|my ride to the pakleni islands|
Saturday, January 5, 2013
Back to Split again for a catarmaran connection to Hvar. There was enough time for something that I did not get to do during the first visit - climb up the Cathedral of Saint Domnius. It is the tallest structure as far as I could see and offers a glorious unobstructed 360 view of the city. Hvar has long been one of the most popular Croatian Islands. Hvar Town is one of the Adriatic's most bewitching and best preserved historic towns. Starting from the grid of narrow lanes of Old Town known as Groda, I gradually worked my way up the slopes to the Citadel or Spanjola as the locals called it. There is a marine archaeology collection and a former prison among the halls, although the real attraction is the view from the Citadel's ramparts. The mostly intact defensive wall plunge down the hillside towards the terracotta roofs of Hvar Town below, while beyond stretch the Pakleni islands just offshore. Dinner was the local delight gregada - a stew of fish cooked in white wine and a Hvar specialty - in an old town restaurant. Day two in Hvar Town began with light breakfast and idle stroll along the waterfront to the Franciscan Monastery at the south end. In an unplanned move, I hired a taxi boat along the marina to take me to the Pakleni islands. The boatman recommended the Palmizana beach - a popular excursion destination of Hvar visitors. The beach is located in a beautiful bay, covered with pebbles and has rocky parts and at the back of which there is a pine tree forest. I found a nice quiet restaurant hidden among the pine trees that served up a mean gregada with scampi - just what I was craving for.
Some say that Korčula is very much like Hvar. But the thing is that after visiting several Dalmatian towns, most if not all will start to appear and feel somewhat similar. It was getting dark when the catarmaran arrived in Korčula and by then I was already used to looking out for those ladies with rooms to rent out waiting at the harbor and bus station. They can be a good source of accommodation for anyone who is traveling during the low and shoulder season in this part of the world. It is easy, safe, convenient and much more affordable and better value than the overpriced hotels. There was also a feel good factor since I knew that I would be contributing directly to the local economy and community. I got another comfortable bargain room just paces from the old town wall. Next morning I woke up to the sound of the distant church bell ringing. Korcula Town sits on an oval hump of land, a medieval walled city with a series of narrow streets that branch off the main thoroughfare. I spent the day, exploring the old town with an invigorating siesta back at my room in between. Korčula may be much like Hvar but one thing that was sorely missed here was the gregada.