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September 29, 2017 - Cycling the Pelješac Peninsula
Our last cycling day was the BEST EVER with wine tasting, spectacular views
on long descents, perfect weather, private oyster/mussel tasting (for non-vegetarians),
boat transfers and lots more! We can't say enough good things about the tour company,
The slender fingerlike peninsula of Pelješac is coastal Croatia at its most relaxed.
Blessed with craggy mountains, sweeping valleys, idyllic coves and fine wines, it’s a
glorious place to visit. And the views are absolutely stunning!
ABOVE LEFT - Early morning at the hotel pool.
Harbor and Old Town of Korčula in the background
ABOVE MIDDLE - View of the harbor and Old Town from our hotel pool.
ABOVE RIGHT - We started the day with a boat ride to the Pelješac Peninsula.
This is the Old Town of Korčula from our boat.
ABOVE LEFT -For several centuries, strategic Korčula was one of the most important
southern outposts of the Venetian Republic. The Republic of Dubrovnik began at the
Pelješac Peninsula, just across the channel. Korčula's original Old Town walls date
from at least the 13th century, but the fortifications were expanded over the years
to defend against various foes of Venice - mostly Ottomans and pirates. By the late
19th century, the town had little strategic value, so the residents decided to
quarry the top of the walls to build some houses and improve circulation.
Today's walls are half as high as the original, but the town has
restored several of the towers, giving the town a fortified feel.
ABOVE MIDDLE - Tony, Kristina, Sue and Bob on the Pelješac Peninsula
ABOVE RIGHT - Our cycling group enjoying a great view back toward Korčula
ABOVE LEFT - The Holy Shrine of Our Lady Delorite Church
ABOVE MIDDLE - Vineyards of the wine cellar MATUŠKO where we enjoyed wine tasting
ABOVE RIGHT - In front of the MATUŠKO wine cellar. This donkey is made of local stone,
but real donkeys are revered because they cleared the land to plant the vineyards and
they hauled the grapes over the mountain from the hillside vineyards to the winery.
ABOVE LEFT - MATUŠKO Winery
ABOVE MIDDLE and RIGHT - Over the last couple of years an ever increasing number
of tourists and lovers of good wine has been visiting the Pelješac peninsula – the oasis
of red wine. Wine cellar MATUŠKO developed into one of the most well known and
largest Croatian wine-tasting destinations over the last couple of years.
Here wines are aging in wooden casks.
ABOVE LEFT - Sue and Judith tasting Dingač, a Croatian premium quality red wine
produced of the plavac mali crni grape variety in a limited area of the Pelješac winegrowing region.
ABOVE MIDDLE - Judith with the good stuff!
ABOVE RIGHT - After our wine tasting, we enjoyed a fabulous descent that passed
Dingač vineyards. We stopped about every 5 minutes for yet another photo.
ABOVE LEFT - Many of the vineyards along our descent grow on the
steep (up to 70%) hillsides all the way down to the sea.
ABOVE MIDDLE - Small village along our coastal ride
ABOVE RIGHT - More fabulous views of the Adriatic and vineyards on the hills
ABOVE - Absolutely beautiful coastal road with no car traffic!
ABOVE MIDDLE - And the views continue
ABOVE RIGHT - Time to cool in the Adriatic after our ride ended.
ABOVE LEFT - Church of St. Blaise in Ston, Croatia
ABOVE MIDDLE - Next on the agenda was a small private boat ride to
a oyster/mussel tasting "secret location." Here comes our boat!
ABOVE RIGHT - All aboard for the "secret location."
ABOVE LEFT - Judith, Tony, Kristina, Bob, Sue, Katelyn & Peggy toasting the end
of a great cycling tour - and ready to enjoy our special tasting. This location has a
small outdoor kitchen where the boat operator/chef prepared fresh oysters and
mussels (just harvested out of the sea about 2 hrs earlier) Some of the
best and freshest oysters and mussels come from this region.
ABOVE MIDDLE - Mussels were simmered in wine, olive oil, parsley, garlic and onion
- those who ate them said they were the best they'd ever tasted -
and two of these giant pots were emptied by our group.
ABOVE RIGHT - Fred enjoying his special plate of veggies and cheese
ABOVE LEFT - Grilled eggplant and cheese in olive oil
ABOVE MIDDLE - Departing the boat after our oyster/mussel tasting
ABOVE RIGHT - Dinner in Dubrovnik
ABOVE - Sunset over Dubrovnik from our hotel just before we enjoyed
our "farewell dinner" with the cycling group. This group of 14 cyclists was
one of best matched as far as cycling skills and personality of probably any tour
we've been on over the past 25 years - thoroughly enjoyed the 10 days with them all!