Sailing the Dalmation Coast - 1 beautiful week

Trip Start May 30, 2007
Trip End Feb 2008

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Flag of Croatia  ,
Saturday, July 21, 2007

What to say about our sailing trip???? Basically, i think it will turn out to be one of the highlights of my whole trip for sure. Sometimes everything just falls into place on group tours and this was one such occasion. The weather was perfect the whole time, occasionally a bit hot but you can't complain when you are surrounded by water! It was what i like to call a cocktail climate when the days are hot but the temperature cools a little in the evenings and a slight breeze picks up...just enough to make cocktail sipping at a funky bar on the coast complete ecstasy. Our group was really cool as well, 13 of us, consisting of Aussies, Kiwis and the token Pom. Ryan, our 'guide' was an Aussie who was basically along for the ride. He knew all the cool places at the ports and was like our liaison with the all Croatian crew.

We left on Sat 21st for 7 days and the general measure of the day was this. 1)Wake up 2) prise oneself from tiny below-deck sardine-can room (at least it was air-conditioned!). 3) stumble above-deck to breakfast 4) snooze in deckchairs/read/play cards as we cruised between swimming spots. 5)swim 6) have lunch, always consisting of hot soup (though why in 35 degree heat i do not know) and a main. 7) snooze some more. After that we usually came into port between 2 and 4 o'clock giving us time to explore, swim at the beaches and get ready to go out for dinner and cocktails/beer.

In summary the places we went to were

1) Sipan - our first evening - a tiny town whose year round pop. is about 10 families - this increases about 10 fold as people from europe come to their summer houses there for the summer. Very cute and chilled out place.

2) Mljet - home to a world famous national park where we swam and caught a little ferry to a tiny monastery in the middle. The water was stunningly blue, which was the case along the whole coastline. In deeper areas a real deep, sapphire blue and in the shallows a crystal clear aqua green. We then had a fairly raucous evening at the only bar on the island - the poor bar-people couldn't keep up - he he.

3) Korcula - the mini Dubrovnik - a lovely old town, place where Marco Polo was born, or grew up or studied or something like that. Had some very cool alleyways with greenery, orange trees etc in them. Also shared the most amazing 1kg of fresh mussels i've had in my life! Much saltier than Aussie or NZ ones (as per the sea water) but incredibly good..mmmm. Then went out to a really cool bar which made really good cocktails by the litre in these vase type things which you needed huge straws to drink. Entertained us for several hours until it closed and we moved on to a club with a pole....enough said.

4) Loviste - very small and chilled out place with a beach and some good snorkeling. Much needed rest after Korcula (actually this was one of the best aspects of the tour, they alternated between party ports and chilled ports so we got some rest and it didn't become another Contiki style getting hammered all the time).

5)Hvar - had a really cool castle type thing at the top which we walked up to for a sensational view over the town and surrounding little islands.
It's quite renowned as a trendy party place though i think i enjoyed the cheap pizza and beer more - its the simple things in life really.

6) Bol - famous for the long strip of beach that sticks out of the mainland. We mostly walked along the beach front checking out the windsurfers and kite-surfers. There was loads of wind and hundreds of people out on the water so it was quite entertaining to watch. We also had the most lovely dinner there as a group at a restaurant overlooking part of the town and sea. The people there were so nice that after our seafood meals they gave us free crepes with sour cherries and cream which is a traditional Croatian dessert.
They also gave us a free shot of Grappa each which is a horrible drink and should be banned. Still, it was very nice of them and unfortunately one of the few instances of real friendliness or good service we received from Croatian people. This is probably because they are just sick of all the tourist though and in no way a representation of the characters of the general populous.

7) Split....ah Split how we love you.
This was the last stop on the tour and the second biggest city in Croatia, the biggest port on the coast. Its main claim to fame is the ruins of the Roman Diocletian's palace which now houses lots of artsy and tourist shops. It was really hot but we were all up for a massively fun last night so we didn't really care.
We headed out to a cool bar for our last night of cocktails and soaking up the balmy Croatian evenings. We ended up at a huge bar on a headland about 10 minutes walk away and after loads of fun, dancing, reminiscing, toasting and general hilarity (not to mention some dubious night swimming) we stumbled back to the Kontessa for the last time.

Before we knew it we were half running, half stumbling with our packs along the road to the train station for our 7.30am train to Ljubljana. We were on the road again, much browner, incredibly tired, possibly still a little tipsy but now with an even greater appetite for more adventures.
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