At 2:30am, I am awakened by a crashing sound. Actually, what I am awakened by is Mr Fletche tiptoeing heavily around the apartment like the world’s worst burglar. Remember those unusually high winds Korcula are experiencing? Well it seems like those winds have found their way onto our balcony, picked up the parasol – still attached to the table – and thrown it across the terrace. Which wouldn’t be so bad had there not been a beautiful little glass jam jar on the table filled with fairy lights. Which is now smashed to smithereens on our shared terrace. Being good citizens, and not wanting our neighbours to unwittingly slice their feet to bits, we spent half an hour sweeping and re-sweeping the terrace, and then sweeping again for a good measure. Finally we are satisfied that there is no evidence left of wind-related damage – apart from the sudden absence of our fairy light jamjar.
By the time we wake up again – naturally this time – the winds have dropped and it’s a hot morning. Mr Fletche prepares another breakfast and we discuss our plans for the day. We have none. Today we going to have a lazy day. And it’s wonderful. I take a book down to the waterside, settle myself on a lounger and watch the boats go by. I take a dip in the wonderfully chilly waters when it all gets a bit too hot and sweaty. Mr Fletche comes and joins me, and we wonder whether we can stay here forever. All this moving round and seeing different places is great, but sometimes having a base where you can just relax and do nothing without fear of missing out is perfect.
We do need food though, so eventually I peel myself from the sun lounger and we take the short walk into town. We take the “other” shortcut – the one Bero didn’t recommend to us – and are greeted with those sunbathing sans swimwear. We don’t linger to admire the scenery. Lunch is salad at bistro Marco Polo (there are many cafes, bars and restaurants named after the explorer who may or may not have spent time here in Korcula Town) and we take a slow amble along the waterfront towards Svetok Nikole. We pass Maksimilijan Garden and plan to come back here later for sunset. Unfortunately we never make it back here, spending far too much time having cocktails on top of a tower… We have ice cream from Kiwi before returning to the apartment to continue our day of indolence. Reading, snoozing, wishing we didn’t have to leave Korcula tomorrow…
I pull out my favourite dress that I’d saved especially for tonight – only to find it’s so creased it looks like tin foil. I’m not about to spend the penultimate night of the holiday ironing so I scrunch it back up in the packing cube and pull out my second favourite dress, which is made of sturdier material. We head back down into town for the final time. As the winds have dropped, we decide it’s the perfect time to try out cocktails at Massimo Cocktail Bar. It’s USP is the fact that it’s rooftop garden is accessed by a ladder, and drinks arrive by a pulley system up the side of the tower. Mr Fletche stands behind me as I climb up to preserve my dignity. Barely. It’s virtually empty up top, so once we’ve ordered a suitably lurid-coloured cocktail we have the place to ourselves. It’s a great spot to watch the sun slowly setting and we realise we won’t make it to Maksimilijan this time around. Descending the ladder is even trickier than ascending – even after just one cocktail – and I find my dress somewhere around my ears. There is little chance of preserving my dignity now so I style it out and pretend that showing my underwear to the world was part of my plan.
Dinner tonight is at Konoba Mareta, tucked down one of those beautiful little narrow alleyways, with wooden tables and benches precariously perched on stone steps. Their menu is full of traditional specialities and local produce; we grab the last available table outside and soak up the atmosphere. The food, service and prices are excellent; we top off our meal with a wonderful fig and orange cake which tastes like Christmas. We return to Café Bar Servantes for a final couple of drinks. This time I am definitely not hallucinating. There is definitely a deer in residence.
We’ll all packed up and ready to go. The fridge has been emptied of the last vestiges of breakfast stuff, we’ve done a last sweep in case of any tiny shards of broken glass (oops) and our suitcases bundled into the back of the Fletchemobile #3, which is a furnace after sitting in the sun for three days. We do the awkward sorting out of money transaction with Bero – particularly awkward as we seem to have woken him up – and he gives us a handmade Korcula fridge magnet in exchange for our kunas. We love a fridge magnet. Especially one which is a gift and lovingly handmade. We let Bero return to his bed, and head off for the ferry. Unlike the Split to Vela Luka ferry, this one requires less planning, mainly due to the fact that it runs every hour and only takes 15 minutes. We queued longer to get onto the boat than we actually spent aboard. We’re a dab hand at this car ferry lark now.
It’s a pretty ride along the Peljesac peninsula. There are so many vineyards around that even the air smells like wine. Its toxic and heady and I like it a lot. I still haven’t visited a vineyard yet, even here in Croatia where you can’t pop a cork without hitting another vineyard. It’s on the to-do list. But not today, especially as Mr Fletche is driving. We stop for a break at Ston. Not only cause it’s got a great short and snappy name, but also cause Mr Fletche had read about it’s Great Wall and wanted to see what all the fuss is about. It’s a pretty little town, and the Walls are indeed quite Great. But they also look like they don’t provide much shade and quite frankly, I’m not up for a hike today. It’s just too hot. So after a quick coffee, we’re back on the road again. And we soon join up with our old friend, the D8. It seems like we’ve never left. Other than a little bit between Sibenik and Zadar, we’ve traversed the entire Dalmatian coast on this road.
