May 6 – Korcula island
(Happy anniversary Mom & Dad!)
I haven’t ridden a motorized two-wheeled vehicle in many years, but Yanni and I had talked about renting scooters on Korcula and so we decided to go for it. The island is about 25 miles long and maybe five wide, so if you stick to the main roads it’s nearly impossible to get lost. Our only objective was to visit Cara (say “chara”), the home town of a longtime friend of his family. This made for a nice round trip and also provided another example of just how small a world we live in.
We got the scooters for five hours and started out by shuttling Krista and Jessie, our aforementioned Canadian hostel mates, over to a nearby town that supposedly had one of the largest sand beaches in Croatia. Most of the beaches here are pebbles, or as some might call them, rocks. So a proper sandy shoreline is something of a prize find.
We did see something that I guess technically was a sand beach but it was about the size of my back yard and right next to the road—not very appealing. So, instead the girls set up shop on a little pier with amazing views of the water and surrounding islands.
Having a passenger on board for the first time I’d ever driven a scooter was a little nerve wracking at first, but the old motorcycle skills came back after a bit. Once Yanni and I were unencumbered, we took off for Cara at a blistering 30 mph. (With 50cc’s trying to move 200+ pounds, that’s about all you can expect even with the wind at your back.)
Korcula is made up of some interior villages, each of which has a kind of sister village on the water where people and goods come and go. We rode through Cara and then down to the seaside where we had lunch at a little place with a world-class vista. Konobas are family-run restaurants with simple, usually inexpensive food and Konoba Albert did not disappoint, especially with the ambiance factored in. Albert himself grilled my chicken and Yanni’s shrimp—all very tasty—and started us off with some of his own home made olive oil. The local product is exceptional and I’m struggling with whether or not to buy some. Carrying a heavy glass container filled with liquid is a serious commitment on a trip like this, though I guess I won’t be moving around as much when I meet up with Gina.
Anyway, we got to chatting with Albert and it turns out he knows Yanni’s friend. I guess it’s not that surprising given how small these towns are. It was just funny to hear the exchange with Yanni telling him his friend’s family name, then first name, then the names of his kids, and Albert going, “yeah, yeah I know him.”
We scooted back to pick up the girls, now wearing all of the layers we’d brought with us as the air temp was in the low to mid 60s but even at just 30 mph the constant wind really takes the heat out of you.
We finished up the day by cooking dinner ourselves—I should say, Yanni, Krista and Jessie cooked and I cleaned up—and the result was a superb meal. Yanni did a great job on the chicken breasts, achieving a nice brown color while veggies roasted in the oven. The girl made some gnocci in a cheese-enhanced tomato sauce.
All in all, a great day.
Oh, and the final verdict on our crazy host, Dragan… basically harmless. He is certainly offensive at times, in particular to the women (e.g., asked one for sex within five minutes of picking her up at the bus station), but I would not consider him outright dangerous.
My impression now is of a very insecure guy with gigantic aspirations and very little patience. I’m sure his family owns the house the hostel is in, and probably his BMW as well. He could have a great thing going if he wasn’t such a tool, but as we all know opportunity does not necessarily precipitate initiative.