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Thursday, September 12: Day 143 – Abandoned?

At noon we went by bus to an abandoned village on Hvar Island. We had heavy day packs since we needed much water because we would be hiking in the hot afternoon, and then we had to bring rain gear since it was starting to rain!

The bus ride was narrow and winding. Ivan told us that the bus driver said that this is first time that he has sold tickets to Velo Grablje this year!! Not much demand for an abandoned village.

Rob and I sat near the back where there was more leg room. It was a full bus to a farther destination.

After about 15 minutes we stopped in a little wide spot in the road where basically the bus slowed down to drop the four of us off. I couldn’t get my seat belt off!!!

I started to panic. Ivan and Cherry had already left the bus. I am yelling. “I can’t get out. I can’t get out.” I was so afraid that the bus would start again before I got off. I couldn’t find the red release button. Rob calmly told me that it must be on the opposite side from him. There it was buried deep down.

At this point, the bus is cheering me on as Ivan starts back on the bus with a quizzical look on his face. I was trapped. I am sure that he was starting to wonder if I was mentally capable for this hike. Who gets trapped in a bus???

But with a quick explanation and lots of laughter, we started down the road toward the abandoned village.

On the way we saw many horizontal and vertical rock walls. The soil contains lots of rocks so if one wants to farm, the rocks have to be removed. Good soil is about one yard below. Ivan stated that there are more rock walls in this area than any other area in the world.

The city was abandoned due to the ability to make more money in Hvar by participating in the tourism industry.

Velo Grablje was founded in the 14th century. A village of stone houses, courtyards, and narrow streets has only a few permanent villagers. At one time it was a rich and prosperous place, famous for its good wine, lavender and olive oil production. Honey production was also well known, together with lavender oil being the leading one in Europe of the time.

The honey is a dark color and smells and tastes of lavender since the bees are pollinating lavender.

In recent years Velo Grablje has had a revival of sorts by sponsoring a summer Lavendar Festival.

While on our walk, Ivan picked us a few figs. They were delicious. I ate mine whole but I noticed that Ivan pealed his figs. He said that it is safer to do that because of pollution and anything else that may be deposited on the outside.

It was quite a charming village. It always seems sad to see a town where people used to work and play.

Wait! I hear voices! How can this be in a ghost town? I climb up a few steps and look over the wall and see several men talking together.

I say, “Hello!”

They all wave and beckon me to come join them.

“I am not alone. Can I bring my friends?”

“Yes, of course.”

Ivan said that it would be fine. We sat and visited for quite some time. The man in the white shirt standing in the back owns the house. (He was so kind to let me use the bathroom.)

His friends had come from Hvar for a visit. There were many drink offerings. They even asked us to try some of their artichoke and bean stew.

The beans are called bobs. The ones that they were especially fond of were basically dark colored Lima beans.

“Minestrone isn’t minestrone without them.” Soak the dry beans. Remove the seed coats and put in the soup.

We talked of our countries, politics, singing and their friendship. The owner showed us rosemary oil and lavender oil that he makes by steam distillation.

We thanked them for their kind hospitality and got back on the trail.

We hiked down from Velo Grablje (Big Trees) to Malo Grablje (Little Trees) and ended up on the southern coast of the island to Milna. After some ice cream, we caught the bus back to Hvar.

After a quick break and change of clothes, we took a bus to the other side of the island to the city of Stari Grad. We decided to have dinner in this quaint village. They were having a festival featuring traditional sailing vessels. This vessel claims to be the inspiration for the boat used in Mama Mia 2.

And what’s a festival without a little dancing!!

Speaking of dancing, I think that Hvar has so many fun places to go especially for the young. My young daughters would love to dance the night away!! Ah, to be young again. Rob said that he was never that young!!!ha

Funny Sign of the Day

Queen Victoria must have had quite an attractive ear!!

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