Croatia, I love you!

We talk of God and Poetry.  Then I have to change trains.

Previous experience of Croatia: men with Cheekbones and unattractive accents who for some reason feel impelled to punch out Serbians at football matches in Melbourne.

But that’s all behind me now.  On the train from Slovenia to Split in Croatia,  I meet a dreamy young poet (who runs a boarding house for tourists – even poets have got to live!).  He says I look like a woman who believes in miracles.  I say that’s funny, because I don’t (believe in them, that is).

If I’d played my cards right (ie, got off the train early) I’m pretty sure I would’ve been in for a night of passion and romance in Belgrade ….

Anyway.

Split is a gorgeous, white-marbled town with a grand seaside esplanade, Roman facades, steep cobbled streets and a ‘white Russian resort town’ feel.

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Of course, when I got there it was pouring, and looked more like an upmarket bathroom.  Here is Diocletian, just padding out from the ensuite.

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I would’ve liked to stay there longer, but I was only there for two hours – the time it took to wait for the ferry to Korcula, pronounced Korchula, an island in the Adriatic halfway between Split and Dubrovnik.

Here is the ferry.  It is very CHEAP, as you can see.  Buy one. Buy two!  What the hell, buy the whole line!

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Goodbye, Split!  Now that I’ve left, the sun’s shining.

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The ferry, for some reason, deposits people at the boring end of Korcula, so everybody hops on a bus to the main city of the island.  Even in autumn, the British islanders are out in force, all socks and sandals, long shorts, floppy hats and butch haircuts – no wonder the French (are said to) roll their eyes at the idea of British fashion (of course, if they lived across a narrow channel from Australian fashionistas, they’d probably all go kill themselves).

But Korcula town is just..ummph!

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It’s sort of built like a sloppy wedding cake, with the glittering blue sea sloshing gently against stone walls on three sides, and then tiers of ancient stone houses, battlements and towers spiralling up towards a jumble of mediaeval icing at the top.  They SAY Marco Polo was born here.  It makes a good story.  Personally, I don’t believe it.

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Can you see America from here?

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In my little guesthouse, I have a whole room and balcony to myself, which is bliss after sharing with millions of noisy backpackers for weeks.  In the garden, there are two little tortoises making sweet, sweet love, squeaking and sighing their little hearts out.  If there’s anything more romantic than tortoises making out in a vege patch, I’ve yet to find it.

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Expecting a picture, were you?  Don’t be crass!

A couple of days later, on my last evening, I’m sitting on my balcony gazing contentedly seawards when I hear ‘Rose!  Rose!’.

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I can hardly believe my ears.  It’s my American friend from Slovenia (an excitable San Franciscan, and the only woman I’ve ever met who has less sense of direction than I do) come to look for me, with two overweight sweaty Croatian artists in tow.

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Unfortunately I couldn’t get the gun into position fast enough.  So we go off to their bachelor pad and she tries to persuade them to publish ‘our’ book series – romances for the twenty-something tourist market, about vampires in Venice and so on.  Eventually one of them explains that he isn’t exactly a publisher, more of a printer of sturdy Croatian text books.  No nooky for YOU then!

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In Korcula you can hire a boat and go out exploring the islands that cluster thickly round about in the wine dark sea.  It sounds like a really good idea – which is why I’m going back this year, with Ms M, to do just that.  My American friend says she will be there.  Maybe we can think of a better use for scantily-dressed Croatian males, this time.

Any suggestions?

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43 comments

  1. All I can say in yummy? I don’t know why?! Oh, and no, i couldn’t see America from Marco Polo’s birth site. No wonder we can never find him in the game.

    Lovely description. Makes me want to join you and Ms. M on your adventure.

    Never really thought about tortoises making love, actually … a bit like porcupines, less prickly, but very “clanky”?!

    • You’re right, I suppose they ARE clean. Maybe that’s why it looks like a well kept bathroom! No actually, it is extremely beautiful there. Strange to think they were involved in all-out war and ethnic cleansing not so long ago. My American friend said there’s a lot of people about with war injuries, missing legs and so on – I didn’t see any, because I’m unobservant – but there must be, I think.

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    • YOU should have been the one meeting the dreamy poet. His miracle was, he fell from a height, broke his back, and got it mended by a surgeon who didn’t pass by very often. You wouldn’t have known he’d ever broken it, from looking at him. I call that very good luck.

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  2. I’ve heard the beaches in Croatia are gorgeous, and judging by your photos, everything else is, too. Maybe if you’re really lucky, you’ll see that handsome Croatian actor from the TV show ER. 😉

    • Maybe. ONly I won’t recognise him, because I don’t watch ER! Oh well. YEs, the beaches are quite nice – I think it depends how close to a town you are. Europeans are very messy on their beaches. This sounds revoltingly patriotic but I’ve never been anywhere which has beaches to rival Australia’s. We just have the best beaches, anywhere (well maybe South African ones are nice, I wouldn’t know). What I enjoy about the sea in Croatia is that there are very few man eating sea creatures in it. That’s a real pleasure, for an Australian.

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  3. I like Korcula. It was quiet and less touristy than Dubrovnik though the hostel i stayed in was awful. Split is brilliant. Did you manage to go to Trogir as well? It’s stunning

  4. Rose, you’re going back? Lucky, lucky you! And lucky Ms. M! What a great adventure. It’s a part of the world I’d love to visit. (And thanks for the funny writing. I laughed all the way through this post).

    • Thanks, I”m glad you laughed, Sally! It is a beautiful part of the world – I never knew how lovely before I went there. Yes, Ms M and me have quite the adventure planned! Thessaloniki to Budapest in four weeks!

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    • Well, it’s a thought. But no – he’s a little young, even for a cradle snatcher like me. Plus with my daughter in tow, these things become a little more complicated.

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  5. Gotta love Croatia. We were in Split and Dubrovnik for a day (each, via cruise ship) .. yep – a drizzle in Split, which means those marble sidewalks are slippery. Thanks for the pics and the humor. Enjoy!

  6. Split is so close to spit, but still charming.

    Rose, I love your writing. The opening lines grab, excellently. Love this post – just fantastic 🙂

    You broaden my horizons, you do.

    I love how you punched in “anyway” after the possibility of romance became none. Love your writing!

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