Day Trip to Hvar
Seven intrepid Toto Tourists arise early this morning to go into town and catch the car ferry to the Island of Hvar. Our coach driver takes us in at 7:30am, and we board the ferry leaving at 8:30am. We all sit together around a circular coffee table and have a wonderful chat during the 1.5-hour crossing.
The ferry lands on the island at the town of Stari Grad. We have to return in time for the 5:00pm ferry, so rather than waste time waiting for a local bus we hire a nice mini-van taxi for what turns out to be a rather hair-raising, high-speed-chase-type transfer across the island to the old town of Hvar. But the taxi was a new Mercedes, and hugged the road around all the twists and turns.
We enter the old town at the cathedral, and stop for a few minutes to listen to the service in progress. We somehow miss the entrance to the tourist information center, and continue walking around the bay to capture views looking back at the city and the immense fortress on top of the hill.
After locating the information office, we learn that there will be no ferries to the outlying islands today as the wind is too high. We had been thinking about visiting another clothing-optional beach, but it is just as well the option isn't available as we end up having a perfect day in town!
We climb all the way to the top of the hill to tour the fortress and enjoy the amazing views over the old town. We are there at high noon, and hear the church bells pealing from many places around the town. There is a small museum and also a prison for exploring. We also sit for a while and have a drink at a coffee shop within the fortress walls.
Returning to sea level, we have lunch at a waterfront restaurant. We can understand perhaps another reason (other than beauty) that they call this place the Venice of the Dalmatians. The sea levels are rising, and there are points during lunch that gentle waves come right up to lap at our feet as we eat outside the restaurant. I have octopus salad and a scampi risotto. The former was too delicious for words, and the latter was a bit of a chore to eat and ended up with many of the scampi filled shells hitting the pavement to be gobbled up by several adorable, but severely undernourished kittens.
After lunch we wander around the other side of the bay to a cove we spotted from high on the hill. There we pull out our beach towels and lie down for a brief nap in the warm sun. Two of the guys go in for a dip, and mention that the water is somewhat colder here than it seemed in Dubrovnik. I am content to stay on the shore.
The ferry ride back to split is pleasant, and our bus arrives to collect us promptly at 7:00pm as scheduled. It is carrying several of the other guys who stayed at the hotel today and have decided to come into town for dinner. We exchange parting best wishes, and head back to the hotel. Our wonderful bus driver will return to pick them up at 10:00pm tonight.
Another absolutely magnificent day in Croatia comes to an end. Tomorrow we continue our northward journey!