Friday, 3 July 2009

What Happens in Croatia, Stays in Croatia

Blogging note: My apologies because I started this post Friday morning and am finishing in our hotel room Sunday morning. The connections are slow and well, mainly the relaxing has not motivated me to be on the computer!

So our second day aboard our sailboat, Charlie felt so smug and secure that he thought he'd test his voice as we sailed in to a bay to anchor for the night. As loud as he could, he screamed, "I Love Pizza!" Now I know there is nothing wrong with the statement. But it was the volume he used. We are always keenly aware that we are the loudest family around. We really try hard not to be the "loud Americans." And then for our ears he turned and said, "It's okay, we don't live in this country!" What happens here, stays here!

Needless-to-say, we are very relaxed and sad to turn in our boat tomorrow morning. We are headed to refuel now then to berth close to our final destination tonight. Here's what we've been up to this week:

On Monday night, we anchored in a bay off of the island of Mjlet, Croatia. We were in the town of Polace and a short hike from the beautiful national park on this island. We enjoyed a short hike over the hill to the salt water lakes. We swam for awhile and commented multiple times that it reminded us of Mammoth. The only habitation on the lake is an ancient monastery on a tiny island in the middle. The lake is surrounded by lush mountains and the water was crystal clear. I loved the grocery store in Polace. Just the basics but really everything you could need.

This is the restaurant Stella Maris where we enjoyed a nice dinner.

A view of the bay in the morning from our boat.

The "Anambra"

A view of the bay while hiking to the lakes.

Ethan on the trail.

View of the monastery and the lake.

Swimming in the lake.

And this is what we had for lunch almost everyday on the boat. Local cheese, ham, and salami, salad with whatever veggies are available, fresh bread and local olive oil (notice it's in a coke bottle!) Really, what more could any person need? We also enjoyed the fresh fruit all day long.

Look who we bumped into on the way to our next stop. Literally bumped into. Poor guy. He/she was fine though. We also had dolphins on 2 days off in the distance.

We sailed to Korcula Tuesday and arrived at the marina just in time to rent the last berth. We'd heard that Korcula is like a mini Dubrovnik and although it is similar in appearance, we found it much more touristy. We enjoyed it, but we all liked Dubrovnik better.

It just so happens that there was a parade this night in celebration for the Half New Year. It was explained to us that there is not too much to celebrate on January 1st in Croatia, but on July 1st, there is tons to celebrate! Summer, busy businesses, school's out? (think it's just any excuse to have fun, just like in Scotland, and Louisiana for that matter) Anyway, we wandered through the town and then lucked out to have a great spot for the parade. Great entertainment value. It was very home grown and fun to see.

Wednesday morning, our neighbors in the marina, helped us pick our next stop. We sailed to the Island of St. Klement off of the very popular island of Hvar and anchored in a lovely bay. There is no village here but the swimming was great and we'd learned about this restaurant that was a short hike up into the hills. It was phenomenal! The setting was spectacular and the food was some of the best we've had. The building was clearly someone's house and we sat on the patio, overlooking their vineyard and the sea in the next bay beyond. Much of the food we've enjoyed in Croatia has been cooked over a large wood fired grill. At this restaurant, BBQ is their specialty and we had some of the best kabobs ever. And their wine was great too. It was just a very relaxing, yummy meal. After dinner, we headed back down to the bay to skip rocks.

Here's Ethan passing the time en route.

Our view along the way.

Exploring the bay.

Mastering the dingy. Really, I think if we could sleep on a dingy, the boys would have been happy to have just that! One of the definite highlights for them!

On our hike up to the restaurant Dionis, we walked along this path following the blue dots on the rocks. 75 % of the vegetation on this part of the island is wild rosemary and lavender. I couldn't get over the volume of rosemary. I've never seen so much.

This is the restaurant. Really.

And this is our table with the vineyard and bay in view. (my camera was out of battery by this point so these pics are thanks to Scott's mobile phone.)

Here, the boys are playing in the garden and exploring the olive trees. We could have stayed here all day!

Our only complaint about this bay was the number of nudist. We've gotten used to all of the naked people on the beaches and off the back of their boats, but when they anchor less than 2o feet from your boat and parade around naked, it's really just hard not to giggle! I'm sure their habits are much healthier than ours, but it's just hard to look at a sea of naked people at sunset and early in the morning! Fortunately for you, I have no illustrations for this paragraph.

Thursday, we woke early and motored over to the most famous beach in Croatia, Zlatni Rat. The weather was threatening rain but we wanted to get a good anchor spot and spend some time playing in the water and on the beach. Scott let the boys ride in the dingy on the way and they had a ball. We anchored just off the tip of this beach and spent 5 hours playing relaxing there. The people watching was terrific.

Our boat in the background.

Enjoying the pebbles.

In these next photos, notice the increase in the crowd throughout the day. By the time we left, people were stepping over one another to position themselves on the beach!

As we sailed away, this is the view of the beach jutting out into the sea. And below is one of the photos from the web of this famous beach. It was fantastic!

Thursday afternoon, on the way to our next stop, Ethan, Christopher and I jumped into the dingy to take pictures of the Anambra under sail. Again, the digny is a highlight and chasing the big boat proved to be big entertainment. Notice the captain of Anambra!

We sailed over to another bay our marina neighbors told us about and it turned out to be one of our favorites. It was the town of Pucisca and there is a huge stone quarry at the entrance to the bay. It is the source for many famous buildings around the world including the White House! Much of this town is made from this stone and we think it is a holiday destination for Croatian Families. We enjoyed another meal in a patio on the side of someone's home. It seemed like a local's restaurant (Scott had wandered up a path and happened upon it).

This is the view from our table across the valley and into the hills.

This morning, Scott put a movie on for the boys and he and I went to the cafe on the water (where we could see the boat less than 75 feet away). We love European coffee and cafes and we relaxed there for about an hour! Such a treat. On a side note, guess what our bill was for 4 coffees. 24 Kuna. That's less than 4 Euros. We've found everything to be very inexpensive.

The view of our boat in the marina with the church in the background. Again, so beautiful we had to pinch ourselves!

So that's it. Just lots of relaxing on and off the boat. The boys are doing great and finding ways to entertain themselves when we are in route to our next destination. Each one is eager to help when it's time to sail. That's great news for their daddy!

1 comment:

Sharon said...

This all sounds so fabulous. Beautiful pictures, Gwen. We'll have to go one of these days!