Baked Goods, Boating and Classy Dining

(Note: The following post describes details from a previous trip, NOT a current trip.)

Thursday, September 6th.

First thing in the morning, I peek out from behind the shutters.

Everything’s wet.

A group of us are supposed to rent a couple of boats and tour the waters around Hvar Island today. The gray skies above seem to suggest that we should consider other options.

I’m also not feeling like my normal self; this slowly developing cold is sapping my strength and my motivation to get out of bed. I go back to bed and curl up for another 45 minutes.

I eventually meet most of the others on the main strip, who are also doubting whether we can take to the water today. Our trip leader Livia says that – according to someone at the tour information office – the weather is due to clear up by noon.

While we wait out the weather, we opt to drop by a local patisserie that Natalie and Josie discovered the day before. My order of tea and a cookie is just what the vacation doctor ordered;  the former warms my belly, while the latter satisfies my craving for something a bit decadent.

Josie and I hang back at the patisserie while the others wander away – just doing simply nothing. It’s probably one of the first times during our trip so far where we’ve had a chance to do that.

At noon, we meet the others and – as forecast by the tourism folks – the skies are clear.

We split two small rental motorboats between the nine of us, and decide who will be operating the boats. I’m sharing a boat with Natalie, Paul, Mariam and Sanj.

Europe, Croatia 154After a bit of discussion, we elect Paul to be our operator and awkwardly lumber into the boat and wait for the guy from whom we’re renting – a scruffy-looking guy, whose name I can’t remember – to give Paul a brief lesson in operating the boat.

I don one of the lifejackets stuffed in the front of the boat – mostly for my own safety, as I’m not a strong swimmer … but also partially because before Paul gets his “lesson”, Natalie recalls a story in which Paul had previously operated a boat, which he managed to flip over.

So, nope – not really taking any chances.

Luckily for us, Paul aces the mini-lesson and before long, we are on our way.

The scenery from the boat is just lovely, and it’s nice and cool on the water, passing by boats of various shapes and sizes.

Europe, Croatia 159We zip along to a couple inlets. The first is a quiet and calm mini-paradise, with a little resto beside it. The shallow bit is rocky/pebbly, but it’s nice to just sit in.

But about 15 feet from the edge, there’s an immediate drop, which is great for the stronger swimmers like Natalie, Rob and Richard to go take a dip.

Our time at the restaurant starts out light and playful, with lots of laughs. But it’s a bit dampened by the end of our visit, as the guy who runs the resto turns out to be a bit of a dick, charging way too much for a couple of the dishes we order.

No matter. On to the next.

The second inlet looks a lot nicer, but not many of us venture into the water this time around. We return to Hvar by early evening.

My boating posse, along with Jennifer and Josie (who have stayed on dry land for the day), start our evening at this posh-looking outdoor lounge for pre-dinner drinks.

We’re the only ones there – it’s still early – so we spread out and comfortably chill out for a while with our cocktails (why hello there, tasty Kir Royale!).

Europe, Croatia 167Dinner’s at a Croatian/Mediterranean fusion restaurant at the end of the main drag, called Divino.  And “divino” it was. Everything, from the amuse-bouche, to our appetizers and entrees, are absolutely delicious.

Except for Miriam, we all take a pass on dessert – because we’re heading back to our new, favourite patisserie from earlier.

After stuffing ourselves with more sweet baked goods, some of us walk (or, in my case, waddle) around a bit longer, drifting past the bars and party-goers, ogling an ornate yacht or two, before shuffling off to our rooms.

One more day, and one more destination awaits – the town of Split.

Hvar and Away …

(Note: The following post describes details from a previous trip, NOT a current trip.)

Wednesday, September 5th.

It’s about 5:30 a.m., still dark and wet from the overnight rain shower.

We’re waiting down near the water for the early morning ferry to the island of Hvar – known to some as “the party island”.

The boat arrives at around 5:45, and we depart around 6 a.m. It’s a huge vessel, and actually kind of comfortable. We even get to see the sun rise as the ferry makes an interim stop to drop off and pick up more passengers.

We’re in town and on dry land with our bags by about 8 a.m., where we were greeted with our room assignments.

And more stairs. Which we should be used to by now.

But it seems the stairs here are steeper than in Dubrovik and Korčula combined. It’s certainly enough to make Josie – who’s lugging an enormous suitcase – cuss in exasperation.

The rooms at the apartment complex we’re staying at seem even smaller than in Korčula, but they have that cute, family-run feel to them.

Europe, Croatia 125The day is young, so we assemble after dropping off our baggage to grab breakfast near the square, then we break off into group to take a look around.

I go with the larger group, who take a stroll through the small market behind the church, and then from shop to shop lining the tiny side streets. I buy some turquoise-coloured stud earrings that catch my eye.

As the day progresses, our group gets smaller and smaller; Sanj and I partner up, taking a peek into a local gallery (which was average, but not overly impressive for our artistic tastes), walk along a path that takes us along the town’s outskirts, and then back into town for lunch.

It starts raining sometime past noon, while we’re seated under a patio umbrella at one of the restaurants in the square. We wait to see if it subsides, but it just gets heavier. We spot Livia trying to stay dry, and motion her over to our table, before the rain turns torrential.

As we make the best of the situation by chatting, my lids grow heavy and I feel my head begin to bob. This is rain’s hypnotic effect on me, no matter what part of the world I’m in. It’s definitely nap time.

Following my solid two-and-a-half-hour siesta back at the apartment complex, I rouse with a slightly dry, scratchy throat – the price I must pay for dunking my head in the Adriatic.

Europe, Croatia 143I go to meet ten of my tour-mates – we’re paying a visit to the fortress overlooking the town. We make a brief grocery run for wine and snacks, then walk/hike the winding path to the top.

The view of Hvar is spectactular, especially as the sun starts to set and the lights below come on and start twinkling in the twilight. The wine, snacks and company of my tour group members are a perfect combination.

We descend into town for dinner. Natalie has made reservations for three different places, but in the end we decide to try a slow-food restaurant we hear is highly recommended.

It’s probably the best meal we’ve had on the trip so far, if not in a deadlocked tie, with the meal we had in  Pupnat.

Our waiter – a young guy who says we can call him “Fluffy” (absolutely adorable!) – is a great, accommodating server. He patiently answers all our questions and explains how things worked. He’s also very engaging and extremely helpful – at the end of the meal, he’s even kind enough to find me some coarse salt for my throat, which has become even scratchier as the hours pass.

Europe, Croatia 146A group of us break away and search side corridors in search of a place to grab cocktails.

We head down the main strip, ogling a couple of flashy, multi-million-dollar yachts docked in the marina along the way.

We pass a lot of the obvious “boom-boom” bars, eventually finding a more lounge-y establishment. A little pricey, but the cocktails are decent. (I kind of recall ordering a science-experiment of a cocktail called a Zombie – anything to fool myself into thinking I’ll kill the germs!)

It’s just the beginning, though. Tomorrow, we’ll cruise the nearby vicinity by boat!