Slowing Down at the Dalmatian Coast

Almost two weeks on the road now. It still feels unreal that we are actually on a two-year trip around the world. This may not come as a surprise since we have mostly been camping which we did many times before. Also, it’s during peak season in Europe. Like any place along the Mediterranean coasts the Croatian islands are packed with vacationing families. But above all we’re still in Europe, our home continent, which makes it feel like just a normal vacation.

Nevertheless, that’s fine for now. We came here to relax and get out of the working life rhythm. We wanted to be at the sea and catch some sun (and get a tan) before travelling deep into Central Asia. And we are getting plenty of that. It’s clear blue skies at a constant 34 degrees. The nights are only slightly cooler which makes sleeping kind of challenging (for me at least, Carina seems to have no problem with the heat). Specially in a small tent. And even more if I have to share the tent with a mosquito…

The typical island village

The typical island village

We have spent the last week camping on Brač and Hvar, rocky and mountainous islands just off the coast of Split. The islands are surrounded with crystal clear, turquoise blue bays which are lined with pine trees producing the never-ending chirping sound of crickets. Both islands have a couple of small, charming villages. Although each of them has its own characteristics, whether it be windsurfing (Bol), glamorous beach bars (Hvar Town) or a laid-back family life (Jelsa), they sort of look similar. All are built out of old stone houses centered around a small harbor and a square with a picturesque church or two.

Where's the sand on Zlatni Rat?

Where’s the sand on Zlatni Rat?

Our first destination was Bol, known for the famous Zlatni Rat, a finger shaped beach that’s featured in every Croatian tourist brochure. I don’t remember where I got the idea but I always thought this beach wasn’t only famous for its shape but also because it’s a sandy beach, which is rare in Croatia. So when we got there I kept saying to Carina that the sandy part starts “over there”. It was like a Fata Morgana moving ahead of us! When I discovered at the beaches fingertip that it was still all pebbles I was sort of disappointed. But once I managed to shape the pebbles to the form of my body it was actually pretty comfortable. And all the kite surfing action around made it a nice hangout for the day.

Jelsa on the island of Hvar

Jelsa on the island of Hvar

After a couple of days in Bol we crossed over to Jelsa on Hvar, only a 30 minutes ferry ride away. When we got off the ferry a woman offered us a room “only 150 meters” away but she had a slightly different perception of the actual length of a meter so we decided to go for the camping. Not a bad choice since the camping was located above a beautiful bay and we found a shaded spot only 10 meters from the sea. On the camping we met Lana, a 47-years old single mom from Zagreb, who invited us to her birthday party that night. It became a lovely evening, drinking wine and chatting with some nice people from Croatia, Serbia and Italy. It’ s these kind of moments that count.

View from our tent. Perfect place for a morning swim.

View from our tent. Perfect place for a morning swim.

But we’re done with camping life now. We met some wonderful people, stayed on very nice campgrounds and had a great time altogether but we decided to ditch the tent (we gave it away to Lana). To be honest we were a bit fed up with the discomforts of a small tent, sleeping on an air mattress, no electricity to charge the electronics, no place to organize our stuff or sit down and relax. I mean, normally we love camping but that’s when we have a car so we can bring the big tent, chairs, a fridge, etc…

So we decided to rent an apartment on Vis. The island of Vis has been a military base until 1989 and therefore tourism isn’t as developed as on the other islands. Seems like good place to escape the crowds.

Aquarius beach bar, let the party begin…

I’m now writing this post from Aquarius, a beach bar a few hundred meters outside of Komiža, where they occasionally have DJ’s throwing a funky party. There is supposed to be one this Monday. Until 6 in the morning… Well, ok, I guess we have to check that one out then… 🙂

Our street in Komiza

Our street in Komiza

Komiža is one of the two main villages on Vis (the other one is Vis Town where the ferry arrives). Our apartment is located right at the harbor, above Fabrika which is about the coolest place in town. Perfectly in the middle of the action. The heat at night still keeps me awake but at least now we have a bed, a private bathroom and a kitchen to cook our own dinner. We can even use the terrace overlooking the harbor (which we immediately tried last night).

Sometimes you get to a place that feels good right away. Where days can become weeks. Komiža is such a place. For now it’s the perfect place to slow down. I think we are getting into it.

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