The rumble of the Solaris‘ engines woke us at seven thirty this morning, as she moved out of her berth under the Dubrovnik bridge to head for Slano, a small village further up the coast. Captain Ante had warned us at dinner yesterday that we could expect rough seas, high winds and lots of rain, so instead of our planned itinerary we were having to seek refuge in this little port in a bay sheltered by mountains.
Breakfast was at 8.00am as usual, and the six Brits on our table were joined once again by the German couple, who introduced themselves as Wolfgang and Enna. We wondered why they chose to sit with the Brits instead of their own fellow countrymen, but maybe they wanted to practise their English. Or perhaps they just enjoyed our company more. 🙂
As we sat there eating our breakfast, the rain started lashing the wooden decking and pouring down the windows in torrents. We had a ride of about an hour before we reached Slano, and it was a pity about the weather because it looked as if it would have been a picturesque route, as we passed many small islands against a rugged mountainous backdrop, the tops of the mountains swathed in low purple rain clouds.
As we approached Slano, the engine pitch of Solaris changed as the captain slowed her down and manoevred her into port. Once again, we were lashed to the side of an adjacent yacht; there were quite a few yachts and pleasure cruisers in port and we wondered if they too had sought refuge from the weather.
Tentatively going out onto the wet deck, we saw that the rain had stopped now so we seized our chance to go ashore. I had looked at the Geocache app and had seen that there was one hidden only 150m away, so we thought we’d have a look for that. 🙂
As we disembarked the Solaris by stepping over the gap into the other yacht, then descending its gangplank, we took in our immediate surroundings. There was a small park, an attractive-looking red-roofed church and a road that curved around towards the beach. A friendly tortoiseshell cat sat on a nearby bench and purred and rubbed her head against my hand as I stroked her.
Following the Geocache clues, it didn’t take long to find the cache, carefully hidden in a metal fence post. As we pondered what to do next, the heavy rain started up again so we returned to the Solaris to wait it out.
After about half an hour, the sun made a tentative appearance and we decided to make the most of it! Going ashore again, we came across Jerry and Gaynor who were going up the hill to look for another Geocache; we decided to try for that one later, as it was around 350 metres away and we wanted to walk along the coast and take our time, drinking in the sights.
The sun went behind a cloud again and a persistent drizzle started, but we decided to defy it and continue nonetheless. Looking at the Geocache app, we could see we were getting nearer the ‘treasure’; it appeared to be near a church that we could see right at the top of a hill. We started up there, puffing and panting, our waterproofs swish, swishing as we walked. We were within 80 metres of the cache when we came to a dead end; the only way up the hill was climbing these huge boulders which would have been impossible in the rain. We were going to look for another route, but I was wet, tired and fed up by now, so we decided to go back down the hill again.
As we were walking along the shoreline, we spotted a little café under a canopy, so we went in and had a cold beer each. Several others from the Solaris had had the same idea, as we were soon joined by Jerry, Gaynor, Marian and Mags – so all six of us Brits were here. 🙂
We enjoyed another beer each before continuing back to the Solaris, as it was now lunchtime, and we wanted to get out of our wet things.
Lunch consisted of soup and home-made bread to start, followed by pork escalopes, vegetables and fried potatoes. I didn’t eat all the pork, secreting some of it in a serviette to take ashore later on to feed any of the stray cats we saw. 🙂
By now, the sun was out once again, so we eagerly proceeded ashore. We thought we’d explore the little church and maybe the Rector’s Palace, which we could see up a hill in the near distance.
First of all, I wanted to get rid of the meat, so we went to the place where we’d last seen the tortoishell cat and we found her, along with a tabby, sitting atop the lid of a disused freezer near to a restaurant. I tore the piece of pork in two and gave each of the cats a piece; they each seized their piece and shot away before anyone could take it away from them again. 🙂
We then continued towards the little church, which was called St. Jerome’s Church, and we decided to have a look inside. It was simply decorated, but peaceful and totally silent. When we spoke our voices seemed to echo, and I couldn’t resist doing a “doh, re, me, fah, so, la ti, doh” up and down the scale; the acoustics were wonderful. No-one else was in the church, and we spent a tranquil few minutes in there.
We really loved walking around in the sunshine after so many days of wind and rain. What a lovely little place Slano was! We got the impression, from the number of holiday lets and boat and car hire places, that this was a popular destination for the Croatians themselves; it certainly wasn’t a major tourist place.
We continued strolling about and made our way towards the Rector’s Palace, which we were able to indentify from Google (whatever did we do before Google?!) We were able to have a look inside and get some photos from a great vantage point. Again, the peace and the silence were wonderful.
On our way back to the Solaris, we came across a little outside bar under a canopy; we needed a canopy by now because the sun was actually very hot (not that we were complaining!) and we sat in the shade while I enjoyed a cold refreshing Aperol Spritz while Trevor partook of a beer. Afterwards, we boarded the Solaris and recharged our batteries with a power nap because tonight was the Captain’s Cocktail Party. 🙂
I got showered and shampooed and blow-dried my hair before changing into a cotton floral maxi-dress with a neat little bolero. Although there was no dress code on Solaris other than smart/casual, everyone had a made a bit of an effort to dress more smartly. We all made our way to the salon for some pre-dinner drinks where a party atmosphere prevailed. The other four Brits as well as our new German friends Wolfgang and Enna were there and asked if they could join us for dinner – of course they could. 🙂
Captain Ante made a little speech and thanked everyone for cruising on the Solaris before introducing the members of his crew (a mere half dozen of them). Then the barman brought around glasses of prosecco for everyone and there were cried of “cheers!” “prost” or “živjeli” before we all raised our glasses and drank.
The dining room was decorated a bit more poshly than usual, with atmospheric blue lighting and shells scattered on the tablecloth. We started our meal with a fantastic antipasti platter of good prosciutto and cheese, washed down with wine and beer and followed by a mixed meat platter consisting of beef, chicken and some sort of kofti, wish fresh vegetables. The dessert consisted of a crushed biscuit base topped by a creamy custard and fruit compote (a sort of cheesecake). Once again, I kept some of the chicken to feed to the little furry waifs ashore..
After dinner there was a disco in the salon, and everyone, including the captain and crew, got up to dance and sing along at the tops of their voices. We took the chance to nip ashore again to give the chicken to the cats; we didn’t see them but we left it where we’d last come across them – we could bet that it wouldn’t still be there in the morning. 🙂
When we returned to the Solaris, the passenger count seemed to have increased considerably; the compact dance floor in the salon was packed. Apparently the passengers on the adjacent yacht had been looking across enviously at our lot living it up and enjoying ourselves, so some of the German passengers beckoned and waved them across; so they traversed the gap from their yacht to ours, ascended the stairs, and joined our party! 🙂
It was great fun. There were Germans, Austrians, French and British but borders didn’t exist, language barriers didn’t matter. Everyone had a good time and then, at 11.00pm, the music was turned off. There’s a strict rule that the noise has to abate after 11.00pm, not only for the sake of the island residents, but also for any neighbouring yachts. It’s a good rule, and it means that everyone can enjoy themselves without inconveniencing anyone else. 🙂
It was around midnight when we returned to cabin 15. The captain had said we’d be leaving in the morning at 9.00am, and we slept very well after a lovely day.