Octopus, oysters and creatures of the briny Adriatic
|An octopus is pulled from the sea. See it wiggle on the video.|
|Shipmate Dave Legge helps open oysters so we can taste them.|
|Fish in Croatia are served with their heads intact, even when they have an overbite.|
|Shipmate Wendy Andary braces herself for a raw oyster|
Just before joining the Romanca we stopped at a tiny roadside stand in Mali Ston, which is known for its oysters. There, within sight of the buoys that marked where they were harvested, we tasted briny oysters fresh from the sea. A few miles away we arrived in Ston, where salt continues to be harvested although its economic importance is not nearly as vital as it was before refrigeration when it was the world’s major preservative.
|Our guide Josko shows us salt that still is an economic mainstay in Ston.|
The salt stores were so important in Ston that in 1333 a 3-1/2-mile-long wall was built around the town — becoming the longest fortification in Europe. The walls, which still stagger over the mountainside, were the staging route for a running competition the Saturday of our visit.
Being on the sea meant, of course, that we had plenty of seafood with lots of octopus and squid served at our meals. Throughout Croatia, fish are served with their heads still attached — an experience that is shocking to many Americans but taken in stride by Europeans.
At port stops the ship’s crew members could often be spotted dropping a line off the seawall where the ship tied up. The water everywhere was so clear one could see the creatures living beneath its surfaces. On two occasions we saw octopuses pulled up.
One night our chef Ivo Boshinjak served a truly amazing black risotto, which was honestly one of the best dishes I’ve ever tasted. Turns out he’s worked on several islands in the French Caribbean and once was a partner at a restaurant on the Dutch island of Bonaire, where my brother had a home for 12 years. We concluded that I’d probably eaten his cooking before — another of the astonishing coincidences that followed me from the planning stages to the conclusion of this amazing voyage. If you’re interested in booking a trip like this one next year, contact ROW Adventures, 800-451-6034; www.ROWAdventures.com