5am knock, breakfast like Russia - service and food. First
signs of Croatian coast - mountains. Down to deck but wait 20
minutes for them to open them. Into car and drive out, we're in
Croatia! Police check and then we drive off, deciding to skip
Dubrovnik and start heading north.
Beautiful coastal drive in 1st and
second gears, Suzie trying to teach me how to take care of our new
Petrol station attendant very good English, friendly.
Asks me what I do and asks if computer people paid very well in Ireland.
Petrol is less than Italy or Ireland -- about a euro a litre.
offices friendly but saying nothing open.
We stop for the kids' sake (and us and the engine) at the water in a
little place and we all paddle and rest and just breath a huge sign of
relief: we're here, it is beautiful weather and the place is
lovely. It's early still so we stay for a good while, getting in a
little nap too.
We drive on to Obic for the ferry, not knowing if
we'll be able to pay in Euros. As it turns out there is a post
office just there so I can change money and confirm we're in the right
place. Ferry costs less than a tenner.
I take the kids in turns
up on deck to see the views during the crossing, which is quick.
We get pulled over for a police check at the other side, and the man
apologises for taking our time and shakes our hands when we leave.
He doesn't think there are campgrounds open and reminds us to register
ourselves if we don't find one.
Korcula is nice, not as big as I
thought, and we stop at a nice playground in the shape of a ship while
Suzie checks out tourist office and gets some bread. Turns out
they're closed so we figure we'll try Lumbarda; the rough guide tells us
it has sandy beaches and not much else, sounds good to us. We pull
into the tourist office - closed - and I get some Kuna in the service
till, and less than 50 metres up the road is a little campsite. We
pull in to see goats with newborn kids and hens. An older women
comes out, very friendly, and we manage to communicate enough to learn
we can stay. What a relief, and its perfect for our guys with the
Getting the tent up I see it's wet and has some mould; it
must have gotten wet in the bag on the way down to Italy and we never
aired it out! Anyway it gets up just as the sun sets and the
weather cools down a lot.
Directly opposite us is a supermarket; I try
my Russian on them and it works but I get answers in very good English.
I'm up early and walk to dog down to the water in both directions,
exchanging Dobro Utro with other people out at this hour. Then
back and take Eli on a short bike ride to investigate the beaches which
are signposted past where I walked. We don't find them. We
get back and the little guys are up so our day begins.
Tidying is the order of the day and we sort through our stuff, trying
to remember where we put everything.
I thank our hostess for the oranges she gave us yesterday and she
asks if I'll have some lemons. So we get lemons and then some
fresh goats' cheese too; I give her a bottle of Domenico and Amelia's
olive oil. She says she'll give us eggs in the morning.
walk/cycle down to the village and then I cycle off to find a petrol
station to get gas. It turns out to be all the way back at the
ferry port, and they only have the small disposable canisters; just as
well we brought that little stove as a backup! Again the petrol
station attendant answers my Russian in good English!
I get back and Suzie helps Eli cast for fish but nothing big enough
for his lure so we go back to the campsite for a Shabbat dinner in 2
sittings and the kids have a great chasing game outside while Suzie
types up her diary.
We postpone our movie tonight because the little
guys are asleep by the time we're ready for it.
This morning we found the larger sandy beach, Eli cycling Sammy and I
brought Rosa, and Suzie pushed Finn in the buggy. We had the beach
to ourselves for most of the morning and early afternoon. Hot and
sunny, and water warm enough to paddle in. Eli cycled back to the
shop with walkie talkie to get a few things. Got back intending to
head into Korcula but all rather tired so we hung out and played until
dinner, then watched a treat of The Incredibles which we had taped while
in Giovinazzo and had kept it a secret from the little guys and Suzie.
Cold and cloudy with a bit of brief light rain this morning, but
eventually the sun broke through. Not motivated enough to do much,
a relaxed playing, reading, computing morning. Pancakes with our
hostess' fresh lemons and eggs.
Eli and I cycle to the town where across the water a brass band is
playing outside the church.
This is our last day on Kortula island. We pack up in a relaxed
way and finally get on our way around 4pm - the ferry isn't until early
tommorow morning so we figure we'll stay the night on the pier, though
I'm not completely sure about it. Our hostess' daughter also
doesn't understand why we're going now instead of early AM, but she
doesn't know how slowly we get going in the morning or our maximum
Vela Luka's port area isn't nearly as nice as where we left but
we find a bar that does pizza and have one that is really good and VERY
big (big as the little tables!). Pricey in comparison to Italy,
but less expensive than the same in Ireland.
Afterwards we drive a bit
towards the signposted campground but it's a good ways out of town so we
decide to stay at the port. Once there, we debate where to park
etc but there is activity there in the boats and people around so it
doesn't feel terribly isolated. We park up near a VW Beetle so
Newbie feels happy, then attempt a setup without taking out the carseats.
Ok, let's not try sleeping that way again! Suzie and I are
cramped and stiff from the awkward curled positions we slept in last
night. We get up at 5am and meet the daughter of our campground
hostess, who is on her way to school that morning! We get tickets
and I bring the big guys to a cafe (open at this hour!). On the
way back the ticket lady stops me and says we're not a car but a combi
and the ticket is different, but then says to just try driving on
anyway. We do so and noone says anything so we're in, about 40
euros for the 3 hour crossing to Split.
Split is big, and we both
agree it's better to drive on, which we do, stopping at Trogir instead.
We walk through the market, old women in rows of benches, selling
vegetables, fruit, etc. As we walk along the women call out their
wares to us; we get a bit of cheese and cucumber, then go into the old
town, where we get Croatian ice cream (good) and walk in the sunshine.
I do some internetting with Eli, very friendly help sorting out my LAN
connection, and we have a look at the kids new
website where Luke's
already put up some (somewhat bloody) animations.
Suzie and I then
swap and she sorts our next campground while I take the little boys for
a walk in the beautiful sunshine by the water. We exit the old
town through a great wooden door with nasty spikes sticking out of it,
Sammy of course tries to climb up them! Sammy has to crawl along
every inch of each bench we pass, whether their are people on them on
not. Finn copies and so the walk down the pier takes a while!
We get back to Suzie eventually and all pack up for the road.
later we arrive at Peros campsite which is deserted! But no, a
workman motions us to park, and someone comes over and assures us
they're open. The pool unfortunately is not filled and its all
gravel, but they're very friendly and have hot showers and immaculate
facilities so we decide to stay (as if we have a choice!).
Another quiet day at Peros campsite. Late afternoon we walk along
the shore, communicating with the local fishermen about what Eli should
use for bait. We pass a house with a car that has a New York
license plate, a bald eagle statue perched on their balcony and a plaque
reading Astoria Park! Noone around so we walk through the little
town; Suzie stops to get some supplies in a small shop and I take the
kids ahead. The church bells ring just as we are passing a small
house, where a man seemingly in response to the bells, closes up his
shutters. Back at the site we have a brief dinner and kids to bed.
I get my updated version of our Italian hosts'
website up on the web and Suzie
gets advice on the next stage of our journey.