NOTE – if you haven’t ready Sunday, June 11 yet, please scroll down and read it FIRST. Not trying to “Blog Trump” but we need to catch up…
Monday, June 12, 2017
Our night in Apartman Nina was quiet and peaceful. We have a nice sleep-in this morning and then strike out to explore more of the Peljasic Peninsula. Click HERE to see our route.
First stop is Ston for breakfast and to see the famous Ston Walls.
“The walls of Ston were built in 1333 when Ston became a part of the Republic of Dubrovnik. Their purpose was to defend the Republic and the peninsula. Dubrovnik government in 1335 and amended in 1370 and is considered one of the best planned and best structured cities in Europe. The walls of Ston were a massive architecture and construction feat. Originally 7000-meters long (22 965 ft.), they consist of several parts; the Ston city walls, the Mali Ston city walls and the Big wall with its three forts. Its forts and towers are strengthened by 10 round and 31 square flanking towers and 6 semi-circular bastions.The walls were last used in the 19th century for defense of the city and salt pans, and today they are a priceless monument of immense architectural and cultural value.”
We considered walking the wall from Ston to Mali Ston, but decided to sit and have coffee looking at the wall instead.
Ston is a charming town, but nearly crawling with tourists. We mince around a bit and then take off on the road to Orebic. Once again we are presented with ridiculously gorgeous scenery. We alternate between driving the coastal road and the inland road that winds among lovely vineyards and agriculture.
As close as we get to walking the Ston Walls.
Along the route we came across this beautiful monument and had to make a stop. We learned later that it is a Yugoslav World War II monument to victims of fascism. During our travels in Croatia we have tried to learn at least a bit of the history. Seems so strange that a place this beautiful has had such a tragic history of war. (The most recent being the Croat/Bosnian war in the early 90’s).
Arrival in Orebic finds us with no particular plan. We park and start walking.
It isn’t long before Rich stops dead in his tracks and says that he sees a seaside table that we absolutely must grab. It is sittiting under the shade trees directly on the rocky beach. Turns out to be a perfect spot for having a beer and doing nothing.
Orebic is very small and the “promenade” can be walked in 10 minutes. It is pretty enough and has a couple of nice beaches, but we are not really in a beachy mood.
I seem to recall seeing a huge winery on our way into town. Croatia has several areas that are well known for wine and this is one of them. I had read about this particular winery online and thought it might be nice to drop in for a quick tasting.
Korta Katerina winery is drop dead gorgeous – perched on a hill with a wide expanse of land looking out over the sea. Despite having no reservations (and this looks like it could be a bit of a “snooty” sort of place), we are warmly welcomed and given a great tour. Our guide tells us that this winery is owned by an American who lives in Minnesota and “likes wine.” Dude must have some serious $$$.
For the actual tasting we are ushered out back to a lovely shaded spot with a view to die for.
We are invited to taste the white (Posip) and the rose. Love them both. We are also given a glass of their special Plavac Mali red. Delicious. A little basket of home made foccacia complements the tasting.
Purchasing wine to bring back home is discussed, but we are told that there is a distributor in the US (even though it is not sold in US stores). That will be easier than trying to lug it in our suitcase. However, when we learn that they also have a sparkling wine, I cannot resist and we buy a bottle to take with us. The plan is to taste it in Barcelona so we can decide if we would like to order some at home. As an intersting side note I asked the proprietor if the Croatians have a special word for their sparkling wine (like France has Champagne, Italy has Prosecco, Spain has its Cava). The answer was a disappointed “no.” It is simply known as Sparkling Wine. Oh well – at least they really dress it up in the bottle:
No lunch for us today. After last night’s dinner our hosts mentioned that they would be cooking Mussel Risotto tonight. Would we like to join them? No way we could turn that down since we loved our experience last night. We will be dining early (6:00) and we want to save our appetite. However, there is one food stop that must be made.
On our way home we stop in Mali Ston to taste the famous Ston oysters. You cannot be in this area without doing so. Bebek’s Oyster stand is right at the start of the road into Mali Ston. It is a super simple joint with several different sizes of oysters to choose from and a proprietor who barely speaks English. That is not a problem. We choose 6 oysters of different sizes (and one beer to share).
The first six go down quickly. 6 more Big Boys are ordered and slurped. Yes. These are the finest oysters we have ever tried. Dare we say even better than the Ostionera oysters in Rocky Point. Great ending to our little road trip.
We take one more look at the Walls of Ston before driving back to our seaside home in Luka village.
There is just enough time for a quick and powerful nap back at the apartment before dinnertime.
We cross the street to our hosts place and see the “gang” at the long dinner table. Tonight the guest list has increased. Their friends, Darko and his wife, whom we met last night are there and also another couple (Mario and Sanja) who live in Germany (Mario is a Croat). Two other friends from Croatia joined in as well (I didn’t manage to get their names).
The table is laden with a huge pot of the most delicious mussel risotto you an ever imagine. The mussels are super fresh and plump and permeate the perfectly cooked rice. We also feast on tiny fried whole fishes, another beautiful salad from Nina’s garden and a delicious potato salad. Nina is an amazing cook and a beautiful hostess. We feel very lucky to be here.
Once again the white and red wine from Davor’s parents flows freely. Conversations flow as well. It is amazing to me how comfortable and easy this is when most of us don’t speak the same language. Somehow everyone is understood and everyone helps out in the translation. Way cool. (Sorry, no photos of the table – we were busy).
Davor and Drako had gone fishing this morning (very early) and Darko brought in some of the catch to show us. They caught 4kg of fish today!
After dinner some Darko and Mario jump in the sea and are soon followed by Rich and Janel. I would love to join them, but I just can’t make myself get into the “cold” water. Rich says the water is like glass.
The sun is beginning to set and the hour is magical. It is difficult to describe what this place is actually like. There is a community tennis/basketball/soccer “court” right next to this house. The children of the village drift in and out of it to play, ride bikes and kick/throw balls. Davor and Nina’s son (Daniel) jumps in and out of the water and swims whenever he desires. The parents and friends relax together. Everyone is outside. I can’t help but wonder what it would be like to grow up in such a paradise.
While Rich and Janel are swimming with the guys, the rest of us at the table get into a discussion regarding the state of the world today. It is pretty heavy but not heated – a good chance to gain a different perspective on life. In the end all anyone wants is a peaceful world in which to live and raise our families.
After a while Davor asks me if we would like to take a little ride in his boat. YES! He gets his boat ready to go as we all gather alone the dock.
Turns out to be a magical ride on the smooth water. We end up in the harbor at Mali Ston and sit for a while to enjoy the cool night air and the gorgeous sunset.
Our stay in Luka has been more than we expected and one of highlights of the trip. The warm welcome from our hosts really tipped the scales on this one. Just shows you what can happen if you tear away from the tourist “sites” and open yourself up to meeting the local people when you travel. We are truly lucky.
Tomorrow will be our last night in Croatia. We will make the short drive down to Dubrovnik to wander a bit, eat a nice dinner and pack it up to head back to Barcelona.