1 – 6 July: Meanwhile, back in the UK…

Author: Mrs A

Location: London and Brighton, UK

Monday: A taxi collected me from Camping Stobreč early Monday morning and escorted me to Split airport, where I boarded a plane to London, Gatwick. Within half an hour of landing at Gatwick I was on a train heading to London. It was all very smooth – having only 8kg of hand luggage helped!

Split airport – not too busy at 8.30am on Monday morning

Yes, you guessed it, the injections I had flown back for at the end of May had not made any substantial impact on my breathing, and I was on my way back for surgery…very disappointing for us both, but sadly a fact of life we have learned to get used to the past 15 years.

I have to admit that after the heat of Croatia, it was positively refreshing to step out of the airport in to temperatures in the low 20s – like the air conditioning we had been craving all weekend!

I caught a train up to West Kensington in London and checked into the Earls Court Holiday Inn Express near the hospital. I was scheduled to be in at 7.15am, and was keen to get a bit of sleep before the operation.

The view from my hotel room – a far cry from the Roman and medieval buildings of my past few weeks, but not too bad at sunset

Tuesday: I woke early and strolled over to the hospital, meeting junior doctors, an ENT registrar and the anaesthetist, getting weighed, blood pressure and temperature tested. Finally I slipped on a gown and a pair of sexy green DVT stockings and headed to theatre for my airway dilatation.

Both consultants I have been seeing, Mr Guri Sandhu and Mr Chad Al Yaghchi came to visit me in recovery, much to the surprise of the nurse who told me not to expect anyone. All had gone well – my airway had closed by about 60-70%, explaining the challenges with breathing I have been having.

We discussed next steps for my treatment, with both doctors agreeing I should give the steroid injections into my airway another try, but with a higher frequency – every 4-6 weeks rather than 8 weekly. This is what my original doctor had told me, but I had defied him, not wanting to disrupt our travel plans too much…this time, however, I agreed to give it a go. It is going to be hard to keep to our travel plans where I keep having to return to doctors for treatment, but I have to breathe…very frustrating!

Mum travelled up from Hastings to break me out

When I was returned to the next stage of recovery, my mum was there waiting for me, a welcome face amongst all the medical fraternity. Together we left the hospital, taking a taxi the five minute drive to the hotel for the night.

Evidence – 2:10pm I broke out of hospital

We had a relaxing afternoon, catching up on news, a Chinese takeaway and an early night.

Wednesday: Mum and I got to enjoy a final breakfast at the hotel, and we joined by a member of the support group I run, Kelly from Cornwall. She and I had been exchanging messages online for about four years, and she is also a patient of Mr Sandhu. It was amazing to hear Kelly’s story which is quite different from mine, but with some similar symptoms. She’s a passionate and enthusiastic lady – hopefully we can work together and perhaps meet again.

After checking out, I then headed to Brighton to finish my convalescence with my sister and her family.

Thursday: One of my friends from university, Claire, lives near to my sister and also had a hospital visit this week. It was good to catch up with her for an hour to hear how she had gone. Soda water and lime was our choice of beverage as we sat in a sunny pub garden.

Two post op friends – Claire on surgery #1 and me #29!!

Later in the day I joined my sister in collecting my niece and nephew from school, and we took them down to the local park for a play in the fountains down there. Much fun for the children…and ice creams for my sister and I (medicinal reasons of course, soothes a sore throat!)

Yay for vegan ice cream!
Elliot working on stopping the flow….What happened next? Yes the water sprayed me straight in the face!
Isabel enjoying the water
And some park time to help warm up after the water

Friday: It was back up to school with the kids to drop them off for their day, before joining my sister in some shopping, picking up bits and pieces we cannot get in Croatia.

That wiped me out for the afternoon, and I was grateful not to be in 33 degrees as I collapsed into bed for a sleep.

We had a quiet evening at home, sharing a takeaway curry and a glass of wine as the sun went down.

