A Travellerspoint blog

Croatia

From Peljesac, peninsular to Dubrovnik, Croatia

The beautiful Peljesac and the howling dogs…

Saturday 5th June

Woke up to a lovely sunny and hot day, with thoughts of finding a lovely cheap beach campsite to relax on. While we making toast these plans took a turn for the worse, as the gas ran out! We didn’t have a spare full bottle as the other one we hadn’t been able to get refilled. Instead of heading back up the coast to Metkovic where we knew we could get this bottle refilled, we instead had the plan to head further up the peninsula (which is almost like an island in itself but has it’s end connected to the mainland!) to the larger town of Orebic to see if we could get it refilled there. I know already sounds like a daft plan, doesn’t it?

Well off we went along the road through the middle of Peljesac, which was beautiful, through vineyards and hills and up into mountains with glimpses of the sparkling sea. I can see why maybe people head to the Croatian islands, we had already seen that the further south we went the more beautiful Croatia was, but here it was stunning. Well anyway after a long and slow journey, due to being stuck on the narrow roads behind a lorry, we were at the garage we had been told might be able to refill the gas bottle. The bloke said he could fill it if we had the adaptor?… well of course we didn’t! Doh. So we asked if we could just buy a Croatian gas bottle, he said no, he only exchanged bottles and pointed us back halfway down the island where we could maybe buy one. So off we headed, happy in the fact that the weather was gorgeous and so was this bit of Croatia and we were sat driving around! At the other garage the friendly bloke told us, yes we could buy a Croatian gas bottle, but we wouldn’t want to, as they worked out to be about £50! At this point with time and fuel wasted we set off back down the peninsular, back onto the main island and headed north up the coast back to Metkovic. In the back of our minds hoping, as it was now Saturday afternoon and this place was part of the actual gas company works, they weren’t closed. We arrived though and successfully had our one gas bottle refilled, for a good cheap price. So then headed back down south and back to the peninsular to find a nice campsite. We had too drive back through the small part of Bosnia on the coast on the way up and were now, about one hour later, driving back down through it. Not surprisingly at the checkpoint we were asked a few questions about where we were going and then waved on.

Back on the beautiful peninsula we headed back up and to a campsite on the edge of a small town called Trpanj. We pulled up to a lovely bay with hills in the background and a semi wild and wonderfully spaced out campsite right on the edge of the bay. We settled down on a great spot overlooking the bay and set up camp.

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No sooner as we had set up, when the older group of people, who I think had been enjoying the odd drink in the sun, called us over to join them for a drink. We duly accepted and started drinking local Croatian Rajki and chatting with the group from Germany and Austria. Lorna didn’t really like the taste of this homebrew brandy, but I found if you knock it back in one it wasn’t too bad, just warming! Well by the time we left to go and make some food as it had gone dark, they had poured me a fair few and I was probably a little tipsy! They had also told us in broken English about these wild mini wolves that live in the hills behind, we would hear in the night and not to leave our shoes outside or they might be gone! Well later that night we heard many strange childlike howling coming from the hills behind. Later we discovered that they were packs of Jackals that lived wild in the hills, but the howling they made although strange was captivating to listen to.

Monday 6th June

The sun was out and the weather hot, so we relaxed by the motorhome overlooking the bay. In the afternoon we managed to even get the kayaks out to have an adventure around the bay.

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It was a great location and a great little campsite, but as it was a campsite and as such costing us money to stay we knew we would have to leave tomorrow.

Monday 7th June

Today we decided to leave our little lovely campsite right on the bay and head to Dubrovnik. The sun was out again and it was very hot, so we very slowly got ourselves packed up and left around midday. It was a shame to be leaving such a nice spot, but as nice as it was everyday was costing us. We drove back off the peninsula of Peljesac and headed back down Croatia’s coastal road, overlooking the sea and the many islands. The south of the country, from below Split, is very beautiful and the sea always looks so inviting.

We got to the old walled sea town of Dubrovnik and went in search of a campsite further south of the town. The one claiming to be in Dubrovnik was very expensive, yet about 6 kilometres down the road we knew there were cheaper options and we could always get public transport in. Driving past the town from the high road, we had a great view of the walled town on the sea and in the sun. After a few tries and a pretty unsuccessful stop at a supermarket, we found a small well-priced campsite called Kate. Run by a nice guy who is ecologically minded, meaning he does recycling among other things!

The sun was still blazing down, so we relaxed about and slowly got ready to head into Dubrovnik. We were told it was better later in the day and at night, as the cruise ships had all gone by then. We eventually got ourselves going and hopped on the bus into town. The bus doesn’t go straight to the old town mind and we got off a bit to far down , so had to find our way back to the old town. The rest of the town is built on the hill surrounding the old walled area and until we got down to the old towns level, we couldn’t actually see it! While wondering around we met a local lady who was walking home with her shopping. She spoke a small bit of English, apparently from her elementary school days, and informed us of the way.

