Japan Star-Moreska-Korcula日本の映画スター Maako 運行 Japan 日本 最高のテレビ番組
September 25, 2007
You just never know who you will meet on the road! People add to the joy of travel and Mozart is instrumental in our meeting interesting folks on our journey. She is an outgoing, animated, exuberant child who loves people of all ages and has no qualms in getting in conversations with every age, from babies to grandparents.
She has always seemed to be unaware that she is in a little body and clearly thinks of herself as an equal with size and age as no consequence, so it is sometimes a tricky balance to teach her the ways of the world, without dampening her strong sense of herself. I remember watching her in amazement when she was a bold, determined, tiny and long walking eight month old, pushing ten year old boys out of her way, to get to what she wanted to see at the Discovery Museum and she still has that fearless and plucky personality.
If there is any hint of a chance that a person speaks English or Spanish and we are in a wait mode, she longs to be in conversation with them. This happened while we waited in line in Hvar for our ferry to Korcula. First she met an Australian couple in front of us, who had just come from touring Russia and were glad to be in warm Croatia. Then she met a friendly gang of people from Japan who were standing behind us.
Soon Mozart was engaged in conversation with the whole crew, sharing her few words in Japanese (mostly learned through her Suzuki violin teacher) and they were taking pictures of her. They seemed to like her as much as she liked them and it made our wait for the ferry go by quickly.
We found out later from the Australian couple, as they sat next to us on the ferry ride too, that the Japanese group was a film crew doing a travel documentary with a very popular Japanese movie star. It is not everyday that you meet a film crew or star, so that was fun news for Mozart who adores Japanese animated films,so figured this was the next closest thing.
I had read very good reviews from several sources about an apartment rental on Korcula Island in Korcula Town called Villa Depola, so decided to book it while we were in Hvar. The ferry leaves right before sunset and arrives around eight and I wanted a nice place to drop off our bags, while we rushed out to catch the famous Thursday night Moreska sword dance.
Out of the three places that we stayed on this island outing, it was the best and only 300 kunas. Kuna is the name of the money that they use in Croatia and is approximately seven to one in relationship to the euro at the moment. The owner was very sweet and we had a big terrace with a great view of the sea and town that was close to everything.
We rushed off to see the famous Moreska sword dance which is one of the highlights of this island and only takes place on Thursday nights at this time of the year. I was fascinated to learn that it started in Moorish Spain and spread to here. It is the story of a good king who frees and wins a beautiful woman from a bad king and is very colorful and unique.
I love all the quirky connections that weave through this trip, like this dance and our beloved Moorish village in Spain. The original inhabitants of Dalmatia came from the last area that we visited in Greece, which is a long way by boat even today. There happened to be a special exhibit of Venetian painter Tintoretti when we were at the Prado in Madrid and here are some more in the church on this small island. We met three women from our area related to Marco Polo at his home. Travel helps one see how small and connected the world really is.
We were glad to get there early and grabbed front row seats and lo and behold, who should be sitting right across from us in front seats on the opposite side, but our “friends” from Hvar , the Japanese film crew! Mozart was very excited and rushed over to them to say hi and get an autograph.
Mozart just loves young pretty women, so she was very fond of the star and her friend who I think was the producer. Luckily, they were fond of her too and seemed very happy to see her. They were a really warm and welcoming group. We did not recognize anyone else who had been on the ferry with us, so it seemed a funny coincidence. They had set up there cameras and were going to film this exciting show.
It started with a group of young singers from the Czech Republic. I am not sure if they are always there or if this was something special. They had lovely voices, but it was a little startling when after several songs in their native language, they sang an Elvis song (“Fools Fall in Love”) and a African American Spiritual.
I could not help but smile to see these young girls singing about “fools falling in love” and “ Jesus and a chariot” in their heavily accented English and wondered if they understood the words they were singing. It was a cute surprise. They also did some colorful folk dancing in their bare feet (despite it being an unusually chilly night) which Mozart liked and later imitated.
After that, the girl who plays the only female in the Moreska story dance, dressed in a Moorish outfit, explained a little about the story in Croatian, German, Italian and English. Those are the most common tourists here and the languages many in the tourist industry here have had to learn to speak.
With the live music, colorful costumes, clanging of the swords and rhythmic dance in this ancient setting, one quickly succumbs to the magic and understands how this story dance lasted thru the ages. Some of them really hit hard with those heavy swords and they get quite a work out. It was a very cool evening and they were dripping sweat, so I could just imagine how hot they get on hot summer nights. We were all glad that we did not miss this special show.
As the show ended, Mozart jumped up and ran to her Japanese “friends” one more time and we all ended up in a little bit of film as we went over to retrieve her. Mozart was happy to visit a little more with them and discuss the show. We laughed and talked for a few moments, but we forgot to get their names or more information about the show. Still, it added a little joyful spice to the night and Mozart loves to run into people again, as it is not something that happens much on our travels once we change locations.
Not much seemed to be open after the show, but the three of us finally found a place to have a little dinner as we were all starved. The only boat back to Split leaves at an ungodly hour (5 am!), so after this late night, we knew we needed to book another night on Korcula. There actually is another one that leaves from the other side of the island later, but the bus to there seemed too much of a hassle for our short trip and we were glad to have more time to explore Korcula Town. Had we had a car and more time, we would have enjoyed seeing more of this island that is known for its vineyards, but our stay was short.
Sadly we had to move out of our great room, but she found us another place right up the road. With “wing it” travel, one learns to just go with the flow and we were just glad to get another whole day to explore Korcula Town.
We found the Tintoretti paintings at the cathedral and enjoyed all the sights including the fortress, Venetian influence (love all those lions with wings!) and yummy seafood lunch with a view, but our highlight was Marco Polo. He was born here and one can visit his house and climb the tower.
I love it that they even had delicious Marco Polo ice cream with napkins that give a little history and explained that he brought back the secrets of ice cream making from China to Europe. What a fun and memorable history lesson for a kid!