Hands down my favourite place…CROATIA!

Sit down and grab a cuppa this is a long one haha I just loved this place!

We landed in Dubrovnik all excited to be here again and for the next part to the trip…sailing! We stayed in an apartment run by some locals that didn’t speak much English. It had a lovely balcony over looking Lapad bay (the opposite side of where we stayed a week ago). It was late in the day so we decided to head down the street for dinner. We noticed all these big screens began to be set up and more and more people gathered in the area wearing blue and white jerseys. .the football world cup. It was an incredible atmosphere as the game started. I remember people chanting, singing, waving flags and dancing. This went well into the evening….I’m guessing they won ha! The passion and love for the game really showed that night. After another gelato is was time to call it a night.

The next day we headed in for another day in the old town. I love to wander through the little alleys just getting lost. We decided to walk around the wall of the old city. The views were amazing! Well worth the walk. Along the way I found I lovely lady selling traditional handmade lace her mother had made. She was explaining how this is becoming a dying art and her mother is one of the few teachers left. So this piece was definitely a special one to be taking home. Croatians have a little blue label on the window or on the product if it is made in Croatia so nice to know your money is going back to the locals! One thing I would say when walking the walls is remember water! Not many places have shade and about half way along there was an ice cream shop.

The next morning started with a taxi to the Gruz port to start our sailing adventure! This tour was through Topdeck called Adriatic Sunsets, which was quite fitting after the tour we had just finished was Adriatic Adventure also with Topdeck. (I have just been on their website and have noticed the Adriatic Sunsets sailing trip has slightly changed locations bearing in mind my trip was in 2015). After meeting the crew, our guide Em, the other passengers and finding our room on the boat we set sail with a cocktail in hand – this is the life! One word to describe the cabins….small! We were lucky being a couple we got a slightly bigger room with a double bed, everyone else had bunk beds. all rooms had an ensuite. If you are organised the tiny space is definitely manageable just hot! We paid the bit extra to be on the top deck….definitely recommend!

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On the way to our first stop Mljet we got used to what was going to be our life for the next 8days. Set up on the top of the boat for tanning and to get to know everyone traveling. Most were Auzzies (no surprises there) two lovely ladies from America, a couple from South Africa and along with the tour guide we represented the Kiwis! We arrived in Mljet just in time for our first beautiful sunset of the trip. We had drinks and sat down for a lovely dinner on board from the amazing chefs on the boat!

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Waking up this morning was a bit of a contrast unfortunately it was raining. This didn’t stop us from mornings activities, we put a rain jacket on and headed into the national park.  On bikes we headed around the lakeside through all the trees and had a swim before heading back to the boat. After setting sail we sat down to another amazing meal! Then time for the compulsory swim stop. It was incredible the captain found a sheltered bay and just dropped anchor. Everyone was jumping off the sides of the boat – some even off the top!! It was very surreal looking around how beautiful and peaceful it was. I have never seen water so blue and clear, just stunning. One guy dropped his sunnies off the side of the boat, we could all see them on the sea floor but no one could dive deep enough to get them!

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We arrived at Korcula, a busier stop then the last. One thing that I will never forget was how they stacked the boat’s side by side and you walked through everyone’s boat to get back to your own. Trust me this got confusing after return from a few drinks – count how many boats out you are as they all start to look the same ha! We had a guided tour of the old town before heading to the best part – a cocktails bar (Massimo’s)! This was no ordinary bar however, it sits at the top of an old tower with an old school pulley delivering the drinks to the top. You however have to climb up a very steep ladder through a small hole – watch your head! Walking through the markets I noticed a jewelry stall with beautiful white stone all handmade. The lady explained that it is the same stone that was used to build the White House in America and it comes from an island near by. Pirate party time – we were on a ship so had to be done right…Later that evening jeeps took us to a club in the jungle (I think it was called Boogie Jungle or something like that?)! It was in the middle of nowhere and only had a marque roof covering some of the dance floor looking out at the jungle. Fun way to spend the evening!

 

Next day had more of this great new lifestyle swim, eat, tan repeat! This evening had us docked at Vela Luka, a very relaxed vibe to this town made for a nice evening! We went for a little walk up a hill – bit hot but worth it for the view. We all had dinner at a lovely local restaurant sea side with another stunning peaceful view! On the walk back to the boat for a night of cocktails we saw a lovely old couple with a fruit stall. We all stopped and purchased some fruit, the flavor was incredible I can still remember now! Another great night aboard the boat drinking, singing and talking.

