Our next destination was the town of Korčula, on the island of the same name. To reach there, we had to travel the length of the Pelješac peninsula, from Ston – more of that in my next post – to the port town of Orebic.
The axis of the Pelješac peninsula lies north-west to south-east and is only a few degrees off being parallel to the mainland. This creates a lengthy body of calm water, which is home to a large number of aquaculture farms producing oysters and mussels – more of those later also.
The northern side of the peninsula is exposed to the Bora wind but, on the protected southern side, there are areas of natural vegetation and numerous family-owned farms, growing olives, wine, pomegranates and other fruit. Our tour stopped at one of the wineries for a tasting; the red wines were very good and we are hoping to find a business that imports them to Australia.
From Orebic, we had a short ferry ride to Korčula, which is built around a pretty bay and enjoys majestic scenery in every direction. It was late afternoon, so most of the tour group unwound with a light stroll or a glass of wine sitting on the terrace that overlooked the bay, until it was time to sit down to a pleasant buffet dinner.
Next morning, we were joined by a local guide, who proved to be one of the best on this tour – she provided plenty of relevant and interesting information and was very careful to ensure that nobody was left behind as we walked. (So, I am kicking myself for failing to record her name.)
We thoroughly enjoyed both our guided walk and our own explorations following the tour. I even managed to snap a photo of the steps leading up to the main stone gate without any tourists in the frame!
The narrow streets running off either side of the central spine accommodated a pleasant variety of private residences, tourist accommodation, bars, cafes and restaurants and some interesting shops, where we found gifts for some of the grandchildren. We also appreciated the locals’ quirky sense of humour.
One of Korčula’s claims to fame is that it was the birthplace and childhood home of Marco Polo. Although this is disputed by some scholars – and some not-so-scholarly competitors – there is an abundance of Marco Polo imagery, some just for viewing, the majority just for buying!
We enjoyed a simple but very enjoyable lunch in one of the side-streets and booked a table at a second restaurant for our evening meal. Maggie was hoping to have a feed of the local mussels.
On our way back to our hotel, we strolled around the perimeter of the old town and then along the water’s edge. It was all very attractive and we felt like we were in the idyllic Adriatic location that we had hoped to find.
After an hour or two relaxing back at our hotel, we returned to the old town and had a delightful dining experience, sharing a mixed seafood plater topped up with a mound of mussels. We knew the mussels were fresh – they had been delivered, live, in wet hessian sacks just after we arrived at the restaurant!
We were up at 6am next morning to ensure that the coach would be on a ferry due to depart just after 8am. While we waited to be called to the ferry, we sat on the terrace of a local cafe and shared a traditional cheese strudel to go with our coffees; the cheese was ricotta, so it was a sweet treat. Soon, our visit to Korčula was over and we were on our way back to Orebik to begin the drive to Dubrovnik.
We enjoyed every minute of our time in Korčula and we would happily have spent a third night there.