Spectacular skies over Brighton this evening

Saturday: Another bright sunny day with temperatures in the low 20s – making me really appreciate British summertime – I wonder why it never is dull and rainy when I visit? Poor Mark is already sweltering in Split, having started his day with the washing and cleaning out the fridge.

I’m pleased to say my breathing is much better, and sore throat aside, I am feeling good.

Chart showing my peak expiratory flow (PEF) – back on track for now

I will be back on a train to the airport this afternoon, then back to Split this evening. Mark and I have decided tomorrow it will be time to move on and explore more of Croatia…it will all be much easier with a full airway!

29- 30 June: Back at Camping Stobreč near Split

Author: Mr A

Location: Stobreč, Split, Croatia

Saturday: It was time to disembark our cruise and head back our campsite just south of Split. Another load of passengers would be joining the boat in two hours, so no break for this hardworking crew. Youth unemployment in Croatia has run at an average of 33% in the last few years, although thankfully at least dropped this year to 20%. We see a determination to work hard and put in really long hours though to feel secure. We wished them well and also our friends, who would be going seperate directions from here.

Stobreč Harbour

We headed back to our campsite down the coast from Split that had been storing our motorhome. Thankfully all was well. Camping Stobreč have been super helpful to us, keeping an eye on it for us while we were away. Another set of mostly young staff who put in incredibly long, hard hours. I hope Croatia finds industries other than tourism to diversify its economy and provide a year round income for the locals, who have to put up with their infrastructure of roads, ports and airports groaning under the weight of visitors in the high season. I can see why there is a touch of resentment from some that they don’t get to enjoy their own beaches, restaurants or scenic town centres in the good weather.

We unpacked into Truffy our petite motorhome, filling every available nook and cranny, had a cuppa and oh no…the power has gone off from the mains supply. We soon established with from the camp’s ever helpful staff that it wasnt on their side the problem lay. Running out of ideas of what to check after the usual cut out switch check, we sought help from multiple sources; our dealer (but it was a Saturday lunchtime in the UK), the Hymer Owners Group Facebook site and then in desperation I called the local Croatia Camper rental company to see who they might use for repair. Well all three were gold.

Within minutes we were getting suggestions of what to check from the owners group (this site has been our guide and saviour!), then I got though to the camper rental owner, who sent his brother round who was at the local beach and arrived a few minutes later! As he arrived and started eliminating issues the phone rang and it was our dealer’s workshop. Between Dave from Fuller Leisure and Robert from Croatia Campers the problem was tracked to an unplugged wire that I had managed to dislodge when cramming our gear into a wardrobe containing our cut out switch! A big thanks to all. This blog helps us a little bit to be able to return a little value to all those suppliers who have made our travel so relatively easy compared with the challenges we faced in Australia. I wonder why its so different? Is the “Lucky Country” a bit too lucky, with little competition in many areas breeding a “relaxed” customer response?

So powered up once again we lost no time in throwing ourselves in the refreshing waters of the Adriatic 100 metres from our pitch. Ah, its good to be “home”…because thats what we call it, no matter where we park up.

Down to the local beach
A very young cat living wild in the campground has had three adorable kittens…

Sunday: The next day we bussed into Split to explore the Diocletian Palace, one of the best preserved Roman ruins in the world and built as a retirement home for the Roman Emperor of the same name in the 4th century AD.

The emperor himself

It also housed his garrison, so picture more of a large fortified castle. The basement area had gradually filled in with rubble over the centuries, but in the 1950’s was gradually cleared. Now this UNESCO listed site sees throngs of tourists, like us, tramping round.

Roman sewerage pipes

I wonder what they are thinking about when they do? For me, its a reminder that just because our century has seen many technological advancements, very very clever people have always been innovating on this earth and we can/should always learn something from what they did and why they did it. Just touching the stones we tried to imagine what our lives would have been like working in that place.

Incredible scale and pillars
Old pillar bases, showcasing the skilled carving

This was a simply breathtaking site, with soaring roofs and massive rooms, copying exactly the layout of the palace above, most of which has now been built over, but still functions as a thriving hub of the city.

