Disembarking to hike from Orebic to a seaman's church
|Anchovies wrapped around olives, top, were an appetizer our first night aboard the Romanca. It .gave us all a clue about the great food we'd be served here in Croatia.|
We pass long abandoned ruins as we hike uphill along narrow footpaths.
|Signs along the walking path tell you the time it will take to reach various destinations.|
|Chilling beneath the cypress trees after a hike from Orebic|
We had 12 passengers plus a crew of five on board and as we moored at the Orebic pier the Jadrolina ferry tooted its outrage. Apparently it was due to stop and we were in its way. The ferry, which has overnight berths, plies a regular route among the islands between Split and Dubrovnik — where we would be traveling throughout our week. We crossed paths with the ferry several different times and it looks like a fairly comfortable way to see the area.
After dropping us off in Orebic, the Romanca had to be on its way quickly to continue around the peninsula to pick us up at the end of our hike. We faced a 7 mile walk up Mount Ilija, which, as a flatlander, I viewed with some trepidation.
The narrow path we were following required a fairly sharp eye since there were loose stones and the occasional boulder the scramble over. We learned that the mountain protects the town from northern winds and allows Mediterranean plants to flourish, so despite skies threatening rain we were on our way uphill. The first half hour we passed by hillside homes, many with ripening pomegranates and olives among the fragrant lavender and rosemary in their landscapes. Some of them were built long ago by sea captains, who had a great fondness for the Lady of the Angels shrine at the top of the mountain. Tradition maintained that a ship pulling into Orebic would blow its horn and the church would ring its bell.
A local well at trailside beckoned several of us to fill our water bottles. It was hot and important to remain hydrated.
It was noon as we neared the church and its bells were ringing loudly. We took a few minutes to sit in the shade of the cypresses there to cool off and look out over the sea and to the harbor below before touring the museum.
Realizing that we still had about three miles to go — and that would be all downhill — I took pity on my arthritic knees and accepted a ride from the owner of a nearby cafe called Panorama to the village below.
It was there that I had my first local beer — a Karlovacko and learned to say “cheers” as “zivjeli” in Croatian. Before long the others in our hiking group joined us and soon the Romanca sailed into view, docking just after the second Jadrolina ferry of the day departed.
Click here to see our ship and the sights on our first hike