Croatia’s wild cheese island

The bus driver shook his head. “Zatvoren,” he said, looking at my ticket to Pag. “Closed.”

I was scheduled to travel to Pag, a barren, moonscape-like island off Croatia’s northern Dalmatian coast, but the bridge was closed. Paški most – the bridge connecting the island to the mainland – is the only point of entry by road, and the bura, a powerful north-eastern wind, thwarted my plans.

The bura (also known as bora) can reach hurricane-strength speeds; its 2004 record in the Dalmatian city of Split was 174.6km/h. Its mighty gusts define Pag and its famous cheese, Paški sir, dusting wild herb-filled pastures with Adriatic sea salt, which gives the sheep’s milk a unique flavour. Robust, salt-coated aromatic herbs – including sage, sea fennel, St John’s Wort, immortelle and thyme – are a treat for the sheep.