Wednesday, July 20
We leave Hvar tomorrow. Yesterday afternoon, we went to the local agency that sells tickets for the fast catamaran ferry back to Split. We were told that they only sell tickets one day in advance - so we would have to come back the next day. They had a sign posted in their window advising that the tickets for the next day (Wednesday) were already sold out; so I asked how quickly they sold out of tickets. "We open at seven, and the tickets are usually sold out by 10:30" she said.
With that in mind, we woke up early to head down into town to hit the ticket office first thing.
We haven't yet had the chance to see this side of Hvar ... the regular work-a-day things that go on out of sight of the tourists. In the town centre, deliveries were being made to the various restaurants and hotels. At the waterfront, small boats were loading up with supplies to be taken to the beach restaurants on the out-islands. The last of yesterday evening's partiers were staggering their way up the hill.
We were second into the ticket office, behind what appeared to be some sort of tour guide. Marg was worried that the guide would buy up all of the available tickets; I said not to worry because it's a big boat. In the end she only bought about 8 tickets. We got our two, so now we're set for getting to Split.
We went to a little coffee shop and had our morning kava z melekom (café au lait) along with a couple of little shortbread-type cookies. It rained overnight and it still looked as though it might rain again. At one point while we were sitting outside the coffee shop, several big gusts of wind blew some of the seat cushions around and knocked an ashtray (ever-present on tables here) to the ground. But the rain passed a bit to the north and the sky cleared off (just a bit). We even saw a rainbow.
After coffee, we walked back up to the apartment. We stopped for a bit to watch the ferry (the one we'll take tomorrow) pull in ... to get an idea of how it's going to work tomorrow. Suitably armed with that foreknowledge, we headed back up to the apartment for a proper breakfast.
After breakfast, we walked back down to the town centre to catch a boat to Palmažana. We lucked in, there was a boat just about to leave as we got to the taxi boat stand. Palmažana is a bit further out than Marinkovac or Jerolim, so the fare was a bit higher. It was still a bit breezy, so the ride was a bit rough. I was really surprised at the number of boats docked at the harbor. The main dock was full of sail and power boats; the smallest of which was in the 30 ft. range. The majority were 40+ footers.
After we docked, we took the trail up the hill to see the beach at Vinogradišće Harbour. It was a very small (as in narrow strip of pebbles) beach that wrapped around the cove. There were at least three different restaurants/beach clubs doing business there. And although it wasn't "packed" with people, it was "busy" nonetheless.
Our objective for the day was lunch at a restaurant in Vlaka - Konoba Dionis. There are no roads (at least none that we saw) and the trail to Vlaka is quite rough. Not only was the surface of the trail rough - rocks, tree roots - the path was narrow and grown at the sides with small plants. Given that the climate is quite dry here, it's incredibly green everywhere. But that greenery is of the somewhat "dry, scratchy" variety. Think of picking your way through a narrow path at a Christmas tree farm. And as for the trail itself, it was sometimes difficult to follow the blue dots that had been painted as trail blazes. A couple of times we found ourselves at forks in the trail wondering which was the correct path.
We got our legs scratched up a bit ... but nothing too serious. Along the trail, we would every so often come to a break in the tree cover and be given a glimpse of yet another bay. And every bay had several boats anchored within. Palmažana, a sailor's paradise! That would explain all the boats we saw moored at the main harbour. And of you want to get a sense of how many different bays there are on the island, I invite you to look it up.
As recommended in our guidebook, we'd called ahead for a reservation. I had figured we could be there by 1400. We were a bit early, so at the last bay before the restaurant, we went for a bit of sun and a swim. The shore here was very rough, so the best we could do was sit in between some rocks and let the waves wash up and over us. It was certainly refreshing after the hike through the bush.
We headed up to the restaurant ... and it turns out that we really didn't have to make a reservation. However, if you're thinking of going, I'd recommend a reservation because his six tables could fill up very quickly.
Less a "restaurant" and more like an covered terrace, the place oozed rustic old world charm. The terrace opened off to a view of the olive grove, and beyond that, the Adriatic. We started with a pitcher of lemonade - made with lemons from their farm. Followed with a salad - made with vegetables from their farm. And shared grilled squid - no doubt caught within sight of the restaurant. The owner apologized when we ordered the squid; saying that it would be a little while for the squid because he had not yet built his fire. No problem! We were more than happy to sit and enjoy his place.
The single order of squid that (along with the salads and a bit of bread) we shared proved to be more than enough for lunch. But the owner managed to talk us into desert ... a slice of lemon cake accompanied by two small wedges of a jellied cantaloupe. Both were delicious.
But, our time there had come to an end, and we had to start the hike back to catch the taxi-boat.
It didn't seem to take quite as long to get back. And when we got to the dock area, the water taxi was waiting. "just going to wait until it fills up a bit more" he said. Well! He waited til it filled up COMPLETELY! As in "people standing at the back" full. The wind was still blowing at around 15 knots. The wind and the passenger load made for an interesting (rough) ride back.
But, make it back safely we did. For the second-to-last time, we walked back up the hill to our apartment to get ready for our last walk back down for supper.
There are some big yachts in town. We'd been noticing these behemoths the past couple of evenings. But today, there was one that has to top them all. Excellence III dwarfed all of the others it was tied up alongside. I'm not sure who was on board ... but whoever it is mush have a ton of Kuna, or Euro, Dollars or Yen at their disposal. (Later in the evening we looked up "Excellence III" on the Internet and found that it's available for charters ... and if you have to ask the price ...)
Even though the weather has turned a bit cooler, The town centre was once again crawling with people this evening. There seemed to be a lot more Brits in evidence, but I would still say that the majority of tourists here are German. At supper this evening, there was a mom/dad-2-kid family from Britain (at least judging from their accents and the fact that they ordered "chips"). At another table, we heard more British-accented English and down the square a bit, a small group of yobbos were breaking out in what I thought were English soccer songs.
We had pizza ... and after wards, I had an ice cream. On the walk back, we picked up some strudel-type pastries for the morning.
Back to the apartment; it's time to pack and get ready to move on tomorrow.