We had a week on our own before our first guests arrive and would love to see some of the southern Dalmatian Islands seeing that we plan to do the central islands with them. We departed Dubrovnik in calm weather and a clear beautiful day, motoring past the Elephati islands while dodging a few local boaties that has absolutely no idea of the rules of the road when at sea!! (You always pass another boat port to port if on a collision path … They have obviously no port side or no idea about this international rule! )
Whenever we pass an interesting looking place, we will turn in, hang around for a while without dropping an anchor, take pictures and move on. We have tried all through our travels in Croatia, to at least anchor for lunch in a nice protected bay and have a rest before carrying on to our overnight destination.
Only 45 min into our departure from the marina, we were dangerously overtaken by a ferry and thought to follow him … They normally go somewhere interesting. We were not disappointed in the little town of Sudurad which ended up to be his destination. Having taken it all in (and taken too many pictures once again of the little castle and happy looking town, we moved on to our lunch spot at Sepanskaluka. (I know …weird names! You probably think I am making it up with random keystrokes … they are real! Trust me, it is hard enough to pronounce and remember the town you are in at the moment let alone the last week or two!) We were happy to just have a quick light lunch and rest for half an hour. Our early morning starts are usually steering us to a recharge session at about 1.30pm! That is just how long our batteries last!
Dalmatia is the very southern region of Croatia (between Dubrovnik and Split) and include the southern group of islands (called the Dalmatian Islands) too… The Dalmatian dog got its name from this region and has its roots here too. We just love the limestone islands with their similar looking houses – beautiful! I wonder if there are tight restrictions on building styles … it is very soothing of the eye to see their harmonious, uniform settlements around the islands… The typical light grey limestone houses with red tiled roofs and various styled chimneys are scattered in between vineyards, olive groves and mountain valleys. No big glass palaces to be seen – which makes me wonder if foreigners can even buy property here. I don’t know … but if that is the reason it still have that “Croatian” style everywhere – may it then stay the case! Only money from outside can destroy this special beauty for them!
Croatians are the most wonderful people! Loud and robust in their way of talking, but kind hearted and very helpful and eager to make you feel special. Services are overall very, very good (especially if compared to Italy!) Croatians are also very fond of their outdoor cooking and every house, restaurant or holiday dwelling will have a outside built BBQ – often in the front of the house where the social happenings take place! BBQ’s here have a very old fashion style – big opening – at least a meter and a half wide with long chimney and a small roof with tiles and galore! All just made of air bricks and mortar. They are masters of BBQ-ing fish and squid on the fire! Their stews and bread all gets cooked/baked on the fire! It is wonderful to have that real wood-fire-smell around every town or island!! I miss it so much – it is just part of anyone that grew up in South Africa! (or I guess Africa?) On top of that, Croatia has a very rich history of conquests and trade with some spectacular cities and towns plus many old ruins from the Roman times. That and the fantastic unspoiled natural beauty set against the dramatic backdrop of the high Dalmatian Alps will make us come back again.
The Croatian’s simplistic way of living, cooking and the fact that it has not yet become an over-regulated country is making it a great place to travel in! Yachties often wonder amongst each other, where did we go wrong? Here you take responsibility for your own actions to do things like climbing up a tower with steep steps and no rails to have the most awesome view from the top – with no incidences and if there is … That is your own business! You never see rowdy drunken young people around – they just grow up here to think for themselves instead of having the government deciding for them with red tape and regulations and laws that kills the fun! You often find that English is spoken although broken, they are trying very hard to understand you and get the message across. English is a compulsory language at school which makes the younger generation getting more involved in tourism.
Although they are all really pretty islands, half the fascination is the strange names and spelling! My South African friends will find the Island Jakljan quite funny! At least that one we can easily pronounce and remember! Kak and bok is often features in daily greetings together with the ” Dobra Dan” (“good day”) !
There are just so many amazing places around these islands that I had to pick a few highlights that we will post a blog and pictures about. Keep an eye out for the next few blogs …all about the southern part of the islands of Croatia 🙂