Artists impression of the palace

We knew there was a 3,500 year old Spinx that had been looted from Egypt, so it was quite funny reading the description when we found it of it being “imported”!

Sphinx…’imported’ from Egypt (ah-hem!)…

All ruined out, but feeling satisfied we had added another enriching experience to our visit to Croatia, we wandered around the old town above, had a light lunch (we really need to lighten up the calorie intake over the last few months!) and then headed back to our camp for an early night.

We discovered ‘cat corner’ where locals had provided sleeping quarters, food and water for stray cats
They were all well fed, and we donated a few kuna to their cause
A concerned mum checks out her playful escapee kitten
One happy, full, sleepy cat

Catherine is off in the morning to London for another op on her throat. I’m staying here “guarding” the truck and trying to shake my cough and cold with fresh air, exercise and salads…my only friends the multitude of cats who also call the campsite home and come looking for food pretty regularly.

One of the locals comes to dinner at Truffy – we always carry cat food nowadays in case of hungry visitors

We will miss each other I know, but living 24×7 in about 2 square metres of internal space, its good for both of us (but especially Mrs A poor thing!) to have some “own time”.

28 June: Returning to Split, our final night cruising

Author: Mrs A

Location: Stanići, Omiš and Split, Croatia

We left the island of Brač early and were mored up near Stanići and the bikes unloaded by 8am. Within half an hour we were off on our day’s cycle, relieved at the cooler temperatures (only 27 degrees centigrade) and early morning shade.

Riding along the waterfront in Omiš

Our ride took us along the coast a short way to Omiš and then followed the River Cetina for a way before climbing up into the hills.

“Car back”…”Passing”…the constant call as we ride along the riverside

Unlike our island cycleways which had little shade, many of the roads were treelined and cool, and there was a lovely breeze to help refresh us on the climb up the switchbacks into the mountains.

Oliver takes a second to look at our beautiful surrounds
Appreciating every scrap of shade that comes our way!
A drink break beside the river
Climbing up and up
The hills keep on coming
At 70 years young, Don is our most senior cyclist, but completes the ride with ease and no battery!
The strongest riders making it first up to our next rest stop
Final ride team photo – Mrs A, Mr A, Tim P, Paul, Oliver, Don, Glen, S-J, Dave, Tracie, Michelle and Tim C

Once up at the top we had the reward of a winding descent back down to the river and back along to the boat.

Space and dry mountain tops
The lower reaches of the River Cetina
One of the many butterflies that kept us company on our ride

We finished our 28.5km ride with a swim before lunch was served and the boat upped anchor and headed off to our final destination, Split.

Our boat docked in Split, the seventh boat in a row of cruise boats of different shapes and sizes. We had to jump between boats to reach the shore, and set off to explore.

Split is quite unique in that it combines a literal maze of streets within the fortifications of a former Roman palace built for the Emperor Diocletian. The historical core of Split was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1979.

The Silver Gate entrance into the palace
The Peristyle – the palace’s magnificent courtyard is a popular space for relaxation in the shade. Much of the marble for the pillars has been mined from Brač, the island we left this morning.
Look out for the perfectly preserved 3,500 year old black sphinx here, taken from Egypt by Diocletian’s armies.
The temple tower

Split old town was our destination, and we were immediately taken with the combination of new with old, older and very old architecture. Roman pillars integrated with medieval archways, topped with Venetian style balconies and more Roman architecture. The limestone pavements are worn smooth with centuries of feet walking across them. It was Friday afternoon and the streets were bustling with tourists exploring, but it was not hard to escape them.

