Hello to all, and apologies for falling a little behind on the blogging. Rewinding almost two weeks, we began our Croatian journey in the capital, Zagreb. There we enjoyed wandering the charming streets of the old city. I am becoming quite well-versed in these old European cities… Cobble stoned streets, beautiful churches, bustling fresh produce markets, and atmosphere around every corner. We had just a day there, but I think it was sufficient to absorb what Zagreb has to offer. It’s a lovely place, perhaps even nicer than I expected it would be.
One thing of note we did do there is visit the Museum of Broken Relationships. Yes, this is a real thing. It’s amazing – albeit a little depressing! Basically, this museum collects items and stories from broken-hearted people all around the world. The exhibits feature objects symbolic of their broken relationships, and usually a blurb documenting what happened. It’s completely engrossing and unlike any museum I’ve ever been to.
Next, we took a train to Split. The scenery along the way was gorgeous, and proved to me that Croatia boasts far more than just seaside beauty. We arrived in the evening, keen to get a good night sleep before beginning our week-long Sail Croatia journey the following day. Little did we know how important a good night sleep would be!
We boarded our boat, called the Marija Magdalena, in the port of Split on a Wednesday morning. Our fellow passengers were all twentysomethings, mostly from Australia, as well as a few New Zealanders and Canadians. There were 22 of us in total, plus the crew. It quickly became clear it would be a fun week ahead.
Our first port of call was to be Hvar, a sparkling island on the Dalmatian coast known for attracting celebrities. On the way, we stopped for a swim, as we would every day of the trip. The perfect blue waters of the Adriatic completely cured me of the touch of sea sickness I was feeling. This was certainly the life. Swimming, sunbathing on the deck – often with a drink in hand – and enjoying some of the most beautiful scenery I’ve ever seen.
Hvar was spectacular. It was easy to see why it attracts the A-listers. We arrived late in the afternoon, so we didn’t have a whole lot of time to explore. But we climbed up to a fortress which accorded amazing views of the city and the water below. That night, our group went out for dinner before checking out some of Hvar’s nightlife.
The next afternoon, after a glorious day of sailing, we docked in a place called Korcula. It was a little sleepier than Hvar, but still beautiful. Ancient sandstone buildings and red roofs, clustered together with a background of mountains and a foreground of blue sea. Picture perfect indeed.
I was very much looking forward to our next stop, Dubrovnik. We arrived there on Friday afternoon, and began with a walking tour of the city. I was astounded by its beauty, and fascinated by many aspects of its history. Unlike the other ports, we stopped in Dubrovnik for two nights rather than one. That gave us the next day to explore as well. We began our day by walking around the wall of the old city. It took us almost two hours to walk around, and the weather was boiling hot, but the views were incredible. I’ll let my photos do the talking.
In case those views weren’t fabulous enough, we then took a cable car up a mountain to overlook the entire city. This too was amazing. Satisfied with our sightseeing, we ventured to one of the popular swimming spots of Dubrovnik. Buza, it’s called, is also a well-known cliff jumping spot. I didn’t partake in that, but very much enjoyed the swim. And as with every evening on Sail Croatia, a night out was on the agenda. This one I feel was particularly worth a mention. It was a nightclub inside an old castle… So cool!
Our next destination was a little different. Mljet is a beautiful area of national park. There’s not much of a town there, but the scenery is more than enough to make it a place worth visiting. We spent our afternoon there swimming at an idyllic lake surrounded by trees. And when we were sick of that, the ocean was only minutes away.
Markarska was next – another picturesque coastal town. From Markarska, I went on an optional zip lining excursion. We zip lined eight courses across valleys, through trees, over rivers, and more. The views were sublime. It was a great adrenaline rush (though I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re scared of heights). Back in Markarska that night, we went to a club inside a cave. So now I can say I’ve been to nightclubs in both a castle and a cave. Somehow I feel nights out back home just won’t compare.
From Markarska, we were headed back to Split for our final night on board. We had one last hurrah with everyone on the boat, thought admittedly it was a struggle. One week spent on a boat, in the sun all day and revelling every night, had me completely wiped out and very much looking forward to a good night’s sleep on dry land…
But before we left Croatia bound for Bosnia, we had half a day to spend in Split. The first night we’d spent there before our sail didn’t give us much of a chance to get to know the city. But in this half day, I really fell in love with it. We spent some time checking out the city’s ruins, which are amazingly cool. We climbed the cathedral’s bell tower, giving us stunning views of the city and the ocean beyond. We picked up some delicious fruit from the fresh produce market. And a particular highlight was tracking down the synagogue, which was small but full of life.
I may be worse for wear, but Croatia is well and truly one of the most beautiful countries I’ve ever been to. I think the photos accompanying this post demonstrate that better than I ever could.