I can’t believe I’ve now arrived in my final adventure destination. This trip has gone way too fast, and has completely whet my appetite for travelling. I knew I was desperate to get out and see the world, after a brief trip to Oz and New Zealand, but the past few weeks has only deepened my desire to escape. Escape the reality of a settled life and see what’s really out there. You only get one chance at life after all, and surely your footloose and fancy free twenties are the perfect time to do so?
After weeks of busy exploring, experiencing a new culture and menu in each destination, Croatia was our down time. The place to chill, tan and rewind before we returned to the rat race. We ‘treated’ ourselves to a 2 bedroom apartment in the centre of the old town of Split, after a booking mix up with hostel chain Cro. We would of loved to have stayed here, and for many weeks, thought we were! Until, one email confirmation search later, no bank charge and several non replied emails to the hostel later, we admitted defeat and booked other accommodation, fearful we’d end up on the beach, only booking a mere 5 days before we left the UK.
This apartment was great- yet unusual obviously a guys place, considering the lack of mirrors (one TINY bathroom mirror, which was too high to even see your hair in, and I’m nearing 5 foot 8….) the lack of kitchen equipment (ever made coffee on a hob before?!) and the bizarre stuffed monkey who was pretty well endowed and made alarming mating calls when you touched his hand. But still, a bedroom each and our own bathroom was pretty much a 5* hotel after Rome.
Split is a beautiful town, with a gorgeous harbour, stunning Roman architecture and a huge array of delicious eateries. The name ‘Spilt’ also seems pretty apt- a leisurely walk along the Riva from the rustic old town and you’ll suddenly, unexpectedly find modern glass buildings and pretty swanky wine bars.
Split is known for its pebble beaches, so many tourists and locals alike head to the sandy banks of Bacvice, a ten minute walk from the centre of Split. Don’t expect to get a sun lounger after 9am, so if your not a fan of waking up for the next 3 days to an apartment, and even bed, full of sand, make sure you set your alarm for sunrise! Bacvice is also known for its nightlife, which is aimed at the youngest crowd- it’s clubs are advertised as 18-20 with some over 20’s ‘ok’ to come. No thanks, not after the Budapest Sparty experience!
Instead, we stuck to the lovely restaurants and wine bars of Diocletians Palace, where you can find delicious fish restaurants (as a non fish eater, i braved the sea bass and shark) and those selling Croatian delicacy Boskarin Istra Stew (a rare type of Ox, served with black truffle gnocchi). I’d suggest checking out…….
An after dinner gelato (try the Ferro Roacher, it’s to die for!) can simply be followed by cocktails on the Riva harbour, perfect during the Blues Festival or a bottle of Croatian wine at Luxor, who invite local musicians to play each night. Just expect the locals to all get up and start dancing when Beatles covers are played which was a nice taste of my scouse home, and clap along to a gorgeous rendition of Pharrells ‘Happy’. A much more sophisticated way to welcome in the wee hours than with cheap shots at Bacvice!
A trip to Croatia is not complete without a visit to the island of Hvar, which I’m predicting will be the new Marbs for us Brits in 2015. How apt, considering my travel companion Sam and I holidayed there for years before the TOWIE lot invaded it. Hvar has a reputation as the party island, but it’s much more than that. In fact, it’s pretty damn beautiful.
After a wander around the harbour and river front, we set up camp near to Hula bar, after a little visit to this island hotspot. After a 8 hour day of extreme sunbathing, we were both suffering from a bout of sunburn and a touch of sunstroke. I know, at 27, we should really know better. But alas, running out of my beloved Piz Buin SpF30 left me trusting an organic Italian brand, which I will not be investing in again! So, relaxing in a shady area, where we could enjoy a bottle or 2 of wine, whilst enjoying our books and holiday playlist, was definitely high on the wish list. With a view over the sea and the rich America holidaymakers staying in this 5* hotel, our day was pretty much made at …..
But a trip to Hvar was not complete without a cocktail or 3 at Carpe Diem, the islands hottest bar, which is pretty much of the doorstep of your ferry across from Split. Drinking White Russians, whilst listening to pure chill out DJs and discussing our wonderful travels was simply the nicest way to end the day. However, if you want to party on, you can get a speedboat over to Carpe Diem beach. Literally an island club! Which sounded amazing but limited funds (think London prices over here..) and the sunstroke blues hitting home, there was no way we’d survive!
So, to the airport I head and back to reality. After three weeks, six counties and countless memories.
Don’t worry passport, you won’t be tucked away for long!