Everywhere you walk you cannot help but look up to see layers upon layers of architecture
Of course it would not be a Croatian town without cats…
Check out those ice rink polished floors…plenty of quality shops to browse through
Quiet little alleyways host restaurants and stairways to whole new worlds
Many keep looking at ground level at the variety of shops selling shoes, jewellery, knives, bags, food…but look up and you can observe more than 600 years of architecture
A refreshing juice is just the ticket for a late afternoon pick me up

We enjoyed exploring the little lanes, the warm afternoon dictating our route through the maze – if there was shade, we’d head in that direction. I found a gorgeous bracelet from an artist in Studio Naranča – she has glass beads custom made for her on an island just off Venice and shipped over to create bracelets, earrings and necklaces. If you’re in town, check it out! We stopped for a fresh juice in a shady square, taking the opportunity to just sit and people watch for a few minutes.

New bracelet!
The underground shopping area is hosted within part of the ancient palace’s sub structures

We went back to the boat for showers and get ready for a final night’s dinner with our friends. Tomorrow everyone goes their separate ways – some returning to home, others continuing travels throughout Europe or elsewhere in the world. For us, it is back to Truffy the truck and life on the road.

We still have a few days in the area, and definitely plan to come back and explore Split a little more. Meanwhile this was a great finale to a fabulous week exploring the coast and islands between Dubrovnik and Split. In many ways it feels like we just had a taster of several areas, and we definitely have a wish list of places to return to and explore further.

A delicious final meal at Mazzgoon – highly recommended
Courtyard dining at Mazzgoon
Just a young cat watching dinner from an old Roman pillar….

27 June: Brač Island: another gem in this beautiful Dalmatian coastline

Author: Mr A

Location: Brač, Croatia

The more we wander around these Dalmatian islands the more we fall in love. The scenery is just outrageously stunning and the people so lovely. Cycling, as always, we think the best way to see it, and Sailing Croatia, our tour company, has done an excellent job of showcasing it for us.

Brač is largest island in the Adriatic and lies just 14 km offshore from the city of Split, so its pretty easy to access with regular car ferries. We motored off early from Viz and watched the coastline unfold as our ship cut through the glassy blue water. The island of Brač appeared on the horizon and its large harbour at Milna, with over 200 moorings catering for maritime tourism, was soon welcoming us into a berth on the main jetty a short walk from centre of town. Unfortunately during our breakfast briefing one of our friends was taken ill and carted off in an ambulance. All very distressing, but the good news is that he was back with us in the evening.

Pretty Milna harbour

We headed off after lunch for another 23km circuit ride taking in a number of small villages scattered around the coast. We are going to miss the camaraderie of these rides, its a big group to manage on the road, but the Sail Croatia team is so professional and safety conscious, the rides have happened without incident. I think it also helps that we have a number of very experienced riders in the group who understand how to ride safely in a peloton, and are setting an example for the rest of us who don’t.

The heat was pretty intense, with mid 30s temperatures making it tough going for the riders without “pedal assist” powering them up.

Fabulous views along our cycle
Wild scented jasmine along our cycle
The harbour at Sutivan where we have a water break

The evening was the the BBQ night, and once again the Sail Croatia crew did an outstanding job of the cooking, serving and management of the ship. What a great bunch of folk, and we will miss them when we move on. I hope we have been an easy group to manage, they work 7 days a week and would I’m sure get some more difficult customers than us on the “party cruises” from what we have seen.

Lovely Rosa, our chef for the week
BBQ food is out…Mr A tucks in…
Tim, Deb. Paul, Glen, Michelle, Tracie and Lisa
Mrs A was also there!
Sun setting
Mr A reads out a poem to the crew
Sun keeps going down
H, our cycle guide with the unpronouncable name, is invited to sing
Much laughter from Sarah-Jane
A bemused Dave
Tom is performing passionately
Much more laughter ensues
And the sun sets on our second to last night on the cruise

26 June: Blue caves and hills in Vis

Author: Mrs A

Location: Biševo and Vis, Croatia

Another early start for the captain meant we were pulling up at a dock on the island of Biševo to join another boat to tour a cave known as the Blue Cave, or Blue Grotto by 8.30am.

It was first described in 1884, by a baron who had been shown the cave by locals. At that time it was entered only by diving under the cliff, but the baron decided to blow a hole in the cliff to allow boats inside, and therefore tourists like us.

