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The Rock-itt : December 2011
Last month Pam took us to Malta and Sicily. She continues her journey to Crete. After flying back to Rome and being welcom ed once again I flew to Bari, SE Italy. There I caught the shuttle into town, and bus 20 from the railway to the docks, a fair amount of hanging around and I boarded the overnight ferry to Dubrovnik. W e moored in Gruz harbour in early morning and I discovered at the Port Authority, a good coffee for E1.50 which included a half hour on the computer. As it was Sunday it was very quiet, the church bells were ringing and I realised that the Croatians take their religion seriously. I then set off to find my ship of the Katerina Line, and although not allowed to board until noon, was able to leave my luggage and went for a long walk and a bit of exploring. Gruz harbour is lovely and there were other interesting ships to look at. There were about a dozen small cruise ships taking probably not more than 50 passengers moored alongside the quay. One was all timber and looked like a pirate ship with a high poop and fore deck. We were to visit five different islands and overnight at each of them. On board we had in the main, breakfast and lunch, and when we moored at the charming old towns we went off to find our own meals. One place we visited was Tristenik, which is on a long peninsula on the mainland where most of us had a great time sampling the local wines, which were excellent, and olive oil, now late in the season, so the locals are waiting on picking time starting. They don’t usually expect their supply of oil to do more than a year. If you have about 50 olive trees the oil usually lasts a family about a year. Depends! (much shrugging of shoulders). W e had a swim or two in the Adriatic which is much saltier than here and the water temperature, (this is October) was 24C. It was possible to dive or jump off the side of the boat. The other truly memorable area was Mljet National Park where a reasonable walk will bring you to the salt lakes. Canoes, bikes and mopeds can all be hired here for a reasonable cost and there is a ferry to an island where the Romans built a temple and the Normans built a church and Abbey. It is all very peaceful and you can buy a coffee. I think one of the most interesting things that I noticed in the small area I visited was the number of cats! (and very few dogs). The cats welcome the small ships and of course the fishing boats but to see cats, in a national park town was amazing. The weather was on the whole good, cool night and pleasant days. On our way back to Dubrovnik there were 3 very large cruise ships including one of the Queens, which of course m eant that Dubrovnik itself would be crowded and the old town was. But it was possible to get away from them; most passengers do not stray too far from the ships. A bus costs little, but you need some local currency to make a visit to the old town, which was plastered by the Serbs in the war in the ‘90’s and has been carefully and lovingly restored. It was beautiful! The stones are mellow and my companion, another single, found a delightful restaurant the KAMENICA and I indulged mightily in a plate of Mussels. Beautiful. So was the wine. Next morning I took a taxi to a hotel in Mlini, which seems to cater for large tours of mainly English people, and in the morning a taxi to the airport, and so to Rome, and 2 days later hom e. Scenically this trip would take a lot of beating, I like the atmosphere on the small ship and enjoyed the company of English, Australian and New Zealanders who comprised the passengers. A crew of five looked after the ship and catering and I enjoyed the whole experience. Cost basic were return economy flight BA $2089.74 Insight tour with Malta $2720.80 Cruise “Beyond Travel $925. Over and above were car hire, flights, extra accommodation, ferry and just enjoying oneself.