Posted May 31, 2014 at 19:12

The new two-lane 'highway' between Stari Grad and Hvar tunnels through the mountain for a speedy and much shorter trip than the old narrow road that went across the top.  Fortunately this old, scenic road is still pretty much like it was, sees little traffic nowadays and is one of the bike-routes on the island.

Panorama of the view to Tiha Lika (bay), Zavala (bay) and Stari Grad town from the old road to Hvar on the top  (slide to the right)...   Brac Island and Biokovo mountain/Makarska in the background (yet again)

With the lavender fields still getting ready for full bloom in a couple of weeks (see yesterday's post), there is an abundance of other colors:
The scents are just amazing and always present - with red pine, wildflowers and herbs (tons of rosemary) growing everywhere.  The heat of the sun evaporates them, then in the evening as the air cools the aromas descend again...

At the top of the mountain, we found an interesting relic - a lime-kiln that was built just before the start of WWI by local men to make lime for walls - alas the war started, the men had to go, and the kiln remains unused.  It is positioned right next to a lookout, a perfect stop along the road.

No entry fees charged (yet)

Just a bit further along, the view to the west opens: Pakleni (Hells) Islands off Hvar town and the island of Vis in the distance:

The small village of Grablje...

... sits nestled at the top, still lived in, partially.

As the road continues along the ridge there are nice views to the north as well - west end of Brac (right), Island of Solta (farther left) and the 'Gate of Split' in between, Trogir area in the far background.

Hvar town awaits at the end of this road. We parked the car back in a residential area on a hill in this always busy town and walked down a long, seemingly endless set of steps formed by ancient, narrow, stone streets (very much old Venetian style).  The harbour, always windy and wavy by the afternoon with the prevailing NW-ly, had its share of boats already, with more charter boat arriving and tying up to the wall with restless seas surging...  We watched this from a nice shoreside restaurant/pizzeria that served us a nice gaspaccio followed by aragula pasta for D and pizza for me...   After some important and successful sightseeing (gioiellerias), we finally found good quality pear schnapps in the local Konzum supermarket to replenish our rapidly dwindling supply (we've been looking since Umag...). We bought one, got out, tasted it, and went back for another (it is good).  Hauling it up those same stairs in the afternoon heat was another story.  Somehow, through all this we forgot to take pictures.  We've revisited Hvar town now quite a number of times in the last couple of years, but invariably end up not taking photos.

We spent the rest of the day criss-crossing the southern side of the island.  First, along the new road there's the small village of Zarace with a natural 300ft breakwater, harboring two restaurants and a rolly, deep bay not suitable for anchoring. After this, the new road cuts across to the north side via a new tunnel.  Getting back to the south side further on involved crossing an old, single-lane one-mile (1.6km) long tunnel (above Jelsa) with broken, potholed pavement, unfinished walls and ceiling, water dripping  (but there's a automated traffic light system controlling the direction) to Zavala. The tunnel is perfectly straight, with no lights, so one can see a very small white dot, the exit, in the distance as soon as the tunnel is entered.  From there we went to the village of Sveta Nedelja (Saint Sunday) and back (the only paved road)...

The Elementary School


Shoreside (there's a nice concrete harbour
too for a couple of boats, sorry no pics.)

Local winery

And the view from sea (couple days later) - see the two large caves above...  They're a good 45min climb, next time...

There was just time enough for one short walk (15min), back near Vrboska to an old 'castle' (according to the roadside sign) - really an old medieval observation tower ('torre').

- Z -