Awaiting our turn on the little boats

The little motor boat left the harbour and whizzed us around to the cliffs. We then ducked as the boat went in through the small hole in the cliff. When we sat back up we were presented with a magical sight.

This natural phenomenon occurs where the edge of the cliff has been worn away, allowing the sunlight to beam down through the water. Coupled with the white limestone of the cave walls the result is a magical blue cave.

Gordy translates what the guide is telling us about the cave
Tim takes a panorama of the spectacle

The edge of the cliff with the sunlight shining through

 

Looking through a natural bridge

 

The next two boats coming in behind us

 

The skipper delivered us back to our boat once the tour was over, and we continued on our way.

The town of Vis on the island of the same name was our next destination.

The island’s two largest settlements are the  Vis on the island’s eastern side (the settlement for which the island was originally named) and Komiža on its western coast. We had time for a look around the town before heading back to the boat for lunch. The island has been inhabited since the Neolithic period, and there is evidence of many of the cultures that followed.

Another day, another beautiful harbour
Elements of Italian architecture shining through on the backstreets
Interesting alleyways to wander down
And of course many cats…most islands have no vet, and it is uncommon to neuter males. Thankfully the local residents tend to leave cat food out for them, particularly when there are kittens involved

After lunch we were off out on the bikes. It was really warm, with temperatures up in the early 30s…and our first 10km of riding was all up hill. It was hard going in the heat, with no shade alongside the road, and out on the road it rose to 42 degrees centigrade (that’s about 108 Fahrenheit for those working in old money!).

Looking down at Komiza from the peak of our climb

Fortunately there were plenty of rewarding views. We rode across the island to Komiza, where we enjoyed the exhilarating ride down the hill before stopping for a refreshing sorbet and some cold water, before climbing up again and heading out, continuing our 32km circuit.

A little chapel high up on the cliff along our route
Komiza – a very pretty little town

Of course the road went up and up as well as we left, with a few water break stops along the way.

Beautiful views down over Komiza as we climb out
Komiza as we climbed out
Magnificent views along the island

Before long we were high up above Vis, looking at our final winding road descending below us.

Tim looking out over Vis
Me photographing Vis
Vis, our home for the night

Mr A and I headed straight off for a swim and probably increased the salt percentage of the already very salty Mediterranean in doing so, before showers and heading out to dinner.

It was just Owen, Tom, Mark and I for the night, and we headed first of all for drinks down by the water, before finding a local restaurant for food. Vis has a lovely atmosphere, particularly after our night in crazy Hvar.

Lovely sunset
Owen, Tom, Mr A and I…yes I even had a local Vis wine!

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 🙂

24 June: Exploring coastal Croatia

Author: Mrs A

Location: Korčula, Croatia

First of all, sorry for the multiple emails coming through, those of you who are email subscribers. We are continuing to try and pinpoint the issue and will try to resolve it as soon as possible.

Monday: Our cycle for the day commenced at the wharf where we had docked, and had us riding off at 8.30am.

Before long we arrived at the town of Korčula, where we parked up our bikes and Gordy, our local host, gave us a run down of the town’s history.

The old town of Korčula – building outside of the walls was not permitted until the 1800s

Team photo in the square down by the water

Gordy explains the town’s history. In the background, H, our cycle guide

Starting our visit beside the old town walls

The town sits out on a peninsular, with the mainland a short boat ride away. Apparently it is subject to strong winds in the winter, often up to 200km/hr so the old town has been built in a herringbone pattern – allowing a breeze to filter down to all homes, but without the damaging winds.

The old town is walled, and all streets are stepped, with the exception of one road which rings the town known as ‘the street of thoughts’, where residents could walk and think without the need to watch their feet.

As we entered the town of Korčula through the gate, Gordy explained the symbolism of the lion with the book carved on a stone. The book is open, showing the town was founded in peaceful times. Had it been closed, it would have been during a time of war.

