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    Saturday, July 04, 2009

    Croatia Part 4 - This time - Dubrovnik Town of Great Beauty

    We sailed off to the island of Mljet, and anchored in the bay of the little town.
    This is the entrance to the National Park. Not longer after we were settled 2 Park Rangers came over in their tender. Their job - to make sure everyone pays for the privilege of anchoring in this lovely little bay. 90 Kuna per person but this also got you a ride over the hill to the beautiful salt sea lakes. We thought we would go over in the morning.
     Dale enjoying a wine in this lovely bay

    So we had to fend for ourselves food wise. There was a restaurant in the bay but we had so many provisions,,,we really needed to use them up.
    Laurian made us Caprese Salad. The produce here in Croatia is fabulous and the tomatoes are delicious. We had bought some fresh Mozzarella and we had also bought some local olive oil which was lovely and peppery.
    A specialty to Croatia is Vegeta. This is a vegetable stock powder and it is delicious. Probably not really good for you but is salty, tasty and a little spicy. It is a prime ingredient in Croatian cooking. I started to put it into everything. A taste of Croatia.
    Our friend Lois (who is currently sailing across the Pacific with her husband Terry, on their way home after 4 years away in their 60' yacht Alpha Crusis) has an excellent recipe for a pasta sauce using canned sardines. I texted her and she sent me the recipe. (Look, don't you love the 21st Century and telecommunications. She was in Panama City on their boat and we were in Mljet on our boat and in seconds we had it.) It was delicious. I won't post it as yet, as it is her creation and I feel I really need her permission. So when they can pick up any communications I will ask her.
    In the morning, we swam early had hot drinks and pineapple, decided against the trip to the Salt Lakes and took off for Dubrovnik.
    An easy ride, tried the sails, Laurian on the grinder again, but it seems the motor is very necessary.
    Made lunch on the run, Egg salad sandwiches -
    The vista is very similar to the Sounds in the South Island but instead of New Zealand Bush and not a soul to be seen we got picturesque little villages dotted in the hills.

    We knew there was a yacht club in DB, so Dale rang ahead, and told them he was a member of the RNZYS, and asked if we could have a berth. He was invited to come on in.
    First though we sailed around the city. It is a medieval walled city. Amazing from the sea.
    We spotted 2-3 bars outside the wall, perched on the hill side they looked really interesting.
    Big umbrellas, at sea level, people swimming. Could be us, we thought!
    So we found the Marina and the man came down and sorted us out a berth for the night. About $NZ100 per night. Not too bad.

    Use of toilets... which was a relief to our aft head (that kept on blocking) and there was a lovely little restaurant there.
    After settling in we had a quick wine in the cockpit, then set off to town.

    It was a taxi ride away about $NZ20 not too bad.
    The old town is called Stali Grad. That was our destination.
    Well if you haven’t been to Dubrovnik you must put it on your Bucket List. It really is amazing We walked over the Drawbridge into a city within a city.
    Of course in the 91-92 war The Serbs and Montenegrins bombed the city. There is a map with the damage to roofs, buildings etc. see below.
    But these Croats are not without imagination & hard work. It is fully restored and stunning. I have never been anywhere like it. You think Amalfi Coast, Rome, Carcisson, Other parts of France, Germany etc - forget it we were gobsmacked.
    So we wandered around and found the hole in the wall, which led to one of the bars we had seen earlier.
    This bar would never happen in NZ or even OZ certainly not the UK, balanced precariously on the edge of rocks, with cute little tables and umbrellas.
    We climbed up to a table and the little mountain goat waiter took our order and brought us drinks.
    Lovely view looking over to the airport.
    As it got darker the lights came on. They would have been necessary as you could have easily fallen over after a few drinks. Isn't that gorgeous?
    We moved on and found a great restaurant,
    had crumbed mussels and octopus salad
    for a shared starter.

    I had pork filets, Dale - Salmon Pasta. Geoff and Laurian had seafood Risotto

    Very good food, we like the local wine too. Each restaurant has it’s own house wine which is perfectly drinkable. Not too expensive and no hangovers.

    We returned to Yacht Club Orsan our home for the next 2 nights.
    That night the local rowing club situated just a few metres from our berth were having a big night in. Lots of singing and laughing, more singing and laughing they never stopped I finally got to sleep and was woken again at 3am and still singing and laughing. Very Slavic the songs, they all sounded the same.
    Must be what we sound like when we get Sing Star going!

    One thing I am not too happy about is the Plank. There are excellent mooring systems here in Croatia I think they call them lazy lines or something. You back in and pick up the mooring line walk it to the bow and then tie on the back lines. Then you attach The Plank for “easy for some” access on and off the boat. I have shocking balance, not so bad getting off but getting back on I wimpishly need help.

    But there ya go my problem
    So we went into Staligrad again after a late breakfast..
    Boy we were glad we saw it for the first time last night. Now it was a seething mass of tourist. 3 cruise ships were in and it was a real fight to get across the drawbridge.
    We split up, Geoff and Laurian were off to cover almost every square inch of the city, but we were content just to wander around a little,
    We stopped for coffee lovely place overlooking one of the Cruise ships in the harbour
    Then we found a nice restaurant for pizza. They are huge. I was lacking in appetite so left most of mine, which was a pity, as it was delicious.
    Nice place to people watch though. I was interested in this group of people obviously off a Planned trip. They were all wearing green kerchiefs around the neck. I thought at first they were American but I think from listening to them speak we were looking at maybe South American possibly Brazilian.
    I was quite taken with them.

    Dale and I loved these 3 nuns, unfortunately my camera let me down yet again and this was the best shot. They were quite young nuns and they were intrigued with some of the luxury shops.
    Peering in through the windows.
    Back to the boat for a well deserved rest and lie down. The Dale and Geoff worked on the blocked toilet. It used to be a common sight on Cajun Moon didn’t really expect to be doing it on Viktoria as well.

    Couple of hours later it was fixed much to everyone’s delight.

    These two ladies spent almost 3 hours catching little fish I think they were sardines off our marina.
    A great technique, they has a ball of dough for bait and just little lines bait throw wait a couple of minutes…pull in, either a fish or an empty hook. Bait, throw, pull in. over and over again. I loved it, they sat there fag in mouth.
    A sight not seen often these days
    Their catch...don't know how many people they were planning to feed!
    Back in the Grad, now much quieter, just how we liked it. During the day, Geoff had found the hole in the wall for the other bar outside.
    Actually this one didn’t quite have the charm of the first one...
    Wine sold in little plastic bottles. Plastic glasses. Didn't have the lovely string of lights.
    They did bring electric candles as it got dark but!
    Looking out all the way to Italy about 100 miles away.
    We wandered down one of the many restaurant lanes and picked out another Pizzeria.
    I was still lacking in appetite and chose the simple Scampi cocktail they spelt it wrong on the menu and they made in wrong. Old tough scampi drowned in Mary Rose Sauce.
    Laurian’s choice wasn’t that great either. She has been trying Octopus salad in most restaurants, she has had some beauties but this one was definitely a bit fishy tasting, maybe their turnover wasn’t quite as sharp as some of the other places.
    The boys chose well, Dale Lasagna, and Geoff Moussaka, or maybe it was the other way around. Anyhow they both enjoyed it.
    We met an Irish couple sitting next to us. Started up a conversation and had a few wines with them. Able to talk Rugby etc...That was fun. Got back to the boat about 12.30 am. This time the Rowers were absent. Didn’t think another night of drunken singing would have been a good idea. So another good night was had by all.

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