Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Ahoy sailor - Croatia days 1, 2 and 3

I must admit, I make a pathetic sailor. Give me the opportunity to take a shower or sleep in a bed wider than a coffin and you've lost me. 
Having said that, sailing in Croatia's warm waters has been an interesting experience. More so as it complemented my sailing course whilst offering a different viewpoint to Croatia's natural beauty as well as our usual holidays too.
It's not necessarily that I prefer land to water (although the rocking effect of the water still lingers on 24 hours later) but it made me analyse my own habits when on holiday. On one hand, it's quite practical having your hotel with you at all times but at the same time, that's the only bit of 'solid' ground you can get. And let me say this, sailing for 4 hours at a speed of about 8 km/hour is less exciting the second, third and fourth time round. I'm definitely not a passive holiday-goer so it's quite hard for me to stay put in one place and not have the opportunity to sight see or just get in a car and go wherever it appeals to me. Being on a boat for 7 days (minus the occasional stops) made me realise how important it is to experiment and be out of your comfort zone from time to time. Sure, I'm scared of diving in water deeper than 3 meters but I did it and it turned out to be ok. And yes, maybe I am a bit of a control freak and panic if I feel I missed the opportunity to visit or see something but sometimes it's better to take a back seat and just go with the flow -no pun intended. That being said, I'm still undecided if I'll be on a boat again soon but I still got some time to decide.
I'll stop talking about generic things and get on with the essentials - sightseeing in Croatia!! Whilst I was there, some pretty cool things seemed to happen to us and overall, I think I've gotten a sense of this weird country. Is it Mediterranean, is it Balkan, I haven't made up my mind on the subject yet. 
We arrived on the 3rd of August to Split airport, the funniest little airport since Zante. It's literally so small that you can pass through all checks within 200 m. It would seem efficient, but baggages get lost all the time. Unfortunately, it happened to one of the friends we were going to sail with and it took a whole 3 days for her baggages to be transferred to Split. Regardless, we had to go to Kastel marina to check in our boat. It's (or her?) name was Kairos and I believe it was a Hanse400 model from Noa Yachting. It was quite stylish I have to say and the decks were perfect for sunbathing. We had 5 bedrooms which is incredible considering how tiny it looks and a kitchen/dining area.
We had to wait almost 2 hours for a marina assistant to give us clearing to leave and by the time we navigated out of this massive lot it was almost sundown. We therefore only had time to anchor in a small gulf on Ciovo island. Having went shopping before, we made a rustic dinner and called it a day.
Since I was a bit apprehensive about the whole sleeping arrangement, I woke up at 5.30 the next morning. Just because. I didn't regret it a bit because it was the first time I actually sat and watched the sun rise completely and it was beautiful. The dead calm of the sea, the cold air and the honey colored light just peeking over the mountains behind Split was the perfect start to a holiday. Not to mention, the cherry on the cake, seeing a family of dolphins swimming by - they've become very rare in the Adriatic sea so it was so lucky of us to have seen them.
After a quick dip in the sea, we set sail for Trogir marina. We got there around noon, took a shower - one of the nicest, cleanest marina's we've been to- and left for the city centre. Trogir is one of the 7 UNESCO heritage sites in Croatia and rightly so. It's a charming maze-like old city made of white stone and serpentine streets that lead into narrow piazzas and market places. It's also here that we had a really tasty meal at Konoba T.r.s. The traditional setting is entirely reflected in the flavoursome food such as the cauliflower soup and rosemary gnocchi with octopus that I had. I would definitely go again, right now if I could. 

On the third day, we left the marina for the so called Blue Lagoon. It's more of a shallow-er water that indeed has a pleasant blue color but I wouldn't say it was worth the trek really. 
After a refreshing swim there, we again left for the open seas to reach our next stop, Palmezana marina. From there, we took a speed taxi boat to the city of Hvar. I think this one may well be my favorite, but it's a close match. It's extremely charming with its paved streets and venetian-inspired buildings and again, it's here that we had a lovely dinner at Leporini restaurant which comprised of octopus salad (I see a pattern, what about you?), an assortment of fried seafood and the best dessert ever, listen to this: Semifreddo with figs and almonds in lavender sauce. The plate was almost spotless clean when the waiter came back. It was a well deserved dinner too since we had walked all the way up to the fortress where there are splendid views of the port and the city. We definitely ended the third day on a high, I think you'd agree...

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