Saturday, October 09, 2010

Photos from the island of Hvar, Croatia

I haven't had a guidebook for a long time (I just can't find one in English) but when I came to the isle of Hvar I didn't even have a map and my GPS didn't show any roads. So I was really just pointing my car (or my Tevas) and seeing what happens. Every photo here was taken of things I didn't know were there until I stumbled upon them. 

Love to you!

This was taken in an ancient village, about half in ruins. This is the base of a wine press, along with one of the two wooden threaded screws for pressing the grapes. The juice runs into this stone vat, now in pieces.
IMG_6107.JPG (720×540)

I'm obsessed with stone: walls, houses - you name it.
IMG_6115.JPG (720×540)

I haven't found an open campground on the island, so I've been wild camping for the week that I'm here (and counting.) This was one of my camping spots. I had driven for miles on this gravel road without knowing where it goes.
IMG_6125.JPG (720×540)

IMG_6137.JPG (720×540)

I turned off to see a church, then spotted a big cave to walk to. On the way up through vineyards, I was amazed by how steep these fields are.
IMG_6143.JPG (720×540)

This is the cave, which has a very old church, mostly in ruins, at the mouth.
IMG_6157.JPG (540×720)

Looking out from the back of the cave.
IMG_6167.JPG (720×540)

I couldn't figure out why so many rock walls exist all over Croatia, and decided that many of them aren't walls at all - they're a way of reclaiming the land by moving the rocks into piles. Then they can plant olive trees, lavender or grapes. These look to be a combination of walls and stacked rocks.
IMG_6211.JPG (720×540)

A trail led further up the mountain, and I came across this old ruin, in a spectacular setting.
IMG_6213.JPG (720×540)

Grapes in a completely rocky soil.
IMG_6216.JPG (720×540)

I followed a trail along the coast just down from the cave. It reminds me of Big Sur in California.
IMG_6230.JPG (720×540)

At the end of the trail, I came to this (I gather) famous climbing wall. A guy lives in this house and charges people to climb. You can see a climber just to the right of the house.
IMG_6241.JPG (720×540)

IMG_6253.JPG (720×540)

I love the contrast of colors.
IMG_6256.JPG (720×540)

This beautiful cove is just in front of the climbing wall.
IMG_6258.JPG (720×540)

Back at the other end of the trail, if you look up you can see the cave just above the trees. And the stone walls were on top of the mountains just to the left of the cave.
IMG_6264.JPG (720×540)

This view is featured in a postcard or two, I bet. The water between the rocks is DEEP.
IMG_6283.JPG (720×540)

How can the water be so blue?
IMG_6288.JPG (720×540)

Sometimes I even cook decent food for myself. Who'd a thought. My new trick: saute onions and peppers, add garlic and add beans and/or corn to make a hearty stew. So good. (This is inside the van if you can't tell.)
IMG_6323.JPG (720×540)

The little village and protected harbor of Jelsa. Such a cute little place.
IMG_6324.JPG (720×540)

A dramatic morning from my second night in the hills. By the way, there are 1,000 islands in Croatia!
_MG_51127.JPG (800×534)

The city of Hvar. Beautiful, and the pizza costs 50% more than everywhere else. I'm just saying. (I'm just saying skip it for the more low-key and equally beautiful harbor villages!)
IMG_6350.JPG (720×540)

(The End)


Anonymous said...

Great photos Davemo!
Beautiful places, awesome stones.
I have a passion for dry stone walls!
Keep those eyes on the road and scenery!
Love to you my friend,


Anonymous said...

My favorite thing was getting "lost" with you when we were travelling together! This is why!!!! What a beautiful "find" Much love!!! Jen

carrotlover said...

Dave, Thanks, as always for sharing your photos. It's like "Hidden Crotia" although perhaps that's redundant. So, where do you buy food? Do people speak English? How much is pizza and is it common? And is it good? I love rock structures, too. I particularly liked the 2nd photo - beautiful composition of beatiful rock walls/piles/ruins?
Be safe and have fun.