We soon arrived at the walls of the old city and passed in through the Pile gate, to be greeted by a long wide marbled street running through the centre ending at a clock tower on the other side.

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No sooner had we walked in mind we had people touting us to come and eat at their restaurant. The old town is full of small and street side restaurants and everywhere we walked we had people asking us to come and sit and eat, it makes walking around the old streets annoying! Still the old town is beautiful to amble around, through the narrow side streets into squares and over to the small port. I think though we were becoming rather too blasé about places. As we have now seen so many wonderful and beautiful old towns on our journey, I don’t think they have the same awe about them that knocks you back. Don’t get me wrong we still think they are beautiful and it’s a pleasure walking around them especially Dubrovnik.

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Maybe it’s because they are not really living towns, they are just tourist shells, full of tourist shops selling the same stuff. There are no little surprises of places, or maybe we were just tired and hungry so not appreciating it fully. On that note we went and found somewhere to eat and have a beer. After we had a pleasant walk around the city and harbour at night, something we wanted to do in a few cities and towns but hardly have.

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Posted by marklorna 04:04 Archived in Croatia Comments (0)

South Slovenia to Split, Croatia, via the Plitvicka lakes

It’s all about the water!

Monday 24th May

Woke up in our field and with the bikes, set off to find this hill of blooming flowers. She had given us directions and told us it was 6km down the road, but it felt like double that as we were constantly biking uphill. Still it meant it would be downhill all the way back! We eventually found the path and took a walk up onto the hillside in the sun, to see the flowers and the surrounding hills.

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Back at the motorhome, we decided it was time to say goodbye to the small but beautiful country of Slovenia and head into Croatia. During the journey we had planned to post some postcards, but before we knew it we were at the Croatian border! We were leaving the EU for the first time since Morocco, so got our passports stamped again. Straight after the border we found a Croatian post office. Where I explained about our Slovenian postcards and stamps, to be told just to drop them in the post-box! So I hope the people we sent them to did get them?

Croatia at first was not too different from Slovenia apart from more houses and faster drivers. We came down to the coast and the large industrial city of Rijeka, so we headed quickly past and down onto the coastal road. The road was very narrow with houses either side and we wondered whether we had actually taken the right road, but before long it came out on the coast. Croatia seems very built up, not like Spain with many high-rise apartments etc, just lots and lots of houses.

Armed with a campsite map from a tourist office we passed, we headed off to find one to stay at. We stopped at a few along the way, that were actually open, till we found one we actually liked the look and the price of. I think it was called Ujca, just past the town of Senj. It was a lovely small site with it’s own private bay and pebble beach. The only problem was to get into it we needed to go through a tunnel, under the road. With the measurements of the tunnel, retrieved from the campsite owners, it would in theory be possible. So we began and just managed slowly to squeeze ourselves through, with the kayaks a couple of times scrapping the top! We then set about the task of deciding on a spot to park up in. This is always more difficult than it seems, especially at the end of a long day with people watching you! Still we finally decided on one and settled for the night.

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Tuesday 25th May

Woke up overlooking a small bay and a very calm sea, on a gloriously sunny day. Life is so hard on the road! The sea was in fact so calm it looked like a lake, this is no doubt due to the surrounding islands though. As the sun was out and the campsite was relatively cheap, we decided on staying another night and enjoying the day. The campsite was basic but charming and seemed to have most of the family living there. They were still also doing some maintenance work before the season really kicked off, so a cement mixer was on the go for most of the day. I decided to head off on my bike to the nearest village to get some supplies, the ride was lovely along the cliffs overlooking the sea.

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In the afternoon we got the kayaks out on the sea to investigate the coast, it was great. We also met Greta from Austria, who has travelled all around the world and visited many inspiring places. After a bbq that evening, we headed over to chat with Greta and Gunter. We had a great chat with them over a good few glasses of Austrian red wine. I think Greta’s solo travelling adventures really inspired Lorna.

Wednesday 26th May

Woke up with major hangovers! After exchanging contact details with Greta, we said our goodbyes. Hopefully if we visit Vienna we can meet back up with them both. Before attempting the tunnel again, we decided it would be better to go through with out the kayaks on the roof! So with the tunnel done and the kayaks back on the roof, we hit the road again.

Today we were heading inland towards the Bosnian border and the world heritage site of the Plitvicka lakes. At this point, TomTom decided to give up the ghost again and wouldn’t charge, so back too the maps. We continued on through the countryside and hills, occasionally passing some bullet ridden old homes. We were in an area that would of suffered during the war, in fact there were a lot of abandoned homes and a lot of very new ones.

