Tuesday 13th September 2022
Camp Prapratno and Ston
It was a bit of a trek from Krka to Prapratno, a beachside campsite on the Peljesac Peninsular. One hundred and forty miles of mainly motorway driving that was savagely punctuated by a couple of stones, thrown up by a lorry on the opposite carriageway, hitting Andy’s windscreen and leaving a spiral crack about 50mm in diameter!
Until this year, if you wanted to drive from the northern 80% of Croatia to Dubrovnik, you had to cross through a thin sliver of Bosnia Hercegovina, before reaching Dubrovnik. Earlier this year the majestic Peljesac Bridge was opened, which now means that instead we crossed over on to the peninsular to bypass the border with Bosnia and any potential problems with our insurance caused by having to leave the EU. As well as a new bridge, there is also a brand spanking new road that has been driven right through the centre of the peninsular. This played havoc with our sat nav, which came close to saying; “That’s it, I can’t navigate any more, I feel sick!”
Prapratno is a beautiful looking campsite, behind its own beach, in its own cove. The pitches are set amongst old olive trees, laden with fat green olives, that bounce of your roof at night with resounding thuds. The beach is supposed to be dog free, but at this end of the season they are allowed on in the evening and early morning, which was handy as there was nowhere else to give them a run.
We are only stopping here tonight, so as soon as we had laid the ground sheets, opened the tables and chairs out, and had a bit of lunch, we jumped into the Fozzies van to the nearest village, an intriguing place called Ston.
I doubt if you, dear reader, have heard of Ston before? You are not alone. The tiny town or medium sized village doesn’t figure in most tourist guides and I had just picked up one mention about the walls of Ston, which I thought was a typo.
Ston and its partner village, Mali Ston (little Ston), were the centre of a power struggle seven centuries ago. They were part of the Republic of Dubrovnik but neighbouring, rival powers, the Venetians, the Ottomans, etc. had their eyes on Ston’s very lucrative salt pans. In 1350, to aid the defence of the towns a seven kilometre wall was built linking up the town walls and half the mountain between them. Today five kilometres of wall still exists, making it the longest, complete, defensive wall in existence. Apparently, the walls were built in 18 months and cost 12,500 ducats. I’ve no idea how much that is, but Ston’s salt business was worth 15,000 ducats a year at the time, so probably well worth it!
Andy had found a free parking spot in Mali Ston (the village is now renowned for its oysters) so we walked the walls from there back to Ston and lost count of the number of steps we climbed in the hot sun, so Wendy deserved her ice cream in Ston, from here it was a gentle stroll back along a flat foot path which was all going well until we stumbled across a snake!
Ston and Mali Ston are both little Croatian gems and prove the Foskett’s motto; “If you don’t go, you wont know!”