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Monday, September 9: Day 140 – Korčula

Today we leave Dubrovnik for a week-long tour with Intrepid Tours. Rob found this through Global Journeys which is an Australian company which acts as a clearing house for international travelers. Rob was looking for transportation to Split and found this tour.

Intrepid has a unique approach which I think is geared to single travelers. It provides a group which makes individual travel more safe.

Ivan is our tour leader, not guide. He makes all the housing and transportation arrangements. Intrepid advocates responsible travel, supports local businesses, and we often stay in private homes. He gives us an orientation in the city and then lets us explore. He guides us to our individual interests.

We rode a bus to Ston which is known for its 43 miles of continuous walls that are second in length to The Great Wall of China. Even more astonishing is that is was built in eighteen months from 1333-1334.

It was built to protect Dubrovnik from the Venetians and to protect the precious salt that is produced there. 1 kilo of salt was equal to 1 kilo of gold. The sea is located on both sides which allowed them to maintain constant salt production – an enemy couldn’t cut it off by blocking one direction.

The tide rises onto the ponds, then the pans are walled off for evaporation, collection, iodization, then packaging.

We had only 20 minutes and the cost to climb up the wall was $10. Rob looked longingly at those walls, but it wasn’t meant to be. Here was the view that he was able to reach in ten minutes a different way.

We got back in our bus and traveled to wine country. (I think that must be everywhere.)

We stopped at Matusko winery that was established in 1996. They produce over one half million liters of wine per year. They mostly export to Europe and China. The grapes look very similar to blueberry clusters. The roots grow down through the rocks. This makes for deep, drought resistant roots over 40 meters long. Donkeys were the workers of the vineyards of the Dalmatian coast.

Our group seemed very enthusiastic about the wine tasting. I enjoyed the tour. Živjeli is Cheers in Croatian and means “To Life”.

Karmela was our guide, and she was very knowledgeable. She asked if we had any questions. I asked how long she had been working in the winery. She responded, “One week.” Ha.

Here is a picture of the owner’s private collection consisting of wines from all over the world. In the upper right hand corner is the first bottle of wine produced. I guess it is like displaying the first dollar in a new business!

Here is Tracy posing by “her” Maserati outside the winery.

We boarded a boat headed for the Adriatic island of Korcula with a population of 15,000-20,000.

We will be staying in private homes in the charming town of Korcula which is the largest city on Korcula Island.

The Venetians have been here!! Here is their mark.

There were also pirate raiders so most people lived in the higher middle ground for safety. We felt safe strolling around the island.

Our group assembled for a traditional meal at a konoba or farmhouse in the village of Pupnat. This family had prepared a meal from foods from within 50m of our table. Talk about a farm to table experience! We spent hours laughing and getting to know each other better.

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