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Korkula, Tuesday 14th June

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Korkula old town entrance

We are recuperating in Korkula town, Korkula today after a shitty day travelling yesterday.

I think it unlikely that anyone can explain to me the process for catching a bus in Vela Luka, Korkula to the other end, Korkula town, Korkula.

The bus we should have caught departed two minutes before our ferry docked. Then, for the next few hours at least three buses with a “Vela Luka – Korkula” sign in the window drove past us at the bus stop.

One stopped on the opposite side of the road to let someone off, then took off, dodging round us as we scurried over laden with packs. We were both humourless and depressed by the time we did get on a bus. Which only happened after we finally gave up and decided to trudge round the bay to the main part of town and find a taxi. There another bus waited.

I went up to check with the driver and he dismissively waved me off, “30 minutes”.

We sat suspiciously nearby, watching, fully expecting him to try and drive off without us. Nearby a New Zealand couple were waiting, and speaking with them we were a bit more re-assured that we would actually get afoot in the door.

Korkula from the sea

When the bus finally left, with us safely onboard, (one hour after the published timetable), it drove up past the bus stop where we had been all afternoon, turned round, and came back and parked across the road, where it had previously dodged us. It loaded up with the next ferry-load, then drove back into town where we had got on, turned around, drove past the same bus-stops again!

It made no sense and I still don’t know what we should have done better. It took us from 1.30 until after 6.00pm to travel 40-odd kilometres. The travel time was only an hour, slow because the trip included every small town on the island, and getting a big bus through such tiny streets was a complex task.

Frog fountain

Sylvia said it was a nice drive, but I slept through most of it. The landscape here is watered, with a greater range of forest and some large pine and pencil-pines.

I did notice: The stone-walled gardens that intrigued me are a common feature, and are everywhere. Here they are wide enough to have paths included in the top, and I’ve seen a picture of someone leading a donkey along one.

In Korkula they also have stone houses and sheds with split, flat-stoned rocks being laid as tiles/shingles.

And the frayed, decrepit villages, built like a card-house on steep slopes, are common too. Even on Korkula, which is much more heavily populated, and with a much higher volume of tourists.

We got to Korkula town and went through the process of finding accommodation, using up almost all of our Croatian cash.

Every autoteller in town was out of order. We discovered this after mine kindly went through the motions, just didn’t actually hand over the cash.

We had enough for dinner and some basics for breakfast, and went home and slept off a bad day.

Korkula docks

Anyway, today I went and bought enough stuff for breakfast, with the last funds.

We do have a fallback, but we successfully got some money out. We had coffee and wandered around the very small town. There’s a reason why Korkula is a popular tourist spot. Its small, well-maintained, sensibly laid out, and does all the tourist catering well. It does a great job of mixing the old and ew, and functions well. Probably that will all go out the window in a few more weeks when the deluge of summer tourists starts. There’s a lot of tourist junk to buy, and a horrifying number of stores selling necklaces, ear-rings etc made up of polished red coral. Yes, the much vaunted Gorgonian fan coral gets culled and painted up as ladybug amulets,and general schmuckateer stuff.

We decided we would stay here and visit Mljet as a day trip, rather than move again, and booked the seats on the ferry. There’s three different trips out there, but we have picked the fast boat, which means we’ll have more time on the island, less on the travel.

There’s not that much to do in Korkula itself, but it’s a good base for getting out. We did look into the tourist office and ask about the dive centre. I’ve read about Roman shipwrecks and scattered amphorae. But, reading between the lines of the dive centre’s description of the sites, I think what you see are rock walls with any remaindered amphora fragments that haven’t already been scoured and sold off. I had pictured a seabed littered with them.

The tourist office had a very lush Croatia guide which we hadn’t seen, which was in English and free, and it certainly made us think “there is so much more to see here”. There was also a Donkey Safari. I tried to convince Sylvia you went on it with the intention of bagging a donkey with a shotgun, but she pointed to a picture of tourists riding pack-laden donkeys.

Surely shooting would be kinder….

We climbed the Marco Polo tower. In theory its attached to the house where Marco Polo was born. (Korkula claims Marco Polo as theirs. As does Venice.) You couldn’t say he lived there given he was away for most of his life.

I was fumbling with my wallet and the ticket seller, “Its ok, no hurry…everyone in Korkula is in such a hurry.” There was bugger-all interpretive information on the climb up, and the view was not that high, but we sat in the relative peace and quiet and enjoyed a few minutes out of the current of the bustle below. It seemed to do the trick, we strolled around town a bit more after that, bought some pastries for lunch and just took it slow.

A swim at the beach 500 metres from the old town, and it was suddenly 5.00.

Written by wurstofvienna2011

June 14, 2011 at 4:18 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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