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Wandering the World

Stories and tips from around the world.

Dalmatian Coast Day 4

Korčula Island

It wasn’t a bad night of sleep, but I still found myself waking up periodically. At 06:00 I got up as the church bells chimed, and wandered around the town with my camera. There were very few people about. It really is very different to Dubrovnik - I guess this is a sleepy, relaxed island. There isn’t really that much to do here though.

After getting all the photographs I wanted I was then back at the room to drop off my camera, and off on my run. I started with a lap of the old town, but after realising it’s only half a mile around the perimeter I decided to run west up one of the hills to Medvinjak and back. It’s the sort of place I’d only see as a runner, I would never have gone there as a tourist.

Sunrise on Korčula

With a lazy breakfast bought from the supermarket we were in no rush to go out. We’d already seen everything we could in the old town with the exception of going up the church bell tower. There’d been an option to go to a beach for four hours, but neither of us were that keen. Whilst my sister wouldn’t have minded an hour, a half day there just isn’t our sort of thing. The only other option we had was to catch a local bus to Vela Luka on the far side of the island - once there it’d be a long walk to Vela Spila. I didn’t think Lindsay would be keen.

I’d thought if I wanted to see the caves I’d need to run there and back, but I found they were forty-two kilometres away - a full marathon there, and then the same back. It wasn’t going to happen, so it’s lucky that Lindsay had already decided she wanted to see the cave if we could figure out the buses.

Since I’d run around town already, the bus station was easy to find. We asked for return tickets to Vela Luka and off we went. This bus wasn’t a direct one though, it stopped by numerous towns along the way to drop off and pick-up passengers.

City gate

It took about ninety minutes to get there, and we walked through the sun-baked Vela Luka until we found the way up to Vela Spila. We missed a sign on the other side of the road directing us which meant we passed the turn we should have taken. We took side streets, and had to backtrack a little to get back on the route. I hadn’t noticed the small cave signs with arrows on the paving stones either.

The climb was long, and exposed to the sun. It was exactly what we didn’t need, but we plodded on. Lindsay wasn’t coping well, so we found ourselves stopping frequently. With just four hundred metres to go we stopped one last time for a sandwich and drink, and finished the climb. Lindsay hadn’t thought she could do it, even with that little left to do.

Sometimes four hundred metres can feel like a marathon - I’ve run a few, and some ultras, so I could imagine what this was like for Lindsay - this was her challenge, getting to the summit. It was worth it though as you get a pretty good view of the town and bay.

Veila Luka

The cave itself is nothing special to look at except for the openings in the roof; but I felt it worth it. When digging there, they had found evidence of human occupancy from the mesolithic through to neolithic. It even shows signs of the Hvar culture - from the next island we’d be visiting.

Veila Spila

Given the chance I think I could have stayed a little longer to make sure I’d gotten the ‘right’ photograph, but Lindsay wanted to return to the town. I can’t blame her, it’d been tough on her. During the descent into town we thankfully found and took the correct route down, and saw the sign we’d missed on the way up.

There wasn’t really much else to do in town other than to have something cool to drink, and to wait for an hour at the bus station. They give you three hours between buses, and we’d only needed the two. We could have spent a little time looking around the museum - our Vela Spila ticket would have given us entry, but unfortunately it was closed between noon and 18:00 - the sort of time tourists visiting by bus could be there.

We weren’t that sure if the bus was the right one, but it said it was going to Dubrovnik. To me that meant it’d need to go to Korčula first to get back onto the mainland. As the driver accepted the ticket, I knew that meant we’d got the right one - but my sister was still a little unsure. I repeated to her several times we’d be okay, and I think eventually she believed me.

Sure enough, ninety minutes later we were back in Korčula, and buying breakfast for the morning. As it’d be a very early start we decided we’d have an early dinner; though Lindsay had developed a toothache. She’d also run out of paracetamol.

On our way to find somewhere to eat we bumped into the rest of the group. I guess in a small town, on a small island it’s bound to happen. Lindsay was lucky - one of them had some paracetamol spare which meant she’d be able to suppress the pain for a while.

We checked out a few menus and found most were pretty similar, so we decided on the place we wanted to eat and was shown to a table from which we could see the mainland. When trying to order they then decided to tell us that they weren’t yet serving food and would have to order drinks whilst we waited. No chance.

Not wanting to wait we decided to go elsewhere - Lindsay tried to give them an excuse why we were leaving, but I think it should have been obvious why. We didn’t want to stay. The next place we tried was fully booked by a tour group, but down one of the side streets we found somewhere completely empty.

Usually eating somewhere that nobody else is doesn’t seem like a great idea. Here though, we suspected it was because most people on the island don’t eat until 20:00. It was okay though; the good was plentiful - more than we wanted. As we ate we could feel a gentle breeze from the sea blowing down the alleyway. It was refreshing, and to keep the cool feeling we decided we’d get an ice cream to walk with.

Dusk

We walked with the ice cream down to the sea front, and down some steps onto the rocks the waves were breaking on. I was finding this town felt like a strange fusion of Greece and Italy - appropriate considering the history.

Before the sun had set we were back in the accomodation to sleep - it was going to be an early start.