A journey back to Middle Earth…

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A Cursed Island!!

Today we went into the old town of Dubrovnik and found that we’d missed the start of the walking tour we wanted to catch. I saw a few people standing around with t shirts on saying “sea kayaking info and booking” on them so we spoke to one of them then decided that we would go on a sea kayaking tour. It also went around a small island, which actually looked quite big for kayaking!
First we went into a big semi cave which we parked and went snorkelling for a bit and saw all kinds of fish which was also cool and refreshing. Then we carried on and the guide told us a story about the 1991 – 1995 civil war, when we were looking at a 5 star hotel in which a fight broke out which lasted 5 days during the civil war. We started kayaking again, past a massive cruise liner docked for the cruisers to see Dubrovnik, and then into a cave. The island we went around was called Lokrum, which was originally owed by monks living in a monastery, who were ordered to leave so they put a curse on the island on their last day by lighting two candles and holding them upside down then dripping the wax onto the rocks around the edge of the island three times round, and the curse meant that any owner of the island get bad luck until there is not a single drop of wax on the island. The Austrian King, Maximilian man who didn’t believe in the curse had a holiday house built on the island. Later he was executed and his son committed suicide and his wife went crazy. That was when people started believing in the curse and ever since then no one has lived on the island. Then we kept on kayaking and by then my arms were sore because we’d been going for 2 and a half hours. When we got back, we walked home after a great sunny day of kayaking!!

Click here for some photos:



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Why the rifles?

After leaving our apartment in Hvar (me and Mama claimed we were dizzy which, when we left the apartment, found out from our host Sandra, that it might have been the south wind, a possibility as we had a south facing balcony) we headed back through the Pitve tunnel heading to Sućuraj on the east side of the island of Hvar. On our route both before and after the tunnel we saw something strange. On the side of the road every now and again men stood on the road, with rifles in hand, with rather large ammunition, probably to shoot a deer or wild boar? (we hope!)
In Sućuraj we boarded a 30 minute ferry to Drvenik on the mainland, which we had a short siesta on before having lunch ( I know, siesta before lunch?) in Drvenik. Once we’d finished our ham and cheese toasties we finished our journey to Dubrovnik with a 2 hour drive taking us out of Croatia and into Bosnia then back out of Bosnia and into Croatia again where we came to a great apartment where the owner kindly, as the next door apartment is not currently being used, let us let us use the next door balcony which has a great view of the sea & the Old Town. We finished our great day with( for me and Nilay) a shared pizza which was so big Nilay and I couldn’t finish it together, and a catch of the day( which was sea bass) each for Mama and Papa.



The light at the end of the tunnel


Yesterday was once again a travelling day. We left Zadar to travel south. In Split we boarded the car ferry to Stari Grad on the Island of Hvar. The 2 hours spent on the ferry were an interesting experience of a Croatian Friday afternoon, as many of the other passengers seemed to be older Croatians travelling to the island for the weekend. They started their weekend celebrations on the ferry and danced and sang and played accordion.
From Stari Grad it was another 30 minute journey to the other side of the island to a small village called Ivan Dolac where we had arranged to stay. The north side and the south side of Hvar are divided by a steep mountain ridge and to get from Stari Grad to Ivan Dolac, one has to travel through the Pitve- Zavala Tunnel, the narrowest, darkest tunnel I ever travelled through. The tunnel is about 1.4 km long with an unsealed, damp road and only 2.3 meters wide, so cars can only travel in one direction at the time. It is completely black with a small dot of light in the distance which increased in size as we came closer to the exit on the southern side of the island.
On the other side, a steep, windy road with magnificent views onto the Adriatic sea and the island of Korcula in the distance took us down to Ivan Dolac and the little apartment by the beach where we are staying.
We arrived just in time to admire the sunset before settling into our accommodation and enjoying some Croatian Karlovacko “Radler” and sampling our host’s own red vine of which

she had kindly given us a bottle of to try. After dinner we spent the remainder of the evening playing cards and looking forward to spending the next day in this beautiful spot.



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Postcard from Zadar

Our 4 day stop in Zadar is represented by a myriad of experiences and images reflected in the photo collage in the link below. A time to reflect on our journey so far, consolidate and plan ahead, whilst also trying to imagine local life in a historic coastal town in Croatia: The history of the Old Town from its early prehistoric origins, the various attacks it has recovered from through the ages, its role as a key port for visitors and fishing hub, locals and tourists alike enjoying its cafe culture, its spectacular seaside scenery and modern architectural icons, and the local residents who must have experienced a significant sea of change in recent times. We have been lucky enough (despite the odd downpour) to enjoy the late summer(autumn) sun as we contemplate what lies ahead…



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The Sea Organ

The moon is shining on the blue sea,
While the boats hum on the rippling waves,
Crashing against the white stone steps,
Making the sound of sad whales trapped away.

The Red orange sets behind the twirling grey clouds,
Greeted by the the circle of lights coloured
People sitting on the piano keys listening
As the the organ endlessly plays its tune



This refers to the sea organ in Zadar Old Town under the steps into the sea where the moving waves create random harmonic sounds like an organ.
It was designed by the architect Nikola Bašić and opened to the public in 2005.

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Jezero Milanovac & the City of Waterfalls

After lounging around in the Funk Lounge Hostel, catching up on emails etc. , we left Zagreb heading for the Plitvička Jezera, a beautiful set of lakes connected by lots of waterfalls, varying in size. After about 3 hours of driving, we arrived at the site of the lakes and had lunch in Clifford. After some thought, we decided that we would come back the next day, greatly due to the fact that the weather wasn’t perfect, (it had drizzled while we were having lunch) and we wanted to get our money’s worth from the entry fees. We stayed the night in the nearby campsite where, as soon as we’d arrived, chosen a place in the campsite and set up, it started pouring down with rain. As soon as it opened, we went to the campsite cafe, primarily for some more space, but also to play some games, such as chess. Here, for the first time ever Nilay beat papa at chess meaning in the space of 2 days both of his children have beat him in chess!

The next day we tried to be as quick as possible packing up so we could have the most time possible at the lakes. After arrival at the lakes( at exactly 10:00) we decided to do walk C, the 4-6 hour walk which included a boat and bus trip. Straight away we got to see the biggest waterfall (78m) called the Veliki slap (slap means waterfall in Croatian). We walked past many other magnificent waterfalls and spectacular turquoise lakes. Just before our boat trip on the biggest lake, the Jezero Kozjak there was a lake and a waterfall named after me! The lake was called the Jezero Milanovac (we learned that Jezero means lake) and the waterfall was called Milanovači slap which linked the Jezero Kozjak and the Jezero Milanovac.


After our fantastic experience in this wonderful national park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site, we headed down to Zadar where we are staying in a lovely apartment