30.08.2012 - 13.09.2012
After a couple of days in London to celebrate my gorgeous friend Penny's birthday it was back on the big metal plane across to Split, Croatia.
Arriving in Split the weather was gorgeous and the sun was shining. The old city that used to be a palace was walled almost the entire way around.
I lucked out with my hostel in split, it had only been open for 20 days when I got there and was small and super clean. I met some really cool people at the hostel and we spent the next couple of days hanging out and enjoying the beautiful city of Split. Here are a couple of shots taken at night of the old city:
Croatia definitely was the invasion of the Aussies. It felt like you couldn't turn anywhere without hearing them...they almost seemed to be outnumbering the croatians at some points of the trip....anyway, sidetracked again!
So after a couple of days in Split it was time to get onboard the boat for the week. An entire week of sailing the Dalmatian coastline. Everyone that I knew had done it before had a fantastic time...and I certainly didn't break that mold.
Our boat was called Maja - and it was definitely a character. The boat was relatively small compared to the other boats and we were later told by our rafting instructor that it was the oldest and worst in the fleet. Either way it was our boat and we loved it.
Here is the boat in all it's glory:
We had a great crew on our boat who made sure we were always entertained...
- Marko - quiet and sweet 25 year old accounting student, 2nd week on the job (I am sure he would soon be broken by the sailing and all the Aussies)
- Captain - least friendly Croatian in the world, only took a liking to Troy from our group and let him steer the boat for a little while...other than that he was a deeply unhappy man.
- Pere - chef, couldn't understand a word of English so spent the time when out of the kitchen wandering around and laughing, was also caught numerous times swimming in his undies
- Luka - barman that seemed to be paid to get wasted. He could hold his liquor like noone else until the infamous Thursday when he passed out downstairs and josh shaved half his leg hairs off and rubbed toothpaste into his back
My roommate was Chantal. We were in the lucky position to be stuck between the bar and the toilets...what better position could you want. We had a good groove as roommates by the end of the trip and even shared resources like her torch (the two small lights inside the cabin didn't help you see anything).
21 people on the boat, 17 of them Aussies. 1 kiwi and 3 poms. The beloved English thought this was going to be a relaxing and restful week long trip...how wrong they were. Of course all the Aussies had heard about the trips before from their friends and knew what to expect...while it was relaxing at times (many times) it definitely wasn't without its partying.
The age range on our boat was from 23 to 35, with the median age of about 26.
Everyone got along on the boat and it was very harmonious. Looked across at some other boats and was glad to not be stuck on them for 7 nights. We all enjoyed hanging out together on the boat deck in the sun and partying together at night.
Here is a photo of some of the group on our night partying in the cave. We were themed with either sailors or pirates:
During our time on the boat it was mostly spent lying on the deck, enjoying the sunshine, chatting, reading magazines and jumping off the boat for a float in the sea. My friend Becci had bought heaps of magazines from the UK and with most of us not having read a gossip magazine in a long time it was like giving a addict crack! Haha.
The coastline of Croatia was simply beautiful. Definitely earlier in the mornings it was nice to sit upstairs with a couple of people and enjoy the start of the day sailing between the islands.
When in the ocean we were particularly attached to some of our floaty toys...until one night when we were out and another boat stole them all...it was a dark time for us all, punished for being out enjoying ourselves, but revenge was to come. A night later Luka and 3 other girls and I from the boat did a reconnaissance mission to get our toys back. It was a stealth mission and we got all our toys back (and maybe a couple of extra with the thrill of the find).
Now it wasn't all lying around getting a suntan, there was serious business to attend to...like going out!
Croatia has some great night life and the boat definitely made the most of it, and on some nights we didn't go to the party, the party came to us.
Some of the more memorable places to party were a nightclub inside a cave where we all dressed up as pirates or sailors. The sunset beach party in Hvar which looked like a scene out of Ibiza. The free shot club in Hvar where Dee and I worked our way around getting free shots for most of the night. All these nights were great fun and most of all we all enjoyed dancing and laughing together. The last night of our trip was also a big night which ended in a huge superclub where they even had cage dancers...need i say more! They definitely went on late into the night...or you might say early morning.
There was one time that was not in a club, and not in a cave...it didn't have a theme but let's call it 'infamous thursday'. We were meant to be going to the island of mjlet, off the coast of Dubrovnik but the weather was too bad and we weren't going to be able to go there, we were going to have to dock in a small port that didn't have anything more than 1 cafe and a supermarket so most of the day was to be spent on the boat....and as the weather was not nice we were confined to the dinner cabin where the bar was. Everything seemed relatively normal, until I went in for breakfast and was greeted by a jäger shot as my morning wakeup call. Each person who then got up and followed were treated to the same punishment.
I don't know if it was the confinement or the bad weather but the jäger was chased with a cider and it all went from there. I am sure that everyones bar tab doubled in that one day. It was a great day though, and a day when I think everyone on the boat became just a little bit closer.
Here is our barman halfway through 'infamous thursday':
With all this limited sleep and strange type of hydration everyone slowly developed the croatian cough...an illness that spread like wildfire on the boat and would plague us for days after...maybe weeks, I'm still not past it!
Our sailing trip was from Split to Dubrovnik. I would definitely recommend the trip to anyone and suggest doing the one way trip.
Ending in Dubrovnik was great. The old city is completely walled and is absolutely beautiful. Here is a shot from the highest lookout in Dubrovnik which gives you an understanding of how the walled city works. My best meal in Croatia was at a Bosnian restaurant in the old town, definitely worth checking out if you are in Dubrovnik. The rest of the food I had in Croatia was not that amazing...but then again I had just been terribly spoilt in Italy and Paris.
There is also a bar on the outside of the walled town which feels like an oasis and is definitely worth checking out.
After a couple of days in Dubrovnik I decided it was time to move north towards Vienna if I was going to make it there by Saturday to start my intrepid trip. So it was off to Zagreb I went.
It is a 10 hr bus ride from Dubrovnik to Zagreb. The bus seemed to let everyone and their cat on, and even at times it was so crowded that there were groups of people standing in the passageway. After some horror stories about crowded and late running buses I was glad to get in after 10hrs and 5 mins on the bus.
My hostel was really good and Zagreb was super quiet. I ended up having a room to myself, but after finally crashing and slowing down after the sailing i was too sick to go out and do anything. The lady at the hostel felt sorry for me and would bring me tea each night to my room.
On the day I felt good enough to venture out it was raining so badly that all I could do was go to the bus station and get my ticket for Vienna the next morning. Finding a girl wearing the below tshirt was the highlight of the day:
6am it was on the Bus to Vienna from Zagreb...goodbye Croatia, you have been good to me.
"Only fools and passengers drink at sea." -Allan Villiers (and what fools we were)