Ston's claim to fame was the large salt drying fields immediately adjacent to the city and which had the entire site seeing attributes of a cornfield and a large diamond shaped city wall
. In the first forty minutes we trudged along the city wall as it went up a steep hill to end at a medieval tower. Due to the worn slippery stones and the sharp incline it was a harder journey than it looked and with Collette on my sweaty head I had to take a break half way up. Once the wall was completed we were faced with an even more daunting and difficult task than hauling a thirty pound three year old up a barbarian fence, what to do next?
The town had one main square surrounded by three cafes, a bakery, and a wine shop and not much else. It was rather strange, but if they had built the town about a half-mile to the north they could have a nice waterfront area. They probably didn't due to some long dead enemy. Partly out of curiosity, we splurged one night and ordered the fish platter. It was tasty but we spent most of our time telling Collette to stop feeding the cats hounding our table and at one point had to untie her from a fishing net that they had hung as a decoration.
A general rule when traveling is that if you think the town you are in is small and boring do not go to a new town with the same name but with a preceding word meaning "little". This is what we did and took a bus to Mali (little) Ston. Its sole attractions are two expensive, highly-regarded seafood restaurants. We scanned the cheapest items and ordered
. Here we also had the displeasure of sitting next to a table full of Americans.1
A large one (they always are) was broadcasting in a large loud voice the nature of taxes and Ronald Reagan. We left at the point when they were trying to sift through the bill with a flustered waiter because each couple had asked for separate checks. Anybody who has had even a casual conversation with me knows that this is one of my pet peeves and at the mere mention of separate checks I will fly into a lengthy monolog about how these people don't know rudimentary subtraction or addition and which will conclude with a comment about their general lameness. To me, separate checks is about the equivalent of manslaughter. This town also had the most bullet-ridden house we had seen yet. The rain was still threatening and we went up to wait for the return bus that we had been quoted three different times for. After an hour wait we decided to walk back but the thought that we would have to walk along a narrow road that was shared by massive tourist busses, cars, and trucks filled us with dread. Risking Collette's life so we could leave a really boring town to go to a boring town a half hour earlier did not seem like a rational decision. Luckily we found a road parallel to the main one and had a refreshing and safe walk back and watched the bus coast into town just as we were arriving.
Soon we were waiting for a new bus to take us further North up the Croatian coastline. During this waiting time I bought an over priced towel2
and Collette got to exercise current American diplomatic policy on a small group of older Croatian kids. She chased them around with a big stick until she was over come by exhaustion and sat down. The bus came and we left Ston. Even boring places have their charm but only for about a day.
1. The rest of the Americans we have met have been humble and friendly.
2. I am still upset about it but I figure he might need the extra seven dollars more than me.
Always on a bus ride there is one very pressing question. How do we recognize when to get off? Since the bus drivers are accommodating and friendly and know that at least a third of the bus is clueless they help you out with knowing nods or announcements. We arrived at Ston, accosted the information booth for a place to stay, received some obscure directions and set out. Using the term setting out is being over ambitious since it usually implies the beginning of a long or arduous journey. We only went two streets and were arguing about where to go next when we saw a lanky guy waving to us between two restaurants. Climbing three flights of stairs we were in another small apartment and started looking for the "weird thing". This one was easy to spot because the couch had no part to sit on. Supposedly the result of some destruction done by previous tenants. Collette loved it and immediately amused our new landlords by rolling around in the frame of what was once a couch. Bravo!