Croatia – seeming to be the new and upcoming tourist destination, this compact little country has much to offer its visitors. We started our tour by leaving the charming city of Dubrovnik and heading inland to the beautiful valley of Konavle. It was here that we visited an old mill called Mlinica Dvori where the traditional production of flour using a system of watermills on the river Ljuta still functions. We were met by the owners and staff sporting traditional clothing and serving some traditional liqueurs and a style of grappa. All very interesting.
After the old mill we stopped at the gallery of a local artist, who surprisingly, was much more interested in talking about old traditions and silk production than selling her works of art. Again, very interesting and well worth the stop.
Then off to the old town of Dubrovnik, one of the most beautiful towns we have experienced. Unfortunately the weather was not in our favour and while we wanted to walk the 2km of the old wall, rain started to fall and we limited ourselves to the town itself. It was amazing to see how well the town has recovered from the devastation it saw in the early ‘90s in the war against Serbia and allies. A warm and fiercely proud city, Dubrovnik is a beautiful survivor.
The next stop on our cruise was Corfu and our first stop in Greece. Since it was a national holiday, our shuttle bus dropped us off at a different spot than normal, except we didn’t realize it. Not that it mattered much except at the end of the day, we had some trouble finding our bus back to the ship. Good thing we left relatively early so we had plenty of time although it did cause us to do quite a bit more walking.
Corfu has 2 old fortresses – an old fort and a new fort. Given where our bus dropped us, we visited the new fort which was relatively deserted but in very good shape. We wandered around for about an hour or so but as a result we missed the parade the town put on for their national holiday. None the less, we walked around the old town quite a bit looking in the many tourist shops and finally landed upon a restaurant located in a 500 year old building. My calamari was quite good even if the house wine was clearly home made.
Next on our list of ports was Argostoli, Kefalonia, Greece. We opted for one of the ship’s tours today and were very glad we did. We spent most of the day in the countryside which is very mountainous and the roads are very windy… just wish we had rented a motorcycle for the very winding roads 🙂
Several stops on the way but the 2 big highlights were Melissani Lake and Drogarti Cave. Melissani Lake was an underground lake whose dome fell in several years ago. We were rowed through this lake (not very big) while the Greek boat man explained a bit about the lake and sang to us. Quite neat.
The Drogarati Cave was huge and although it seems that some of the stalactites and stalagmites have been broken off, it is still very impressive. The deep recesses are some 200 feet down from the cave’s ceiling.
Today, we arrived in Athens. Although we have been here before, we were excited to go back to the Acropolis and view the Parthenon and other antiquities there. It is amazing to think that there are still structure standing from the 5th century BC. They are continuing to do quite a bit of restoration at the site but apparently they will complete their work in the next 2-3 years. Despite some scaffolding and a crane or two, it takes your breath away to imagine building such impressive temples back then.