Sailing Croatia. The Prestigious Way…

 

Its 3am and my alarm startles me as I surprisingly leap out of bed and scurry around the room trying to get ready for my delightful early flight at 6am.  I failed to mention that I was so ridiculously excited that the thought of being up at some godly hour of the morning hadn’t yet crossed my mind……

 

 

 

I will warn you that is an extra long post with a bucket load of photos but there was just so many amazing things to cover over the 7 days that I couldn’t afford to leave anything out 🙂

 

 My very first time flying with Austrian airlines and I have to say werent a bad airline at all.  Fairly new airbus and the hostesses actually seemed to give a damn. Refreshing. When I arrived in Vienna I had 5 hours to kill and lets say to begin with it wasnt the best of arrivals. Being in an unknown place is always a little touch and go at first but because I was connecting I had no idea where I was. After twenty minutes of walking around someone finally came to my rescue and directed me to exactly where I needed to go, the business class lounge. A great little set up if you do have to deal with a long layover in Vienna then all you need to do is pay €29 and its all yours for as long as you want. They have an alright selection of spirits, wine and beer + nibbles and the facilities I noticed were very modern with a clear view of the runway. I couldn’t really decide if I wanted to have a nap, sip on some bubbles or dig into some lunch. Its a tough life.

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Once I finally touched down at Split airport (after having to deal with the fact that I had just flown on a turbo pop plane) I was greeted by the pleasant warm breeze and that glorious thing in the sky called the sun.  I had a driver of the hotel I was staying at called Authentic luxury rooms come and collect me and at this point it was early evening so I couldn’t wait to chill at the hotel and catch up on all the latest with my travelling partner, Sera. The room was almost like a little cottage, comfy and super cute with the most amazing shower – built-in radio, seat and three different shower heads. Epic!

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Dinner  was enjoyed at Bistro Toc just down the way. An alfresco dining which was perfect for that hot, humid evening.  Croatia is known for its fresh seafood so I had to go with the grilled fish, vegetables and an accompanying glass of their local sparkling wine – Henkell Trocken. Very nice drop of bubbles if you like it on the sweeter side. A walk around the square to finish off the evening and a quick beer to squeeze in around all the chaos that this place seems to portray.  Extremely busy, packed with tourists bars, restaurants, street performers and markets, is a must to see even if you come down to Riva promenade and check out the beautiful backdrop of port. Absolutely exquisite and great for people watching.

 

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After a well rested sleep we were up bright and early to grab some breakfast, pack and head straight to the port where our magnificent vessel was moored. (along with a lot of other boats ready to sail for the day).  We had to complete the usual paperwork and familiarise ourselves with the boat.  Mia was our guide and host for the week along with the captain, a couple of sailors, the cooks and the lovely ladies behind the bar.  The boat I was on was called Prestige and really the name says it all. Only 3 months old I have to say was pretty luxurious with hotel style rooms plus your own bathroom, plunge pool out the back and full top floor decking for those must do sun baking sessions. Im actually glad I made the decision to choose this sail over a party boat. Im getting far too old anyway for that kind of craziness….

 

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Saturday 23rd Aug –

We set sail to our first Island, Makarska after a filling three course lunch which consisted of soup, salads, a fish dish and dessert. This was a great time to get to know a few peeps that we would be sharing this experience with for the next 7 days. Is amazing the people you come across in your life. There happened to be someone on my boat who lived in Christchurch and  two doors down from a relative of mine. Just bizarre I tell you! Along the way we stopped for our first swim in the gorgeous ocean. I cant begin to tell you how refreshing and luke warm the water was but incredible salty so don’t try and swallow any – not recommend.  

