Friday, 19 October 2007

STEPH Omis to Brela 18/10/07

We farewelled Omis in style, with a visit to Konoba U Nased Marina. Forgive me if I thought we were looking for boats. We called by on Ivan’s recommendation, ie ‘you can’t leave Omis without. . . . ‘. Not that we could find it anyway. When we asked directions people either rolled their eyes or shook their heads, until a kindly stallholder in the market dropped what he was doing and led us through the narrow alleys of the old town and into what was either a cave or a very old stone cavern. A tavern. In a cavern.

The pirate’s lair; dark and full of seagoing treasures, including a few old buggers in for their morning swill – and us – one of us delighted with the opportunity to lean his elbow on the bar and toss down the hearty herbal brew favoured by the locals.

Yes indeed. And it was all uphill from there. The road went straight up from Omis, high over the hills that were to keep pace with us all day, the spotted hills of Croatia.

This morning we met the infamous Bora, the Adriatic ice-wind that whips the coast from the north. It was freezing and, fortunately, driven away by the risen sun just as we sat down for a bread and cheese brekkie overlooking Adriatica’s silent blue and Omis, now far below.

We walked steadily thoughout the day. The party coast gave way to the holiday coast, so instead of wall to wall apartments and restaurants (have I mentioned they were nearly all closed?) it was pockets of apartments and restaurants, mostly closed.

The road stayed high. Adriatica’s tide ran a darker blue. Wild pennyroyal crushed underfoot, letting loose her minty reminder of another lifetime. We stop for internet at the Kamp Sirena; Milan keeps us too long. His hospitality is delightful and we leave despite his ministrations for us to stay and his warnings about wind and rain – and without him marrying Ben off to his daughter, the very gorgeous Maria.

We play backgammon on the high road overlooking Adriatica, now silvergrey, like an evening dress that shimmers silver and you know is really grey.

The road becomes a classic Mediterranean highway, racing alongside a wild blue ocean. From the tourist sign we learn the river that runs through Omis’s spectacular gorges and spills into her marina flows behind the giant rocks above us, the spotted hills of Croatia. An amazing sight, we’re sure . . . for the backpack-free!

The sun shines all day. Small white clouds gather in the afternoon, the Dutch call them ‘sheep clouds’. Soon the whole mob is an amorphous white. I grow tired. My feet begin to rub around the heels and toes. There is a tug in my thigh muscle with every step, as if I have bumped the corner of a table. I woke groggy and clumsy this morning, my eyes puffy and my eyesight poor.

I’ve had enough . . . which in pilgrimage land is a major ‘so what!’.

We walk on. The big road winds around sheer drops to the ocean below. We walk on. The sun begins to set. It’s beautiful. We walk on, both of us willing to forgo dinner for a campsite that calls to us. A big white building promises food. It delivers, mushroom soup and salad and rissoles for Ben.

It’s dark when we’re ready to move on. We have our sights set on Brela, way down below on the coast. We walk in the dark, zigzagging down Brela’s perfect roadway.

Brela, a name to be whispered.

Brela is a resort town. We walk through the night empty streets. We drop down a long concrete stairway onto the beach and wander along the promenade. Near the end of the pathway, below the magnificent homes of Croatia’s retired elite, we find a shadowed patch of pebbly beach beside a fabulous dinghy and a few plastic roller boats.

We pitch our tents, such as we can on the pebbles. We wave at the high half moon and say goodnight.

I am content, tired and warm and cosy on Adriatica’s eastern shore.

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