Dubrovnik, Paradise also known as Mjlet and Split
23.06.2011 - 29.06.2011 29 °C
We arrived into Dubrovnik with ladies hounding us as soon as we got off the bus. We are starting to get used to this now. The get you as soon as you get off the bus offering rooms to stay in their houses/apartments. It sounds dodgy but here it is commonplace, and you can get somewhere really nice for much cheaper than the hostels.
We already had our booking so we just smiled and said ´no thanks´. Looking at a map we realised it was over a miles walk, and not only that but looking at where the road went it was ALL uphill. Daisy sighed sadly at this.
It was very hot and Daisy more so, did not look particularly attractive with a red face and perspiring somewhat. We got to the road which Daisys beloved iPhone had sent us and it was soon apparent it was the wrong road. ´Anka´s Rooms´ was nowhere to be seen. On further inspection of the map we had about 10 minutes previously passed the road we needed. Steve was slightly upset about this. Luckily the walk was downhill this time!
Apart from getting to the actual house that is. The final leg of it was a climb of about 80 steps up to the house. We took a deep breath and began the ascent.
We were welcomed warmly into the home. The family consisted of Anka her husband, their son and wife and two children. The wifes name escapes us but she spoke to us about Dubrovnik and told us where to go and eat in the old town. It was a guesthouse with 4 rooms in the family home that they offer on Hostelworld and hostelbookers. We had a nice room, but to beat it was the shower! Oh how we loved this shower!
We walked to the Old town and it is similar to Kotor but on a much larger scale and much, much more touristy. Whereas Kotor would have one cruise ship come in a day, this town takes 4 or 5. The old town was full of restaurants, little boutiques and small bars down the little alleys. Whilst we ate we watched a procession come from the church and followed a candled route. It turns out that it was celebrating St Blaise who looks and protects the town. The procession was full of people singing, wearing white and carrying religious looking objects.
We went out of the walls of the old town to the sea and the stones of the wall were still warm even after dark. Nice to sit against. People were swimming against the rocks as the water was still warm. Again, it was blue and clear.
The next day we woke early as our ferry to Mjlet island was at 9.10am. Before leaving Anka´s we made a reservation for when we returned as we really liked it there and did not feel we had explored Dubrovnik enough in one night.
It was to be a hot day as the walk to the ferry was super hot even being 8am. Luckily again it was all downhill.
One thing we have noticed on our travels is that people turn up to the bus station or ferry in this case, with items that they send to another destination. So it then becomes part of the drivers job to make sure the items get off at the right place. There was a man at the Marina putting on bags of nappies to go to Mjlet. Like a free postal service!
On the journey across we saw our island and saw how isolated it looked. Just full of trees and only a handful of houses. Sobra-the main town is only made up of 80inhabitants.
Our town of Polace was the second stop and the address for our room was Polace 3! So we decided it must be quite easy to find. Turns out in Polace there is only one road, and our room was in the 3rd house along. Nice and easy compared to Dubrovnik.
Our room was nice and compact, small kitchen and bathroom in one. Our balcony looked over the marina and sea. Stunning!
We walked up the road and the restaurants all have cages by the sea that they keep their fish and lobsters in. So before you eat, you are shown this. Quite impressive.
We began our stint here by hiring bikes at about 12pm and riding 4km to the National Park where engines are not allowed. You pay 90 kuna which is about 9pounds and you can come and go as you please for the next 3 days. Also included in it is a bus ride there and back from Polace and a boat ride to a little island with a monastery. Thing is, half of the 4km was uphill and it was midday sun again. One comment came from Daisy that Steve keeps repeating now in which she said ´Holidays are supposed to be fun!´Not that she wasn´t having fun but it seemed like a boot camp holiday. Constantly out of breath and sweating!
Arrived at the National Park lakes after a welcoming downhill sprint with no cars. Went for a swim where the water in summer months reaches 27 degrees, it was very nice! We went between swimming and sunbathing and even Steve was able to relax.
Loads of lizards in the park, some blue ones which Daisy loved and we have quite a few pictures.
On the route home we decided to go another way as it said it was only 1.6km, but it turned out to be rocky and barely a path that we could cycle on even though Steve did try successfully!
In our relaxed state, when we got back we had a nap starting at 7, but we didn´t wake up til 8am the following day. We were shocked but it kind of showed how all the previous travelling had got to us.
