We slep in the van overnight, Clare and the boys in the roof tent, and me curled up on the bench seat – all packed and ready to go.
At 8.30 we were off, along highway D1, a road that runs from Slovenia in the north to Split in the south, set inland, never far from the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina. It’s a single carriageway road for most of its length, one lane each way except on long hill sections, and carries a fair amount of HGV traffic avoiding the tolls on the autocesta which runs parallel.
It was a great drive, much through high forest and barren landscape, climbing in parts to 2500 feet, then descending to flat flood plains. Spring is well underway with the bright green of new growth and white blossom.
Our target was the Pelješac Peninsula via the Ploče-Trpanj Ferry. Croatia is bisected by Bosnia and Herzegovina which has a sea port on the Dalmatian Coast. To travel from Split to Dubrovnik without passing through Bosnia it is necessary to take the ferry. A bridge is planned, but Bosnia treasures its 12 miles of coastline and port access. Any shipping direct to Bosnia would have to pass under any bridge linking the two parts of Croatia.
Initially our sat nav was giving an estimated arrival time beyond 6pm, suggesting about 10 hours driving time avoiding motorways. I knew this was an overestimate as I’d use the motorway from Split to Ploče. I also know from experience that the sat nav overestimates the time I’ll take on good ‘A’ roads by about 50%. In the end we arrived at Ploče at 4.30pm, and that included a breakfast stop, a comfort break, refuelling and shopping in Lidl.
So, we arrived in Ploče at 4.30, found the ferry terminal and then discovered that only three ferries a day run between the two parts of Croatia: 9:30, 14:15 and 19:30. And there was me expecting a 30 minute interval shuttle service. I know I should have checked… But I wasn’t expecting such a good journey, and had a campsite earmarked just to the south of Split.
I found on the ACSI phone app two campsites 10 minutes north of Ploče, one was closed or appeared to be closed, and did not look very nice with lots of ongoing construction work. The other is in a delightful spot right by the sea. We will remain for three nights before taking the 14:15 ferry on Thursday to the Pelješac Peninsula, where we will stay for 2 or 3 weeks if the campsite is good.
Today was National Offer Day, and we had assurances from Greenwich Council that we would hear of Ben’s school place today. We have heard nothing.