KORCULA, Croatia — We had to look this one up on the map, too. It seems like a door knob opening up a portion of the Croatian coast. Or maybe just a quaint medieval lump with lots of stair-step streets . In any case, it’s totally charming to Europeans in months like July or August. But to us it seemed wet, windy and slippery on dates like April the seventeenth.
The Aegean Odyssey managed to tie up so close to the ancient walls that extending a plank from the lido deck across to the town might have made it easier to reach the jewelry and coffee shops that beckon like Odysseus’ sirens from the summit. Well, not really.
The wind whipped up the surrounding ocean into teams of what my grandparents called “white horses.” Umbrellas turned inside out, and the locals demonstrated Croatian common sense by pretty much staying indoors. Almost anyone you saw on the streets you could address in English simply because they were from our ship or a smaller tourist vessel here on an overnighter from Dubrovnik.
Because of the weather Sara and I wimped out, skipping the morning tour, although the hardier types who braved the elements said later it was worthwhile. In the somewhat calmer afternoon we explored on our own, at times accompanied by dogs and cats who, as it turned out, didn’t speak our language.
The entertainment we enjoyed most was when a little girl appeared and briefly tried to play hide-and-go-seek with her father, who soon made clear that he was not amused.
Sara had trouble remembering the name of the town, sometimes calling it “corpuscle” or something like that. In truth, it is obscure enough to be completely ignored by Rick Steve’s otherwise excellent tome describing Mediterranean cruise ports.
In the same way that early Venice sought respectability by claiming the bones of St. Mark, Korcula asserts that it was the birthplace of Marco Polo and offers an extremely old house to prove it. Most scholars remain unconvinced. And speaking of July and August, Korcula is said to be the venue for some dramatic sword dances in the summer.
At any rate, a heavenly apology came at the end of the day when some clouds opened up and a brief rainbow appeared over the 14th-century buildings alongside the ship. We grabbed our cameras, clicked off a couple of frames, and then it was gone.
April 17, 2012
Photos by Robert W. Bone