The Old Town of Korčula | Photo by Tricia A. Mitchell
It was the last day of summer, and Tricia and I were taking full advantage of the bountiful sunshine to investigate the mysteries of Korčula’s old town, a former Venetian outpost.
During more volatile times on the Adriatic, the city was used to spy on the nearby city-state of Ragusa (Dubrovnik) and the activities of its arch-nemesis, the Ottoman Empire.
At one time, Korčula’s harbors would have been lined with merchant vessels bound for the Orient carrying the salt that made Venice wealthy. Today, the only ships from Venice are gleaming white cruise ships filled with camera-toting tourists.
Marco Polo is thought to be from Korčula. The Venetian explorer, who wrote of his travels while languishing in a Genovese prison, knew about the island’s simple pleasures.
He would have known about the pristine waters that surround the fortified peninsula of today’s old town, where fish of every color and size swim in clear view of the surface.
Marco also would have known that these incredible marvels of nature love the crumbs of a rice cake. Or, maybe at the very least, the crumbs of a fresh loaf of bread from a nearby bakery.
Here is a short video I made of Korčula’s simple pleasures:
Tricia and I had a wonderful day enjoying summer’s conclusion.
We discovered panoramic views from a quay wall on the north side of the peninsula. Here, Tricia and I approached the water’s edge and peered down into the sapphire blue of the Adriatic Sea.
Like an open-air aquarium with a glass top, we could clearly see the bottom, and all the life in between. There were fish with blue stripes and black dots on their tails to confuse predators, black fish with a hint of red, and fast-moving silver-colored fish.
At the very bottom, a forest of prickly sea urchins covered the rocks, daring anyone to try eating it’s meaty interior.
Craving an interaction with this immense scene of natural beauty, we reached into our bag and extracted crumbs from a package of gluten-free rice cakes.
Would the fish ‘take the bait’? Tricia sprinkled a handful of white flakes over the surface of the water and waited.
For what seemed like an eternity, nothing happened. The lonely remnants of a rice cake simply bobbed in the gentle waves. But then, a single, undaunted black fish meandered to the surface, examined the floating white clumps, and decided to take a bite.
Within seconds, the rest of the watery gang took notice, and a feeding frenzy began. Who knew that rice cakes would be so popular?
Smiling, Tricia rubbed her hands together, casting into the water what remaining pieces of rice cake were still clinging to her hands.
What simple pleasures are to be had in beautiful settings like Korčula, Croatia!