Dubrovnik to Split Via an Island or Two
Meeting up with Jeremy in Croatia has pretty much been a week long laughing session! As soon as we saw him he was cracking us up with stories of moneychangers giving him €16 for his $50 and the fact that he had hidden his passport under the rug of our apartment. Watching him try to walk in thongs (something he never does back home) was pretty much the highlight of my week!
After getting settled in by Luka our host, we spent the afternoon swimming off the rocks nearby our apartment, then headed into the old town for a really nice dinner in the middle of the square. The old town is really cool, perfectly intact and super clean. It was similar to Kotor in Montenegro, but a lot more organised and pretty.
Next morning Jem and I were running around like madmen working out how to get to our next destination and whether we could visit a little town where one of Jem’s bosses is from. The bus was no good for the town visit so Jem hired a car and we headed up the coast. Once I was able to relax with Jem at the wheel (when we left the winding hills) I realised he was actually a great travelling companion. Driver, cleaner, time keeper; very handy in deed. In all seriousness he is really easy to travel with coz he is super easy going and likes an early start, which is perfect for us.
The trip up to Brijesta was really fun. We found some amazing views and even a cool natural cave being used as a store house for an old ferry. On the way home we stopped at a great little swimming spot, down a goats track off the side of the road. We also had some fun jumping of a pier with Jem’s new toy, a Go-pro.
That night the other two wandered the old walls, while I explored the city. Then we put a roast onto cook, sipped a couple of rums and drove up the mountain behind the old town to see it all lit up at night.
The bus to Korcula was pretty quick and easy. The hostel on the island was a bit of a trip out of the old town but we made the walk in for some lunch and a swim. I though it would be great to use my new snorkel and mask. It wasn’t. A few small fish, no coral and a surprising amount of rubbish on the sea floor. We are so spoilt in Oz though. Clare was pretty knackered after dinner at the hostel, so Jem and I headed into the old town for a bite and a rum.
Next morning we were up at 630 for a spot of kayaking. Given that the wind was whipping up a couple of foot of swell, this didn’t seem like a lot of fun to Clare and Jem, so we hired a tinnie instead. “You may get one or two splashes even in the tinnie” the guy says. Two minutes into our journey my shirt was soaked through. Fortunately there are a couple of smaller islands just off Korcula, which gave us a nice bit of shelter and once the sun was up in full we dried in no time. We explored an old monastery then we found a nice beach with some of the most uncomfortable rocks we have ever laid on, and stopped for a dip. We headed back to Korcula for lunch and to watch the state of origin. Can’t remember who won, coz sitting on the deck eating pizza and sipping a beer it really didn’t matter! Ok sorta didn’t matter. Ok, we lost, it sucked! Even a complimentary shot from the bar owner of what he called a “medium orgasm” couldn’t cheer us up.
To forget our sorrows we lapped around the old town on the boat again and had a nap in the sun. After a bite at the hostel of a very potent home made garlic bread we all came back into town to catch the sunset. One minute Clare and I were just enjoying the scene, next minute Jeremy is asking us to take a photo of him and an old duck he has believing he is an Australian celebrity. She kept asking me what he was famous for. I told her to check his website when she got home. She would have been genuinely disappointed to know the truth, she was that excited.
Ridiculously the only ferry out of Korcula left at 6am, so at 5:15 we were on the mini bus feeling wonderful. When we arrived at Hvar there were two familiar faces amongst the crowds of people holding signs and trying to rent their Soba’s (rooms). It was J-pog and Jenny! We had a very quick catch up, then went wandering until we could check into our hostel.
We bumped into the Aussie couple from Mostar and then saw Jared and Jenny again and swooped on their offer of a bevvie or two on their yacht for the afternoon! The adventure to their yacht was the funniest, in possibly the world’s smallest rubber boat. It was so great to catch up when we had survived the few hundred meter trip! We were there for hours before we decided we better get a feed. So after Jared stalled the tiny rubber boat collecting his sister-in-laws and I had to swim to his rescue with paddles, we risked the journey back to shore.
Think we’d been sitting at the seafood restaurant for a good ten minutes before I remembered Jem didn’t eat seafood. luckily the waiter was onto it and the roast chicken (not on the menu) came to his aid. After a quick argument over ‘boat people’ we enjoyed a great meal before hitting the d-floor at a bar nearby. So many great laughs on the dance floor as we cut a crazy rug and Jem was photographed by at least 10-15 different women!
We wanted to see a bit of the island so for our full day we hired Scooters and headed down the coast to some awesome little beaches. Jem started chatting to these two cool chicks from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Emina and Lamea, actually he invited them to join our rock throwing game, which they oddly accepted. We all sat with them for a really interesting convo. Both Muslims their families had fled during the war. Emina, whose father was killed in the fighting, was now a human rights activist and lawyer working for an NGO. She had some crazy stories.
Eventually we dragged ourselves off the beach and headed for lunch, then made our way further south along this wicked dirt track on the top of some pretty impressive cliffs. The scooters sure didn’t love the ride, but it made the day for us. Really beautiful. It was all pretty perfect except for Jem scaring the hell out of Clare and I.
That night we planned to head out and party. So after Jem went for dinner and we had a drink with some crazy Scottish girls at the hostel, followed by some Croatian menthol raki with the hostel owner, we wanted to head to Carpe Diem, the next islands night club. Probably luckily, the weather halted that idea as the boats over we’re stopped, and we still didn’t get to bed till 4am. We woke up at 630am and somehow managed to pack, check out and still make the 7am bus to our ferry. The bus was full though, so it was a thirty dollar car ride with a random.
The ferry to Split was super quick thanks to the snoring. Then we hired a car and raced to the beautiful Plitvice Lakes, which we arrived at in record time thanks to Jem and his trucker’s foot. They were 100% worth the major budget overspend getting there. So pristine, the water as clear as you could ever imagine. Stunning.
It was on the bus back to the car park that Jem was up to his old tricks of making me wet my pants. He decidedly maybe he could scare the carriage full of people behind us. Sadly, but hilariously; no reaction. Hope you enjoy the video as much as I did
By a fantastic coincidence we were staying back in Split that night and so were Nath and Tara!!! Less fantastic was getting lost around the old town looking for our hostel and not getting to see them that night. So Jem and I grabbed another quick late night rumbo and crashed into bed after 1am.
We were woken nice and early by one of our more random hostel adventures the next morning. I received an “excuse me, I just need to move your bed” before (unsure I wasn’t dreaming) I watched a girl drag our bunk bed 1m across the room and sneak in next to it to access a sliding door into a bag room. She then made a racket getting something from her pack, and politely lifted us back against the wall. Wouldn’t have been that big a deal, if she didn’t forget something and do it all over again 5 minutes later. I calmly let her know how thoughtful she was!
It was a special day for Jembino, and he had a special request for ‘his’ day; that we do absolutely nothing. A lazy day in Split was just what we all wanted before our overnight ferry to Italy. So we pretty much made our way from coffee shop to coffee shop all day, stopping along the way so Jem could get a mini tub of ice-cream every hour or so. All coffee’d out, I hit the beach for the late arvo while the other two did some trip planning. At 5:30 Nath and Tars got back from their Hvar day trip and we were able to see them which was the best. It’s so nice to hang with friends you haven’t seen for 5 months and have it feel like it could have been 5 days. It went way to quickly as you would expect. Lucky we see them again in a few days!
After trying all day to get something for Jem for his birthday, it wasn’t until dinner on the ferry that we could celebrate like we knew he really wanted to. Or maybe he didn’t, not quite sure?