Una Avventura in Croazia

Okay, no more Italian. Anne and I have another night here in Trogir, and so I am going to see if I can’t begin a blog post of our 60th birthday reunion ebike cruise on Islandhopping.com or islenhupfen.com, a German company. Our cruise is: E-bike & Bicycle Cruise South Dalmatia Plus.

Our boat was the Melody with 25 guests, seven of which are us! Or “the girls” as we came to be known.

Our boat: Melody

Spritz before the cruise in Trogir

We all met up in Trogir, a small town near Split, the port for our boat. Our Airbnb hostess invited us to her organic farm for a delicious authentic peka dinner. Peka is where they cook the meal underground for over two hours. They also served us six different strong liqueurs, such as cherry, walnut, and chocolate. Everyone loved the octopus, but I loved the mussels.

Peka cooking

We were so happy to be altogether again at last!

Day One: Anne’s Birthday

Trogir to Stari Grad on the island of Hvar. We spent the morning exploring Trogir’s island Old Town, bought sun dresses, visited St. Lawrence cathedral, and climbed the bell tower. We got on the boat about 2 pm and set sail at 3 pm.

Trogir

Wonderful medieval sculptures of Adam and Eve at St. Lawrence cathedral

From the bell tower

All seven together!

On the Melody

Setting sail

Vance decided since there are seven “girls,” each day we would celebrate someone’s birthday! It was so fun, and the rest of the boat played along. First up: Anne. When we’d been at sea for awhile, we dropped anchor for our first swim break. It was magical.

Anne’s “60th” birthday!

Outside our cabin: Laura and I are roommates.

Sunset stroll Stari Grad on the island of Hvar

One of my favorite photos of a sunset

Boys playing soccer in Stari Grad

It was a gorgeous night for walking around the town in the sunset. We found a beautiful little bar out on a peninsula.

Day Two: Helen’s Birthday

We have all our meals on the boat, and they are delicious. We have a big buffet breakfast with lots of protein, strong coffee, and then a fabulous lunch and dinner onboard. There are three large dining tables to share, and at the end of our meals our guides, Muriel from Germany, and Karlo, Croatian, ring the bell to give us the “briefing” of what’s coming next. Every day we have a “swim break” when they anchor the boat. It is wonderful and refreshing. They also tell us about the bike ride and how many kilometers, although we made a joke about “Croatian kilometers” because they seem much longer! Today’s bike ride began at 9 am on the island of Hvar. We rode 25 kilometers or 16 miles to Hvar, the town.

Our wonderful guides: Muriel and Karlo

Hvar

Sylvia in Hvar

Dressed for biking success

Jan and Helen

Sara and Laura

Here we come!

Sylvia’s always first, though!

Vance

Sylvia and Laura waiting for Muriel to “sweep” me up

A delicious lunch. You choose the day before from three options: meat, seafood, vegetarian

Sadly, Jan got sick on the ride up and had to ride into Hvar with her bike in a van.

After our bike ride, the boat met us in Hvar and took off for the island of Vis. We disembarked for a hike to St. George’s Fort, sadly closed for an event, but we had great views and took a group photo. This island was a military base under Tito, the Yugoslavian Communist dictator, and has only been opened up in the last twenty years.

Group photo

View from Fort George on Vis Island

Tonight we walked all around the lovely promenade of the town of Vis. I think it is my favorite town we visited. We found a wonderful bar by the sea and tasted our first Hugo Spritzes. They are Prosecco with Elderflower syrup, fresh mint, and lime. The bar gave us a big bottle of the homemade elderflower syrup to take on the boat.

Sylvia, Helen, Vance, Laura, Anne

Vis

Day Three: Laura’s Birthday

Today we woke up and biked 28 kilometers from Vis to the town of Komiza on Vis Island. We had tremendous views on the ride down to Komiza, but sadly I panicked coming into the town and fell off my bike! I was very lucky to fall in the weeds and only skinned my knee. After a lemonade break in the little fishing village, we were back on the bikes for the ride home to our boat.

Before the fall

Bike wound: Luckily Karlo and Michael bandaged me up right away!

When we got back to the ship, Karlo told us lunch was at 2 pm, but Sandy and Mark didn’t realize the boat was leaving at 1:30 pm, and so they got left behind. Sandy was so embarrassed. She said, “My boys make fun of me because I insist on being at the airport three hours early!” They didn’t have their phones with them, but they got another captain to call ours, and our little boat went back to retrieve them.

