Sunday, November 11, 2012

Tourism in Croatia: World's Biggest Welcome Reaches Korcula

The birthplace of Marco Polo welcomes the Welcome team, who reach Korcula with a combination of kayak and bike to finish the 'M' in Welcome.
Tourism in Croatia: World's Biggest Welcome Reaches Korcula - Luka Tambaca (
Croatia's innovative tourism project Welcomecontinued its journey south on May 28 2011, reaching the picturesque village of Lombarda on the island of Korcula after a combination of kayak and bike ride from Loviste on the western tip of the Peljesac Peninsula.
The aim of the project is to highlight Croatia's natural beauty, rich cultural heritage and wide ranging tourism offer by travelling the length of the country using various adventure sports methods of transportation along a winding route which spells out the word "Welcome." The route will be visible from Google Earth, allowing Croatian tourism to claim the title of the world's biggest welcome.
From Loviste to Babina wth Sea Turtles
Leaving the protected bay at Loviste, the team headed to the island of Korcula by kayak, encountering windy conditions in the open sea and, while they had to proceed with caution at times, it did not prevent them from socialising with various sea turtles whom they encountered on the route.
After a short swim, the team paddled to the village of Babina on the northern coast, where it was decided to change the planned route after locals informed them about paths to a large wooded canyon.
Kocje Rock Nature Park near Zrnovo
Switching to bikes, the Welcome team made their way to the little known Kocje nature park, a natural phenomenon not encountered anywhere else on the trip. Kocje is an impressive collection of limestone rock, as high as 20m in parts, hidden by dense vegetation. The effect is a natural warren of tunnels, cracks and caves with much of the rock covered in green moss.
Kojce has been declared a specially protected reserve of forest vegetation, and some archaeologists believe it was inhabited by prehistoric man. A more interesting theory has been put forward by an Italian professor of mathematics and physics which places Kojce as the sole entry point on the planet for positive lines for magnetic force from Space.
Cycling through the Streets of Korcula Town
Taking to the main road, the Welcome team continued their journey, finally arriving in the stunning ancient walled town of Korcula, one of the best preserved stone towns on the coast. One of the main tourist attractions in that town is that it is supposedly the birthplace of the great explorer Marco Polo, who would no doubt have endorsed the initiative of the Welcome Project.
Completing the Letter 'M' at Lumbarda
Cycling through the town's streets, the team then headed for their final destination for the day, the small village of Lumbarda, where they completed the route for the letter "M" in the "Welcome" message. Due to some diversions from the planned route, particularly on theisland of Hvar, the letter "M" is not as clear as the rest, but still very legible.
One Letter to Go, Dubrovnik Awaits
With just the letter "E" to go, the project is entering its final stages, with arrival in Dubrovnik scheduled for June 3. The final stages include travelling along the Peljesac Peninsula to Ston, before backtracking through the Bosnian Riviera (the only time the project leaves Croatia) to the border town of Metkovic, and then back to Peljesac and on to the island of Mljet before a final kayak effort to Dubrovnik.

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