Monday is a great day for photos of the beautiful Croatian wine country, I dare say. So get ready, here come a lot of them! It’s been just long enough now since our trip to Dubrovnik that I have loved working my way through these photos. Our day trip through the Pelješac peninsula just north of Dubrovnik to see where they make their delicious Dinga? red wine was a wonderful day trip from the city.
The driving was just wild enough to provide a little thrill, and at each turn was a more beautiful vista. But I was very glad that by the end of the day the thrilling drive hadn’t sent us free-falling directly into the beautiful vistas! It was touch and go there for a few hairpin turns!
When we started our day trip, the weather looked more like this. It was cloudy and a little rainy as we made the 45-minute drive north from Dubrovnik along the coast. But we knew the forecast was for the rain to clear by mid-afternoon, so we figured we’d make the most of the cloudy portion by driving and enjoy the views by the time we got to the end of the peninsula. And it worked! Don’t you love when the forecast is right? That doesn’t always happen here in Ireland.
The Pelješac peninsula is known for two things: wine and shellfish, in the form of mussels and oysters. Oysters and mussels don’t really do it for us (texture! eeeh!), but we are pretty big fans of red wine. We had had some delicious Dinga? wine (pronounced ding-gatch, we think) in the Dubrovnik old town the night before we went, so we knew exactly what we were looking for!
The funny thing about this road trip is that it reminded us (for the umpteenth time that week) that so many things in Croatia are closed in April. We drove through Ston, and it felt like a ghost town. There were a locals working on their shops and cafes, but otherwise there were just cats and empty laneways. To be honest, it was creepy. We wanted to walk up the amazing old stone wall that crosses over the little mountain in the town, but it was closed for renovation (sense a theme?) so we high-tailed it back on down the peninsula.
I did the driving on the way north and into the bulk of the peninsula, so we had fewer photos until we switched and I started demanding we pull over. When I was driving, I was so focused on the winding road that I forgot to pull us over!
We pulled over at this scenic little spot for a picnic lunch. I was so proud of myself for our random leftover lunch – roasted onions, sweet potatoes and kielbasa with spinach and Greek yogurt in a wrap. It sounds bizarre, but it was delicious. Although pretty much anything would have been delicious with that epic view. There was even a giant thunder and lightening storm happening way off in the distance!
Blue sky is wonderful, but grey skies bring the drama.
Two beautiful photographs taken from the speeding car while Michael played Formula One on the Pelješac roads. They’re blurry because I was holding on for dear life with my other hand! On the left you can see the twisted branches of the grapevines. The whole peninsula was covered with them. Old vines, young vines, vines in front gardens, basically vines in any space bigger than two feet wide.
In the high season, as you drive along the peninsula you could stop at a hundred different wineries (there were hand painted signs all along the roads), but we also realized that if you had two grapevines outside your back door, you had a “winery”. Ha! I would have loved to have stopped at one of the little mom and pop wineries, but sadly the only one that we found open was one of the largest ones. It wasn’t so sad, of course, because we got to roam the very expansive, very dark (and very un-photogenic) wine cellars while it downpoured outside. No photos, but it was the Matusko winery and there was a Maserati parked outside. I think they do okay by Croatian wine standards!
After our winery visit we made a terrifying mistake. There’s a tunnel that goes through the mountain on the edge of the peninsula to where the really good wine grapes are grown on the edge of a cliff. We thought that tunnel would connect us to the main road and we were very wrong. Well, if we had been brave enough to drive along the narrow paved/pebbled road with no guard rails it might have eventually led to the main road. But instead we had to stop the car so we could switch drivers and Michael could turn it around while I stood on the side of the pebbles and closed my eyes and held my breath. Once we got turned around and back through the tunnel, our adventure was a happy experience again.
I hate heights and being the passenger was worse because I had to be on the outside of the road, right along the cliffs. So few guardrails, Croatia. Can we work on that? So scary!
We had a glass of wine and sat on the edge of the Adriatic Sea. It was bliss.
Orebi? seems adorable, and both of us said we’d love to come back and take the ferry across to the island opposite the peninsula when the temperature was a little higher.
After spending a little time in the sunshine, collecting bits of pretty seaglass and gazing into the turquoise water, we realized we had better make tracks! We wanted to get off that peninsula and back to Dubrovnik before the sun set. The driving was wayyyyyy too precarious to do it in the dark. If we returned, we’d definitely stay a few nights because we were exhausted by the end of the long day of driving!
And thank goodness for Michael’s Formula One driving, because we made it back to Dubrovnik just as the sun was sinking below the islands. I made him pull over just one more time so I could snap another sunset photo without the blur. I swear, Croatian sunsets might just be the best going.
In case you missed it — our time in Dubrovnik was wonderful, too!