The first four weeks of our one year of travel have come to an end. Normally this is a moment to prepare to go back home again, but we still have over 11 months to go. Yay!. We’re going to keep the weekly updates a little bit shorter than before because we noticed it’s costing us a lot (that is: too much) of our time to update our blog.
Besides: we’re posting separate blogs about the countries and places we visit. To avoid repeating too much information we thought it better to focus on our personal comings and goings in the weekly updates (but still with a lot of pics!) and tell about the destinations we visit in the other blogs. So keep coming back for that!
We hope we will be able to post regularly. In the first three weeks of our journey the wifi in most places we stayed at was pretty good, but now that the time has come for the destination blogs we’re experiencing trouble to connect with the world wide web.
Five nights on Korčula
As we mentioned in our last update we’d driven from Bosnia-Herzegovina to the Croatian island of Korčula for some R&R, working on our tan, some light exploring of the island and to work on our blog after three weeks of almost constant traveling and sightseeing.
We thought we’d found a nice apartment with sea view and free wifi, but it scored two out of three: the apartment was very nice, it had a great sea view, but the wifi was very weak. We already had great difficulty getting a picture posted on social media let alone getting lots of pics uploaded for our blog.
Without the possibility to post the motivation to write blogs also waned. So we’ve fallen a little behind on that. We could have known when we drove to the tiny village of Zavalitica. Our Garmin and Google Maps had difficulty locating it. LOL.
With four people having the same last name (Laus) renting apartments and no street names it took some asking around to get to the right place in the end. The owners we nice enough to present Eugénie a box of Rafaello chocolates and a bottle of Korčulan Pošip wine for her birthday.
But we found it and had a great time there, enjoying the view from our balcony, seeing a pair of swallows feeding their young in a nest they’d created in one corner of the balcony and cooking our own meals every night, that way saving some money. Now that we we were back in Croatia we had to get used to higher tourist prices again – Bosnia-Herzegovina had been a real budget travelers delight.
Just 10 minutes walk away there was a small pebble beach in a secluded bay with not many people visiting. We prefer sandy beaches, but still thought it was nice and relaxing.
Going to Korčula Town
On two days we made day trips. We drove around the island and visited Korčula Town, which is often compared to Dubrovnik, but much smaller. It was a nice enough town to spend a morning. For us it had a bit of a special connection because it is claimed that Marco Polo was born here. With us going to travel the Silk Road later this year it seemed fitting to pay a visit to what is supposed to be his birth house (in Venice this claim is refuted of course).
Day trip to Mljet
We also ferried over to the island of Mljet. We were first planning to go here from Dubrovnik, but discovered that the boat ride from Korčula was much shorter and a little bit cheaper, so we decided to make the trip from there.
Mljet is the greenest Croatian island – although we found Korčula very green as well – and is unique for its two salt water lakes in Mljet National Park. We rented bicycles to tour the national park, visited a monastery island in the biggest lake and went for a swim. As the picture below shows it’s not advisable to swim in salt water and cycle without changing trousers.
It was a very nice, but also a very pricey day trip. We spent almost 100 euros for the two of us for the ferry, entrance to the national park, bicycle rent and some drinks. Apparently prices have gone up fast here in the past few years. Luckily we’d brought most of our own provisions.
From Korčula we made the very picturesque drive back across the Pelješac peninsula to go to Dubrovnik. We found a great deal for a big apartment with sea view in the village of Plat, a 25 minute bus ride south of the city where accommodation is really expensive.
Until now we always drove into the cities we wanted to visit. With parking rates being 5 kuna (less than 70 cents) per hour in most towns and cities in walking distance of the center this was hardly more expensive than buying bus tickets. With parking costing 25-40 kuna per hour Dubrovnik was a notable exception. So the bus it was.
We dreaded going to Dubrovnik a little bit because we heard so many stories about the Unesco World Heritage listed old city being overrun by tourists. The first day felt crowded, but we had expected worse. Looking for a spot to take a picture at night we got into a conversation with a waiter who told us he thought it was a quiet day. In a month’s time it would be tourist hell he said.
Getting up early
We understood what he meant the next day. After we’d gotten up at 6.30 AM to go to Dubrovnik early for some photography with not too many people around, we experienced some relatively peaceful hours in a city preparing for a busy day.
A divider to regulate visitor traffic at Pile Gate – the main entrance to the old historic city – betrayed however that it was going to be a very busy day indeed. With three large cruise ships docked for the day (totaling 5.000-6.000 passengers) and a national holiday in Croatia the streets were packed by 10 AM. We couldn’t imagine being here in July or August, with sometimes 10.000 cruise passengers per day!
Getting up that early after returning home at 11.30 the night before after a long and tiring day was one of the hardest moments of our trip until now. But it was worth it to get some nice shots without to many people in them. As the tour groups streamed into the old city, we left again to go to Lapad – a suburb of Dubrovnik – and walk along the coast there. Returning in the afternoon it was still mass tourism at its worst, so we decided to call it a day.
We were glad we’d done the main things the day before. Like going up by cable car to Srd Mountain for some panoramic views of Dubrovnik. Dubrovnik Cable Car was kind enough to provide us with free tickets. The views from above were really amazing.
New destination blogs
Luckily we had some decent wifi the past few days (although it comes and goes), so we managed to put up some destination blogs about Bosnia-Herzegovina, Sarajevo, Mostar and Plitvice and Krka national parks. Check them out!