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Phespirit goes to Croatia
Korčula     September 2005

AROUND CROATIA

Map of Croatia

1 Korčula

Croatia has a total of 1,185 islands, reefs and islets, of which only 67 are populated. Korčula is one of the largest islands, measuring 45km from east to west, and averaging 6km from north to south.

Phespirit based himself just outside the old town of Korčula at the eastern end of the island. Disappointingly, he did not have enough time to explore the rest of its terrain.

It's always the same story: so much to see, so little time.

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2 Badija

It takes slightly less than an hour to walk around the perimeter of Badija. From the island's main dock, the unmade footpath is wide as far as the pebble beaches, ten minutes to the right, but quickly narrows to single file thereafter.

Phespirit took a water taxi from Korčula to Badija and passed the day on the beach facing Orebic, sunbathing and hand-feeding the wild deer with pine kernels.

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3 Mljet

Five things that Phespirit did in the National Park of Mljet:

  • boarded a boat to the monastery island of Svete Marije on the large lake of Veliko Jezero;
  • climbed up to the weather station of Konstar for panoramic views of Veliko Jezero in a pleasant light rain;
  • enjoyed a modest picnic lunch at the panoramic view point near Glavica;
  • inspected coastal cliffs from a lookout point at Zakamenica (on descending from here a gentle rain was followed by two thunderclaps and twenty minutes of torrential downpour);
  • had a swim in Veliko Jezero from the flat rocks at Prijezba.

And then he left.

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4 Dubrovnik

Some cities on this Earth are such perfect capsules of art, history and character that they seem to transcend present times and the political geography of the day, to become angelic entities floating through eternity for all humankind.

Venice is the best and most celebrated example. Phespirit is now able to confirm that Dubrovnik, Venice's great rival on the opposite side of the Adriatic, is another.

This is indeed a special part of the world.

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5 Split

Split only exists because the Roman Emporer Diocletian decided it looked like a nice spot to build his retirement home. The palace he constructed had a 170m by 190m ground plan, with walls 26m high and vast underground chambers, making it the largest private residence in antiquity. Diocletian saw out his days here cheerfully slaughtering Christians.

Nowadays the palace is colonised with shops, houses, cafés and bars. The underground chambers remain, as do the Peristyle, the Vestibule and the Temple of Jupiter. Diocletian's mausoleum has, ironically, been turned into the Cathedral of St. Domnius.

Phespirit climbed to the top of the cathedral's campanile to survey the palace and the city that fans out from its walls. Ascending the metal ladder in the open-sided 60m high bell tower was one of the more nerve-wracking experiences for Phespirit in Croatia.

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6 Neretva Delta

Phespirit explored the Neretva Delta by boat. As the boat motored along the narrow channels between reed beds, Phespirit knocked back shots of industrial strength local spirit, while a Croatian chap in a cap and striped jersey belted out folk songs on his accordian.

What could be better than that?

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  1. Korčula
  2. Badija
  3. Mljet
  4. Dubrovnik
  5. Split
  6. Neretva Delta
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Korcula Badija Mljet Dubrovnik Split Neretva Delta