the apartments we couldn’t help but notice that the sign at the bottom had failed to appear. It was a lovely warm night and Korčula was delightful in the evening, the white stones and pavements were almost luminous and there was a friendly relaxed ambiance around every street corner. After we had walked around for a little while we selected a Croatian/Italian style restaurant and in the shelter of a side street sat we each had a pasta meal and shared a jug of wine and after that we wandered through the quiet streets back to the car and returned to the apartment.


sonja said...

Great photos on this blog! Is this a photo you took of the accommodation, or the one on the website? It looks gorgeous - I would be taken in, too! Shame about the room, there's not much worse than unclean amenities, cockroaches and threadbare towels... yechh...

Andrew Petcher said...

This is my picture and yes it was in a great location, only the room was disappointing. Don't let my tale put you off Korcula, it was fantastic!

frederic said...

hy nice trip too ..thanks for your comment on minbe in galicia to andalusia ...have a nice day regards frederic