|An insider's guide to little-known places to go and things to see in Dubrovnik|
KORČULA, THE HOME OF MARCO POLO
Why would you be interested in visiting Korčula? What is so special and worthy of your attention?
Well, the most attractive thing about this island are the preserved legends about its history with fairies as the main characters. A lot of stories about this island are well kept in the memory of old people from Korčula. But, I will tell you about this after fundamental tips you have to know.
How to come
This island has a good connection with the rest of Dalmatia. The most usual way of coming is from little town Orebić on the peninsula Pelješac. There is a ferry leaving every hour throughout the day. This is perfect for people traveling with the car.
...It is amazing to look at Korčula while slowly approaching with the ferry. The view represents theatre-like introduction to the island and inspires the mind to imagine the scenes to be played on that stage.
However, if you would like to go straight from Dubrovnik, than I definitely recommend catamaran Nona Ana. It goes from port Gruž and it takes about 2 and a half hours to get to Korčula. Here's the Time Table of Nona Ana.
The atmosphere of Korčula
Korčula radiates with mild climate which means enjoying warm and dry summer. The best indicator is the soft wind that says hello right on the ferry. The harbour embraces every new visitor and points directly to the old town Korčula.
The old town is surrounded by defensive walls and forts, saturated by cobbled narrow streets, churches and palaces of old aristocrats. These blocks of stones were built during 14th, 15th and 16th century.
While buzzing through the old town you will most likely come across Mr. Marco Polo. Once he had an important role in human history and now he allows everyone to take picture with him remembering his old glory. He keeps himself alive this way, living like a ghost on many photos from people around the world, summer after summer. And when the tourist season comes to an end, he goes back to being just another legend...
Quick Tips in How to Get the Best Out of Korčula
The best place to enjoy the view of the old town is on the top of a small fortress where you can also have a cold drink and listen to music. This is unique place where you can observe sunset, horizon and take a breath of ancient human culture. After crossing the market and entering through the gate of the old town just continue straight forward and you'll find it.
Here are the indgredients that made Korčula culturaly famous. Next to Mr. Polo of course :-)
Dance... Speaking of culture, Korčula is famous for its sword dance Moreška. This dance tells a story about the fight for a girl. Two kings are fighting together with their soldiers performing amazingly coordinated dance with swords. Costumes and complicated rythmic coreographies represent human appreciation for aesthetics. Be sure not to miss this happening!
Food... A very important aspect of visiting any place is food of course. During summer season Korčula has plenty of fine restaurants to offer. These restaurants cook their own daily fresh authentic meals. It makes you feel like one of the old residents of the island while getting to know their food. Atmosphere as well as the quality of food is essential and restaurants in Korčula are one of the best in the Adriatic in both.
The sea, of course... Concerning swimming, the only sandy beach is Lumbarda, but you will certainly enjoy the rest of the beaches if you like pebbles, rocks and solitary places because Korčula is full of it.
Accomodation. Feels like home... Korčula has five hotels. Apartments and rooms you'll find throughout the island. People from Korčula seem to be very fond of backpackers that don't have to worry about the lack of camps which are pretty cheap, even for croatian standards. A night spent in a camp is around 5 Euro for one person. Shower, toilets, a nice piece of land covered with grass is secured for every nature lover. Enjoy backpackers!
The whole island outside the old town is covered with pine trees and vineyards. Traveling across the island is an unforgetable visual experience. And a tiny sneak peek in one of the vineyards won't harm nobody as long as it is within the limits :-)
Finally, the Legend
Vela Špilja (Big Cave) in Vela Luka is an archeological discovery, the habitat of the ancestors. Such places are focal points of life where water emerges out of dry stones covering them with green blankets of moss, filling the entire place with trees which in return protect it from the sun.
People from Korčula always thought of them as mysterious, certain that there must be something magical about them... Well, make your own conclusion when you read the story:
Once upon a time a shepherd was taking his sheeps for pasture and came across a place known as the Forest Temple. Fairies came to him while he was resting and gave him a bag with "something" in it. They said that it will make him rich, but he must not open the bag before he gets home. You can guess what happened... The shepherd opened the bag as soon as he got behind the first corner. What he saw was plain dirt which could've been gold if he just waited for some time. This is the lesson of how patience can be rewarding... Native people told me this when I first came to Korčula. They told me about the fairies and the legends. These stories are symbolical, teaching life lessons to an ordinary man. Not to be greedy, impatient, or let anything guide you in the wrong direction.
So please be patient and wait until you get to Korčula to experience its gifts that are waiting just for you...