The further adventures of Stan -15
I had always wanted to go to an island near Dubrovnik since my bridge friends went on a bridge holiday there, and I missed out on going. So this was my chance to see what I had missed.
The Elaphite or Deer Islands consist of large number of reefs and rocks and eight islands and five islets, namely: Daksa, Koločep, St. Andrija, Lopud, Ruda, Šipan, Mišnjak, Jakljan, Kosmeč, Goleč, Crkvine, Tajan and Olipa.
Koločep, Lopud and Šipan are the three inhabited ones, and they are the ones we will visit.
Our ship is a mock 16th century galleon, with markings on her sails to make her resemble a pirate ship, and all the crew are dressed up to fit with the theme. When we got on board, the ship was full, having already picked up loads of people at two other places. There was live music being played and the smell of fish being cooked. The day was bright and beautiful and we knew we were going to have a good time.
Our first stop, Kolocep, was about a half hour sail away, and we were allowed two hours there. Most of the people seemed to either go to a coffee shop or sit on the beach, but we chose to go on a cross island walk, and took in a bit of the sights and sounds. There was nobody to tell us what we were seeing, so other than a few houses being built and a lot of very pretty vegetation, we didn't learn much.
As we were going on our walk, Stan said, “You really like Sven, don't you Liz?!
“Yes, he's a very interesting man.”
“But do you like him enough to want to get to know him better?”
“Do you mean do I fancy him? I think I'd have to say no.”
“His value system seems very different from mine. He is so proud of his wealth, and can't wait to show off how much money he has.”
“He's generous. He bought us a very expensive meal, and paid for all the other expenses from our trip yesterday.”
“Yes, I know, and that was fine. He can afford to be generous. I think I am generous too.”
“Well, you are always worried about how much things cost. I don't suppose he worries about lights and heaters left on.”
“That's my common sense as much as it is my wanting to watch expenses. And I think you have to consider your environment as well as your own personal wants and needs.”
“So if he wanted to see you again, and sent you a ticket to go to Georgia, you'd turn him down.”
“Well, it might be fun to go and visit him, but I wouldn't do it unless there were no strings attached.”
“You don't want to sleep with him then?”
“Certainly I have no desire to do so now, and I can't see me changing my mind about that. Usually being physically attracted to a person is something that either happens or it doesn't.”
"I think he really likes you. And if you married him, you could live in America again."
"I can't even find that thought very attractive. Georgia is pretty much deep south - with all the racial tensions that are involved in that. And the climate, no matter how attractive he finds it, would be too hot and sultry for me."
By this time our time was running out and we needed to return to the boat.
Our next stop, Lopud, was the most populace of the islands, and we had only an hour and a half there. This one had the most shops, and most of the people decided to take advantage of the opportunity to spend their holiday cash. We again went for a walk, and saw some ruined churches, and again lots of interesting bits of horticulture. Few of the tourists left the port area.
On route to the third island, Sipan, we were served our meal – fried tuna fish with a salad. We bought some local beer to drink with it, and it was a tasty meal. There was also a vegetarian option of a rice dish, but it didn't look very tempting, and various comments we heard proved that to be the case.
When we arrived for our last stop, we were encouraged to swim if we wanted to. Stan and I wandered again across the island to a little place where we were just about the only people there, except for an ice cream man. We made his day, and enjoyed our treat, and then Stan dove in and had a pleasant swim. I was scared to swim so far away from other people in case we got into trouble, so just soaked up the sun and read a bit more of my book. We had to run the last few yards to make it back to the ship which was just about to depart. But all in all we had a lovely day, even if we didn't learn anything about the places we went.
Sunday I spent my time exploring the churches near to us in Mlini – but that didn't appeal to Stan, so he went off to do his own thing, and I didn't see him again until the evening.
Because I was on my own, I spent quite a bit of time talking to other tourists or the locals and learned quite a bit more about our little village.
Mlini used to be the ancient historical settlement Molina. Even before it became a mill town, it was mentioned because in the 15th Century two boats carried water from here to Dubrovnik, especially in the summer months when there was a drought.
When it became a milling centre in the 19th Century, boats came not only from the city, the whole of Župa, and neighbouring Konavle and Herzegovina, but also from the Ukraine and were carrying wheat that was milled here. And whilst the men worked in the mills, the woman sewed and washed the bags for flour. After 1897, the mill grindstones used electric energy from their own central power Station in the mill
The parish Church of St. Hilarion is located in the oldest part of Mlini. Hilarion's name has its roots from the Greek word ilaros which means happy, joyful, vivacious. It is mentioned in the Dubrovnik Statute in 1272. It was badly damaged, especially in the earthquake of 1667, and renovated in 1683 in a Baroque style. It was damaged again in the earthquakes of 1823 and 1824. According to ancient legend, St. Hilarion, a hermit and saint of Palestinian origins, killed a dragon on the coast of Mlini and freed this area from paganism. According to historical sources the people of Hilarion were shepherds and were scared of snakes. The church was built inhonour of St. Hilarion who became the patron saint of Mlini, and the big bell is dedicated to him. It sounds awfully like the St
Patrick stories from Ireland to me.
In the vestry of the church there is a large ancient cross from the 15th century and is the only item to be kept from the time before the Great quake. The walls, which were painted by the academic painter and sculptor Bruno Stane Grill as a gift to his home town of Mlini, tell the story of the Great quake.
Beside the beach itself, is the old Church of St. Rocco protector from the plague in the 15th century, and it was extended in the 19th century. The altar painting Saint Rocco is the work of the painter Mladen Pejaković.
The Church of Our Lady of the Rosary which was damaged in the earthquake in 1979, was renovated and returned to its former glory. There was a snack place where I sat and chatted with some of the locals. They claimed that the plane tree, which we were sitting under, was planted in 1743 and it was the resting and meeting place of generations of people from Župa. The nearby stream comes through the village, nourishes the tree, and then flows into the sea.