Croatia, Hvar to Split by Ferry in a Storm

In the morning we woke to perfect silence and the room was almost impossibly quiet.  The view from the window over the church square revealed no activity at all and the stone walls loomed like reassuring silent bulwarks all around.

There was no breakfast included in the room rate but at least there was a kettle and with tea bags purchased the night before there was the comfort of a hot cup of tea.  Later I collected some fresh pastries from a nearby bakery and had a calorie packed breakfast before checking out of the accommodation.  Usually I like the reassurance of knowing where I will be staying before I arrive in a place but this had been an easy and enjoyable way to get a room and I am certain that I shall do it again in the future.

First thing the weather had been quite promising with a bit of cloud but a lot of blue so the plan was to spend the morning in Hvar and see the side of the town we had missed yesterday before getting a mid afternoon ferry back to the mainland.  We started our walk by visiting the market and then through the main square and down to the harbour, and then it started to spit with rain.

Only a little at first, which I tried to ignore, but it was obvious that we were in for a soaking because the bar owners were busy gathering up all the cushions from the chairs and the sky was getting blacker and heavier.  And then it came in a sudden squall and we had to run for cover.  The prospects didn’t look good so after reviewing the situation and being able to see that there was better weather to the east we quickly changed our plans and decided to make for the port and take an earlier ferry back to Split.

The commercial port was back in Stari Grad where we had stopped off the day before and so we drove for thirty minutes in pouring rain and joined a short queue of vehicles waiting for the eleven-thirty ferry.  In Greece you can buy ferry tickets in a variety of places but in Croatia they only seem to be available at the ports.  This involved a dash through the rain, in a violent thunder storm, down the line of cars and to the booking office to purchase the tickets for the journey.  I have to say that I like the Greek system better.

It was a one hour forty-five minute crossing and once on board I made straight for the top deck to get weather watching while Kim stayed in the lounge reading.  It had stopped raining but over the island of Hvar there was thick black cloud, heavy rain and frequent thunder and lightening to entertain.  The ferry got under way dead on time and to my relief set a course in the direction of the blue sky.

We were still underneath heavy grey skies and without sunlight the sea below looked cold and black and uninviting but as the journey progressed we found the blue sky and the sunlight started to bounce off the surface and make it sparkle like gleaming silver.  What a difference the sun makes, this was much more like it!  It was a shame to leave the islands this way but as we passed through a narrow channel between Brač and Solta I decided that even though they had better plumbing arrangements I doubt that they could replace the Greek islands for me.

The weather in Split was better but there was still cloud ominously close but it seemed to be moving away and I was quite confident of improvement.  The Split passenger seaport is the third busiest port in the Mediterranean and getting off the ferry was a bit reminiscent of Greece with impatient foot passengers waiting in the choking exhaust fumes for the doors to open and then trying to get off at the same time as the cars and the lorries.

Once off the ferry there was no choice but to follow the line of cars into the city and although Kim thought she knew where we were going we never quite managed to find the route to the car park that I was aiming for.  After twenty minutes of patience sapping confusion and rising blood pressure I eventually found an alternative and breathed a sigh of relief.  In this mad twenty minutes I had become completely distracted and had failed to keep my eye on the weather and when I went to buy a ticket I was delighted to discover that we now had full sun and blue sky.

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