It took the ferry about 45 minutes to reach the island of Brač from Split.
When it landed in Supetar I disembarked with a handful of passengers, most of them local. The boat was well under capacity–no surprise, since it was the middle of January. Brač is dead in winter.
The streets were mine to roam alone.
A narrow street leading from the marina was crowned by laundry hanging to dry in the winter sun. It Looked promising.
Just through the alleyway was a small orchard with lemon and olive trees. A vineyard next door lay bare.
I followed the alleyway, which narrowed even more into a slippery stone pedestrian path, and climbed a hill. A street running off to the right caught my attention. A crude chalkboard sign reading “wine and olive oil” was propped up along the wall not far down the street. A metal gate leading to a small garden and a whitewashed stucco house stood open, and I called for someone.
“Dobardan,” came the reply, and a stooped old woman shuffled out of the house.
“Vino?” I asked hesitantly.
She said something unintelligible and beckoned me to follow her into a cellar built into the side of the hill. Inside were several stainless steel fermentation vats. Without saying a word she picked up a smudged glass and filled it with a generous helping of white wine, then proffered it to me. The cellar was cold and damp and the wine was extremely chilled. It was also too sweet. I shook my head no, then pointed to another barrel, hoping it would be better than the first. Alas, it wasn’t much better, but I felt it would be rude to leave without buying anything. Luckily 1.5 liters of red (Contained in a recycled plastic water bottle) only cost about $4.
I bade the woman Farewell and continued down the road, passing another grove of olive trees and stands of oranges.
Finally the road wound its way back to shore, and I began walking back towards the harbor. A towering water slide stood empty–a plastic totem of lively summer days and warm summer nights.
I had an hour to kill before the ferry back to Split, so I sat down for a meal of meaty swordfish and ratatouille at this restaurant, then watched a small fishing boat enter the harbor. An older man stepped out, lugging tackle in one hand and a few medium-sized fish in the other. The ferry horn blew; it was time to leave Supetar.