Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Day Twelve – Monday June 11 – Samobor, HR to Prvic Island, HR

It was an “up and at ‘em” morning, since we had one of the longer driving days of the trip ahead. We enjoyed another buffet breakfast (with custom cooked scrambled eggs and ham, and another “morning after” helping of kremsnite, too). Getting out of town was easy, but driving without the aid of the GPS proved more difficult. We got some directions from a helpful gas station mini-mart guy, but managed to miss the ill-marked turn-off toward Karlovac and had to back track on the freeway a couple of times. No big deal. But missing not just one, but two turn-offs toward the Plitvice National Park proved much more frustrating, and so we decided to blow off the park visit for the day (try to hit it on the way back) and headed on to the Dalmatian coast instead.

Arriving in the town of Sibenek continued the streak of aggravation with Croatian signage. Having been very frustrated driving in Boston, where the signage is notoriously inept; I decided that Bostonian highway signage designers must be of Croatian descent. We didn’t really like the look or feel of Sibonek much, and found the harbor area difficult to navigate and the schedule of ferries from there to our island destination lousy, so we jumped back in the car and headed to Vodice, the other town that offers ferry service to Prvic Island (which we learned is pronounced “per-vich”).

Fortunately, Vodice was much more charming and felt more like the Adriatic coastal town which we had imagined and looked forward to. We got our bearings, found the ferry terminal, had a couple of ice cream sundaes, and took the fifteen minute Jardrolinija ferry ride to Prvic. The car was left parked in the lot near the ferry terminal which was clearly marked as requiring payment (5 Kuna per hour from 7:00AM-10:00PM), but had no apparent place to pay. We had searched for either a machine or an attendant to pay, asked several people for assistance (including the ice cream waiter, the attendant at a currency exchange kiosk and a uniformed guy in an official looking van parked in the same lot) and still came up empty. We’re hoping for the best…hmmmm.

Prvic Island is only about a kilometer or two from the mainland, but feels as remote and peaceful as if it were in the middle of nowhere. There are some tractors and other small work vehicles on the island, but no cars and no real roads – just paved paths. The Hotel Maestral is a three story stone structure right on the water’s edge in the village of Prvic Luka. It has been carefully remodeled and has a very contemporary interior, with air conditioning and free Wi-Fi. We decided to eat dinner on the stone terrace overlooking the harbor, befitting the start of the “lazy, relaxing resort” part of the trip. The dinner was OK, but the several carafes of wine totally hit the spot. The homemade goat cheese appetizer was good, but a bit too mild for our tastes, grilled stuffed fish rolls (B+), chicken in pistachio sauce (B-…sounds better than it ate). It was about 30 seconds up to our room for fun and sleep.

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