Today we were sad to leave Hvar. It had been a lovely relaxing few days, made extra special by our lovely host. At breakfast this morning, we were her only guests, and she served us home made Wild Orange preserve and Rosemary Honey, as well as her smoked and goat’s cheeses, which she also makes herself. Often places are made by the people you encounter, and certainly this is somewhere we would happily return to. She also told us that in ten days time, she will be fully booked for the rest of the season – so we definitely came across this place at the right time. As we paid and left, our hotelier gave us a gift of a jar of her home made orange marmalade, and two sachets of lavender, Hvar being renowned for it’s fields of lavender. I did wonder, though, if perhaps when Howard gave her a lift in Oscar to his parking spot, she had thought that the van was getting a bit whiffy. I plan to put the lavender next to Howard’s running kit – it is starting to remind me of a boy’s changing room!
On his morning run, Howard also discovered the mystery of ‘Hvar, the party town’. This morning, he ran around the peninsular, and came across a load of hotels and beach bars, as well as ‘Hula-Hula beach, which is obviously where all the youngsters hang out, well away from the gorgeous Old Town. On the peninsular path there was also a large sign, clearly addressed to the young party goers, warning of 500 euro fines in the event of walking past the sign wearing beachwear, drinking in public on the street, or falling down drunk! Clearly in the past, the drunken behaviour of these youngsters has been a problem, so Hvar has dealt with it in a forthright fashion. Good for them.
Before leaving Hvar, we paid one final trip to the supermarket to pick up essential supplies such as fresh bread and milk, since we will be out in the sticks for a few nights. As we stood in the queue to pay, what should come over the sound system but ‘The Proclaimers – 500 miles’. Unfortunately for the locals, Howard and I couldn’t resist joining in with the chorus and doing a bit of on the spot marching. For some reason, the Croatians don’t seem to know bit in the chorus that comes after ‘But I would walk 500 miles, And I would walk 500 more, Just to be the man who walked a thousand miles, To fall down at your door’. All you Scots know what I am talking about – ‘Da na na na! Da na na na! Da na na na na na na na na na na!’ Well that really seemed to puzzle the locals stood with us in the queue! At this point, we didn’t really have any option but to leave Hvar.
En route to the ferry, we stopped briefly in Hvar’s second town, Stari Grad, only really because we had missed the sign to the ferry. It looked very pleasant, with attractive houses built around a picturesque harbour. I went into the Tourist Information office to ask where we caught the ferry from, and she pointed out to sea at the large ferry passing the harbour entrance. ‘2km along the road – and that’s it’. So our stay in Star Grad was understandably brief!
The ferry trip to Split was lovely. We sat on deck in the sun, and took in the views. We passed by the island of Brac, and in the distance spotted the quarry where they extracted the white limestone used to build ‘The White House’ in Washington DC. Driving off the ferry into Split was a bit of a culture shock, after our lazy quiet island. We suddenly had to negotiate lots of traffic and find our way to the motorway. We are currently headed north towards Zagreb. We have just passed a road sign warning of wolves and bears – ooh er! In the distance are a huge range of snow capped mountains.
Before reaching Zagreb, we are heading off piste towards the Plitvice Lakes National Park, which our guide from Dubrovnik had recommended. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1979, and is famous for it’s series of lakes and waterfalls. According to my guide book, it is also renowned for water snakes, bears, wolves and some interesting bird life. So we shall see.
Oscar has just passed his 10,000 mile milestone, so maybe tonight we should celebrate. Perhaps I will make use of the limes we discovered in the supermanket yesterday. The only real decision to make is Hendricks or Caorunn?!!!