The town coat of arms featuring a lion on the entrance gateway through the walls

The town’s main claim to fame is the birthplace of Marco Polo, with strong evidence to suggest he was born in a house here, something that is hotly contended by the Italians who claim him for themselves. It seems the Marco Polo Wikipedia entry has been written by the Italians rather than the Croatians!

The cathedral of St Mark – complete with working moon clock – built 1301-1806

There are many ‘Marco Polo’ related hotels and restaurants here and in the surrounding countryside.

We had a couple of hours to explore the town, browse the jewellery stores and refresh ourselves ready for the next ride.

Coffee and a snack for some of the gang

Plenty of steps to climb up

Mr A admiring the interesting architecture – a mixture of Greek, Venetian and more

Every street has quirks and unique architecture – and not busy outside of the school holidays

Old cart wheels put to use

Looking out towards the ‘new’ town

Even the pets here are tastefully colour coordinated to fit in with the scenery

A heavily pregnant cat decides to adopt me…

‘Please don’t go!’ – clearly I am emitting ‘I love cats’ vibes!

Our time exploring up, we rode off along the coast to our next destination. While not massively steep, the coastal road was rolling hills, and again I was grateful to be on an electric bike. The way my airway is right now, there is no way I would have enjoyed riding manually without a great deal of coughing and wheezing.

A water break at Kneza

We concluded our 20km ride at Račišće (don’t ask me to pronounce it!) where the boat motored on around and met us. Lunch was soon served and we continued cruising around to the top of the island to the port at Vela Luka, where we were to spend the night.

Vela Luka as the sun sets

Sunset over Vela Luka as we disembark and head off to find dinner

Looking back towards the harbour

The town had been celebrating St Ivan’s Day and was quite lively

Unfortunately we didn’t have time to explore the town by day, but apparently it is famous for having a cave with evidence of human habitation from 20,000 BC – our hunter gatherer ancestors. They had a very pretty home!

We ate and retired to the boat to sleep. We’re setting off early in the morning for our next destination, Stari Grad on the island of Hvar.

24 June: Exploring coastal Croatia

Author: Mrs A

Location: Korčula, Croatia

First of all, sorry for the multiple emails coming through, those of you who are email subscribers. We are continuing to try and pinpoint the issue and will try to resolve it as soon as possible.

Monday: Our cycle for the day commenced at the wharf where we had docked, and had us riding off at 8.30am.

Before long we arrived at the town of Korčula, where we parked up our bikes and Gordy, our local host, gave us a run down of the town’s history.

The old town of Korčula – building outside of the walls was not permitted until the 1800s

Team photo in the square down by the water

Gordy explains the town’s history. In the background, H, our cycle guide

Starting our visit beside the old town walls

The town sits out on a peninsular, with the mainland a short boat ride away. Apparently it is subject to strong winds in the winter, often up to 200km/hr so the old town has been built in a herringbone pattern – allowing a breeze to filter down to all homes, but without the damaging winds.

The old town is walled, and all streets are stepped, with the exception of one road which rings the town known as ‘the street of thoughts’, where residents could walk and think without the need to watch their feet.

As we entered the town of Korčula through the gate, Gordy explained the symbolism of the lion with the book carved on a stone. The book is open, showing the town was founded in peaceful times. Had it been closed, it would have been during a time of war.

The town coat of arms featuring a lion on the entrance gateway through the walls

The town’s main claim to fame is the birthplace of Marco Polo, with strong evidence to suggest he was born in a house here, something that is hotly contended by the Italians who claim him for themselves. It seems the Marco Polo Wikipedia entry has been written by the Italians rather than the Croatians!

The cathedral of St Mark – complete with working moon clock – built 1301-1806

There are many ‘Marco Polo’ related hotels and restaurants here and in the surrounding countryside.

We had a couple of hours to explore the town, browse the jewellery stores and refresh ourselves ready for the next ride.

