25 June: Hvar a lovely time in Croatia

Author: Mr A

Location: Hvar, Croatia

Tuesday: A 6am start saw our ship cruising over to the town of Stari Grad on the island of Hvar. A quick explore round this ancient town just whet our appetite.

Gordy briefs cruisers on the history of the town

Entering Tvrdalj Castle, built in the 1500s
This was the summer residence of Croatian poet, Petar Hektorović, which he fortified to create a safe haven for Stari Grad residents from invasions by the Ottomans (Turkish)
Looking across the castle grounds, seen as a haven for people, animals, fish and birds

Rich in history, with evidence of Neolithic people living here from 3,500 BC. The ancient Greeks record a battle fought here with one of the many Illyrian tribes populating the Balkans in the first century BC. Then the Romans came along and Hvar fell to their empire. Every street corner oozed history, what tales these walls could tell.

Sleepy streets holding so many secrets…this street revealed an old Roman mosaic floor when some of the cobbles were replaced in recent times. It is believed to be from a Roman villa once located here
Sleepy cats here too!
Sleepy cat woke up as soon as she realised there might be strokes nearby
Splashes of colour on every street corner
Stari Grad’s peaceful harbour

All too quickly it was time to jump on the bikes for our first ride with a fair bit of climbing to be done in the early afternoon heat. One of the team measured a road temperature of 44 degrees!

Our e-bikes powered us up thank goodness, as it would have not been a pleasant ride for either of us on purely manual bikes. As it was were we able top admire the stone terraces laid out by the ancient Greeks, and pause to smell the lavender. Mrs A even spotted a snake as it slithered across her pathway – later found out to be one of Croatia’s three poisonous varieties (the Poskok or horned viper). Fortunately it was quite young (only about half a metre long) and slithered away to hide in some rocks.

Already climbed up a fair way by our first water stop
Fabulous views
Plenty of butterflies attracted to the lavender
Fluttering colour is everywhere
Owen with a chest infection opted for an electric bike also on this ride
The views keep on coming as we climb up to the highest point
The first manual cyclists, Glen and Paul (not necessarily in that order!) to reach the top
Looking across the other side of the island at the ancient terraces
An old stone lime kiln at the side of the road

Every hill has a fun decent to follow, and this was no exception and were soon back at Hvar town itself, rewarding ourselves with cocktails as we awaited arrival of our boat.

Drinks time
Strawberry daiquiri for Tim P, Margheritas for the Andersons

Hvar town is definitely on the smart set’s cruising circuit, not somewhere we would have any urge to come back to. But as usual it took so little effort to dodge the tourists a block back from the waterfront and its strutting loud crowds.

Exploring Hvar old town
The Fortica – an ancient fortress – built on an Illyrian settlement dating from before 500 BC
Fabulous views from the 15th century Chapel of St Nicholas
Plenty of steps meant our leg muscles didn’t cool down too quickly after our ride
Hydrangeas offer a splash of colour in the laneways
Looking across Hvar harbour from the other side of town
Down below is where we are to spend our night
The castle on the left overlooking the town. Like many fortifications in Croatia it would have saved the lives of many a resident when the Ottomans (Turkish) raiders came to town
A beautiful young cat – we hear from a local shop keeper that she is a stray, but looked after by everyone who works around there

Dinner was a very plush affair, good food, and for us our first bottle of wine we have enjoyed since arriving in Croatia….it was an Argentinian Malbec. Oh Croatia we love you so, the scenery, the people, the clear waters of the Adriatic…but your wine….well…not to our taste I’m afraid.

The town really comes to life at night
At midnight the dance music pounding from the waterfront bars was still going strong

A rather disturbed night was inevitable given we were moored alongside five other boats! Ah well…we are here to explore 🙂

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