Tearing it up in Korcula

20:23 Paul Robinson 0 Comments

A three hour bus ride and short ferry hop delivered me and Erin to the island of Korcula. Our boredom on the bus quickly gave way to anticipation, as the road teased its way through the mountains alongside the shimmering sea. By the time we were on the deck of the ferry looking out at Korcula, we were both excited for what lay ahead.

Once we arrived, we were picked up by everyone staying at our hostel. A Croatian owner, an American dude, a Canadian girl, Belgian girl an another British guy. They had just spent the day at the beach together and invited us along for some dinner and to watch the sunset. We went to a restaurant that served delicious, affordable food that ventured a little further than the standard choices. I was already getting sick of bread and cheese.
After the meal, we went to watch a little live acoustic music in the town square. The duet played a mixture of Croatian folk and covers of the Beatles and U2. For the first time I felt a little bit of human charm, something that seemed missing in Dubrovnik. Buoyed by the live music, we ended up in the local night club. Back home in the UK this club was have been terrible, but in Korcula it was harmless and amusingly dated.

The next day began with us hiring some bicycles. Erin hadn't ridden a bike in years but was insistent that she was ready for an adventure. After giving Erin a bit of brief coaching, we set off. I love riding bikes, especially in beautiful foreign places. After what must have of been a whole four seconds of glorious cycling, I looked over my shoulder to see that Erin falling face first into a wall. Somehow, she managed to stop herself before she hit the wall and was left with nothing more than a red face. I felt cycling was going to be a terrible idea. To her credit, Erin was motivated to continue, even if most of that motivation came from her desire to get her money's worth from the bikes we'd just hired for the day. We continued on. There was the odd wobble and accidental brake instead of a gear change from Erin, but we were soon out of the old town and in the countryside.

We cycled past olive groves and vineyards as we found our way to a finishing village called Lumbarda. The road followed the coastline and the water was so clear, you could make out individual rocks and tiny little fish. I've travelled to my fair share of places but the island of Korcula stands out as somewhere really beautiful. We found a sandy beach and parked our bikes. Erin's hands were white, she must have been hanging on to the bike for dear life. The poor little thing looked like she was missioning through a nightmare just for me. Almost like she read my thoughts, she then she said how happy she was. Phew! Feeling accomplished, we chilled out on the beach and had a bit of a paddle in the sea.
Time passed and we were back on our bikes. We stopped at a roadside restaurant for salad before making our way back to the old town. I loved it. I love exploring new places and riding a bike allows you to sense the place so much more than driving allows. I think Erin enjoyed it too but the adrenaline had taken its toll because she was fast asleep by the time I emerged from the shower.

Erin prefers her vacations to be leisurely affairs with a beer beside the poolside. I prefer dashing around to seventeen different tourist sites before jumping into the water. As a compromise, we decided to to have one chilled day and one adventure day. The devious little devil that I am, the cycle to the beach was actually the chilled day. Next up was a day of dune-buggying and snorkeling.

A guy called Zoran picked us up and drove us to his villa. We arrived to find a villa with a whole ground floor converted into a giant garage full of dune buggys and quad bikes. My heart quickened.

A dune buggy is essentially a go kart with fat tyres and a roll cage. I got into the drivers seat and panicked - I hadn't driven any sort of car in years. Another guy called Zoran (we'll call him Zoran II) explained the controls and then the engines roared and we were on our way. We teared up dirt tracks, disturbed sleepy villages and scraped through stone alleyways. The buggy was easy to control, powerful and damn loud. I was buzzing.
After an hour or so, we arrived at a beach for a bit of snorkeling. Erin didn't want to get her hair but I went splashing into the sea like a toffee fueled toddler. I put my snorkeling mask on, dived into the sea and swallowed a mouthful seawater. I came up coughing and spluttering like a fool. After a few attempts, I got the hang of the breathing under water malarkey. The sandy sea bed housed a few schools of large fish but the rocky shoreline was much more interesting. There were thousands of tiny fish and waving coral plants. I swam back feeling all suave and David Attenborough like - though Erin said I was splashing around a drowning octopus with no hand eye co-ordination.
underwater photography - not one of my skills
Back on the buggy, we teared it up for another hour or so, with a brief stop in a hunters lodge for light refreshments with the local hard liquor. Zoran II guided us back to the villa and then Zoran I and Zoran II collected a hamper and took us out to a motor yacht for lunch.

The yacht sailed to a beautiful cove. The Zorans served up lunch (bread, ham and cheese, obviously) and left us alone. On the yacht by ourselves, it was unashamedly romantic. At least I thought it was, Erin was too busy singing songs about being on a boat. (She loved it really!)
After our VIP treatment, we were both knackered. W spent the rest of the day chilling by the pool before having another romantic meal in the old town.

Thinking back to the ferry on our way to Korcula, I didn't know to expect but I left with so much more than I could have hoped for. I enjoyed every minute.

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