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We arrived in Makarska around 5pm where we docked for the evening. I tried to leave the boat and take a walk around the port area but I was stopped in my path by what looked like a huge storm brewing and hastily made my way back just in time before the dramatic sights of lightning, thunder and torrential rain hit us. The most prettiest sunset then followed and all I could do was sit there and take in all its glory. One of the passengers decided to brave it and ordered in pizzas as a back up plan. Good thinking ninety-nine. After all that and once Sera was back from her Kayaking experience we headed to restaurant Susvid for dinner. Now because I was so full from the pizzas I didnt feel like eating something on the heavy side. I saw on the menu that they had a cucumber salad and thought that this would be a nice light option to go for. Well you are never going to believe what was put in front of me. A plateful of sliced cucumbers to be exact. Hilarious. Literally made my evening. Nice bottle of local red was ordered and we were even given the spelling of how to say cheers in Croatian – Zivili!

 

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The jewellery in Croatia is beautiful and insanely cheap. Thus meaning we just had to take a detour and stop by a local jewellery store and purchase a nice pair of sparkly earrings each.  The night was ended by a couple of cocktails at club Deep. An underground type bar perched in a cave and full of young ones (assuming from off all the party boats that were told to come here) but after looking at the time and seeing it was nearly 1am we decided to call it quits and head back to the boat.

 

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Sunday 24th Aug –

Woke up feeling slightly groggy (im blaming the wine) but  funnily enough being on a boat seems to take that awful feeling away quicker than you think. A swim in the ocean followed by some food and you are fixed within moments. Today we  were headed to Mljet and went with the idea of hiring bikes for the afternoon.  It was scorching hot and had to endue a few steep road climbs along the way until we got to the National Park. Great way to burn off all that alcohol huh.  I haven’t really ridden a bike for years so it was quite an interesting ride down to the lake without trying to fall flat on my face.  I was keen to get straight in the water and my word it was so crystal clear. I dont think I have seen water so clean before but it reminded me of being back in New Zealand as a kid visiting our local watering hole.  We had the chance to take a boat across to St Mary’s monastery which is on its own island.  I had the pleasure of meeting the resident goat, Malita. Oh she was super cute I just wanted to take her back the boat with me.  Tonight we had the option of going BBQ style on the boat for dinner.  Quite a large selection of meats, trays of chips and really nice red pepper relish. Far too much food but I didn’t care at this point. I had seen probably seen the same amount of sun for the day which meant a lobster looking back. Whoopsie.

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Monday 25th Aug –

Cruised over to Dubrovnik early Monday morning. By this point I had actually forgotten what day it was and had to be reminded. Such a nice feeling, I just love being on holiday.  Another swim stop around the south side and yet at another picturesque part of the island.  Temperature of the ocean, once again spot on. We arrived into the port of Dubrovnik around lunchtime and we were told we had to take a bus over to the old town which then turned into a taxi ride as it was so unbelievable hot standing in the massive queue…. The Old Town is stunning.  Filled with cobble stoned lane ways we managed to find our way around to a bar called Buza which is on the cliff looking out to some fantastic views of the water. If your brave enough you can even jump off the rocks and go for a quick dip. I went for the choice of a glass of bubbles and at a safe haven.  I had booked the Game of Thrones Tour which was approximately two hours and gave an insight into the filming location and different scenes around the town. Not quite sure if it was the best decision doing it in the unbearable heat but if you are a fan then this might be something worth checking out while you are here or you can have the option of climbing the city walls for some spectacular views.  I was so starving hungry by the end of it (no surprises there!) and feeling very unenergised by the humidity that I just couldn’t wait to sit down and tuck into some fresh sushi at a restaurant called Bota Sushi and Oyster bar, which was recommended we give a go. I have to add a small mention about the honey liquor shots they serve. Absolutely divine and highly dangerous. You could seriously have a few too many of these babies.  The food to go with it was extremely rateable. The freshest oysters and sushi with flavours I had never tried before. 10 out 10. Well done. √

 

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The Dubrovnik music festival was also ending today so were lucky enough to get full viewing of the orchestra from a classy wine bar called La Bodega. I was overly exhausted by this stage but was strong enough to hang in there and ordered a glass of  Croatian Cab Sav.  I’ve been pretty impressed with all their wines so far and this red was fantastic.  Back to the boat after this and finishing off with a lovely cup of mint tea while coping some light verbal abuse about how much of a party pooper I was. Were these people actually talking to me?!