Coffee and a snack for some of the gang

Plenty of steps to climb up

Mr A admiring the interesting architecture – a mixture of Greek, Venetian and more

Every street has quirks and unique architecture – and not busy outside of the school holidays

Old cart wheels put to use

Looking out towards the ‘new’ town

Even the pets here are tastefully colour coordinated to fit in with the scenery

A heavily pregnant cat decides to adopt me…

‘Please don’t go!’ – clearly I am emitting ‘I love cats’ vibes!

Our time exploring up, we rode off along the coast to our next destination. While not massively steep, the coastal road was rolling hills, and again I was grateful to be on an electric bike. The way my airway is right now, there is no way I would have enjoyed riding manually without a great deal of coughing and wheezing.

A water break at Kneza

We concluded our 20km ride at Račišće (don’t ask me to pronounce it!) where the boat motored on around and met us. Lunch was soon served and we continued cruising around to the top of the island to the port at Vela Luka, where we were to spend the night.

Vela Luka as the sun sets

Sunset over Vela Luka as we disembark and head off to find dinner

Looking back towards the harbour

The town had been celebrating St Ivan’s Day and was quite lively

Unfortunately we didn’t have time to explore the town by day, but apparently it is famous for having a cave with evidence of human habitation from 20,000 BC – our hunter gatherer ancestors. They had a very pretty home!

We ate and retired to the boat to sleep. We’re setting off early in the morning for our next destination, Stari Grad on the island of Hvar.

24 June: Exploring coastal Croatia

Author: Mrs A

Location: Korčula, Croatia

First of all, sorry for the multiple emails coming through, those of you who are email subscribers. We are continuing to try and pinpoint the issue and will try to resolve it as soon as possible.

Monday: Our cycle for the day commenced at the wharf where we had docked, and had us riding off at 8.30am.

Before long we arrived at the town of Korčula, where we parked up our bikes and Gordy, our local host, gave us a run down of the town’s history.

The old town of Korčula – building outside of the walls was not permitted until the 1800s

Team photo in the square down by the water

Gordy explains the town’s history. In the background, H, our cycle guide

Starting our visit beside the old town walls

The town sits out on a peninsular, with the mainland a short boat ride away. Apparently it is subject to strong winds in the winter, often up to 200km/hr so the old town has been built in a herringbone pattern – allowing a breeze to filter down to all homes, but without the damaging winds.

The old town is walled, and all streets are stepped, with the exception of one road which rings the town known as ‘the street of thoughts’, where residents could walk and think without the need to watch their feet.

As we entered the town of Korčula through the gate, Gordy explained the symbolism of the lion with the book carved on a stone. The book is open, showing the town was founded in peaceful times. Had it been closed, it would have been during a time of war.

The town coat of arms featuring a lion on the entrance gateway through the walls

The town’s main claim to fame is the birthplace of Marco Polo, with strong evidence to suggest he was born in a house here, something that is hotly contended by the Italians who claim him for themselves. It seems the Marco Polo Wikipedia entry has been written by the Italians rather than the Croatians!

The cathedral of St Mark – complete with working moon clock – built 1301-1806

There are many ‘Marco Polo’ related hotels and restaurants here and in the surrounding countryside.

We had a couple of hours to explore the town, browse the jewellery stores and refresh ourselves ready for the next ride.

Coffee and a snack for some of the gang

Plenty of steps to climb up

Mr A admiring the interesting architecture – a mixture of Greek, Venetian and more

Every street has quirks and unique architecture – and not busy outside of the school holidays

Old cart wheels put to use

Looking out towards the ‘new’ town

Even the pets here are tastefully colour coordinated to fit in with the scenery

A heavily pregnant cat decides to adopt me…

‘Please don’t go!’ – clearly I am emitting ‘I love cats’ vibes!

Our time exploring up, we rode off along the coast to our next destination. While not massively steep, the coastal road was rolling hills, and again I was grateful to be on an electric bike. The way my airway is right now, there is no way I would have enjoyed riding manually without a great deal of coughing and wheezing.

A water break at Kneza

We concluded our 20km ride at Račišće (don’t ask me to pronounce it!) where the boat motored on around and met us. Lunch was soon served and we continued cruising around to the top of the island to the port at Vela Luka, where we were to spend the night.