Heading to Vis today we stopped at the blue caves. This is a must do trust me! We got off our boat into little tin boats and headed around the bay. The guide started to head towards this cliff face and we all started getting very confused. He stopped the boat and explained to us when we go with the next wave we must all duck. Then we realised we were headed for a tiny tiny opening in the cliff, not much higher than the tin boat. Once inside with no one losing their heads and our eyes adjusted it was all worth it. We were inside a cave and the water glowed a radiant crystal blue – has to be seen as photos don’t do it justice. The guide turned off the motor and we drifted around the cave in awe, this was just so naturally beautiful and hard to believe it was real.

Vis was one of my favorite stops on this trip, it had a bit of everything. We started  the afternoon on the beach but this didn’t last long as boy it’s hot on a stoney beach! Our guide told us about this really cool outdoor bar but she warned us it was a hike.  We all hired bikes for the village and headed up the hill to this bar….it was worth it! The view was of the surrounding peninsula and water as far as you could see!  The decor was extremely cool with many couches it was a nice place to relax for the afternoon.  Dinner this night was one of the most memorable from the whole two months! Two days before we had to pre order our meals. When we asked why Em said its because the lady gets everything fresh from her back yard.  Wow words can not describe how good this meal was, I had beef gnocchi. I would go back to Vis just to see this lady to have that meal again!! After dinner and a walk around the town we headed back to the boat to get some amazing news, a couple from our group had just got engaged! So we decided we had to celebrate and headed back to the outdoor bar on the peninsula (in the back of jeeps this time). It was just as stunning at night with all the trees and bar lit up by fairy lights and lanterns.

The engines started early this morning with everyone still in bed. When we woke up we were well on our way to Hvar. This is one of the most famous islands in Croatia with many stars having villas here. The wharf was full of luxury yachts with security guarding the on ramps. Em took us for another hike up a hill and I can vividly remember this was the hottest day on the whole trip. But again without fail the view was totally worth it! We had cocktails at the famous Hula Hula bar right on the waters edge, a beautiful walk around the bay from the towns center. This evening was planned to be a big one so we all got dressed up and headed out. We stopped at this one place that was famous for a particular shot – I wish I could remember the name! A few guys from our group tried it, I have no idea why haha! First the give you a military like metal helmet to wear. Straight after you finish the shot you tip your head forward and they whack you with a rolling pin over your head – crazy right!

Short sail this time and like every other day many swim stops on the way! We arrived at Stari Grad, another cute little town with an older appearance. Now when Em said another hill walk we knew it would be another amazing view. Off we went up Glavica hill to see an outdoor church. This church sure had a beautiful view over the town and sea. The stone cross was erected on 1900 in celebration of the anniversary of Christianity, but it was destroyed in WWII. The current stone cross was erected in 1990 as a symbol of hope and the altar is now made from the remains of the old one. Around the seats and alter people have stacked stones up in little towers. After the steep walk down we walked around the markets, headed to the beach for a swim and stopped at a little outdoor bar for a much needed refreshing cider! That evening was the Captains dinner on board.

Our last day sailing took us to Split the last stop on the list. Following Em for a guided tour of the old town with a stop to the dry cleaners (soooo cheap leave your bag there it gets washed folded and repacked!). That night we met in the square to enjoy our last dinner and drinks together. We continued onto an outdoor club with a paddling pool in the middle. We headed back to the boat to enjoy our last evening aboard.

After saying our goodbyes we found a place to leave our suitcases so we could enjoy walking around the day. I would recommend this option just make sure you select somewhere that has a person watching the bags all day, there are heaps around. I spend my last few hours wandering around getting lost in alleyways and taking way to many photos! This place is very beautiful and has a lot of interesting history, well worth a visit. We then boarded the bus heading for the airport to start the long journey home…. boo!

My last thoughts on Croatia and sailing….I will be back!! This was one of my favorite places in my entire 2 months of travelling and if you have read my other blog you would know I have covered a lot of places in this time!! My only regret…not getting to the Krka and Plitvice Lakes National Parks!! But hey that’s my reason to return hopefully one day soon!

 

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