 

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Tuesday 26th –

Woke up as fresh as a daisy and ready to take on the day and plenty more sunshine.  Unfortunately I had a bad case of the wobbly sea legs so everything was feeling a wee bit wonky. Today was more about relaxing and tanning on the boat but after a few hours of sitting in the piercing sun we decided to take a quick walk around the area and visit a local fruit market. Did I mention how damn hot it was?! I am definitely acclimatised to the British weather…ekk

 

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Lunch was served at the usual time of 12.30pm and we made our way over to the island of Trstenik.  More swim stops along the way and another sun session. Geez its a tough life…..

 

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I had booked to do an afternoon of wine tasting with sea truffles, wine, cheese, meats and oysters. The first part was tasting two Croatian wines from the nearby region. Their wines are some of the best in the world so if you are a bit of a wine buff then I would definitely go and explore some of their multiple wineries that they have on offer. Ive never tried a sea truffle and as you know I open to trying anything food related but this just didn’t do it for me. At all. I do happen to love the texture and taste of most seafood so was very satisfied with the divine Oysters they had. The Captains dinner was followed straight after  and all the tables were nicely decorated with candles and seashells – very appropriate. A couple of glasses of red wine and three courses later, everyone was well up for a party out on the back deck to let their hair down. I wont lie, I was in full party mode after over 5 months of being so well-behaved I couldn’t help but suggest we check out the local bar across the road. A few too many frozen margaritas and mojitos and you can probably guess that the rest of the night was a bit of a blur after we creeped back on the boat rather noisily after 2am. 

 

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Wednesday 27th –

Woke up nursing the expected very sore head the next day. Why is it always a good idea at the time to do these things.  Of course isn’t it ironic that today the sea’s were its choppiest and therefore meant the boat was swaying the worst it had done all week. Just what I needed.  The only thing I could do from this point apart from feeling very sorry for myself was head to the top deck, perk on a chair in the shade and enjoy the fresh air.

 

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We sailed over to Korkula with a quick swim stop along the way. Pretty much saved the day and after a snooze I was feeling cured within minutes. We docked around 5pm and got ready to explore the Old Town and find somewhere for dinner. This place was just absolutely gorgeous. A very small seaside town packed with jewellery stores, a few cathedrals, loads of local cuisine and the Zakerjan tower that has some of the best sunset views I have ever captured in my entire life. The Massimo bar is a must to go to and if you order a cocktail you can watch it being pullied up as the only way to get to the top of this place is by some very narrow and steep stairs.  So for those who have a fear of heights this might be a no go zone. The sea legs started to kick in again so this was a sign to head off to the restaurant. We had dinner at a highly reputable restaurant called Aterina which overlooked the port and some average views of all the amazing yachts. This is the life.  They happened to be one waitress down for the evening but i was prepared to wait if the food if it was so highly rated. We ordered a bottle of the Korta Katarina rose which by the way I will note that I am not a huge lover of Rose wines but to my surprise it was very delightful to drink (or should that be easy?) The onion marmalade and goats cheese bruschetta was de-lish and when my prawn pasta finally arrived I was very satisfied with what had been put in front of me. You can really tell the difference when something has been made from scratch.

 

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After dinner I was advised to stop by and visit this beauty shop called Kaisiopea which is all organic and made on the island. Having our hands and arms exfoliated with mint tea leaves, honey, lavender and different oils is definitely a wonderful way to finish up the evening.

