Ralphie in Makarska #2
An acquaintance of one of my cousins is an American of available monies. Along with a few professional association buddies, he rented a black yacht, a visibly noticeable craft tucked amidst the swan-white other ones in the harbor. Being a raconteur of considerable fame, my cousin was invited along for the 5 day cruise. As a joke, he donned a skipper's hat. Being able to distinguish a captain's hat from a top hat was my cousin's limited knowledge of shipboard doings. For a few days, he was cavorting, carousing, and arrousing people's interests on the yacht as it lazily meandered in the myriad of islands off the coast. When it came time to unload him, Makarska's dock was picked as the place to dock. As my cousin strolled down the short gangway, captain's hat still perched at a rakish angle, a reporter from a daily national paper came up to him. The yacht was the largest ship in the harbor that morning, so curiosity and scoop hunger were on alert.
"Who's on that boat?"
"Sorry, who's on that ship?"
My cousin looked around. He saw a gent walking by with a fashion labelled polo shirt.
"Ralphie, of course."
He stared at the reporter, his blue eyes twinkling as he carefully laid out the line.
"Ralph Lauren, of course." He pointed to a full head of grey gentleman lounging on the ship, drink in hand. "Don't you recognize him?"
The reporter stuttered, pulled out her camera, and clicked furiously.
"How about a picture of you and Mr. Lauren together, skipper?"
Skipper!? My cousin thought this was going all too well. He waved to the gentleman on the ship to come ashore. The grey-headed man was more than happy to come down; it must be another story that my cousin had to regale him with.
The reporter snapped a shot, asked "Ralph Lauren" a few questions, which were answered in an Italian scented English.
She rushed off to her offices with a scoop.
I have just returned from my first trip to Hrvatska - what can I say, it exceeded my expectations even though I had an idea what it would be like through other travellers pages - to see it 'in the flesh' is something else!
We travelled from Dubrovnik to Makarska stopping at various locations including Drevenik, Omis, Orebic and Ston on the Peljesac peninsula, Korcula, Cavtat and Lokrum with a day at Mostar.
One of my favourite places was Makarska, because we love the mountains, it is easy to visit other places from there, it is a beautiful, very picturesque little place with plenty of walks in all directions but also because we were so lucky in our choice of accomodation - we met some lovely people and heard some great traditional music.
We try not to stay at the big Hotels since we like to get to know local people and sample 'their way of life', food and entertainment and this we achieved much to our delight. (see my accomodation entry)
We do not normally go on organised excursions but we desperately needed to be up in the mountains and since we had no car and were not fully fledged climbers we decided on a trip in a mini bus. This turned out to be a good choice.
The road was of course very narrow (mostly single track with passing places), twisty and twindy. Typical hair raising mountain roads. Apparently the professional tour drivers have problems with tourists travelling in their own cars since the latter are not experienced in mountain driving and frequently cause dangerous situations. Officials are trying to ban access to the mountain road to all non professional drivers.
We stopped a few times on the way up before culminating at the peak - Sv Jure which is 1762 metres, Croatia's third highest mountain (with it's 10 metre mast it is the highest!).
The scenery is, of course, magnificient, Makarska and the surrounding coastline in full view and the whole vista of the Biokovo mountains.The whole area is a Nature reserve park.
We knew lunch was included at the end of the trip but did not realise to what extent - it was a banquet! We ate outside, were greeted with a glass of home made herb brandy. (the guides, who were husband wife, made this brandy and obviously encouraged us to buy some.We were backpacking and could not carry it). It was delicious by the way. We had huge salad for starters, chicken with local ham and cheese, potatoes and Croatian cooked cabbage which was excellent and pancakes with fig marmalade. An endless supply of locally produced red wine was provided, also very good. It must have lasted about 2 hours and there was a good party spirit.
"A relaxing Makarska"
Apart from visiting other places from Makarska (including a trip to Mostar which we arranged ourselves) it was wonderful just to relax, to stroll and explore, stopping for refreshments in one of the many bars which are located on the sea front and in the square but also along the beautiful walks next to the sea under one of the many shady overhanging trees.
If you get bored (which I doubt) you can always make your own entertainment -
Sue told me not to include this but we had such a laugh that I have to share it (perhaps at the risk of offending some of you, but try it, making sure no one else is around of course, it's good fun!). We were sitting under the pine trees at the side of the sea taking a breather, enjoying the view and eating grapes. I said I bet I can spit these grape pips further than you - well that was a challenge for her if ever there was one so off we went the pips landing further away each time as we got more 'skilled' at it. Yes, I know - little things pleases little minds! She beat me by the way but I reckon she had been practising at home!