Friday, October 14, 2011

My First 3 Days in Croatia

Do you ever go on a trip, take a picture of every little thing you see, going "This is amazing! Oh my god, no, this is amazing!", thinking that everyone who sees the picture will see it exactly as you did--amazing!--then come home and realize you have 500 pictures of walls, crooked landscapes, and, inexplicably, blurry reflections of lights in water? If you don't, wow, good for you. As for me, that's kind of how I always travel. And this time around, my spontaneous (to be explained shortly) trip to Croatia was no exception. So I tried to narrow down my pictures to share with you really well--even though the picture of that wall was really amazing.

I say it was a spontaneous trip even though, I know, I mentioned it before, because this is how it basically got planned:
Me: I really need to go on a vacation.
Kathleen: I'm always up for a new trip...
(One never-ending pitcher of sangria and three beers later)
Kathleen: What about the Caribbean? What about Croatia?
Me: I've always heard Croatia was beautiful!
Kathleen: Oh my God we're going!
One week later, we had flights booked from Berlin to Split for the following month. A week after that we had the other flights booked (you know, the ones that would get us from America to Berlin, and back home to America, those small sort of things).

So off we were to Croatia, specifically southern Croatia. We went from Split to Dubrovnik, visiting two islands in between. I've been curious about Croatia for a long time because 1) I was told how frickin beautiful the beaches are (and I'm a sucker for beaches) and 2) it's right across the Adriatic from Italy and I. love. Italy. We chose Split as our starting destination. Not only because flights go there from Berlin (thank you, Germanwings,and Nicole, for booking our tickets in German), but also because there was an old palace to explore, a belltower to climb, and a nearby island, Brac, famous for windsurfing and the most beautiful beach in the country (how can you go wrong with that?). So what did we do in Split? Well, we explored that old palace, which is less a palace and more a remnant of a former walled-in city, where half-ruined walls sit next to newly built apartments, next to undies hanging off laundry lines, next to Diesel and Max Mara stores, next to outdoor restaurants tucked away into the narrowest alleyways I've ever seen. It's a labyrinth of a place only to be explored by tossing aside your map, looking up at all your surroundings, and just walking, really. We climbed that belltower--where I was terrifed (evidently I've finally adopted Nicole's and our mother's paralyzing vertigo and fear of heights...sigh). And we went to that beach.

Oh man, that beach. Zlatni Rat, it's called, or as I read somewhere while doing my trip research, a "tongue" in the Adriatic It's a long stretch of what appears to be sand but what we discovered is actually a bed of soft white pebbles extending, true to it's nickname, like a tongue into the perfectly clear turquoise sea. We laid out on the soft pebbles (bonus: no sticky sand covering you afterwards!), we swam in the clearest water I've ever seen, we took a windsurfing lesson (I might possibly be addicted to windsurfing now), and we even took a spontaneous scubadiving trip. Kathleen's diving certified, but I've never been and didn't plan on going. But when the guides who were to take her out just looked at me blankly and asked, why don't you go, too?, I couldn't think of reason (well, besides the fact that I was scared of getting eaten by a shark--but I didn't want to say that out loud). So I went, I learned to breathe underwater (eek!), and I had a rather good-looking Croatian man holding my hand the whole time to guide me (yeah, that's right, he held my hand. How can you not love that?)

So that was the first half of the trip, before our five-hour bus ride along coastal cliffs, through Bosnia (details about that to come), and down to Dubrovnik. Throw in some Croatian beer drinking in seaside cafes (Ozujsko was our favorite beer, we decided; Karlovacko took second place), lots of fresh if mildly seasoned seafood (I love octopus and good god did I order a lot of it), and a couple gorgeous B&Bs that we stayed in and you have a pretty good idea of how we spent our first three days.

All photos by Natalie, except the underwater pictures, which are by my hand-holding scuba guide.


  1. it looks such a unforgettable vacation!
    Sara C.

  2. Thanks, Sara! It really was, I'm finding myself unable to stop looking at all my pictures, it was so beautiful!