I don't use the word "crazy" lightly, but Korcula allowed me to witness a series of events that, I believe, merit that label. Amongst others:
- after a 15 minute drive, being dropped off at a hostel seemingly in the middle of nowhere with an owner whose first words were "you are my last guest of the season. God I'm glad it's over!"
- then being given a map and hearing "it's much closer to the center of town if you walk!" This didn't mention that walking involved sketchy poorly-lit paths through forests complete with random war memorials.
- also, the hostel owner is working on 3 novels and 3 screenplays. At the same time. He really wants to become famous.
- on Wednesday, I rented a bike for the afternoon and first made my way along the coast, before turning up a road that seemed to lead into the middle of he island. It did. I expected to climb some hills. What I didn't expect was to encounter mountain roads of Swiss proportions, winding their way up to what felt like the highest point on the whole friggin island.
- my bike clearly wasn't prepared for that either, and so at the very top I realized that the strain had loosened the handlebars so much I could turn them back and forth effortlessly. Not the best situation if one wants to descend a mountain. Thank goodness I encountered a nice Croatian couple that was way better prepared than me and without a language in common really (I just spoke English, wiggled the handlebar and made a helpless face) the husband took out his toolkit and fixed my bike.
- on the very top, I found a village seemingly untouched by tourism, or progress, really. It was at the same time cute and kind of depressing.
- the descent along fragrant pine forests, with frequent glimpses of the ocean and the mountains of the neighboring peninsula, was really cool.
- at my next break point, I went swimming. I know I am going on and on about the clear water, but this was the first time I was swimming that I could look straight down, see my entire body, my feet, all the way down to the bottom of the sea, and see fishes swimming around me ad if the water wasn't even there! It was like snorkeling without snorkels. So cool.
- once I got back in town and rested, I wandered around for a bit, and met a group of 5 Slovenian guys who were on a sailing trip and wanted me to take their picture. I did that, chatted a bit and went my way, only to run into them again 3 hours later as I accidentally photo bombed their self portrait at dinner. I took another picture, they invited me to join them for a drink and proceeded to invite me to sail with them the next day. Too bad I'd just gotten my ticket for the katamaran the next morning!
- once I got back to my hostel, I met the only other guest staying there, this Austrian woman who was a numerologist and was helping the owner to find a lucky pen name, since he seemed doomed to misfortune if he became famous and kept his real name. They then asked me whether "Drag" had any associations in English. Ummm... Yes.
- and finally, this morning when I got up at 4.30 to catch the ferry at 6, I witnessed the craziest thunderstorm of my life! As in, lightning flashes right outside my window, ridiculous rain, wind that was bending the trees... What better weather for a katamaran trip, no?
(p.s. Korcula is also immensely beautiful in both nature and culture with the cutest old town you've ever seen. Definitely worth a visit.)