Destination Dalmatian Riviera: Mali Ston | ©thepalladiantraveler.comHere I am, one lucky fill-in-the-blank, getting ready to board a canopied fishing tug that’s heading out into the Bay of Mali Ston, along Croatia’s Pelješac Peninsula.

Together with the rest of the intrepid “band of merry media” — 18 travel writers and photographers invited by Insight Vacations (Insight) to sample a portion of its Bosnia and Dalmatian Riviera itinerary — I’m going in search of one of the country’s most prized possessions: Ostrea edulis.

You know, European flat oysters.

Destination Dalmatian Riviera: Mali Ston | ©thepalladiantraveler.comIt’s another one of Insight’s “signature” moments as we cast off and navigate our way to underwater beds out in the Adriatic Sea that have been around since the Roman Empire arrived around 1 BC, dropped oak branches into the saltwater and began farming a mariculture of epicurean delights.

Today, the Bay of Mali Ston is home to the largest oyster and mussel cultivation in the Adriatic.

Destination Dalmatian Riviera: Mali Ston | ©thepalladiantraveler.com

Destination Dalmatian Riviera: Mali Ston | ©thepalladiantraveler.com

Our tug comes to a full stop alongside a wooden platform bobbing atop the mesmerizing turquoise blue. Making like a horde of Barbary pirates, we hustle off the craft wielding our cameras, not curved scimitars, and begin clicking away.

The skipper of the boat puts on a pair of gloves, pulls a line out of the water just dripping with mature oysters and mussels, and goes straight to work shucking and jiving as he conducts an open-air Oyster Farming 101 class.

Destination Dalmatian Riviera: Mali Ston | ©thepalladiantraveler.com
Back on board the “little tug that could,” we enjoy the fruits of the good captain’s labor: fresh oysters and mussels like I have never tasted before.

A squeeze of lemon over the top of these bivalve babies and we’re off to the races. Mmm.

Oh, and a glass or two of the local white wine makes this seafarin’ picnic that much finer.

ŠARE
On our return leg, we take in the panoramic views of the remains of the Walls of Ston, the so-called “European Wall of China.”

Built during the days of the old Republic of Dubrovnik, the Walls of Ston is a network of stone ramparts that once stretched seven kilometers and provided much-needed security for the areas prized salt production. Way before gold and silver ducats passed through the hands of money-mad merchants, salt was the preferred trading currency up and down the Adriatic Coast; ergo, the Walls of Ston.

Destination Dalmatian Riviera: Mali Ston | ©thepalladiantraveler.com

Destination Dalmatian Riviera: Mali Ston | ©thepalladiantraveler.comFresh oysters and mussels plucked from the sea, shucked and eaten right on a fishing boat out in the Adriatic would be satisfying enough, right? Wrong! That was just the appetizer as this Insight “signature” moment gets a little better.

Parking his ride, our skipper grabs an apron and leads us around the small port and invites us to take a seat under a large veranda of a restored medieval castle facing the bright-blue Adriatic.

It’s lunchtime at Bota Šare, a landmark restaurant in Mali Ston. And, what a mouthwatering feast it is. I don’t know about you, but I’m starved. Care to pass me that plate of crustaceans? Don’t worry, they won’t snap.

Destination Dalmatian Riviera | ©thepalladiantraveler.comFor complete information on Insight’s premium and luxury-escorted itineraries, including 113 journeys across Europe, just click HERE, or call toll free 1-888-680-1241, or contact your travel agent.

There’s still plenty of daylight left in this signature-filled day as our motor coach makes its way towards Orebić and a private water taxi that’ll carry the “band of merry media” across the water to Korčula, one of the more than 1,000 islands that dot the Dalmatian Coast, and, according to some historians, the birthplace of Marco Polo.

See you soon!

©The Palladian Traveler

Borsalino w/ props SMALL | ©Tom Palladio Images

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Written by The Palladian Traveler

Tom traded his hometown St. Louis Cardinals' baseball cap in the United States for a Borsalino and he now hangs his "capello" in the Puglia region of southeastern Italy. A veteran print and broadcast journalist, with well-worn passports that have got him into and out of 50 countries and counting, Tom fell in love with the "Bel Paese" years ago. As he notes, "I'm inspired by the beauty I find in all things that are very, very old, and reliving history, or at least meandering along cobblestone streets that were laid down over a thousand years ago and just looking up and marveling at what occupies the space still today, really gets my 'Vespa' running." Tom has a good eye behind the lens and is a graphic storyteller, but he'll let you decide as he keeps his camera batteries fully charged and the posts flowing from his creative hideaway in the hills overlooking Ostuni. You can also follow his dispatches along the cobblestone via TravelingBoy.com.

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