ay 8: Dubrovnik – Mljet
We really needed to get the ferry from Dubrovnik to Polače on the Island of Mljet, because there was only one ferry in the morning and one in the evening from G&V Line. We couldn´t buy the ticket (which cost about 7 Euro) in advance, the ticket sale started for whatever reasons only one hour before the departure – in our case at 7 a.m. When we arrived at the pier and where the ticket booth is, there were already many people. After we got our tickets, we had to wait, and it was not really well organised. At first, no one knew where to wait or where to queue. Sometime later some people came and set up barriers on two sides, pushing the crowds behind that. When the ferry arrived, emptied and got new fuel, there came some signal that boarding starts and then everyone ran past the barriers or pushed them aside, to get to the entrance – with a cluster of people building in front. Then the pushing started, and people tried to jostle through the crowds, including one particularly unpleasant Italian woman with fan acting like a diva and pushing people aside while saying “permesso, permesso!” “Vaffanculo!” I thought. It was all very stressful, probably because everyone was scared to not get on the ferry (even with a ticket). The boat ride was okay, and after two hours we finally arrived at Polače on the island of Mljet.
We chose Mljet as a destination for two nights because it is said to be the quietest and maybe the most beautiful. It is certainly no party island and doesn’t even have a city, just some villages. It has a National Park with two huge lakes that are the main attraction of the island. It was just what we needed after the beautiful but hectic Dubrovnik. After not getting the little pension we wanted (overbooked), we booked at the Hotel Odisej in advance – the only hotel on the whole island. And it was nice, that they picked us up from the ferry in Polače to bring us to the hotel, which is located in Pomena, a few kilometres away (we had to pay for that service though).
The hotel was huge and located just at the water in the pleasant little village of Pomena. Our room wasn’t that spacious but looked nice and clean with a Flatscreen-TV (blurred reception and few channels though), free Wi-Fi outside the rooms, a mini-bar that we couldn’t get colder than the room temperature and a veranda with barely a view. Luckily the air-con was working properly as it was scorching. Some things were a bit dated, the washbasin was rusty, and there was a spider web under the table. Everything in the “Wellness Center” cost extra. Usually, we wouldn’t have cared – all in all, the hotel was alright – but it was the most expensive hotel on our trip, and we were, therefore, a bit disappointed. A big plus though, was that the very early check-in was no problem so that we could use the whole day exploring Mljet.
After having a snack and buying some local grapes from a sweet older lady in a booth and talking to another friendly lady at another booth selling souvenirs, who gave us some tips for Mljet, we started our tour. We went to the ticket booth for the National Park and then went up the track that leads from Pomena to the first lake, the smaller “Malo Jezero”, which is just a short walk away. There are many signs in the National Park, and it’s easy to navigate. The lake itself was beautiful, and there weren’t many people. It was a relaxed atmosphere.
We first wanted to take the boat to the Benedictine Monastery, located on an island inside the bigger lake “Veliko Jezero”. So we followed the trail and soon reached the boat, which left nearby the little canal that connects the bigger to the smaller lake. After a short time, we’ve reached the island, which also has a restaurant, visited the small church and a looked at what’s left of the Monastery. Some construction/renovation was going on. We decided to walk up to the peak of the little island, where we had a lovely view before we looked for an excellent place to swim and relax at the turquoise water – and there are many places for that on the island. My friend already sat down on a narrow cemented bench then an Italian family came and just stayed there and glued themselves so that we move away. I just thought, E cazzo, what a rompe coglioni.
So what to do? We just moved along and eventually found a better place to swim. When we had enough, we decided to leave the island, and if we feel like swimming again, we better go to the small lake which is closer to our hotel so we can just walk back.
We walked around the small lake, where we found another beautiful place to swim and rest again. It is a lovely and very relaxed area. The water in the lakes is actually a mixture of freshwater and saltwater. It is somehow connected to the sea.
Back in Pomena we did some shopping and met a nice woman at a booth who sold beautiful self-made jewellery, and we talked a bit. At the hotel we wanted to sign up for a tour to the “Odysseus Cave” – unfortunately, there were not enough participants, so they cancelled the tour and told us the only other way to visit the cave is to have your own car. Later we went to check the swimming area next to the hotel and waited for the sunset. It turned to be the best sunset view we had during the entire trip.
Afterwards, we went looking for a nice restaurant. There are many choices in Pomena, and we went to an Italian restaurant with a terrace, where we got ourselves delicious fish and pizza. Unfortunately, my rice was basically swimming in olive oil. The marina came to life as there was a party-boat anchored there.