We reached the lakes and then had the choice of three campsites in the area. After a look around them all, we opted for a fairly large one in the woods and then the problem came of finding a space! Most of the site was uneven and a lot of people were already staying, this made finding a suitable spot hard. Eventually we did though and settled down for what left of the day.

Thursday 27th May

Up early, to get off this expensive campsite and down to see the lakes. Now campers can sometimes be a strange breed! A lot of the time a majority don’t seem to have any patience or are suddenly overcome by the need to be the first one in, to find a spot or the first one out, no matter what cost! We experienced this today first hand. As we were leaving we needed to empty our toilet, so drove around to the designated area and joined a short queue. When we got there and I went to empty our toilet, the motorhome and caravan behind us decided they couldn’t wait and came to empty theirs, as I was doing mine. They didn’t seem to care! I on the other hand did and thought it was a bit rude. I don’t particularly want to be right next to others emptying their toilets, it just seems wrong. Anyway, while I’m moaning I also want to point out another thing that bugs us. People should really be more careful when they come to swill out their toilets. Hoses do not need to be stuck down into the toilet nozzle, you can pour water into it from above. It doesn’t seem very hygienic really and other people will use the same hose to put into their clean water tanks! I don’t know call me prudent, but people seem to have a blatant disregard for others.
Anyway after that, we had fun at the campground exit! As this seemed to be every camper for themselves, in a rush to leave. No one seemed to want to wait, people were driving around each other in a hurry to get out and almost running Lorna down in the process! There is no need for it, what is the obsession? Will waiting a couple of minutes really set your whole day askew? Patience seems a virtue held by few.

Still we got out unscathed and headed for the lakes. We had been told they were very special and we hoped they would be. As with the entrance fee and the ridicules parking prices, it would not be cheap. With the sun out though we were not in the slightest bit disappointed.

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It was a huge park filled with turquoise blue lakes and pools, connected by many many waterfalls of all shapes and sizes, truly stunning. There was a lovely wooden footpath all the way round, in some places going right over the falls.

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You could stand on the wooden platform and see the water gushing through the slats, to down below.

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There were clear pools and waterfalls galore.

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By the end though we were waterfall-ed out, but it was an amazing place to visit.

After we headed back to the coast, towards Zadar and ended up in a convoy of 3 other motorhomes. We were again driving through areas affected from the war, as there were ruined buildings and many roadside graves. We also passed by an area that still had land mine signs up, a stark reminder of the recent war and the scars it has left. Landmines are such a terrible weapon of war, they harm so many innocent victims and take years and years to clear areas. Also I believe these types of weapons are still being manufactured by arms companies, seems people will never learn.

Anyway at Zadar we rejoined the coastal road, heading south in search of a campsite for the night. There are many many options for camping along the coast in Croatia, with campgrounds and what are known as mini camps. Now the mini camps, or what they are often signed as auto camps, are small and are literally in someone’s back garden! They do range in size and price, from tiny areas crammed with caravans to slightly larger area’s crammed with caravans! Some though do have more room and we managed to find a nice relatively cheap one, with space right on the sea front. On another note, Croatia isn’t really what we were expecting it to be somehow. The coastal waters are lovely and clear, but so far it has reminded me of Spain.

Friday 28th May

Left the small mini camp and headed further south on the coastal road, stopping in Split for a look around. We found some parking by the football stadium and walked into the city centre, through some concrete block housing.

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Down at the sea front we found the walled town and stepped in to take a look. This is the old city, when you walk in you are confronted by a mix of Roman ruins and old Croatian buildings living happily side-by-side. It is a lovely but strange mix, with Roman pillars next to churches and shops.

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After a good wonder around we headed back to the motorhome and continued our drive south, in search of another campsite. This is our only problem in Croatia, as you can’t free camp we have the continual cost of campgrounds! We ended up finding a lovely terraced campsite overlooking the sea, called Camp Serena and parked up for the rest of the day and night.

Saturday 29th May

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Spent the day at the campsite relaxing by the sea and taking the kayaks out around the coast.

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Sunday 30th May

Carried on further down the coast, the more south we seem to get from Split the nicer the Croatian coast is becoming. We stopped near Gradac at a large but basic campsite, right on the coast and it was also a good price. After a chat about Spurs (football team!) with the owner, they love Spurs in Croatia as we have a lot of Croatian players, we settled ourselves away from the other campers and practically had a small pebble beach to ourselves.

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Posted by marklorna 03:32 Archived in Croatia Tagged automotive Comments (0)

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