So last Monday we set out from Dubrovnik on our tour bus for some Foot-stepping around the beautiful Croatian countryside. Our first stop on the tour was the famous salt pans of Stōn where, in the middle ages, the locals developed an intricate system for evaporating seawater and creating an industry of salt production. The value of salt back then was truly “worth its weight in gold”, and the town became famous far and wide as the singular source of this valuable spice, something that we take for granted now. In order to protect their warehouses, the city built a 6.5km long protective wall which is second only in length to the Great Wall of China.
After walking around the wall for a bit we hopped back on the bus and rode up the Pelješac peninsula to the famous wine producing area of Dingač and walked around the famous vineyards that are the genetic and ancestral home of the Zinfandel grape. Professor Puskaric talked to the students about the local micro-climate and the history of wine-making in the region and then we rode to the 500 year old Bartulović winery and had a wonderful lunch in an old wine cellar there which included, of course, a LOT of wine produced by the family.
On Tuesday the students had an early morning boat “bird safari” through the wide marshes of the Neretva River delta and for brunch we all docked at a riverside cafe and were served plates of locally caught eels and frogs. Mmmmm – tastes like chicken, but with a LOT more bones!
Capping off the afternoon was a guided tour of the VERY OLD Roman temple of Narona where a largely intact structure from the 2nd century AD was excavated in the 1960’s from under a horse stable. They built a museum around the temple, which houses seventeen beautiful statues, one of the largest single statuary collections in the world.
Next stop – Marksaka and Biokovo National Park.