Cemeteries are small on Mljet and it's not hard thing to find one, if you're looking for it. Usually located by the edge of villages, with small chapel and a shade, few graves of families and solitude, they are modest.
Fondest memory: The one on picture is from behind Blato village in hinterlands, hidden a little between trees and bushes. No people there at that time; shadow, vegetation and stone made the place. Tombs protecting bodies, giving the name to each grave. Life passed, the memory didn't. Quite simple and doesn't need many words.
If you're lucky you may actually see mongooses for which they say Mljet is full of them and hence called 'otok mungosa', mongoose island.
The story about bringing them to Mljet is most interesting and it dates back to begining of 20ieth century when they were brought from India upon request of Austria Forest office, only six couples of them. They were to eat the poisonuous snakes for which island was famous before. Snakes grew too many and were pirates favourite 'defence strategy', making island hostile and difficult place to live (not only to blame the snakes for that, to be fair). Since end of pirates and changing circumstanes, they decided to fight snakes with their biological enemy. With utmost success, because there's no poisonuous snake on Mljet anymore today.
And since mongoose have finished their work and multiplied in great numbers, they didn't only get rid off snakes - after they'd gone, they have started to look for other sources of food, such as birds eggs, insects, small mammals, lizzareds as well as meals from farmers working of fields on their fruit orchards, and some crops, somtimes a hen... which resulted in decreasing numbers of birds who hatch nests on the ground. Now also brids are almost gone.
We spotted mongooses when driving and on the field trip. They didn't wait for us to come closer, of course... they were gone in the vines and disappeared silently and without trace before we could make more steps.
Mongoose were also adopted by people to fight mice; his greatest enemy is snow and cold, but he doesn't get much of both on Mljet, anyway.
Going to Kozarica is like a lesson of geography on Mljet: for its best part is not reaching the sea in my opinoin but diverse sights you'll enjoy while getting there. Once when you leave Blato village and continue further along narrow and winding road, you'll reach heights from where views towards Peljesac open to one side and a view towards the rocky hills and below them, flat patches of Karst wetland, to antoher side.
Fondest memory: And then, as your eyes view the sea and follow the rising contoures of terrain, somwhere on a flat piece of land, there is a wetland with another type of 'managment': there are eel ponds, and we were told that eel is very precious 'fish' for Mljet people. I find that altogether very interesting and little different than other landscapes we came across.
Take precaution when driving a road, you'll have to avoid meeting cars in niches by the side.
Mljet is covered by huge Mediterranean forests where you can actually get lost: they take about 75 % of the island's surface. On other hand, carefully picked paths will reward you with wild beauty of unspoiled nature... and air so sweet to breath that makes you addicted to it - thanks to the essential oils in pine trees and other typical flora.
Fondest memory: It's the best aromatherapy you can immagine ... everyone healthy or sick will honestly appreciate medicinal properties of Mljet air; walk along the paths or sit down, woods are almost everywhere. There're no large traffic routes on the island, there are no large towns so little pollution comes from a man. For now.
This is the kingdom of the pines, predominantly Aleppo pine (Pinus halepensis) species. One can never breath enough of the fragrance to take it home with her.
Its not my favourite thing but where to put it? When exploring Mljet we accidently and without trying hard came across so many abandoned used cars left by the remote roads and fields - and isn't that also Mljet, just on its 'other', shaded side of medal? Well... old bettles, renault 4s, zastavas, skodas, etc... they all find peace in Mljet. Impressive amount of metal on this otherwise idyllic island that is.
Fondest memory: Of course, there's some aesthetic in that too. Especially if you find one forgotten old-school vehicle surrounded by olive trees and bushes.
On other hand - metal could be used for other things, if it wasn't so difficult to take it to mainland. But that's another story.
Once inside the National park, all visitors must obey the Rules of International Order of Mljet National Park (published in Narodne Novine no. 76/00). These are intended to preserve the natural, cultural and historical character of the park. Inside the protected area, there is the Supervisory Service of the Public Institution of Mljet National park.
Entrance to the basic phenomenon of the "Mljet" National Park for tour around the Great Lake and the Small Lake and visit to the isle of St. Mary with the Benedictine monastery is marked.
Within the borders of the National Park visitors are not allowed to go beyond the area intended for sightseeing and visiting.
The use of cars and motorcycles is strictly forbidden within the basic phenomenon of the National Park.
Entering the lakes by boat is allowed only by the use of paddles.
ANCHORING - allowed only in the bays of Pomena and Polace
1) To damage, destroy, pick or steal any type of archaeological findings and material remains of different cultures, archaeological and fossil remains and monuments of culture.
2) To pollute or damage the marine ecosystem in any way.
3) Disposal of wastes in unmarked places.
4) Picking of plants or endangering the vegetation in any sense.
5) Starting a fire.
6) Smoking at unmarked places.
7) Hunting or disturbing the animals.
8) Carrying and using firearms or any other means which can be used for hunting (e.g. bows and arrows, traps, hunting nets, etc.)
9) Fishing without a special permit.
10) Fishing in the Great Lake, Small Lake and the Soline channel.
11) Entering the forests during night.
13) SCUBA diving in the Lakes.
14) Enter the Park without a valid ticket.
VISITORS WHO BREAK THE RULES WILL BE LIABLE FOR FINES RANGING FROM 400 - 15.000 kn.
Fondest memory: National Park "Mljet" ENTRANCE FEES for the year 2002 (in Croatian Kuna)
TICKET PRICE in croatian kuna (with tax )
q FOR HOTEL OR PRIVATE ACCOMMODATIED GUESTS, VISITORS ON YACHTS
§ 38,50 (01.05.-30.06 & 01.09.-31.10.)
q FOR THE GROUP (MORE THAN 10 PERSONS)
§ 31,50(01.05.-30.06 &01.09.-31.10.)
q FOR PUPILS, STUDENTS AND RETIRED PERSONS
§24,50(01.05.-30.06 & 01.09.-31.10.)
q FOR DIVERS
§ 70,00(01.05.-30.06 & 01.09.-31.10.)
· BOAT AND BUS TICKET 10,00 (01.05-31.10)
· TOURIST GUIDE SERVICE (2 HOURS)
140,00(01.05.-30.06 & 01.09.-31.10.)
CHILDREN BELOW 6 YEARS OF AGE AND INVALIDS - NO FEES.
Favorite thing: The island of Mljet, the most green and densely wooded of the Adriatic, has an area of 100 sq. km, and lies parallel to the Peljesac peninsula. According to a legend, Odysseus was cast by the sea onto the island of Mljet, ending up in the arms of Calypso. Due to its old thick forests of Aleppo pine, Karst caves, two picturesque salt water lakes (connected with each other and the sea) many sandy and gravel beaches, plentiful fishing grounds, the western part of the island (30 sq. km) has been proclaimed a national park. There are some ten villages on the island with beautiful beaches and places suitable for harpoon fishing. There are remains of Illyrian castles and also many ruins from the Roman times, including a well preserved part of an early Byzantine palace and an early Christian basilica in Polace. The most valuable monument from the Romanesque period is the monastery on the small island in Veliko Jezero. An island within an island! In the 12th century, the Benedictines built a Romanesque monastery, around which a Renaissance building with strong walls and a tower was constructed in the 16th century.