We stopped and dropped anchor for a swim break! Helen bought us all Turkish towels for her birthday!

Turkish towels

Laura celebrates 60 with a Hugo spritz

Laura’s Birthday Dinner

Laura bought us blow up rafts and inner tubes on her birthday, and we enjoyed them on our swim break off the boat.

Then we sailed to Vela Luka on the island of Korcula. We walked way up over the town to see an ancient cave with three “skylights.”

Vela Luka Cave

Vela Luka

Day Four: Jan’s Birthday

Today was our longest bike ride! 60 kilometers! We biked from the town of Vela Luka on one side of the island of Korcula to Korcula town on the other end. We rode more inland today and through beautiful vineyards. We stopped at a place for a long lunch that seemed like it was in the Texas hill country. I loved the carafes of mint-flavored water. We were so hungry and had all kinds of food served in bowls and platters.

Luncheon feast to refuel for the next half (30 more kilometers!)

Meanwhile, Jan and Helen take a day off to chill with crew and in Korcula

View from Korcula

Then we continued to the beautiful town of Korcula and the medieval walled city. On the way down we had to go down some steep, hairpin turns on a one-way street, but Muriel was great at coaching me down. The last part of the ride was a beautiful coast along the water. We stopped and had a swim beach break before heading back to the boat.

Tonight we celebrated Jan’s birthday in Korcula.

Jan’s Birthday!

Cathedral in Korcula with strange sculptures, including the sirena from Italy

Strange Eve sculpture outside church

Street scene Korcula

Rooftop bar in a tower

Korcula is the hometown of Marco Polo

Day Five: My Birthday

Today we sailed to the island of Brac and had an extended swim break on the way. Sylvia and Jan rode the hot dog the crew pulled behind the little boat, and I swam to the shore and walked into a nudist (Naturist) beach without realizing it.

When in Croatia… Sylvia, Jan, and April want to blend in with the Naturists!

We rode our bikes in the afternoon from Sumartin to Postira, the captain’s hometown. It was a nice bike ride. I’m always last, but it doesn’t matter, and now that I’ve done the 60 kilometers, it all feels easier. Tonight after dinner we went out in the tiny town. We found a hotel with two musicians playing Croatian music and sat down. Jan began to dance by herself, and then we all joined her. The musicians began playing old Beatles songs, Johnny B Good, La Bamba, and other American classics. The other Americans from our boat came up and joined us, and then everyone in the bar joined in. It was so fun and crazy: people from all nationalities dancing together in joy. Oh, and it was my birthday!

Sunset from the boat

Sunset kissed

Birthday Girl!

Dancing Girls!

Day Six: Sylvia’s Birthday

Today we had a break from biking and went rafting outside of Omis in the Cetina River Canyon. We got on a bus to take us to the water rafting site. We had a raft to ourselves with Fran as our young guide. It was not scary except for one big rapid where we had to sit down, and Anne and Sylvia jumped off a cliff.

Rafting in the Cetina River Canyon: their bottled water comes from Cetina

Our boat

We filled our water bottles from the Cetina springs flowing into the river. The bottled water comes from Cetina. After lunch a big surprise luncheon on the boat, we sailed to Split and stopped for a swim break. In Split we took a city tour through Diocletian’s. Palace. It is so interesting. The Roman city of Salona, where Diocletian was born, had 60,000 inhabitants during the Roman times. Diocletian, the last emperor to persecute Christians, retired before he could be murdered and built a gigantic palace complex near his hometown. It took only 20 years to build with the labor of many slaves. When Salona fell to the Barbarians, the residents moved into the palace and built their houses out of the palace walls. To this day the palace is a mixture of ancient structures and those pieced together during the Middle Ages. When the Christians took over, they removed Diocletian’s body from his mausoleum and replaced it with the body of a Christian martyr. It’s also the heart of the thriving city. We loved walking around and had dinner there.

The outside walls of Diocletian’s Palace

The medieval church tower: wedding cakes are made in its shape for good luck

Entrance to Diocletian’s. Palace

Aperture of the foyer

This piazza in Diocletian’s Palace is the hot spot in the evenings

Temple of Jupiter and Helen

Vance in Diocletian’s Palace

Hotel Cornaro Rooftop Bar: celebrating Sylvia’s birthday in Split!

