Today is going to be epic. Get prepared for too many pictures!
Salt pan explorations, oyster boat excursions and the Captain’s dinner. It’s going to be busy.
Surprisingly, I woke up for the trip out of the port on my own. No alarm, no motors going, just me. I think we really did have an early night last night and I did do a 10km walk. I think that must have helped my solid sleep and early rise.
It was super windy out today though. I spent the morning at the front of the boat while the boys slept in a bit. We left port and maneuvered through the tiny islands. We are headed to the mainland again today. The cruise is almost over.
The sun was in full force with a few dotted clouds for effect. The temperature is a bit cooler after the storm yesterday which is a welcome relief.
We stopped for a swim break in a cute cove with great snorkeling. The water was also a little cooler here. We got in but not for too long. I loved the blues and greens in this area. These are with no filter at all. It really was that vibrant.
We had another four course lunch. OMG. I have never eaten so much at this time of day, every day. I can’t wait to go back to my normal quicker lunches. Though I do love someone cooking for me and I can’t complain about the food.
It was great to not have a seating plan like bigger cruises. This way we got to move around and have lots of different conversations with people.
We started our tour today driving to the Slano Salt pans in Ston. We got a bit of history on the way. The area was a great win for Croatia against Venice to help with refrigeration for fresh food. It is quite eye opening how the salt eventually concentrates and they mine it. It looked like snow!
We arrived in Ston after a short drive on a bus.
We got a bit of history about the place. It mostly survived the big earthquake in the 1600s and was mostly unscathed by the war in 1990s.
There is a church that was completely destroyed and rebuilt in the earthquake. They kept the same style but it looks much newer.
The director’s palace is still in place. They could only rule for one month at a time and their families were not able to run for office for two years after. This helped the control for power in the area.
Ston also has the second longest fortified Great Wall in the world (after China). It is mostly open to the public, but so many steps and so high. There is a section under construction. Not for the faint of heart (or legs;). The view at the top was spectacular though. I think it would be gorgeous at sunset with the reflecting plans.
The first part was all steps. Not too bad and you could see the wall going up, up and around.
This is the mid way point. Everyone is still smiling;)
The walk up the second portion was more difficult. It was just a slant so it looked easy from the bottom but with the height and the sun beating down I was more nervous and tired than expected. But the view was worth it.
Walking down was easier but still scary because of the height and the minimal railing! At the end were some local murals.
We had earned a drink and a boy band cover picture apparently.
We drove a short while to Mali Ston. The home of the Croatian oyster. They do an excellent experience on oyster growing/harvesting and tasting right out of the sea. I highly recommend it.
First we got this cute pirate ship like boat out to the tasting platform. Our gang claimed the upper deck. The deckhands gave us grappa and candied citrus rinds and almonds. The food was delicious. I can’t get my head around grappa yet.
We had a mini presentation on the oysters that was pretty informative. I had no idea oysters needed room to grow and that mussels actually grow on top of the shells. Win win!
We got a few of the oyster straight from the sea with a squeeze of lemon. The mussels were cooked on the grill and served with white wine.
We claimed the upstairs on the way back from the boat as well. We took a birds eye view of us and the coast.
We headed back to the boat for Captains Dinner. Everyone made a bit of an effort with the minimal clothes we all have left (they suggested bringing minimal luggage but have no laundry facilities…that was a bit tough).
We had a special dinner of octopus salad, squid ink risotto and fresh tuna steaks. The chocolate cake was more like Chocolate eruption cake (which is my favorite mousse cake). We spoke to the chef later and he said it was actually a failed mousse. He was upset but I loved it!
We had a champagne toast with the Captain. He is a man of few words. He really took pride in his ship and making sure our voyage was safe. We had a lovely thank you speech from Tena and the crew. I can’t believe it’s almost over.
We partied into the wee hours of the night. First with a dance party and then some singing.
Then who would have guessed but the birthday girl jumped off the back of the boat in her underwear. It was incredible! She managed to get half the ship in with her for her birthday. It was so funny to see who succumbed to peer pressure and who just wanted to jump in. Definitely a birthday to remember.
Up next: Dubrovnik