 

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Thursday 28th –

Much to my despair I woke up feeling not myself at all. After being told that there was unfortunate nasty sea bug on board I knew that I was in for a tough ride for the next 24 hours. Thankfully (and I will not go into too much detail here) it was not coming-out both ends like it was for the other poor people on board. Today we were setting sail to Hvar which was the island I was looking forward to the most. I was determined to get off the boat regardless of how I was feeling (im stubborn like that) and in hind site this probably wasn’t such a great idea. with most of my afternoon spending lying on a couch drinking tea at a plush hotel on the water. On a more positive note I got to hang out in a very nice hotel, with some friendly waiters and had some great views in front of me of the bright lights and luxurious boats moored in the harbour.  I was more disappointed  about the fact that I couldn’t go over to Carpe Diem for some party time…. I guess it just means that I will need to come back again and experience! Hvar is known for its clubs and bars and full of plenty of lively yachts including the utmost prestigious ones. My invitation was even extended to a boat by some german men but as we know my excuse for not accepting their offer was that I was far too ill right…

 

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Friday 29th Sept –

I am pleased to report that today I am almost back to being my normal self again. There was only one way of knowing this. I was hungry again. There is definitely something not quite right with me when I say no to food or skip a meal.  As I was up so early I got to enjoy breakfast at back with some truly amazing views of the calm seas and baby blue skies. Another fabulous day out to sea meant another swim stop on the Island of Brač.  The island is one of the biggest at 396 square km’s large and what a beautiful one at that. We had to take a small boat across to the island and honestly this place is just dreamy. The water-colour is nothing like I have ever seen before. Surrounded by pebble stones and rolling hills in the background, the crystal clear aqua blue and green water is as appealing as its tepid conditions. Apart of me wished we could stayed here all day with the beach bar staring at me from the other side and plenty of fun water sports equipment to hire I was considering not going back on board the boat again. I don’t think they would have missed me too much.

 

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After our last lunch we had the opportunity to stop and have another swim stop before the final leg into the Port of Split. Everyone made the most of getting their last dip whether they were still under the weather or not. A few braved doing jumps right off the top of the first balcony. I could only deal with the first level as I’m really not the dare-devil when it comes to stuff like that.  Once we made our way to Port and were back on flat land I wanted to get a few more hours of the sun since it was our last day. Can you believe it?! We found a great spot around the corner which had a sandy pocket of beach called Bacvice with loads deck chairs, umbrellas and a few little bars. Beer and a quick swim was on the cards.

 

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Our last dinner was enjoyed at a very nice roof terrace restaurant in the Old Town of Split called Paradigma. We stumbled across this place after not being able to find anything to fulfill our taste buds desires. This place was fine dining at its best and with a view of the promenade we decided to treat ourselves on the last night out on the Dalmatian Coast.  Since I had hardly been eating I had managed to work up a bit of an appetite (well so I thought) I had to have the scallops with foie gras, cauliflower puree and pine nuts as a starter. Jeepers creepers this was damn good but also damn rich. I dived straight into the main meal of a veg casserole and a few glasses of red but do you think I could finish this. No! A wave of a food coma came over me and the eyelids were ready for some timeout. Clearly I was still unwell but sometimes you just have to man up, ignore and carry on.

 

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Saturday 30th August –

Well sadly the holiday has come to an end and the reality of dealing with airports and crowds of people was slowly starting to kick in…….

 

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Id personally like to thank the crew on board representing Sail Croatia for making the 7 days an absolutely pleasurable experience and one I will never forget. Everyone on board was super easy to get along  and being mostly Australian made me feel right at home. Croatia is one of the most popular destinations in Europe at the moment and hands down one of the most breathtaking places ive been too so far to date.  If you get the fortunate chance to visit this coastline of pure beauty then I can’t recommend enough that you do it by boat. The most relaxing and chilled holiday ive actually been on, there was never a moment where I felt like my style was being cramped or I had cabin fever. Being on the water and waking up to beyond perfect surroundings will make this holiday a trip of a lifetime. I promise!

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For more info about Sail Croatia you can go to their website –

www.sail-croatia.com

 

Happy travels!!! 🙂 

 

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