After rigorous passport and baggage inspection at the boarder of Croatia and a 3 hour stop-over in the capital city Zagreb, we boarded our overnight train to reach our final destination, Dalmatia.
Dalmatia is the central part of Croatia’s Adriatic coast and is just stunning. With its’ rugged rock coast line, pristine blue waters and ancient ruins scattered throughout, this part of the world truly felt like paradise!
Our first taste of this was in our arrival town, Split. Split is a lovely sea side town which we were pleased to find was far more than just a place of transit to the many off-shore islands, which we expected it to be. We had a one-night stay here which gave us a chance to re-charge after the travel and to check out the Dalmatian lifestyle. We spent most of our time walking the maze of alleyways in the Old Town which houses many cafes, shops, homes and the ancient roman ruin of Diocletian Palace. With temperatures hovering around 35 degrees we made a quick exit to the local beach. It was beautiful but we soon learnt that a beach in Croatia generally does not have sand but instead large flat (and sometimes jagged) rocks which people perch on to soak up the sun.
The next morning we took the ferry to the island of Hvar. On arrival we were picked up by the owner of our accommodation in his old school blue Renault. Described by its’ owner as an ‘antique’ and full to the brim with beer crates and our packs we were not so confident that we would make it up and over the hill to the Hvar township. But we did and arrived safely to find that we had scored yet another great apartment.
Hvar is one of Croatia’s most popular destinations, with tens of thousands visiting on a daily basis, yet we did not get the cramped tourist feel that you would expect. The pace here was slow, everyone was extremely tanned (except Cam) and beautiful.
On our second day in Hvar we woke to the news that my little nephew, William Michael McKee, had arrived safely during the night. A huge congratulations to Vanessa and Malcolm, we can’t wait to meet him on skype very soon!!!
After several skype calls to the Barnes whanau we set off on our adventure for the day. We took the next best option to sailing (which was fully booked) and hired a wee motor boat for the day (a 6 seater with only a 5hp outboard so it didn’t get anywhere in a hurry). We packed up a picnic and headed for the Pakleni Islands, exploring along the coast lines and stopping in a small bay for more swimming, eating and relaxing.
Our last two nights in Croatia were spent in beautiful Dubrovnik. We arrived in the sweltering heat, after a 6 hour ferry journey from Hvar, and were taken to our apartment which had a stunning view (making for excellent sunsets) overlooking the port and New Town of Dubrovnik.
During our stay here we took in the sights by slowly wandering the streets of the large Old Town and again just enjoyed sifting at the slow holiday pace. We took a ferry to Lokrum, an island located close by where we enjoyed exploring the botanical gardens and diving from rocks into the refreshing ocean.
On our final evening we ran along the harbour soaking up the scenery and admiring many of the super-yachts (Cam has decided he would like one when he grows up!).
We feel incredibly sun-baked and relaxed as we leave for our next destination Italy.