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Cunard Queen Victoria 2018
Mediterranean Cruise part 2
Map Introduction to  the Cruise, Venice and the initial day at Sea Korcula, Croatia Valletta, Malta Messina, Sicily, Italy Naples, Italy Civitavecchia (for Rome), Italy Barcelona, Spain Ajaccio, Corsica, France Villefranche, France Livorno (for Florence and Pisa), Italy  

Korcula, Croatia - Monday 24 September

After leaving Venice, the first port was the small island of Korcula, and its main town, also called Korcula just a few hours cruise from Dubrovnik. It was our second visit to Korkula. The QV was at anchor so it gave the crew the chance to demonstrate their skills with handling the tenders. Because we were Top Sailors on this cruise we had priority tender embarkation and could walk directly down onto the tenders.

The town is walled, with four towers "kula", and the tenders arrived on the west side, near the Kula. The town is very compact. On our previous visit we had walked the walls anticlockwise so we now set off in the opposite direction, climbing up to the road at the Kula Kanavelic and then along the ramparts to the Kula Zakerjan. It was early and all the cafes along the wall were quiet. There are beaches marked on our map along the east coast, but that only means there are steps down to the water where there are rocks and pebbles. It may be fine for swimming but nowhere for lying on the beach. However there were good views from the bars and cafes along the wall and to walk all around the walls of the Old Town was only 700 metres. After the Kula Svih Svetih, the third of the four towers, the base of the wall had attracted a row of souvenir stalls. There were more shops and cafes in the Trg kralja Tomislava and the streets next to the Marco Polo Museum. There is also a small supermarket which accepts visa and mastercard. This was useful because we did not have any of the local currency.

 

We walked onwards along the waterfront towards the park and the bus station before turning back into the narrow streets where the shops were starting to open. From the large circular Trg Pomirenja there was a good view of the QV in the distance. Continuing along the walls to the Velika Knezeva Kula gave another good view across the harbour and we retraced our steps to climb up to the gate at Veliki Revelin. It was becoming busy but there was time to look inside the church of Saint Mihovila (Saint Michael) and the Trg Antuna i Stjepana Radica opposite. Passing more shops we reached the Trg Sv. Marka and its cathedral and museums.

 

On our previous visit we had paid to go inside the Cathedral of St Mark and also paid to go up the tower. Be warned. It is a very narrow climb and not suitable for large bags - which are best left at the ticket desk at the half waypoint. Indeed the final part of the climb to reach the platform with the bells is quite difficult and you need to be slim to move round the outside, but the views from the top are worth the effort. We met a tour guide at the bottom who expressed surprise we had been up - she said she had been up once and might try again once more in her lifetime! We have added some of our pictures from the last visit as we did not climb up this time.

The 14th century Bishop's Palace next door again had a small charge and contained the Cathedral Treasury with a display of relics, church plate and vestments. On our previous visit we had also visited the Town Museum, Gradski Muzej. It is housed in the Gabrielis Palace and concentrates on important local history, and the industries of stoneworking and shipbuilding. There are also ceramic and stone artefacts from the 3rd century BC, found in the area. A video showed local sword dancing, which has been re-established as a folklore festival, and also seemed to include the ceremonial re-enactment of the traditional beheading of a bull. The brochure for the folklore group festival, which took place from 8 to 15 July 2014, showed 8 groups from 7 different villages in the island - "Kumpanjija" from Smokvica, Blato, Pupnat, Zrnovo, Saint Cecilija, Vela Luka, Cara and Moreska Korcula.

Continuing along the main street the church of Sv. Petra (Saint Peter) was open to view, and then we could see the tower of the House of Marco Polo above. There is a possibility that the famous explorer Marco Polo was born in 1254 in Korcula and there are five places, including the Marco Polo Museum and the House of Marco Polo which exploit that connection. Unfortunately the entrance prices were in local currency they could not accept our euros.

This was a short visit because we had visited the town before and so did not visit many of the interesting churches and museums again. We also arrived early so it was quick and easy to walk around. We found we went back on an empty tender as many others were only just arriving. Overall it is a pleasant small town with the chance to travel by tender and do some souvenir shopping and then have a drink at a cafe. Cunard ships have added the island to their regular itineraries but given the choice we prefer to go to Dubrovnic where there is much more to explore. We were back on board after visiting almost everything but without a cafe after three hours in plenty of time for lunch and a lie in the sun.

 

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Content revised: 6th October, 2018