Day Seven: Vance’s Birthday

Here is a map of our cruise and bike rides:

But what’s not on here is that we went from Split to the island of Solta. We went on a morning bike ride from Rogac to Maslinica, only 20 kilometers and a very easy ride without much elevation. Still, it was a beautiful ride, and I’m finally getting used to it. Ebikes are amazing. They open up the whole wonderful experience of cycling to non-bikers. Maslinica is a lovely fishing village where we stopped to rest.

The only person to bike without an ebike ever was Michael from Switzerland. His wife Brigit was also on the trip, and they were a lovely couple. When Michael passed me on his bike, he’s say with his accent: “Super, Sara!” When we turned off our power to coast, we called it going “Michael mode.” He also took many photos of us and was an enthusiastic dancer. There were three American couples from Philadelphia, but April Showers (real name until she added her married one) was the one who took our photos and joined in with the dancing first. We also enjoyed getting to know the Kiwi couple, Sandy and Bruce. Sandy is a school principal. And the other Sandy and her friend, Mark, from Australia.

Vance, Helen, Jan at Maslinica

Before our last swim, Vance made us pose in the t-shirts Jan got us on her birthday! Mine makes a very comfortable nightgown.

Vance’s Birthday: Notice how she incorporates chair cover into her outfit!

After our swim we sailed to Trogir and wandered off from the town tour to do a little shopping before our last dinner on the boat. Afterwards the crew led us out on the deck for a farewell toast. Then Karlo played dance music, and even the more uptight Germans loosened up and danced with us all.

Everyone left yesterday, but Anne and I stayed. I spent most of the day trying to get these photos to load on weak wifi, but I was determined to record this trip until all the days blurred together in mush. I will add more text to fill in later, but in the meantime, I’ll send it to Paul, whose critique of my blogs is: more photos, less text! : )

One final anecdote: Anne and I were having pizza yesterday, and the waiter brought us some cherry liqueur at the end. I said the toast we were taught on the Melody: Sheevali! Well, the waiter blushed and said, No no! You cannot say that. It’s Zsheevali! It makes a big difference. Take note!

Last chance shopping in Trogir. I bought some cameo earrings to use up my Croatian kuna.

View of the harbor from the medieval tower built when the Venetians ruled Trogir

Straggler dinner: Anne and I are the last to leave

About ssteven2

I'm a reader, writer, swimmer, and school librarian. I love my summers so I can travel.
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7 Responses to Una Avventura in Croazia

  1. jmkennon says:

    Oh Sara—what an incredible trip! It all looks just spectacular! Isn’t the seafood in Croatia something? You and your friends look so so happy! And, the weather looks amazing! Love the birthday celebrations and the Turkish towels!!! Fantastic! Thanks for sharing all of this!!

    • ssteven2 says:

      I went back and revised. It was all a jumble, but I reorganized it according to the birthdays, which made it easier to remember. It’s more complete now. I still want to add details, and I didn’t get to today, but today is the sad day when it all ends.

  2. sandra062013 says:

    Sara, you just can’t keep a great blogger down, thank goodness! I loved every word and every photo of your Croatia blog, even though I’d seen some of the photos on Instagram – they are even more beautiful on the Ipad. What a fabulous time you have had with your friends, and I agree with Jan that you all look so healthy and happy and glowing. And thanks for the food photos, I loved imagining what the dishes must have tasted like – all delicious! And all the liquors! I am still thinking that it would be fun to do with our family…. Thanks again for doing this blog, it is wonderful!

    • ssteven2 says:

      Sandra, I had to take a break and reorganize it all because I kept getting the days mixed up. The birthdays really helped, so I organized it that way. It’s better now. I still have the last day, but I’m too tired. Tomorrow back to Rome, but only for the night.

    • ssteven2 says:

      Check out their website: islandhopping.com. They do cruises to other places also. I would love to fill a boat with family and friends some time. It’s so fun, but I do need a vacation from my vacation!

  3. sandra062013 says:

    Yes, you have been going non-stop for three weeks or more! Then in London you will be busy as well. Hope you have a little downtime in Rome. What a fabulous June you’ve had!

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