I didn’t know what to expect arriving in Croatia. But judging from the quick 2 night stay in the beautiful Montenegro, I got an incredible glimpse of what was sure to come. This trip we explored 7 islands out of more than 1,000 on the Croatian Coast. What has always been a European vacation spot is fairly new to us Americans, and there were hardly any American tourists to be found. When we would overhear tourists speaking in Croatia, there was hardly any english being spoken. Venice, which I will be talking about in my next blogpost, was fully saturated with tourists. The food was largely mixed between grilled fish with olive oil and lemon, like our all time favorite...Branzino, pastas with seafood with our other favorite, langoustines and red sauce. The cheeses were mixed between feta and parmesan. The influences were clearly Greece and Italy and all yummy. As you can tell from the multiple sunset pictures, the sunsets in Croatia were outrageous and dynamic. One evening, after a thunderstorm, the sky was left in pink and orange colors of vibrancy.
Days Spent At Sea
Coming back to the boat was like coming back to our summer vacation home... but even better, because it was at sea;) The days spent relaxing on the yacht felt so amazing, especially after our tired feet had explored every island city.
Our first introduction to Croatia was in the red roof city, King’s Landing, as it is known in “Game of Thrones”. Most of our day here was spent walking along the ridge of the grand, stone wall that surrounds the city. Everywhere we looked there was a majestic, panoramic view that contained more beauty than anywhere we had ever seen before. On one side of the wall was the city itself, full of people who lived and played and ate there, on the outside of the wall the ocean filled our view, and we couldn’t get enough of that Adriatic Blue.
On this day we broke away from the large group as a small group of four to discover an island that would quickly climb to the top of our “favorite’s list”. We walked through the wall to discover a small town center with all the necessities of daily life -a church and grocery, and Marco Polo’s childhood home. But then something magical happened. We met a shopkeeper who introduced us to his whole family and when we met his sister she gave us a personal tour of the town. We met the mayor, we went to our new “friend’s” favorite restaurant (not a tourist spot) and she sat with us drinking delicious white Croatian wine while eating lobster pasta. On this island we made a personal connection and it made everything taste better, sound better and made it all more real. At nighttime, we even came back into town for a celebration with fun dancing, traditional Croatian music and amazing fireworks to send us off to our next location!
There was a lot of hype around Hvar, about how it was the next Ibiza and the world’s premiere and up and coming party spot. I wasn’t buying into it, and come to find out it was with good reason.
One of the main tourist attractions of Hvar is its nightlife, specifically a club called Carpe Diem, which means “to seize the day”. It was cool, but definitely not insane. My favorite part of this club was going from a land party spot and then taking a small speedboat to the next party island across the way. Sounds incredible, right? Like the best party night of your life, right?! I found though, that surprisingly enough, there were other nights out that climbed to the top of my list. Other partying was more fun for me - like the unexpected night on Korcula with fireworks, costumes and traditional Croatian music. The music at Carpe Diem, a weird techno music with not much rhythm, proved challenging to dance to which was also a detractor, because I love rocking out on the dance floor.
Krka Water Falls
Croatia is famous for its beautiful waterfalls, and we were lucky enough to get to experience them. We seek and find beauty everywhere we go - life is so full of it! In order to see the famous Krka waterfalls we had to take the yacht up a narrow passageway . We were surrounded by high cliffs on either side, a surreal experience! Then we took a smaller boat up a river to the waterfalls.
Walking into the vast waterfalls was so scenic and so majestic. Wow, this moment made me feel so in tune and spiritually connected to a greater purpose in this life, and I felt so lucky to be here in this peaceful place with my best friends exploring this National Park and every little trickle coming down every stream. Even the small waterfalls through the mountainous park contributed to the pouring huge falls that Krka held. We even saw the area where women would wash their clothes many years ago, which was amazing. In the water I kept seeing magical reflections of hearts, angel wings and butterflies which are my signs of God’s beauty. I was so incredibly happy to explore this place in its entirety until my dad started yelling at us to get back on the boat for lobster pasta. While surrounded by this beauty of nature, I didn’t feel the need to fill my tummy up… my brain and heart was being abundantly filled with so much happiness and LOVE!! Love, not just for these waterfalls, but for life. I walked out with a better understanding of how easy it is to get sucked into shallow things, small details, like tiny flaws we see that effect us especially in photos for Instagram. Beauty like what we experienced at the falls causes a person to look more and more inward into themselves, and turn away from the crazy ridiculous details of miniscule things. It forces you to look outward at the amazing nature that is all around constantly! Even the things we don’t notice on a daily basis, because we are so used to our routines, are all really beautiful in their own way. While I know that this is not an original thought, I truly believe that it is a necessary one. It sounds like a rant, but really it’s just a realization - one that I had to share because I’m so beyond grateful that I stayed to adventure, and open my eyes to all the beauty in this world!!!
Vis (Stiniva beach)
We traveled to Vis overnight and found ourselves on the coast of a perfect jewel of an island. We traveled by tender to the most secret of secret coves. High cliffs basically surround a beach almost made up entirely of small, round, white rocks. There is only a small gap that opens this beach to the sea. Our tender would only travel so far before we and our waterproof bags jumped ship to swim inland. We spent almost the entire time in the water. Croatia has water that is completely clear, so that you can see all the way to the bottom. The temperature begs for you to swim and swim until you find that you have practically grown scales to match your mermaid status. Its interesting, people travel far and wide for Californian beaches. The sand is so perfect in California that you typically stay on land, not daring to brave the cold water. When I found myself on the beaches in Croatia, the rocks pushed me into the water and there was nowhere else that I would rather be. I still miss that Adriatic Blue and the feel of the salty water as it held me in an effortless perfect temperature embrace.