All good things must come to an end, time to leave the tranquillity of Rozac Camping, where the showers are clean and the nights are silent, other than the gentle lapping swoosh of the tide on the shingle beach. Deciding to skip Split, (the outskirts didn’t look too appetising) we drove down the Dalmatian coast, south with mountains to our left and the Med to our right, the views were stunning. Passing the dark green islands of Brac and Hvar, dotting briefly in and then out of Bosnia, we finally find the connecting point of the Paljesac peninsula, stumbling upon a picture-postcard bay at Prapratno, just outside ‘Ston’, we decide to get holed up for a couple of nights.
Unsuccessfully attempting to park up in the very interesting looking town of ‘Mali-Ston’ and around the corner, ‘Ston’. Unfortunately pay-me-to-park-man was out-and-about, so we had to move on to Prapratno and de-mount Frankie to scoot back. Tucked into the same ‘free’ car park are Pete and his wife (sorry, didn’t catch your name), two Americans in a German registered van, enjoying a grand tour of Europe, they’ve been on the road longer than us with no break and have done as many miles. We find we are both doing a similar route, but without a European passport, they’ve got to keep one eye on the non-Schengen countries, special restrictions apply to non-Eu tourists. Montenegro, Albania and Greece await them, as they do us, maybe we will see you again.
About due for a campsite, (the laundry bag’s full) looking around the peninsular, the name of a little town rang some far off bells in the depths of my memory, all those who know me will find that amazing in itself, the town was ‘Loviste’. It must be 5 years ago now, the first blog I read belonged to Catherine of ‘The World is Our Lobster’ and I remember reading of one of the places they loved, which coincidently was on the end of this peninsular, Camping Denka (ACSI E18pn inc WiFi & taxes). So with a lovely drive through typical wine country and a quick stop off at Orbic (a car park for 70Kn/pn) we were pulling onto an olive grove converted campsite on the very tip of the Peljsac peninsular. Immediately greeted by the owners Vlado and Maja and shown to the best available spot.
Now, we’ve been on a few different campsites in our time, awful ones and very nice ones, but we’ve never been on a site where the owner personally clears your spot of fallen olive twigs and the occasional stone, holds back overhanging branches whilst you reverse into the spot, then unrolls your electric hook-up cable for you, plugs it into the socket out-let, shakes your hand and welcomes you onto their site, all the time chattering away, filling you in about the weather forecast, “not good today-better tomorrow – toilets are up the hill a little – plenty hot water – you come from London no? – Ahh ! – Norwich, yes good football team – you like football? No- Ahh Ok – No problem – Now is the olive picking time for us – you like olives? – Ah good – all the wine from here is very good – WiFi is good too and it’s in that tree (yes really!) If you need me, I live in the house at the top of hill, come pay before you go … Amazing…bloody brilliant! I found out later that this is standard practice for all arrivals, no wonder folks return.
We could immediately see why ‘the Lobsters’ love it here. A white gravel beach directly on the campsite doorstep, a clean ripple-free bay of water almost entirely to yourself, no noise, no riff-raff, just lots and lots of stray cats, who at night make a right old ding-dong. In no time at all, ‘Sir-Rocio’ the kayak, was sea-worthy and we were afloat on the ‘Old Briney’, peacefully drifting about in the bay. Many attempts to catch a fish for tea, all failed, but there was fun in the trying, but none in the frying. The weather forecast is for clearing skies, 18-20°, so this’ll do nicely for a few days.
A very self-indulgent five nights later and the total damage comes to €90, (£77) payment in cash please, Euro’s is fine, change in Hr/Kuna if that’s OK? What a spot for £15.40 pn!!! (not taking the recent devaluation into account, we were preloaded with Euros and keep them in the safe). There may be many Croatian campsites that resemble some blokes dirty back-yard, complete with chained up, sorry-looking guard dog, but when you find a good one, we think they’re the best we’ve ever come across, anywhere…thanks Lobsters.
Being this close to a big name like Dubrovnik, it would feel like a sin not to do our best to give it a look. Finding a good spot to ‘do Dubrovnik’ isn’t as easy as it sounds. First option to rule out is the camp site closest to the city, I’ve read so many reports of how bad and how expensive it is. So we drive to option 2, the ‘noisy’ car park spot highlighted by ‘The Woolley Wanders’. Back when they visited it was 100Kn/per 24hrs, about £11 now it’s 200 Kn…err, nope! cheeky sods, I’m not paying that for a car park! So we end up at option number 3, ‘Autocamp Pod-Maslinom’ at Orasac ,15km to the north of the city, but that’s not a problem for us, we have a 90cc secret weapon…Frankie is de-mounted and gets a good thrashing. To be fair to the site, at €11pn ACSI (plus tourist tax), it’s more than reasonable, it’s a tidy site with good sanitary block and a perfect stop to take in Dubrovnik, the staff are very helpful with information about busses or where you can park a moped for free. The free WiFi is utterly pants!
Not having seen ‘Game of Thrones’ I hadn’t a clue of the connection with Dubrovnik. But It’s very apparent once you’re within the city walls that this place thrives on the connection. To list the “who’s who” and “what happened when?” in Dubrovnik would take me a week. Similar to Trogir, Split and most of this Dalmatian coast, it seems all the big hitters have had a turn at ownership, from the Romans to the Ruskies….and now HBO, the complicated past of Dubrovnik would take a week to unravel.
Again, the last to have a go at a take-over were the Bosnians back in 1990-92, but the locals dug-in and the walls kept them out. Croats from the north finally swept down through Croatia and booted the aggressors into touch. Evidence of this recent troubles is hard to spot, the occasional new rendered building, the new roof tiles that don’t quiet match the one next door. Most of the place in and around the walls is kept spick-&-span, as thousands of tourists pour into Dub every day, delivered by the many cruise ships docked in the newly dug-out, developed harbour just around the next bay. What most of the shuttled-in, sea dwelling tourists don’t see, is the amount of rubbish built up as you come out of the city by road. Piles of DIY crap, old sofa’s and loads of (the obligatory) busted mattresses’ litter the road-sides, along with the daily refuse. No wonder there are so many feral cats!!
May the week pass quickly X Wayne.