Sunday, September 15, 2013

Welcome To The Good Life- Croatia

Being prime time summer there was no better way to spend July then on the coast of Croatia. Starting off in Split we joined The BusAbout Sail Croatia Island Hopper and took off on the Adriatic Sea for a holiday within a holiday. After months of full on travelling I couldn't have thought of a better way to spend my days then drifting along the crystal clear waters kicking back and dropping anchor in the middle of no where to take a refreshing ocean swim. Our boat The Providnost housed five exceptional crew members. Sam the BusAbout guide, Anita the cook, Darrio the sailor, Crazy Joe the barman and of course The Captain. Enjoying the open seas with us were 24 fellow Aussies, 2 Americans and 2 English all of which made excellent sailing companion's. 

 Before the sailing adventure was on its way we spent a couple nights in Split, one of the most popular tourist hot spots in Croatia and from where our tour started. Staying in the hostel Diocletian's Palace, it was right amongst the palace in the old town area. The change in the Meditarian architecture was beyond refreshing after months of the classic Medieval town squares. The streets were old, rugged stone tiny ally ways surrounded by tall white wash stone houses all decorated with colourful but somewhat rugged shutters. Our hostel was attached to a great restaurant where we celebrated our week ahead with a lavish seafood platter full of the freshest local produce. Whole locally caught fish and huge prawns accompanied by the most tender grilled squids and of course the traditional blitva on the side was like heaven on a plate. I had never experienced anything quite like it. 

Befriending a few Scottish girls we decide to really start the celebrations early by heading out on the local pub crawl. With the first two hours being unlimited spirits you can only imagine how the next few hours to follow went. I thought I could competitively drink with four Scottich girls from Glasgow but I was definitely out of my depth. Apparently for me the night soon ended but to be brutally honest the only next thing I remembered was waking up with my head fully down the hostel communal toilet, definitely not a place you want to be. After that flashes of me rolling around on the hostel floor in my blankets come into mind soon followed by me mysteriously waking up in my bed with a half eaten slice of pizza early in the morning. 
With the ball rolling our week of Croatian sailing was more then ready to begin. 

After meeting the gang our first stop was the exclusive island of Hvar. Known for it exceptional party scene and the pinnacle for many celebrities as a holiday destination. As we pulled up in the harbour next to 42 million Euro yachts I knew we weren't in Split anymore. Everything about Hvar sparkled and shined from its marble floors to glistening houses. We spent the first part of our night zipping our way around narrow lane ways and climbing staircase after staircase reaching lookouts with astonishing views that stretched out over the Island and its waters. Being our first stop everyone was extremely excited to get the party started. Starting with Crazy Joe's special cocktail jugs the night ended early for some, with a couple of the boys passing out before we had even reached the first bar. While the rest of us partied it up and got to know each other a little more at some of Hvars most exclusive Bars and clubs. It was a great way of really getting to know our fellow sailors and set the bar for the antics that were to come in the week ahead. 

 After the hustle of Hvar our next stop was on the Island of Miljet. Founded by ancient Greco-Romans back in the 6th centurary. Miljet comes from the word Melita which means honey as the Island was completely inhabited by wasps and bees. Although what attracts many to this island today is its national park. Housing two extraordinary lakes we had a great time wandering around in amongst the parklands then jumping into the crystal clear blue lake to freshen off. In the middle of the large lake is a tiny island that showcases a fantastic 16th centurary monastery. Just a short boat ride away it is easily accessible and has some extraordinary views. 

Being a small town itself there was not a lot to do other then enjoy the open air with a BBQ. As the full moon shone over the ocean James and I took the opportunity to share with the crew his special family tradition of 'A full moon party' where you place one secret special wish into a jar and leave the jar over night under the light of the full moon to let its magic work and then the next day your wish's are to be buried and then your special wish will come true, with the special exception that this time the wishes would be tossed into the ocean. As we partied and wished and all drank Crazy Joes lethal cocktail concoctions the full moon party was a great success and the perfect ending to our time on Miljet.

One of Croatia's most popular coastal towns is the spectacular city of Dubrovnik. Known as the Jewel of the Adriatic there is no questioning that Dubrovnik is a favourite spot amongst travellers. Upon arrival to the remarkable Old Town you will be faced with the wide stretched Old City Walls surrounding the perimiter of the town following the oceans edge. We spent our day walking throughout the back streets and relaxing down by the glistening beach. At night we decided to ditch our crew and head out for a very 'romantic' dinner for two of the finest kebabs and beers down by the water. 