Vela Luka as the sun sets

Sunset over Vela Luka as we disembark and head off to find dinner

Looking back towards the harbour

The town had been celebrating St Ivan’s Day and was quite lively

Unfortunately we didn’t have time to explore the town by day, but apparently it is famous for having a cave with evidence of human habitation from 20,000 BC – our hunter gatherer ancestors. They had a very pretty home!

We ate and retired to the boat to sleep. We’re setting off early in the morning for our next destination, Stari Grad on the island of Hvar.

22 – 23 June: Cruising Croatia!

Author: Mr A

Location: Dubrovnik, Mljet and Korčula, Croatia

Saturday: Those of us who had been out late were pretty dusty….some more than others! It was time to go and board the boat that was going to be our next mobile home for 7 days of cruising up the coast of Croatia from Dubrovnik to Split.

Our home for the next week

Someone had to try the Titanic pose…and that someone was Tim

Our top deck ensuite cabin

We settled in to our cabins and met the other passengers who would be our fellow cruisers. We moored up in a lovely bay after and threw ourselves in the azure waters of the Adriatic.

Our swimming location…not bad!

That brightened up a few of us. We then moored up in the harbour at Pomena on the island of Mljet, the largest and most forested in the Adriatic chain. Mentioned in Greek literature since the 4th century BC, it has a lovely laid back feel to it.

Our local harbour

The resident lame ginger kitten…no vets on the island so when it was hit by a car in the winter its broken leg healed crooked. He seems to get around ok on three legs and gets a huge sympathy vote from diners in all the restaurants

Dusk sets across the village

Perfect reflections

Night falling over the harbour

We found a little cafe for dinner right on the water, and the local stray cat soon found us and was suitably rewarded with chicken….happy purrs ensued.

Dave and S-J heading back to the boat for the night

OE is surprised by another birthday cake baked on board by chef Rosa

And the sun sets on our first night’s cruise

Sunday: A lovely breakfast and it was off on our bikes in one large guided group to have a poke around the national park which was a short ride down the road.

Team photo before we set off

The park contains two saltwater lakes joined by a narrow channel, and had the clearest blue water we have seen so far.

Many butterflies in the national park

It was an easy potter around the lake edge, then we had been briefed by our guide to wave a flag to call over a little boat that would ferry us over to a little island….all very cute…so we did. So that’s an island in a lake on an island. Officially this geographical phenomenon is called a “lake island” – how did they think of that?

The monastery within the lake…these days also a cafe

The boat man spots us waving the flag and comes over to collect us

A round of coffees and a quick look round the Benedictine monastery and we were off again on our ride.

Lovely architecture of the monastery

Music of monks singing is playing inside, making it very atmospheric

The monks must have had very narrow shoulders…or entered this door sideways!

A peaceful outlook across the lake from this terrace

Lovely old clematis on the walls of the monastery

We just had to have a swim in that water though before heading back to the boat.

We then motored off to our next island, Korcula, though some pretty choppy water. The crew did an admirable job of serving lunch whilst performing balancing and acrobatic manoeuvres. All very amusing.

We moored up again for another swim off Karcula Island. I’ve never been a great lover of throwing myself in. We live off a fantastic beach in Sydney and can go for a whole summer without swimming in the ocean, but on this trip I’m really enjoying it. The water is just so clear and inviting, plus there’s no nasties lurking underneath like in Australia.

Tom leaps off into the water

Our night was spent in Lumbarda, a small settlement to the south of the island. A fifteen minute amble around the bay brought us to a fabulous little restaurant, Gavuni, serving local dishes and drinks overlooking the water, all very reasonably priced.

An evocative war memorial beside the bay

Sunset drinks are going down well

Not game to order the local wine, Mrs A sticks to vodka!

Loving the location!

Palm tree scratching posts for the local cats here!

We returned to the boat for sunset and nightcaps.

Lovely watching the ever changing light across the water

Sun has almost completely set

The final sailing boats coming into harbour