I know it's delayed, but lots of things are getting in the way of mundane things like online journal - bloggy thing writing, so its had to take a bit of a back seat. I know it isn't good enough. I truly do. But thats just tough.
As we left off in Rovinj i won't start there. I'll start further down the road in Rijeka. As it was still low season the boat was only sailing 3 times a week, meaning that any plans to stick around would cost me a couple of days. In Rijeka had a couple of hours to kill before getting the overnight boat to Split, so had a wander.
It doesnt have the worlds greatest reputation, but to be honest, i've seen a heck of allot worse. Having said that, it was notable for only 2 things. Firstly, i saw the most beautiful woman i have ever seen (real life, pictures or tv). An absolutely stunning blonde. And she was driving a knackered old taxi. Where is the justice? The other point of note was the huge number of people who had their arms (mostly wrists) in slings. I'm not exaggerating when i say that in about 3 hours, i saw over 10 people with their arms in slings, and *THREE* seperate people who had both arms in slings. With my record and ability to break bones at will and in stupid situations, i knew it wasn't a good place for me to be.
It was European Cup Final night (none of this C lge rubbish), and oddly, i was in Croatia again. I've seen 3 of the last 5 in Croatia, for no apparent reason. This time it was on the boat. Unfortunately, we were just that bit too far off the coast for a perfect picture. We saw about 35mins of the first half, and missed all 3 goals. At half time, remarked that i wish i was near a bookies so could put a couple of quid on Liverpool, which most people laughed at. So wish i could have Then saw the first 2 liverpool ones before it went dead for good. From then on, a group of a good 25 people were relying solely on an intermittent radio contact, and mobile phones. By the time it got to penalties, it was just getting silly. Sms's going off at all angles after every pen, but a slight time delay meant that we were'nt always entire sure what the curent situation was until the end.
My cunning plan of cheap night sleeping on deck was slightly tempered by my being distracted by the football, and by the time i went to pick a good spot to avoid the direction of wind, it was too late - all the good spots were gone, and my sleeping bag was in the locked luggage room. Hence it was that i thought that instead of looking for shelter, the opposite might work, and rolled up in a ball on the center of the helicopter winchpad, much to the amusement of onlookers. And strangely, i had no trouble sleeping, baring the drunk local who thought it would be funny to fall over me about every 20minutes.
Got to Spilt at about 6.20, and it was already 22degrees. Had a trawl around the old Diocletian's palace before the tourists hit and by 7.30am, it had hit 30. And hotter it got. Chucked my bag (well, not so much a chuck, as an ungainly heave) and did the obvious thing. I followed my existing trend of climbing the overlooking hill, in the scorching heat. I didnt die of sunstroke or heat exaustion, which is probably the only bonus of the climb (not a bonus for you lot as you now get to read about it in excruciating detail), and in fairness, the view from the top was worthwhile. As i've been to Split a few times before, i didn't plan to hang around, and got the absolutely jampacked and broken airconned afternoon catermeran to Hvar Town. Suffice to say, that by arrival an hour later i looked not unlike a drowned rat.
Things went ok from there though, as i finally got some suncream after a week of looking and getting burnt just a tad more than planned, and we got picked up by an old guy at the dock area who had a free room in a really good location and with a view of the harbour area. Hvar Town was really nice. Not overly packed at this stage of the year, but lots of people just milling around taking it all in, and just by listening to the converstations and observing the meetings, you could tell that a large chunk were locals.
Hvar was officially voted in the late 90s as one of the 12 most beautiful islands in the world. Whilst it seems slightly suspicious to me that the list included only small, warm, holiday places (Anguilla, Bali, Bora Bora, Capri, Hvar, Kauai, Mykonos, Ponza, Upolo and Zanzibar) - what's wrong with, for example, Southsea? -
and it wasn't neccessary quite as stunning as all that, it was definitely not out of place on the list.
Ignoring another walk to the top of the cliff to go into the fort, did absolutely feck all except veg for a couple of days, although i also started my on running battle with nature, when i somehow managed to squash a (very) large fly by accidetally treading on it as it flew underneath. I guess he must have been poisoned by the smell...
A couple of days later continued onwards to Korcula, another island. Fecked up on the suncream front by missing a shoulder and then rolling my sleeve up, meaning i fast acquiired an evil left shoulder. Had a 50min drive right across Korcula from the catamaran landing at Vela Luka to Korcula Town itself, and along with an Afrikaaner, then managed to take advantage of the hoard of accomodation offerers and lack of backpackers by fighting them off against each other until we got down to 40 kuna (just under 4gbp, down from the normal 80-100). It was a strange old place, half a building site, but cheap and all i needed.
Korcula claims Marco Polo was born there, and whilst its true he was actually captured just off the island, nobody really knows where he was born. But its a selling point for tourists, so we did the inevitable Marco Polo Tower trip, which was just kind of pathetic, and then listened to a group of school girls singing acappela in a court yard with great accoustics.
The town itself was strange. Lots of money and effort has gone into making sure that it has been well landscaped and looked after, but many of the buildings seem to be eitehr falling into disrepair, or only now getting renovated. Guess they were waiting for foreign investors, but don't know.
That evening i met up with 4 Aussie girls i'd met in Hvar and on the ferry, and we went to a cool little rooftop cocktail bar - it's on the top of an old fort tower on the seafront, and is reached via a ladder and a hole in the floor, whilst the drinks are winched up the side of the building from below via a series of pulleys. Touristy and gimmicky, yes, but still worth visiting, although somehow we managed to miss (how can you miss it?) sunset.
Again, i'm warbling on waaay too much, so will stop now. Guess this 1 parter will end up with a dozen parts, but i suppose thats how it goes.