Just north of Ploce we stopped and pulled over to view the Baćinska Lakes, a pearl of unspoiled nature covering twenty square kilometres and consisting of seven lakes with their brackish water forming a turquoise ring surrounding the lush pine clad hills. The lakes are located between the Neretva River Delta, the sea and the surrounding mountains and their names are: Ocusa, Crnisevo, Podgora, Sladinac, Vrvnik and Plitko Jezero. We didn’t stay long and returned to the car and continued towards our intended first destination of Gradac.
Suddenly from out of nowhere some clouds started to overtake us from the south and by the time we reached Gradac we had been transported into an alternative day of grey clouds and high winds. We parked the car but couldn’t work out the rules from the notice on the parking machine. It seemed to suggest that charges applied but none of the other cars had tickets and we were unsure of what to do. We didn’t have any change anyway so it was irrelevant and we left it and walked along the seafront to the hotel we had stayed at last year. The weather was deteriorating rapidly now and uncharacteristic Adriatic waves were beginning to batter the beach driving people off the pebbles and back to the shelter of the ribbon of bars behind the beach. It was really quite unpleasant and there was nothing to stay for so we went back to the car and carried on.
The weather cheered up just a little bit so we stopped at the next seaside town of Zaostrog where it was warm and partly sunny but mostly overcast. We visited the gardens of a monastery and had a drink in a bar but the place was nothing special, just an everyday sort of holiday town with possibly the ugliest and inappropriate war memorial that I have ever seen. It looked like the weather was going to have the last word today so we decided to find a supermarket, buy some alcohol and go straight back to the Pink Inn. Then we were in for a shock because this was Sunday and the shops close at two o’clock and we had missed this by about twenty minutes – things looked bleak!
I worried about this for about thirty kilometres as we passed through Drvenik, Živogošće, Igrane Podgora and Tučepi and everywhere the shops were shut. Finally we reached the busy holiday town of Makarska and it was the same here too except for a little roadside kiosk in a car park with overpriced beer and snacks with prices that I was obliged to pay or go without.
We continued on to towards Split but it was horrible now with grey skies and intermittent rain and the driving was hard work because there was hardly ever a good straight bit of road and I had to keep an eye out for the crazy Croatian drivers who seem to have a special driving talent because they can see round corners and I know that this is true because how else could they overtake with such confidence around dangerous blind bends and perilous chicanes? It wasn’t a good journey and we were glad to arrive back at the Pink Inn in the late afternoon.
It seemed a certainty that the day was now a write-off and there was nothing else to do but read and play cards but it’s funny how the weather never ceases to surprise and as we sat on the balcony the cloud began to break into a thousand fragments of retreating grey and the sun began to triumphantly reappear. This was our que to take a walk along the beach and along to the new marina next to the Hotel Meridian with all the expensive boats moored up in expectation of a sea voyage. The sun was out so we had a drink in a trendy little bar and waited for the sunset that Kim would be able to capture on her magic camera (magic because she can get a sunset picture even when there isn’t a sunset).
We enjoyed the last walk along the beach and hoped that the improvement in the weather would last for at least another twenty-four hours for our final day in Croatia. Later we returned to the fish restaurant where there was a table of show-offs splashing the cash and eating lobster. We had octopus and squid and this time I managed to stay for the entire length of the meal without dashing off with a misbehaving digestive system.