There were nine men in the crew and they were trying to moor their yacht stern to the quay. As far as we could make out there were nine excellent plans to achieve this. Unfortunately, the plans had very little in common. There were men in the water, men in rubber dinghies, men on the shore. There were even some crew left on the boat. For us, sitting in the shade, watching the pantomime unfold, it was just one of the things that kept us amused for eight hours in Havar.
The day had started early with a bus across the island from Komiza to Vis port. It would seem that September 4th is the day that the bus timetables change from Summer to winter and no one was entirely sure if it would leave at 6.15 or 6.30. So we got there at 6.00 just to make sure.
A two hour cup of coffee
After an hour or so on the ferry, we arrived in Hvar. The first task was to store our bags with a local travel agent. Then it was time for coffee and breakfast.
We set up camp in a cafe on the quay with selection of huge boats in front of us. As we sipped our coffee, we watched the super-rich emerge for their breakfast. On one boat, all we could see were a group of rather bald heads around the table. The next one had couple waiting for their grown children to surface. Hvar has a reputation as a party town and they had obviously been enjoying all that was on offer. But the third boat had been partying the hardest. All we could see was the smartly dressed crew trying to look busy and not bored as they waited for the owners.
After a while, we were thinking that maybe we should move on when a thunderstorm came over the hill. Staying reasonably dry and watching to see how the flash flooding that was coming down the alleyway beside us would develop, was all that mattered. As the sun came out again, another coffee was needed.
It had taken us over two hours to have a couple of coffees and some breakfast. Yup, we are getting better at this “Pomalo” thing!
Now it was time to explore the Hvar Fortress. This impressive structure dominates the port. Started in 1282, when the Venetians ruled Havar, it has been a source of protection for the the local inhabitants. It has also caused it share of mayhem, like in 1579 when a lightening strike hit the gunpowder store and blew up a large part of both the fortress and the town.
In the 19 century, the fortress was abandoned and it was decided that it should be left “for the fairies to dance in at night”. The fairies had gone home by the time we arrived but it is a magical place!
Up the steps – there are always steps!
Today you can walk up, starting with steps up through the back streets and then a zig zag path through a rocky garden full of cactus and olive trees. There are dungeons and cannons and a museum but really, it is all about the view. The whole harbour is laid out before you. There are big boats, small boats, ferries and vessels of all descriptions, continuously on the move. It is a mesmerising sight.
The local bakeries do delicious things with puff pastry which we consumed with relish for lunch. We sat on a low wall by the harbour side. (Only afterwards did we notice that it was actually the police station!)
When we had been up at the fortress, we had noticed a walkway snaking around the headland. That was our next part of town to explore. The rocky shoreline was strewn with semi-clad bodies that hardly seemed to move at all. ( I am in deep awe of people who can do this for hours on end. I think 7 minutes was the maximum that I have ever achieved).
Time for a bit of patch hunting.
Finally it was time for a bit of “patch hunting”. I am trying to collect embroidery patches to sew on to my hat. Alas, these lowly souvenirs proved to be a bit down-market for the smart shops of Hvar. “No,” was the answer, delivered with a stern look down the nose, when I had the temerity to ask at some of the shops.
Suddenly our eight hours in Hvar were over. It was time to collect our luggage, board the ferry to Vela Luka and leave the hustle and bustle of Hvar behind us.