and Hedonism in Hvar
03.08.2013 - 23.10.2013
I spent most of August in Croatia. I started out with sailing the coastline on a small cruise ship, and then finished off with 10 days on the beautiful island of Hvar. I had so many wonderful experiences that I had a hard time choosing which ones to share on this blog.
Below are two maps for your reference. The first one shows where southern Croatia is relative to the rest of Europe. The second one pinpoints each stop on the cruise.
For one week I sailed on the ship Liberty on a tour organized by Sail Croatia. Below is a picture of the ship. It offered a sundeck, Jacuzzi, dining area, and private cabins.
One of the first stops was at the island of Mljet. The national park on this island has two sea-water lakes. Here is an aerial view of the inlet and the other lake. I took these pictures from the internet.
Here are a few pictures from the ground. I rented a bike and had a great time exploring the lakes and jumping in at various points for a swim.
The cruise ship sailed by many small islands and villages. Vineyards are a common sight along the coast.
Every day we stopped in remote locations for a swim. The water of the Adriatic Sea is chilly but refreshing.
Dubrovnik was one of the most fascinating cities along the voyage as it used to be its own republic city-state. My pictures of the city don’t come close to this one from the internet.
Game of Thrones fans will be interested to know their show is filmed in Dubrovnik.
Visitors can walk along the fortress walls for some spectacular views of the old city. If I can’t find a job after graduation I will work at this café. Customers jump into the sea for a few minutes of swimming in between lattes.
View from my room in Dubrovnik.
Marco Polo was born in this city, Korcula. It was part of the Venetian republic during his time.
Several Croatian cities were part of the Venetian republic during the middle ages. Below is a bas relief of a Venetian lion holding an empty book. The lion is the symbol of Venice, and the open book reflects the city chose to join the Venetian republic. If the book is closed it means the Venetians had to conquer the city by force.
In the port of Trstenik I had a chance to scuba dive among the wreckage of a German torpedo boat which the British sunk during WWII. I swam right by several torpedoes and watched as our guide maneuvered an anti-aircraft gun. Below is a picture from the internet.
Hedonism in Hvar
The best part of the sailing trip was the island of Hvar. I liked Hvar so much that I came back after the sailing trip and stayed an additional 10 days.
Here is a view of the port of Hvar from my hotel room. Every day I watched multi-million dollar yachts come and go.
Here is a 180° video sweep of the port from the top of my hotel.
As you can tell by the yachts, Hvar is a stopping point for the 1%ers. I heard many tales from the locals about their encounters with celebrities. Bon Jovi bumped into the sister of one girl I met. She said he was very nice and apologetic to her for the run in. Another local I met sighted Penelope Cruz. Two other Croatians told me Beyonce got the idea to name her daughter Blue Ivy after the tree which grows here. I checked this theory out online though and could not confirm this. I found several other competing theories, including a crazy one which connected the name to Lucifer somehow.
My favorite spot on Hvar.
As you can see the beaches in Croatia are rocky and not sandy. Sea urchins can also be a problem, and many people wear water shoes. The benefit of rocky beaches though is that the water is much clearer than a sand beach.
There are several small islands with nice beaches just off the island of Hvar. Water taxis shuttle people back and forth to these beach islands. The locals told me that the biggest mistake tourists make in Hvar is not visiting these islands.
I made friends with some locals and they took me to a small jazz bar hidden from tourists. They asked me not to disclose the name or location of the place because this is where the locals to get away from the busy tourist scene. The bar is owned by a Croatian soap opera star, Jakov Cubelic. The irony is Jakov's character in the soap opera owns a cafe. I met Jakov and he was a friendly, down to earth type of guy. Croatians from all walks of life frequent his bar, and he serves them up a beer all the same. Below is a picture of him.
There are many fine restaurants on Hvar, but my favorite is Lucullus. http://www.lucullus-hvar.com/ This restaurant has a special atmosphere as the singers know how to get the Croatian tourists to sing along to folk music, and the rest of the staff is full of zany antics. They got me to try frog legs. I thought this was a French dish, but the manager gave me a history lesson. Croatians along the river Nerena had been eating frog legs a long time before Napolean’s troops showed up. The French troops tried the frog legs after their supplies ran low, and brought the dish back to France. I was really nervous after ordering the frog legs, as my foray with the pig ears in Spain did not turn out well. I hate to use this phrase, but the frog legs tasted much like chicken, and I devoured 12 cousins of Kermit in no time.
Unfortunately for us office chumps Napolean’s troops also picked up on the Croatian style of wearing a kravat, or neck tie. Many Croatian stores proudly remind tourists of this historical fact, but personally, I can’t understand why they brag about this curse they unleashed upon the world.
The locals are proud of the lavender which grows on Hvar.
The most hedonistic thing on Hvar is the Croatian crème cake. I will plead the 5th amendment if asked how many pieces of this cake I consumed during my visit.