The next day at 9am, we walked to the Mini Brum centre and hired a car for Daisy to drive. She was very nervous but it went well. It was a red Fiat Punto Cabriolet so we were able to put the top down! Our town was in the East of the island, so we drove the 30km to the west side were there are sandy beaches. We went to Sapulnura for the day and sat under a sun lounger for 45 kuna which is quite pricy for Croatia, in England it would be about 4 pounds. It was in a bay where boats were moored and the water was nice and cold.
There were patches of rocks in the sea so Daisy sat down whilst Steve was swimming and fish nibbled her feet including a shrimp that kept pinching her bum. Highly amusing. Steve came over and squealed when the shrimp got him.
We got hungry for lunch and went to a nearby restaurant called Stermasi, a must for anyone going to this island. Beautiful food and it looks over the sea and numerous rocks. The owner was really nice and able to speak several different languages. We shared our food which consisted of a octopus salad and cuttlefish balck risotto, both were amazing and served in these big shells.
Began the drive home and stopped off at Ulysesses (may not be spelt correctly-think James Joyce) cave which took a 20 minute walk down over a rocky path with several steep steps! We didn´t have a chance to really explore the cave as we had to have the car back for 7 and it had gone 6, but it did look impressive and you can go swimming in it.
On this night we made food and sat outside, it was windy but if you looked up the sky was ablaze with stars. Very romantic!
Our next day was another lazy one and we sat by the water outside of our hotel until the afternoon. Then we took the minibus (as this was included in the ticket price and we didn´t have to cycle to Daisys relief) to the National Park for the boat ride to the SV Marija monastery. Nice place, quite small. Even though there were many signs saying ´no smoking´ and ´no swimming´ noone was taking any notice. So Steve went for a swim and it was even colder than we had previously experienced.
Got the minibus back to Polace and said goodbye to the National Park, quite sad as it was so beautiful but we are both looking forward to taking people there.
A restaurant man had been hounding us everyday to go to his for a meal. Everything on the island is cooked ´under the bell´but this guys prices were more than anyone elses so we had been trying to say no politely. It was 390 kuna for a 1kg of fish. Not including vegetables and drinks! So we said we didn´t have enough money. He asked us how much we had which was 340 and he agreed to do the fish, vegetables and homemade wine for us.
It was food to die for! We have pictures. 3 full fishes, with potatoes, carrots, leeks, courgettes and half a litre of homemade white wine, sat by the sea. We love this island very much!
The one downfall was Daisy getting sneezed on from the next table. Literally a face full, she laughed it off.
The stars were out again so we went for a walk to appreciate our last night.
We woke up and packed for 10am but we had not seen our hosts since we arrived and it turned out that we could have the room for the rest of the day as they had two spare ones for guests. This was brilliant news as the ferry back to Dubrovnik wasn´t until 4.55pm. We relaxed by the hotel all day, played cards and ate with a little money that we had left.
We got back to Dubrovnik after a fairly choppy ferry ride and walked back up to Anka´s this time knowing exactly where we were going! The room we had stayed in before was taken so they put us in the apartment downstairs. Our own shower room and kitchen. Again, no faults with this place.
We went into the old town for dinner and went for a drink or two. SAme busy, touristy town so not too much more to report on it.
The next day, we left our bags with Anka and we went to a really good exhibition about war photography around the world. For 30kuna (3pounds) we went in and it was really good. Definitely recommend it. Some very hard hitting but true images.
The old town has a different and busier feel to it than the evenings we had been and we found it to be too much. We had decided to go to Split as a slight diversion and we had time and it was really worth it.
We got the bus from Dubrovnik at 16.30 and arrived after 8pm, LONG journey and Steve was very bored. Checked into our hostel (only a 5minute walk, which we were so happy about) and it ended up being full so they put us in our own private room for the same price, but there was no kitchen. It was really close to everything we needed though so this was a bonus.
The old town here is simiar to Kotor and Dubrovnik with the walls and gates but it has a different feel to it. Not as touristy as Dubrovnik but its more lived in and homely almost. We went for some dinner and then for a few drinks. The vibe was really good and we had a great time exploring the lanes, alleys and couple of bars.
The next day, we went for a walk to see the shops and it was great, the old town is full of little shops. Even though there isn´t too much to actually go and see like museums-it was really nice to just sit down and watch people go past. Split really has a buzz to it.
Our next stop was Mostar, so we brought our tickets and went for the bus at 3.10pm. Going into Bosnia, we didn´t feel too much of a change, just the car number plates.