Thursday, May 22, 2008

Hvar Town or bust.....with a stop in Stari Grad along the way.


S
ometimes what's most memorable about a trip is not the destination but getting there. This posting is all about the adventure of a journey. Our destination for the day - Hvar Town, located on the island of Hvar. Travel route - bus from Trogir to Split, ferry from Split to Hvar, bus from ferry landing to Hvar Town.

The night before, yours truly had read in the Lonely Planet guidebook that the little hamlet of Stari Grad, located on the island of Hvar was worth a visit. So the plan was to visit Stari Grad and then head to Hvar Town afterwards.

When we got off the ferry from Split, Lei, Doug and I confidently headed up the road towards Stari Grad - completely missing the bus to Hvar Town. Who knew we missed THE one and only bus to Hvar Town. Never mind, Stari Grad is suppose to be quaint so that's where we were determined to go. Poor Doug who had no specific travel itinerary in mind ....got dragged along by two crazy women who had absolutely no idea where they were going!

We followed the road signs to Stari Grad - a 2 kilometre walk. At some point, we did wonder why no one else was on the road with us....that should have been our clue. Never mind, we're headed to Stari Grad....it's suppose to be a quaint and we remained determined to go. It was a beautiful day for a walk - cool temperatures and bright sunshine. We filled in the time with the usual chatter of strangers trying to get acquainted.

The road took us to a suburban neighborhood just a short walk from town center. We followed our instincts and soon found ourselves in the heart of Stari Grad. A very teeny, weeny town center tucked alongside a quiet harbor.


























It was indeed a quaint town and small. It took us less than 10 minutes to walk from one end to the other. By this time, we were all in need of something to quench our thirst and elevate our blood sugar levels. We found a place to sit down and have something to eat and drink.
























While Lei and Doug chatted, I went in search of transportation to Hvar Town. Everyone I spoke with confirmed that we had indeed missed THE one and only bus from the ferry landing to Hvar Town. One guy offered to take us the 17 kilometres to Hvar Town for 150 kuna but convinced by Doug, we turned down the offer. We decided instead to hitch hike our way from Stari Grad to Hvar Town. Hitch hike? What the heck were we thinking? Maybe it was because Doug was with us but we never gave it a second thought. So, with no concern to the possible dangers of hitch hiking in a foreign land, we headed out of town center towards the main road that everyone pointed us to.





Along the way we would every now and again holding our thumbs up in the universal hitch hiking position to try and flag down a passing car. No luck. So we continued walking. Though it was on the main road, it was a scenic walk. We looked back at the rooftops of Stari Grad.





We eventually made our way to a "major" intersection. There, we patiently waited for cars to pass and they did but it seemed like an eternity between cars and none would stop for us. There was not a whole lot of traffic in Stari Grad. In fact, the traffic was so light that Lei was able to do a happy jump smack dab in the middle of the major intersection!
















It didn't take us long for us to give up standing at the intersection. We decided to walk back towards the ferry landing. We thumbed at whatever vehicle passed us along the way. No luck. Barely any traffic to thumb at. It was turning into a very desolate road. Poor Doug - he had to schlep his big backpack and guitar with him. We knew we had at least 2 kilometers to get back to the ferry landing.





















With beautiful scenery and more chatter to distract us, it didn't seem like it that long for us to get back to where we started out a couple of hours earlier. Yep, we were soon back at the ferry landing.




























Back at the ferry landing, I immediately headed to the water's edge. I could have stood in my spot forever, gazing out at the turquoise colored waters of the Adriatic and listen to the soothing sound of the waves lapping at the shore. I was beginning to enjoy the quiet heaven inside my head but that was all shortly interrupted.


















 
I heard Lei shouting my name. Doug had managed to convince a couple of Austrian tourists, husband and wife on vacation, to take us to Hvar Town. I don't know how he managed to charm them into taking all three of us but I was not about to complain. They kindly emptied out their backseat to make room for the three of us.








Doug, Lei and I piled in and we took off. Neither husband nor wife spoke much English so the only conversation took place in the back seat. The road to Hvar Town wound up and down the moutainsides that dot the island. It was a short ride. When we arrived in Hvar Town, the kind Austrian couple dropped us off at the bus station which is stone's throw from town center. Lei and I gave each of them a BIG HUG and thanked them both profusely. They seemed a bit overwhelmed by our gestures - I don't know why since they were the ones that went out of their way to be kind to three strangers.

Going to Hvar Town. What a journey it turned out to be. Looking back, taking the bus would have been such a boring experience and one that would have been nowhere nearly as memorable!