In 1957 my father drove along the Adriatic coast as far as the Albanian border, and in 1965 my uncle made a similar journey. It is quite an expedition now, I find it hard to imagine what it must have been like in 1957 and 1965. Uncle Nick drove his Riley 1.5, and remembers Orebić, he revisited three years ago and notes that the roads have been surfaced since his first visit!
Clare’s been into Orebić twice since we’ve been here – I’ve been left on childcare duty, but we will all be cycling into town to celebrate our 300th day away.
On Monday we visited Dubrovnik, a four hour round trip. There we met a great many people who’d travelled even further than us. We couldn’t help but notice as we drove into town, an enormous cruise liner many many decks high, looking like it was defying gravity by staying upright. In the town centre we met a family with two girls of a similar age to Ben and Jack, they were all the way from Christchurch, New Zealand. They’d flown to Rome where their ship had left two days’ earlier, and it had sailed all the way around Italy to visit Dubrovnik.
It is easy to understand why Dubrovnik is included in cruise liner itineraries: its labyrinth of stone paved streets and alleyways bordered by high buildings makes it a fascinating town to explore. Steep well worn steps under a canopy of drying bed linen reveal it as a living town, not a museum, residents put out potted plants to add some colour.
The entire town is encased in a huge fortified wall which held back a seven month siege by the Yugoslav’s People’s Army and Navy in 1991 and 1992. The town suffered significant shelling during this time, but much has now been restored. We saw little evidence of the damage in the short time we were there.
We get to meet all sorts of people on the campsites, many of whom are retired, with all sorts of different interests and hobbies. They take the time to speak with Ben and Jack, who we don’t scare with “stranger danger” stories, and they have the confidence to listen to the people we meet. Last night they were invited to look at the moon and Venus through the telescope of an old German man. They could see quite clearly the craters and shadows cast by mountains on the moon. Venus was less clear, but they could see it was the same crescent shape as the moon. Reminding the old man of his age, Ben then informed him that the moon was made of cheese!