From Korčula, we made our way to Vis — the remotest of Croatia’s inhabited islands and far and away our favorite place we visited. Spectacularly scenic and wonderfully sleepy, Vis enchanted us from the moment we set foot on its dock.
Marco Polo-inspired pasta notwithstanding, Korčula is noteworthy as the only place in Croatia to preserve the centuries-old tradition of moreška sword dancing. A staple at public feasts and royal banquets during the Renaissance, the choreographed combat pits two opposing armies in a mock battle provoked by — what else? — a lover’s quarrel, of course.
After the hustle and bustle of Dubrovnik, Korčula seemed pleasantly low-key. Located on one of Croatia’s bigger islands, the city also sits on the water and is encircled by the remnants of a thick stone wall. The historic center has several medieval stone churches, sprinkled liberally throughout the small grid of narrow streets. In essence, it has all the charm of Dubrovnik without the hordes of cruise-ship passengers.
Croatia — or at least its southern coast — seems to have a postcard waiting to happen around almost every corner. Azure waters shimmer resplendently in cove after scenic cove; the scraggly coastline is fringed with verdant trees; and the Adriatic’s many islands beckon the traveler with the promise of serene escape from everyday worries.
It takes a hard man to catch a glimpse of Dubrovnik and not fall in love at first sight. Set on a rocky outcrop that juts out into the Adriatic sea, Dubrovnik’s walled-in maze of closely-built houses is a veritable latticework of orange hues when viewed from above, providing a striking contrast to the aquamarine bays and deep blue sea water that encircle it. Small wonder it has been dubbed the Pearl of the Adriatic.
D was not quite sixteen when he went to his first rock concert. He remembers vividly having a dream in which a friend offered to take him to see Metallica live. The next day, this same friend, who sat in front of D in English class, turned around right before the bell and asked if D liked Green Day, and then said she had an extra ticket to see their show. The dream remains D’s only brush with clairvoyance while the concert, which in addition to Green Day also featured The Offspring, Soul Asylum, Ben Folds Five, Third Eye Blind, Fuel, and STP’s Scott Weiland, instantly infected D with an insatiable appetite for live music.