As we’re getting back into Game of Thrones country – did we ever really leave? – I suggest we take a detour to Highgarden, or in non-GOT speak – Trsteno Arboretum. At least it’s a little cooler beneath the tree canopies and the gardens are beautiful. It’s a nice stop on the way back to Dubrovnik, but it’s hardly a must-see if you’re not passing by. Finally we’re practically back where we started, and we take a last lingering look over Dubrovnik from above. We’ve one more night in Croatia though – although our GPS doesn’t seem to know where Cavtat is and we somehow end up on the road back to Dubrovnik. We’ve already taken our last lingering look…we don’t need another one or we’ll never leave. This time we ignore the GPS and eventually find our home for our final night in Croatia.
From the exterior, it’s a nice modern building, with a lovely swimming pool and terrace, and beautiful views over the sea. But inside the room… well, it’s all a bit odd. It’s dark, and the furniture is old-fashioned…and there is a porcelain doll peering at me from a shelf in the corner. We’re not in Korcula anymore Toto. Still, we unpack what we need for our one night and head down into town. And down. And down. And down some more. One of the reasons why this room was ridiculously cheap (less than £45 for the night) is because it is at the top of the steepest hill ever. I am already crying at the thought of walking back up. In fact I refuse point blank. It’s clear we will be spending the rest of the day here in town. I hate Cavtat. Stupid hills. And stupid hot weather. I have a touch of the final day blues and seeing Dubrovnik has made me want to start my holiday all over again. But I cheer up a little after an Aperol Spritz. And a glass of wine. And because I’m starving, a pre-dinner tuna salad. Cavtat is growing on me. We find a shady spot near one of Cavtat’s beaches and I even find the enthusiasm to have a quick paddle in the sea.
We head back round to the harbour to stare at the big posh boats for a while. And we decide to continue boat-watching with dinner at Dolium. Food is slightly more pricey in Cavtat – probably because much of the clientele comes off those big posh boats – but we do have a lovely meal of fried calamari for me and seafood pizza for Mr Fletche. And wine. We push the boat out (not literally) and share a litre of wine. We’re just delaying that inevitable point when we have to walk back up that big hill. So we might as well do it with wine. I’m eventually starting to like Cavtat a lot.
The sun is starting is set, not only on Cavtat but on our trip to Croatia as a whole so we sit on the rocks and wistfully gaze out to sea. An ice cream and two cocktails later and we’re ready to tackle the climb. I moan all the way (of course) but it’s not as bad as I imagined. The alcohol fuzz may well be responsible for that…
Final morning. I have slept well despite the best efforts of the porcelain doll staring at me all night with her unblinking glassy eyes. We throw everything in the car for the last short drive to the airport. It’s been 10 days since we were last here, nervously picking up the car for our first European road trip. Now Mr Fletche is almost sad to see this Skoda Fabia go. But not that sad.
We’re early for check-in so we grab a coffee at the café. For some reason we hadn’t been able to check in online, but we don’t see any problem checking in here and now at the airport. There are check-in kiosks, but they don’t appear to be working, for us or for any other passengers. It’s now 2 hours before take-off but no check-in desk has opened yet. There is just one open check-in desk, but the amount of people milling around the hall suggest that they are not all on this particular flight. It’s now 90 minutes before take-off. Still no check-in desks open. For anyone. People are just queuing with no idea what they are queuing for (“Excuse me, is this the Gatwick flight?” “No idea, but let’s form an orderly queue anyway”.) It’s an hour before take-off time when they decide to open up a check-in desk for “All flights”. Carnage ensues. We are two people from the front when they finally open up a check-in desk specifically for our flight. It is 30 minutes to take-off. And we still have to get through security. We join another long queue. No-one seems in any hurry to rush through those passengers whose airplanes are engines are running and are ready for take-off. Dubrovnik is now officially the most incompetent airport to fly out of. We don’t even have time to grab a bottle of water or a sandwich before we’re hustled through the gate and onto the plane. This is the shortest amount of time I have ever spent in a Departure Lounge. Luckily, Norwegian Airlines themselves are a delight, and I am slightly pacified by the Wi-Fi in the sky.
I loved Croatia. Every inch was amazing with the most stunning scenery and the clearest seas I have ever seen. It’s hard to pick my favourite place although the standout moments are that final sunset in Zadar, swimming in the icy-cold waters at Krka and waking up to the sounds of the countryside at Kalpic.. I lost track of the number of times the views took my breath away, and those rooftop pictures of Dubrovnik remain my favourites . My favourite accommodation was definitely the apartment in Korcula, although the customer service at Villa Diana in Split and at Apartments Kolovare Beach in Zadar could not be faulted. My favourite meals were also in Korcula, but Mr Fletche’s favourite meal was the one at Agrotourism Kalpic. There’s so much to see, and it is safe to say that it is not the last we’ll see of this beautiful country.
Thank you for reading as always!!