A hive of (in)activity

The bus journey to Korcula runs daily at 3pm from the bus terminal and seeing that the check-out time at Pension Stankovich is at 10am, the morning was spent wandering about in the sweltering heat and finally into the Taj Mahal, a small konoba off the Stradun that serves strangely, Bosnian rather than Indian food. Bosnian sweets and strong coffee at 11am in the morning couldn’t possibly go wrong. Thus came the tufahijia, a dessert dish made from baked apples, chocolate and walnuts, then topped with a layer of cream.

It was then back to the Pension begging for much needed relief found in a glass of cold water, Mac’s company and a suspicious Stankovich cat staring at me in the kitchen area while Zoran’s brother hung laundry outside to dry. For some reason he seems obsessed with Indonesia (and with the pirates along the Straits of Malacca), as he had, according to Zoran, spent some years ago in the Navy in Southeast Asia.

I found out just how much Croatia is about money and more money as the agencies squeeze the mickey out of the average visitor (and also out of the locals) – when I was informed to my incredulous amazement and stunned disbelief by the bus driver to Korcula that storing my bag in the luggage hold cost 10 kuna, in addition to the bus ticket fare, as well as the extra cost of reserving a seat number.

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The coast-hugging ride to Korcula was a 3.5 hr one (and obviously scenic) that included a 15-minute ferry ride across from Orebic. Finding the cheerful-looking Depolo Villa was rather easy as it was located along a lane that leads out of the Old Town into the residential area of Sveti Nikole. Rezi Depolo, its chatty owner, regaled me with a few of her travel stories, the stray cats she feeds, her sunday plans, and her dismal internet wireless, just as I requested for my laundry to get done.

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“You must try Maslina,” Rezi said, and launched into a rather complicated set of instructions on the Korculan restaurant’s location en route to Lumbarda. “There is another one in Old Town, but just 5 days ago, a French couple told me that they changed ownership and it’s not very nice, and not very friendly. Go to the one outside. It’s a nice walk. And there is a church on top of a hill, surrounded by cypress trees. You can have a nice view of the town. Before I could process all of it, I was then sent off to the small Old Town on her orders as the last rays of light faded. My full day in Korcula fell on a sunday, which meant most of the town closes to celebrate inactivity and rest.

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The sights that Rezi mentioned were a bit of a walk out of town and came at the cost of full-blown hives. Red, angry patches that started out as some pinkness on the arms appeared in full force and looked to spread quickly after I spent an extended length of time walking in the sun. What did I do after rubbing a lot of hydrocortisone that seemed to have absolutely no effect? I knocked on Rezi’s door apologetically to disturb her once again, and begged for some alternative Croatian “herbal” remedy. Rezi took one look at the increasingly leprous-lookalike arms, and gave me a glass of rubbing alcohol which helped calm the itch a bit but made the skin sore to the touch.

My alcohol-induced commandment of the day: Lead me not into temptation to scratch.

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