Thursday, September 13, 2007

cavtat remembered

I've just realised, now that I'm back in England and distanced from lovely Croatia, that, despite writing a glut of pretentious or smart-aleccy posts about my trip away, I never really got round to describing Cavtat, so I'll attempt to do so now, although you'll almost certainly glean more from the accompanying photos than from my prose.

Cavtat, twelve miles south of Dubrovnik, is just about the most southerly town in Croatia, situated right down on the narrow strip of coast which hugs the neighbouring countries of Bosnia-Hercegovina and Montenegro. It's a very beautiful town, situated on a strikingly beautiful wooded peninsula with a beautiful bay on either side, cool clear water in each case studded with passive white boats. Both bays operate as harbours, but the main one, which sits in front of a small and impossibly ornate terracotta town, is lined with trees on one side and a picturesque promenade on the other, which is populated with charming bars and restaurants, and a couple of attractive waterfront Churches. This larger harbour, which buzzes with activity each time one of the little boats arrives taking tourists to or from Dubrovnik, just up the coast, is also currently home to several enormous, gleaming yauchts, each scarcely smaller than the town's two big hotels, which, admittedly, are fairly monstrous in a functional 1970s style.

For beauty - not that sitting in a quayside bar sipping beer is not to be encouraged - the visitor is best off leaving the promenade and climbing up the narrow lanes into Old Cavtat, which is less tourist resort and more the very picture of Medditeranean beauty - cobbled streets lined with pine trees and blossoming flowers lead up to a green precipice overlooking the Adriatic, upon the top of which is perched a mausoleum, heavily scented and shockingly solitary, even if it is only a couple of hundred metres from the town centre. Clambering down, the peninsula is circled by a sun-drenched path, skirting the sea, which is accessed not by sandy beaches but from the rare stone bathing platforms that extend into the water alongside huge and jagged rocks. Despite the lack of conventional beaches, the water is incredibly clear and still, if not quite as warm as the more Southerly resorts in the Meditteranean. And perhaps most impressively, at least during the week I was there, the sunsets over the harbours are quite beautiful.

Combined with lots of fresh fish and the fact that Dubrovnik is just around the corner, it's little wonder that Cavtat is blossoming as a tourist destinaton. I'm not sure that I would go there in preference to the nicer resorts of Italy or Greece, but it's a lovely place and, frankly, when work are paying, a pretty fine place for a business trip, too. I'd probably recommend seeking out a villa rather than the rather depressing hotels, but that aside, if you get the chance, go.

No comments: