Korčula Island, Croatia
We followed the coast down to Orebic, passing several vineyards on the way. The water wasn't as spectacular today due to the overcast weather, but it beat out the scenery we see 90% of the time. At one stage we unexpectedly passed into Bosnia and Herzegovina for about 15 minutes, and needed to show our passports on both sides. We are getting the feeling that Eastern European countries are going to be tight on passports. Now we had now officially entered seven countries in seven days. It sounds like a book title.
At Orebic we bought tickets for the ferry over to Korčula Island, which didn't leave until 9:10 p.m. While waiting in line with the other cars Danny cooked up dinner for both of us. The line starting moving unexpectedly while we were washing the dishes and drinking our wine - both were finished in a hurry.
Once we landed on the island we headed straight to the main town. We soon discovered that all car parks required tickets to be purchased, so we decided to drive out a bit further and find somewhere that was free. At one point, as we were driving down a narrow road, we were stopped in our tracks by a low roof jutting out. Danny had to reverse up the winding, uphill, stone-walled road to the closest side street that was campervan-width. To say this was stressful was an understatement. For some reason we could not communicate on the same wavelength as each other, which added to the frustration. Danny only bumped the wall once (no real damage) before a local man came to our aid and helped to direct us out. I'm not sure we would have made it without him.
After locating a suitable car park we needed some serious chill time. We made popcorn, poured a semi-cold Slovenian Sauvignon Blanc and kicked back to watch a footy match Danny had downloaded. It was surprising how much we missed AFL. Unfortunately the computer battery died just before half time, so our relaxation time was cut annoyingly short.
From our car park the next morning we walked into the town of Korčula, thinking it would only take 15-20 minutes; it ended up being at least 30 minutes. The town was right on the water, with the town itself surrounded by city walls and on a slight hill. No matter which direction we approached from we had to climb uneven steps to reach the centre (it wasn't wheelchair friendly at all). Everything, yet again, was made of the same off-white stone, which is now a look I will be surprised if I don't see. Most of the old town contained narrow streets lined with cafes, jewellery shops and souvenir stores, plus numerous signs reading "Marco Polo souvenirs" (locals claim he was born on the island but most guidebooks say it isn't true). The coastal section was lined with peaceful cafes, providing views over surrounding islands and the mainland. The only downside to Korčula was that there were several cruise ships docked at the time, and apparently these cruise ships were only for people over the age of 70. There were old people everywhere. We couldn't take a photo without 10 of them in the background.
Once we had seen enough of Korčula Island we caught the ferry back to the mainland and drove along the peninsula into mainland Croatia. We passed several vineyards again, most on steep cliffs running down to the sea. Without much hesitation we stopped in at one winery to see if we could taste their wine. The woman who served us spoke fantastic English and gave us a history of the region and the wine. We sampled three reds, one of which we bought a bottle of, and two grappas. We had never tried grappa before and it's safe to say I am not in a hurry to try it again. The first grappa, in the traditional style, used only grapes to make the spirit, and at 42% it was a burner. The second grappa was infused with herbs, but didn't really taste any different (and didn't affect the alcohol content). It was similar to drinking straight vodka. This might be against the grain, but I think it needed to be mixed before I tried it again.