Thursday, February 02, 2017

Epic Croatia Road Trip - Day 9 – Lun, Pag

Croatia Online - Olive Gardens of Lun

Day 9 of our epic Croatia Road Trip was one of the rare wet ones and my was it wet! So we decided to do most of our sight seeing and photography from inside the campervan so apologies for the raindrops!

Off we went along the narrow north-western extremity of Pag island, from Novalja to Tovarnele at the very north-west end. There are plenty of little villages off this “main” road but the main settlement is Lun, near the north-west tip, which offers olive grove tours and an olive oil museum. In fact the road is lined with olive groves most of the way and you need to choose your turning points carefully as olive tree branches can be surprisingly inflexible and low hanging! We mistook the owners house for the olive oil museum and turning there proved quite a challenge despite  a little guidance from the owners who, from their very relaxed attitudes, must have been quite used to Brits in high sided vans turning around in their drive.

In fact the olive groves of Lun are very special and were protected in 1963 as a botanical reservation. There are approximately 1,500 wild (as opposed to cultivated) olive trees here - olea oleaster – which are relatively unique in the Adriatic, standing between five and eight metres high and averaging approximately 1,000 years of age with some significantly older. The stone walls are also special, with larger stones protruding from the top to stop the sheep from jumping over and damaging the trees. Despite this, there are areas where many of the trees were nibbled by sheep when they were young bushes, giving them a unique bonsai-type appearance.

Here’s a link to a brochure about the Olive Gardens of Lun Project, which will give more information on the many special attributes of the olive groves here. The three year project, largely financed by the EU, was completed in 2013 and aimed to show off all the unique assets of the area in a more sustainable way:

http://www.visitnovalja.hr/sites/default/files/documents/vrtovi_lunskih_maslina_hr-eng.pdf

…. and here’s an extract from the brochure suggesting the trees are even older than suggested in most tourist information literature:

Lun olive groves stretch over about 24 hectares and
account for more than 80,000 oblica cultivar trees
grafted on a wild substrate of the Olea oleaster linea
olive. Around 1,500 oblica trees stand five to eight
meters tall, with an average age of about 1,200
years, while the oldest olive tree in Lun is 1,600 years
old. This olive grove is unique in the world due to
its large number of millennial trees all in the same
location, something that not even the famous olive
groves of Israel and Greece can boast.

Unfortunately, there were no tours taking place when we visited in May, and the weather wasn’t that conducive to staying around for long, so we headed to the very end of this part of Pag island and took some photos of Tovarnele, a small fishing village with a lovely church and a great little bay – pictures below.

Croatia Online - Tovarnele

Croatia Online -Tovarnele Church

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