Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Croatia - Part III

Here's the last series of photos from our Croatia trip back at the end of May / early June ... oh how I long to return! After we split from Split (ha!), we continued south along the coast, stopping off for 2 nights in the little fishing village town of Brela. The weather finally started to heat up after our first week of on/off rain and overcast skies, so we took advantage of the seaside locale and took our first dip in the cool, clear, salty waters of the Adriatic. And wow, the seafood in these parts was like no other... biggest mussels and freshest fish I've ever had! Nice to have a few chill days in Brela before leaving for Croatia's tourist mecca of Dubrovnik... on the way though, we decided to stop off and take the car ferry out to the island of Hvar for the day, where we drove around some precarious roads in the mountains, eventually stumbling upon the Tomic' Winery, Sara's namesake vino... this was definitely one of the highlights for both of us, especially her... how often do you get to drink boutique Croatian wines with your name on it on the island where they were created? (my wife's maiden name is Tomich... in Croatia though, they use accents in place of the 'h' for the same 'ch' sound.)

After returning to the mainland, we made our way down to Zaton, just north of Dubrovnik where we spent our last 4 nights. On our first day, we headed into the city to check out the legendary Old Town of Dubrovnik, a vast fortress on the Adriatic sea where you can walk the winding city streets and alleyways, as well as the ramparts above the city walls for a glimpse into the city's history along with some amazing 360 views out to sea and around town. The next day we headed up to the village of Trsteno so we could wander around the rustic, almost Garden of Eden-like Trsteno Arboretum, full of lush, green surroundings, an awesome Poseidon fountain, forbidden fruits and snakes... as well as a secret quiet swimming spot that I still dream about today! 

On our third day we went back to the Old Town where we did some sea kayaking around the city walls, a cursed island and into a few caves, learning some insightful history in the process from our guide who grew up in Dubrovnik's Old Town and was born during the War in '91... the city experienced 8 months without water and electricity while they were holed up withstanding shelling from the Serbs the entire time... and he was just a baby back then! Crazy. Definitely put things in perspective. 

Our flight back wasn't until 7pm on the 4th day, so we hit up Kupari Beach on the way to the airport. Kupari used to be a luxury resort for the Yugoslavian Army in the '80s before being bombarded and shelled to oblivion during the War between '91-'95. Nowadays, those same luxury resort hotels lay derelict along the beach, completely accessible to explore and tip-toe around. This was my first time seeing real war damage in person, so it was certainly eye opening. Surprising though, the beach area was quite serene and beautiful, and appeared to be going through a positive transformation, with young Croatian men nearby setting up a tiki bar complete with a sound system for Summer parties... looking forward and out toward the Sea as opposed to behind at the decades old ruins... almost a metaphor for Southern Dalmatia itself -

- 6/2 - 6/8/13 -

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