Scott Underwood said...

Tremendous photos, sir. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I've heard Croatia is beautiful but I had no idea. Beautiful coast line...does look a bit like Big Sur. How did that boat get into that cove anyway??? Thanks again for sharing and letting us all travel along with you ;-). Rena

Anonymous said...

Dave, great pics!

I would think that stumbling on to stunning places like these by accident may be more rewarding than visiting places you know will be beautiful.

Ken W.

Dave Adair said...

Thanks peeps. I definitely find that stumbling on something compares favorably to going to a destination that someone raved about. There's no expectation when you just show up. My favorite word in conversations with myself lately is "unbelievable!" I'm saying it multiple times a day, most recently about the amazing stacks of rocks. This place must have been two feet thick in stone before humans started clearing it.

Laurie-Ann, food is for sale in small shops everywhere and some BIG stores is some places. Once in a while you'll see vendors on the side of the road, and the veggies and fruit are much cheaper and really delicious. Pizza is usually great, widely available, and usually costs about $7.50. That same pizza was $11.50 in Hvar city, and I skipped it on principle. The stone walls in the second photo are the end walls of three houses where the rooves had all collapsed. It's typical to see the four walls and no roof on an old house.

Rena - there's a small channel for the boat to get into. The other three openings were walled up long ago, from the looks of it.

Hugs to one and all!

Frank said...


I was in Hvar in '83 as part of 3 weeks in Yugoslavia (back when it was Yugoslavia). Truly beautiful island. I made friends with two guys who had an ice cream shop on the main street, and used to hang out there a lot. Rented a room 10 minute walk out of town. Wish I'd had a car to see the rest of the island...most I did was hike 2-3 hours out of town. Speaking of ice cream, I have two memories of Yugoslavia -- 2nd best ice cream in Europe (after Italy), and the women had incredible I remembering right?

Where else are you going? Are you going to Sarajevo or Beograd? Can't wait to see your pictures of Dubrovnik.

Where are you going after that? Through Albania to Greece? I remember taking a cruise ship from Corfu to Dubrovnik, and as we passed Albania, you could see the border, because on the Greek side there were lights and on Albanian side there was nothing...absolute darkness all the way up the Albanian coast.

-- Frank

Anonymous said...

Hey Dave! You got the money you owe me? Be safe- we love and miss you.


Dave Adair said...

Frank - how cool. Yugoslavia in 1983. I think their tourism industry was pretty young then. Amazingly, 30 years later (!) they have tons of tourist infrastructure but not much of the obvious downsides. The buildings are mostly beautiful and they have NO billboards or big signs in the middle of their most touristed spots.

Can't comment about the legs of the women! It's past the sunbathing season here, and the beaches are mostly empty. (I did swim today in overcast weather. It was great.)

I'm thinking to go to Mostar and maybe Sarajevo in Bosnia, then come back to Croatia for Dubrovnik and head south into Montenegro and Albania. I don't know much about any of these places, but they're all intriguing. Albania is still struggling, and it will be a bit like traveling in India, from what I've read. Bad roads (and some good roads) with potholes, missing manhole covers, unpredictable electrical brownouts, etc. Adventure, from the sounds of it!

Steve - I'm spending your money right now. Come on over and get it ya bastard, while there's still some left!


Ivica said...

You are blessed to be traveler-explorer!Your pics and blog are beautifull discovery even for me who was born in Croatia.
P.S Croatia has 1142 islands officialy, coastline is about same size as brazilian one :)))

Cheers, Ivi, Dubrovnik Backpackers Club

Dave Adair said...

Hi Ivi,
It's nice to hear from a real live Croatian, especially when you say you like the photos! It's taken me a long time to get back to you, but I hope you're still following the stories. And I'm sure I'll get back to Croatia one day. Let's bump into each other!