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From Sibenik to Dubrovnik County, and Hello Korcula!

There was an unusual additional feature to Day 6 of Legends of Croatia, and a very welcome one…

There was an unusual additional feature to Day 6 of Legends of Croatia, and a very welcome one – a lie in. After a punishing schedule of 07:00 starts and often 23:00 finishes, the transfer day from Sibenik region to the island of Korcula meant a rare lazy start for some, the chance to catch up on work in the real world for others.

The journey was broken up by lunch at Kastela, next to Split Airport, where we awaited the arrival of the newest recruit to the team, photographer Alex Robinson from London. The new motorway through the heart of inland Dalmatia brought us quickly to Ploce and the start of the southern Dalmatian coastline, which would be a feature of the coming days.

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Onwards we drove, crossing through Bosnia and Herzegovina via the Neum Corridor, until the infamous walls of Ston, the second largest wall in the world after that one in China, came into view. That could only mean one thing as we passed the legendary oyster stalls – a right turn and drive through the heart of Plavac Mali wine country, the Peljesac Peninsula.

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Peljesac may be famous for its wine, but it also has some great resorts on the water, as well as some of the most spectacular views in Dalmatia, one of which is the curvy descent into Orebic, the town whose ferry would provide us with transport to our final goal, the island of Korcula.

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After 12 years of living on Hvar, which have included many views over our southern neighbour, which is best known for its ‘mini-Dubrovnik’ old town and the birthplace of Marko Polo, this was my first visit to Korcula, apart from a 20-minute run around the old town during a brief ferry stop a decade ago.

First impressions of Korcula, aside from its stunning compact old town revolve around the greenness of the island. It is densely populated with trees and seemingly endless vineyards, accompanied by views of the pristine Adriatic and rambling old stone towns, some of which looked barely inhabited.

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Heading towards Smokvica, we learned that there was a legend to be filmed that night, and the actors had been waiting on a lonely hilltop for over an hour, as we had missed our earlier ferry. And so began a short but intense relationship with the legends of Korcula, which arguably have left the most lasting impression yet.

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Korcula and my adopted home of Hvar across the channel have many things in common, but I was struck not only by the deeper sense of tradition on Korcula, but also by the passion and interest displayed by the younger generation. Where previous legends in other locations may have been played out by two or three actors, here there were dozens, all immaculately turned out in traditional Korcula attire. With many aspects of island life dying out, it was a very encouraging trend.

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The legend, played out in the last minutes of sunlight on this, the longest day of the year, revolved around a popular theme – the attack by and defeat of the Turks. There were fairies, a prophetess, a convincing battle and one of the famous Korcula sword dances, before we retired for a waterfront dinner in Brna, and our first introduction to another treasure which has put Korcula on the map, the famous Posip white wine.

Paul

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