Suitcase and World: Hvar last.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Hvar last.

ur second full day in Croatia began with an early morning rise. I can't remember if we even ate breakfast or not but we had to scoot from hotel to bus station. We were headed to Hvar Island and the teeny village of Hvar Town. Thanks to help from the travel agency adjoining the Hotel Sikaa, we knew we had to catch the intercity bus from Trogir to Split. Unlike City Bus 37, the intercity bus would drop us off at the main dock in Split. From there, we would have to catch the ferry over to Hvar Island - about an hour long ride. The first stop of the day would be Stari Grad and from there, we would head to Hvar Town. That was the plan :-)

By now, you think we would have figured out the Croatian transportation system but sadly, no. The bus arrived into Split - across from the dock. We got off and then spent minutes upon minutes trying to figure out how to buy the tickets to get on the ferry. We wandered and asked for help and wandered and asked for help and wandered and asked for help. Sigh.

We eventually found the ticket counter and then we had to find the pier to stand on to catch the ferry. The woman behind the counter told us to look for "Building X" and so we wandered and and asked for help and wandered and asked for help and "wandered and asked for help. Sigh. We then realized Building X actually meant Pier X which we quickly found. Luckily, Lei had forgotten to set the clock back by an hour so we were operating on Turkish time. Despite all our wandering around, we ended up with plenty of wait time on our hands. As soon as we were allowed to board we did. Once the waiting passengers had boarded, the cars were loaded on.

On the dot, the ferry pushed off. I had made my way to the top deck and from there, I enjoyed beautiful views of Split as we motored away from shore.

Soon, we hit open water.

With the breeze of sea air and warm sunshine enveloping me, I quickly got lost in my own thoughts. Lei was comfortably seated on the deck below. At one point I thought of joining her but somehow she managed to get cornered in by a bunch of yakety Americans. It was such a peaceful ride, I knew that listening to all the chatter would grate on my nerves. I decided to find a seat elsewhere. A few minutes after I took my spot, a scruffy looking guy turned around to say hello. Usual traveller chit chat followed. He introduced himself. Doug Plaxton from Vancouver, Canada. Works as a body double/extra in the film industry. When he has the funds, he hits the road. This journey would take him through the Balkans to Turkey and beyond. He plays swing guitar to while away the boredom that many a solo traveller faces. Indeed, he had his guitar with him along with a mighty bigpack. It was nice chatting with Doug but I really wanted some peace and quiet. Too late to escape as by now, we were nearing the shoreline of Hvar Island.

Once we docked, we disembarked the ferry along with all the other passengers. Surprisingly, Doug stayed near Lei and I so when we told him we were headed to Stari Grad, he decided to trudge along with us. Getting to Stari Grad and then to Hvar Town, what an adventure that turned out to be! Hvar Town or bust! :-)  More about that in the next posting.

The kind Austrian couple that gave us a ride from Stari Grad to Hvar Town kindly dropped us off at the "entrance" to the center of the old part of town. Hvar Town center has no streets so there are no cars to have to worry about dodging. You can just leisurely stroll and enjoy the views. Such a pretty little town square.

Walk through the town square and you quickly reach the water's edge. A lovely promenade runs alongside. We walked from one end to another. By now, we were all famished so the immediate task at hand was to find a place to sit down and eat. Not too many choices to pick from but we eventually agreed on a pizza and pasta place. The food was pretty forgettable but it was interesting to chat with Doug. He's chosen to live a very carefree life. At some level, I think both Lei and I envied him though I don't think either one of us are as brave as he to travel the way he does - basically sleeping wherever and I mean wherever, he can lay down his head.

After lunch, Lei and I parted ways with Doug. We wished him well on the rest of his journey. We then wandered through the rest of town. Across the water from town center is a small little park. I found a spot and enjoyed the view of the town and the water. Lei was wandering through the street vendors and taking photos. It was so relaxing.

I found myself sharing my space with a very gentle, longhaired dachshund. He was definitely someone's pet - well fed and collared. I checked the dog tag for a name but there was none. I named him "Archie". I don't know why - the name just came to me. Archie kept me company the entire time I was sitting in the park. He reminded me of how I much I miss my dog, Shoe, who is now in doggy heaven having passed away several years ago. I soon said goodbye to Archie and met back up with Lei.

We strolled, ever so leisurely, back towards town square. We wandered into the cathedral but there was not much to see inside. On the other hand, the exterior carvings were unique in design.

We walked through the alleys that run alongside the square - stores and restaurants flanking the walkway. With plenty of time to spare, we made our way to the bus station and waited for the bus, that would take us back to the ferry dock, to arrive. The ferry was already there when the bus arrived. We boarded and made our way to the top deck. As the ferry pulled away from shore, I had one last view of the stunning turquoise colored waters of the Adriatic in the light of the late afternoon.

Lei bundled herself up and settled in for the ride back to Split. There really wasn't anything exciting to see or do in Hvar Town nor anything particularly interesting from either a historical or cultural perspective. Our visit was short but very relaxing - it was the perfect antidote to our hitch hiking adventure earlier in the day.  You can read all about that in the next posting. For that, we'll always have fond memories of this little Croatian town on an island in the Adriatic.