Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Kotor and Cavtat and Home

On our last full day in Croatia we drove the short distance from Ston to Cavtat just south of Dubrovnik.  We chose Cavtat as it is a few minutes drive to the airport and we had a very early flight the next day. As soon as we checked in to our apartment we dropped off our bags and drove through the miserable drizzle to the adjoining country Montenegro to visit the walled town of Kotor.

View looking down on the large inner harbour
Though it was not a long drive, it took quite a while as the road was narrow and twisty. There was a large inner Harbour with a narrow entrance out to the Adriatic and also an inner inner Harbour which Kotor was at the very end of.  It was hard to get a good photograph of the town, with the wall that went way up the side of a mountain, from inside the narrow streets of the town, As the mountain  was so close

You really had to walk out of the city walls to get a better view.

When we first arrived, it was raining quite hard and so what were to do, except go into a restaurant for lunch.  So we sheltered from the down pour and I ordered chicken in a white wine cream sauce served with roasted vegetables, one of their specialities.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Last Night on the boat and on to Ston

It seemed impossible that 7 nights had gone past, but we found ourselves back where we had started on the Island of Vis. We had to hand over the boat at 8:00 in the morning, so it only made sense to spend the last night in home port.  We decided to cook our last meal on board, and had picked up a few provisions in Hvar that morning at the market.  We found these beautiful little artichokes which really looked more like flowers.

So while we were sailing back to Vis, I broke them down and prepared them the Italian way with a vinaigrette

Along with this we had some Pork cutlets sauteed with herbs de Province and finished with a splash of white wine.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Island of Hvar part 2

The second day in Hvar was a full day as we anchored there for two nights. We woke up to a beautiful morning and a beautiful view.

We decided that we would rent scooters again and go explore the island a bit, so after a nice coffee in the main square we headed out to find some scooters to rent.

There were several different operators who rented to scooters, but we kind of liked these retro looking ones, so 5 scooters rented and we headed up in to the hills behind the town of Hvar.

The countryside was interesting with the landscape being covered with piles of rocks forming small fields as far as the eye could see.

The only thing that we could see growing in these small fields was lavender, but many of them seemed to be abandoned, though that must have been a lot of work to clear them. We went across the island for a little and then went down towards the coast again to a small town called Stari Grad.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Island of Hvar part 1

The weather continued to be perfect, warm and sunny, but not too hot and we sailed a little, motored a little heading for one of the largest islands Hvar.

We arrived in the early afternoon and found one of the few anchorages in the inner harbour of the town of Hvar.

The town looked similar, if larger than the towns on the other islands, but there was a large castle sitting on the hill overlooking the town and harbour.  We took the tender and started to look for somewhere for dinner.  I was craving lamb and there was a dish that we had seen advertised at many restaurants called "lamb under a bell" which I curious about.  We found a restaurant that had this and we booked a table and ordered the lamb as it was cooked to order and took over 2 hours.

Al negotiating with the chef
We explored around the town for a couple of hours returning at the appointed time to the restaurant.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Paradise found opportunity lost

After Vis we sailed to a small bay between two very small islands just off the coast of Vis.  On the map it appears to be called Budkovac

We anchored in the harbour and enjoyed a glass of white wine and some of the delicious cheese and pears that we had brought with us.

It was a perfect peaceful little bay, there was one house on the larger Island and it looked like they were living off the grid, growing all there own vegetables in a large vegetable garden.

There were also sheep (grazing on rosemary as it turned out) chickens, goats and donkeys.  Nancy and I swam ashore to check out the beach and then the men followed in a the tender.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Island of Vis

After our first rather rocky night anchored off the Island of Solta we made a 5 hour sail up to the Island of Vis.  The day started off rather grim with rain and dark sky's, and we were grateful for our floating camper van, but about an hour in to the trip the sun came out and before we knew it was a glorious summers day.

We decided to anchor in the protected harbour of the town of Vis shown at the top of this map.

This was like all the towns we encountered on the islands, built from the cream coloured local stone and centered around the harbours.  We arrived in time to go ashore for a poke around and then back to the boat to make dinner.  We had bought some pasta that looked like a wider fettuccine and some cevapici which are like a long Croatian meatball.  So we made a simple sauce using these meatballs and carton of Italian tomato puree. Simple but good.

After all this was the view we had as we ate.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Picking up the catamaran in Solta

It turns out that actually the boat that we had rented was not in Split but on an Island a 45 minute ferry ride away. The owner of the apartment that we were staying in, very helpfully, gave us a lift to the ferry terminal and started on the next leg of our adventure.

Sail boats from the ferry
We arrived on the small island of Solta and our boat was waiting for us a 5 minute walk away from the ferry dock.

The first glimpse of our boat

Split Croatia

We drove along the coast road from Dubrovnik to Split, this took longer than you think, as it was a very windy road with considerable road works. Along the side of the road there were stands selling fresh oranges, olive oil and figs.

Of course we had to stop and buy oranges, and then we came across a small winery and we had to buy some wine.

There are 5 Kn to a dollar so we could have got 5 litres of wine for 16 dollars! Though this was not great wine we managed to choke it down sitting on our deck in Split.

Split is a much larger town than Dubrovnik, but the Old town portion is about the same size. Though not as classically beautiful, it feels a little more real and is still fascinating to wander around.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Scooters day 3 Dubrovnik

The third and last day in Dubrovnik we decided to rent 50cc scooters to tootle around the surrounding area.  They were only 20 euros for the day and well worth it.  We picked them up just at the entrance to the old town, this made starting off interesting as it was a busy narrow road.  The last time I was on a scooter was about 20 years ago in Bermuda and it was a shaky start, but I soon got the hang of it and managed not to hit anything.

We scooted around to another bay where inevitably we stopped for lunch.  We sat out on a beautiful deck overlooking the bay.

We sat on the edge of the deck under the shade of the large umbrellas and ordered a bottle of white wine.  They brought a gratis tuna pate to enjoy first.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Day 2 Dubrovnik

I am afraid day 2 had a bit of a slow start due to a free bottle of grappa with dinner the night before.  The pictures of the food were very blurry and dark, but it was a great meal of fresh fish eaten at a restaurant on the beach. But when we eventually got going the next morning we spent a little time in the old town again and then decided to go up the gondola to the top of the hill behind the town.

It is about the same size and height as the grouse mountain gondola in Vancouver and the view was equally impressive.

Looking down on the old town

Looking towards the islands we are going to be sailing around
We enjoyed the view for a while and took many many photographs, and then 3 of the group went to a small museum telling the story of the 1991/2 war.  Gord and I decided to sit in the very beautiful terraced bar and have a snack and a drink.