The night still being young we joined back up with our fellow Busabouters where we headed for some serious pre drinks, buckets of cocktails at a place called Sky Bar. Bucket after bucket went by and the antics just began to get crazier and crazier before adventurely James had almost successfully stolen and drunk every bucket in the building that was un attendant for approximately 5.8 seconds. To rowdy for the bars own good we headed for 'the' night club of Durbrovnic Revelin that is situated up in an old castle fort. Everyone from our ship was recklessly trying to jump and run across the tables whilst others attempted to dance in the cages with the entertainment. Which made us somewhat unpopular with the sercuritiy and staff. Non of the less we all agreed it was a rather successful night as the sailing journey continued. 

Famous for being the birthplace of explorer Marco Polo we couldn't help but adventure around this beautiful island. Still ruined from the night before we found that multiple bar stops were in order to curve the potential of any hangovers creeping up on us. In the evening we headed for cocktails at Massimo's, a rooftop bar perched on the top of a medieval tower. The views from up above stretched out far and wide and were completely stunning. Although I had a few issues with climbing the tiny wooden ladder all the way down after a few to many mojitos, it was at that point that i had quickly realised I have a fear of heights. 

Just a short taxi ride away up into the hills was the club Boogie Jungle. Open air it was set out perfectly with different spacious levels. It had little hide away corners which  was perfect for a bit of downtime amongst the huge dance areas. But of course as the name suggests we came there to boogie, channeling the wild animals within we headed straight to the dance floor where we all just let loose in true jungle form. 

The week was ticking along nicely as we were all getting accustomed to life at sea. Next stop on the radar was the resort of Markarska. A spot well knowns for its array of water sports such as parasailing and jet ski riding. Its long pebbled beach stretched out far and wide as fantastic little bars and cafes lined the shores. Unfortunately we didn't have a few hundred spare Kuna in our back pocket so we had to give any thoughts of water activities a miss for today as the tourist prices were through the roof. Instead we opted to spend our afternoon drinking cocktails by the water relaxing the day away. 

At night we enjoyed a lovely traditional dinner at Konoba Susvid where we once again indulged on a magnificent seafood platter it was so fresh it was as if they caught the fish out the back whilst they were making it. Starting to hard to early during the day we decided to skip the club which was situated in an old world war II cave near the ocean edge and opted for a few cheeky drinks on the boat instead. Passing out on the deck only to wake up to the sun and the open sea air. 

We sailed off next to a tiny town Pucisca situated on the island of Brac. Famous as being the marble capital of the world. Being a small Roman settlement the marble has been used prominently in Europe throughout the ages. In more recent times it has been used throughout The White House in Washington DC, America. Being a quite town I spent the day strolling through the markets admiring the beautiful marble crafted jewellery and crockery. The town also has a lovely look out point at the top of a hill that gives you amazing views over the entire town. 

As we were setting sail early in the morning for the pirate town of Omis we decided to get the pirate antics started early and have a boat pirate party. Everyone got into the spirit of it all with some taking it a bit further then others. James found it necessary to dress up in his Dish Dash from Dubai and go as 'a boat person' which was probably not in best taste non-the less the looks on peoples faces when they walked on by was priceless and definitely made up for it. Starting the night playing 100 shots in 100 minutes it wasn't long till everyone was hanging off the side of the boat vomitting everywhere. In true pirate form some of the boys got out there BB guns and we took siege on the other boats docked around us. By the end everyone was so ridiculously drunk we gave up on the others and were all just openly shooting each other on our own boat point blank. Now thats authentic pirate living. 

From the 12th to 14th century Omis was a town that was ruled by dangerous pirates who took over and threatened many vessels on the near by waters. Although now Omis is nothing more then a fantastic holiday destination. Surrounded by a wall of spectacular mountains it offers a great range of activities from hiking up into a fortress to water rafting through waterfalls. With our hectic pirate hangovers we sailed in early but were in no mood to embark on any other pirate adventures as we had more then our fare share the night before. Instead we laid back and enjoyed every last minute of our time on the ship before we began our journey back to Split late that afternoon.   

 Land a hoy! With our loop successfully completed we were back to where it all started the mayhem of Split. It was our last night all together before we were back to a life of reality. No more waking up to the sound of people splashing off into the water, no more silly boat antics, no more island adventures and no more crazy Joe cocktails. To celebrate our last moments BusAbout were hosting an event at one of the local open air bars that was being televised live onto Croatian TV. Although we were all completely beaten by the hectic week most of us still managed to pull ourselves together and dance until the early hours of the morning. Waking up on the deck to our last boat sunrise reality had sunken in. Our week of blissful high sea sailing was complete. 

The Wanderers Daughter xx

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