Friday, July 3, 2009
June 30 - Mljet to Korcula
Sara joined our little impromptu group last night for dinner and singing, hailing from England. She had left her 'wandering eyes' traveling companion for greener pastures and found us. This morning, tempted by the rumors of Ullysses' Cave hidden on the island, we rented a scooter (unfortunately not the bunny one in the photo!) and putted up the mountain roads into the interior of the island. Between the rocky mountains lie sloping valleys of vineyards and lush family farms. After asking directions in a small town post office where a man laughed at me the entire time I inquired, we found the path between old orchard trees of olive, lemon, and fig.
It was hot, hot, hot. Sweat drenched my clothes. The rocky trail wound down to the coast, about half an hour hiking, and suddenly below us gaped a cave opening like a dark mouth. The only entrance seemed to be jumping into the ocean and swimming into the cave, which we left for another trip. Deep in the cave, a few abandoned row boats dotted the entrance sand, and some wooden steps dropped into the water. On the edge of the cliff over the ocean some old stone cottages looked out towards Italy. After shooting some photos, we climbed back through the cliffs and orchards, along deep paths below stone walls, to the scooter. The cool air was a welcome relief on the ride back. Thanks to Sara's expert driving, we handled the hairpin curves and the speeding cars that regularly cut the corners with finesse.
Then Miguel the Sombrero Waiter drove us as fast as he could, cutting the corners to test our courage, to the ferry boat to Korcula, a nearby island. Korcula has a old walled city similar to Dubrovnik's in smaller scale, and was very influenced by Venice in the 16th century. If we were looking for a party, we had found it. The celebration of the half new year was tonight, a chance to dress in costume and get very very drunk and play loud music in the town square until the early hours. However, I was looking for quiet places to write, so I welcomed the resurgence of partying music blasted from loud speakers at 5 am as an alarm clock to make it to the bus station in time for the first morning bus out of there.