Mljet – The Background

I’m a bit behind on this, I know. But it’s nice to add a little bit of culture to the blog, so it’s not just the hum drum “and then we did this, then this, and I went for food, and the food was like good and stuff” background noise that fills so many blogs out there. Oh yes, this blog is different to the normal. I’m all about educating people, we’re a serious travel analysis web site. People look to my blog to decide where to go on holiday… Oh who am I kidding?

Mljet is 37km long, and no wider than 3km at any point. 54 sq. km are set aside at the north western end of the island (where we stayed) as a national park. A bargain 90 kunas to enter. This is also the site of the islands only hotel. Hotel Odisej, which is a fantastic hotel with extremely helpful and friendly staff. They even provided a small picnic bag of breakfast, since we were checking out before breakfast was served in the restaurant ๐Ÿ™‚

It is where Odysseus stayed for a while with the nymph Calypso, apparently. The length of his stay was a rather impressive 7 years. Which rather says something about the place. Or the nymph. The Ancient Greeks called the island Melita, or ‘honey’, because of all the bees in the forests. I didn’t see a single bee, but there were certainly plenty of wasps to have me flailing my arms around like a mad man, instead of eating my sea food spaghetti. The thing you have to understand about wasps is this; they really like fish. Try it, go and throw a fish near a wasps nest and see what happens. Or Google it, your choice.

Rumour has it, Greek sailors came to Mljet to shelter from storms at sea, and to gather freshwater from the springs. St Paul has been bitten by a viper there, (before the mongoose were all shipped in, of course). The Romans used the island as a place of exile back in 35 BC, before it was expanded by building a palace and baths around Polace. In the 6th century, was under control of the Byzantine Empire, and then the invasion of the Slavs and Avars on the mainland caused inhabitants of neighbouring regions onto the island back in the 7th century.

The monastery we visited (Veliki Jezero) was built in the 13th century, by the Benedictine order, on St Mary’s Island, shortly before Dubrovnik annexed the island tying their good fortunes with the city.

Mljet, ladies and gentlemen. There’s not a massive amount there. But for walking, nature and relaxing down by the sea with a cup of coffee, beer, whatever you want. This is certainly the place to be. I hasten to use the word vibrant, but Pomena is the more lively of the towns because of the hotel. My favourite has to be Polace, with its winding street, ruins, and the nicest people we met on the whole island. Polace has a small bay and port and is almost completely surrounded by mountains (okay, most places are). It is so unbelievably peaceful out there though, and well worth the boat ride.


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