Korčula

After our first night out with the whole Contiki boat, everyone successfully made it back to the boat before our 6am departure from Hvar.  The boat offered continental breakfast each morning from 7:30-9:00am, although rarely was anyone awake at that time to make it.  Most people finally woke up around 11am, and headed up to the deck to sunbathe.

There was a rainstorm in the morning, and thus the captain had determined it was not safe to have a swim stop as originally planned.  Instead, we headed straight to Korčula island and docked there around noon.  By the time we arrived at Korčula, the storm had already passed and it was sunny and gorgeous weather again.

Due to our early arrival, we ended up docking at a side port, which was a 20 minute walk from town’s main port.  The harbor was completely empty, and so we were allowed to have our swim stop right there in the harbor.  After lunch on the boat, we headed into the town with the group.

Korčula is a lush green island located just off the central Dalmatian coast, separated by the narrow Pelješac strait from the Pelješac peninsula.  The island derived its name from its first Greek settlers, who named the island Korkyra Melaina or “Black Corfu” for its dark and densely wooded appearance.  The island is 102 sq mi in area and contains the second largest population for an Adriatic island after Krk.

Korčula is also the name of the main town, a historic fortified city located on the east coast of the island.  Korčula’s main claim to fame is that Marco Polo was born here, although these claims are only “alleged” at best.

Korčula was under Venetian rule on and off from the 10th to the 14th century, and much of the city’s architecture and culture reflects the Venetian Renaissance influence.  The construction of the old city was meticulously planned with the streets arranged in a herringbone pattern than allows for free circulation of air but protection against the strong, cold Bora winds.  The city’s present form was completed around the 15th century, and many of the important buildings constructed during that time still stand today, such as the Romanesque-Gothic Cathedral Sveti Marko (St. Mark).

We wandered through various narrow alleyways as we headed towards Massimo Bar, which is rooftop bar in the shape of a half tower located on Marco Polo Lane.  The tower overlooks the body of water where the naval battle between the fleets of Venice and Genoa took place in 1298.  During the Battle of Korčula, Marco Polo was taken prisoner following Venice’s defeat.  It was during his months of imprisonment that Marco met his fellow inmate, Rustichello da Pisa, who helped him write his famous book: The Travels of Marco Polo.

We had some free time before our group dinner, and so we headed off to explore the town further.  We found some beautiful passion fruit flowers growing along Marco Polo Lane, and followed the random stray cats roaming around the city.

We observed a cat napping in an alleyway next to its lunch; it reminded me of a more domestic version of my Kenyan safari when we saw a sleeping lioness a few yards from a wildebeest carcass.

It was quite warm and so we decided to stop for gelato at Kiwi.

Afterward, Natalya and I explored random alleyways and walked along Sveti Nikola, the palm tree-lined promenade along the sea.

Our entire group had dinner at Cazenezzo Pizza, which offered some interesting pizza toppings such as ham, pickles, and a fried egg.  Read more about the Croatian food we ate on our trip here.

After dinner, we all headed to Massimo Bar for some refreshing Mojitos.  There is the actual bar once you enter the tower, but the primary attraction is the rooftop seating, which is only accessible via a steep wooden ladder.  If drinking on top of a half-castle wasn’t cool enough, Massimo Bar also features an unique drinks delivery service consisting of a basket and pulley system that transports your drink order from the bar to the roof.

There were people milling all around the rooftop, sitting on the tower walls with only a flimsy mesh net separating you from plummeting off the edge.

It was very relaxing to sip on some delicious cocktails while watching the sunset over the island.

After it got dark — and a bit too risky to be climbing up and down the steep ladder — we headed to Dos Locos, a vibrant street bar located near the bus station.  There were chairs, tables, and people spilling out in the middle of the street from the bar, and a projector screen playing footage from Paris fashion shows.  This was one of the two only lively nightspots in Korčula; following the close of Dos Locos around 2am, most people headed to Disco Gaudi to continue the party.

Return to main menu: “Croatia Cruisin'”

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