Mljet and a first

Breakfast is served from eight, so we endeavour (and succeed) to get up late. There is not much available at the buffet, but our hostess (the same as yesterday, she is the owner of the apartments and restaurant) promises she can make anything we ask for. For starters she brings us a freshly made smoothie, which is always a great start to your day. I have scrambled eggs, Arne an omelette with vegetables.

We assemble our sandwiches from our groceries, I manage to pack them nicely in the plastic bag used for the apples: sandwiches with chicken and goat cheese slices with salad, tomato and dijonnaise. I add radishes for myself, pickled stuff for Arne. It’s an hour’s drive to the entry of the Nacionalni Park Mljet, back over the curvy hilly road. Usually I drive in the mornings and Arne in the afternoon. It’s about 20° outside, or 22° on the east side of the hills. On the way we surprise two deer, it looks like a mother and a little one, by the side of the road. They flee quickly up the steep hillside.

At the parking lot we see an actual charging station for hybrid or electrical cars. We try to charge our battery, but it doesn’t seem to work. The park attendants tell us these charging stations are really new and they have no idea how they work, so we move the car to a shady spot, put on our walking gear and get ready to leave. One of the park attendants comes over to say they have called management and if we’re willing to wait a couple of minutes they’re sure they can get the charging stations to work. So we move the car back and hang around a bit. After a minute or five a car stops by to drop of something for the park attendants. We exchange an identity card for a magnetic card to unlock the charging station and after some trying get everything to work correctly.

We set off along the shores of Veliko Jezero, translated as Big Lake. We walk south towards Stari Most (old bridge) and take a detour towards what is informally known as the Third Lake. We struggle through dense brush up a hill and down the other side and arrive at a waterfront polluted by trash. We see a teddy bear, plastic nets, a light bulb and plastic bottles. It seems this trash is washing up from other parts of the Mediterranean. We have our homemade sandwiches for lunch and set back of, this time along the other shore of Veliko Jezero. The road around the lake is completely flat and mostly asphalted, so it’s easy walking. We pass by the Sveta Marija island, which holds the remains of a monastery. It’s again very warm, especially in the lee of the hills where there is no wind. When we pass a small village near the end of the tour we get an ice cream to compensate.

Back at the parking I get my identity card back from the attendant. She was specifically instructed to congratulate us because we are the first people to use these charging stations! The car battery is indeed fully charged and we drive back to the hotel mostly on electrical power. On the way, while still in the national park, we see a small animal crossing the road. The tail is too big to be a rat, too small for a squirrel, Arne says it’s a mongoose, which is indeed supposed to live here on the island (not an endemic species).

At the hotel we wash away all the sun screen, I launder some of our favourite walking clothes and we hang around on the restaurant terrace reading, sorting pictures and writing the log until it is time for dinner. We have octopus salad (again, but it’s a really great dish) and a lamb casserole and manage to polish off an entire bottle of Croatian red wine. Tomorrow we plan to spend some time on the beach nearby and take the ferry back to the mainland at 15:00.

Today’s statistics: 18.658 steps, 13,17 km, 44 floors

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