As we drove the weather started to deteriorate and by the time we arrived and parked the car in a very expensive car park at ten Kuna an hour it had become quite dreary and overcast, which didn’t present the town in its best light.
We had to find some accommodation so we went to the tourist information office to see what was available. Here there was a bit of a scam because the lady at the desk told us that the only hotel available was the Hotel Adriana that had rooms for €280. This was obviously way beyond our budget and while this devastating piece of news sunk in she skilfully moved in with the alternative offer of a simple room in the town, with car parking thrown in for 400 Kuna (about £50). This was obviously her sister or her best friend but there was no contest and we took it.
The owner met us and helped us park up inside the town walls and then showed us to a delightful room inside the old town and in a medieval building with a good view over a church square directly below the room. This was an excellent find and we very satisfied with our good fortune. When I returned home I did check the rates for the Adriana and discovered that she wasn’t kidding after all, it actually was that expensive!
After we settled in we walked to the main square and selected a bar by the harbour and drank beer and wine and watched the sky for any signs of improvement. It was still overcast but there were teasing patches of blue that remained stubbornly out at sea and moved only very slowly towards the town. Finally as we walked around the harbour and out of the town a bit of wind blew the clouds away in an instant and the sun poured through and brilliant blue sky replaced the sullen grey and the temperature rose correspondingly. Back at the square we explored the tiny little streets that rose quickly from the harbour up sheltered twisting alleyways with steep steps that were cool in the shadows and where there were an abundance of lush pot plants growing abundantly in the shade.
On account of the dramatic improvement in the weather we decided this would be a good time to walk to the top of the town and visit the castle that was built by the Venetians to protect the port and which has a commanding position over the town. It was hot now and there was a long drag of a walk to the top that zigzagged up a gentle gradient, which made the going easier but made the walk much further than it really needed to be. It was about five o’clock and fortunately the castle was still open so we went inside and enjoyed the glorious views over the harbour and the town with its patchwork of orange terracotta roofs. The castle was in good shape with ramparts intact, a small museum with nautical relics and exhibits from ship wrecks and a gloomy prison down a twisting staircase that didn’t look especially hospitable.
The walk back down to the town was much easier and we were soon back at the room where we rested and enjoyed the peaceful ambience of the quiet little town. This must be a good time to visit because Hvar gets very busy in the summer when visitors flock over from the mainland on the hydrofoils and I expect it gets a whole lot noisier then.
Later we walked out to find a restaurant and we choose well and discovered a little fish restaurant up a quiet side street that had a few customers but not too many and we enjoyed another fish meal in a colourful dining room with an appropriate nautical theme. It wasn’t late so we thought that we might finish the evening with a final drink down at the harbour but the place was curiously deserted and most of the bars were closed so after a walk around the harbour under the stars we joined the rest of the town and had an early night.