When you’ve lived in London for 6+ months, you begin to crave the sun. You start checking the weather forecast obsessively, scanning for a day with a chance of sunshine. And when the sun does come out, you put everything down and get outside immediately for a walk. And you still bring your brollie. Looking at the calendar for August & September, we noticed two things: a bank holiday and Labor day within a week of each other and booked on the spot. 5 days in Croatia is just what we self-diagnosed via Web MD.
Our excuse: celebrating our two year wedding anniversary. Did we need an excuse? Nah. But that’s what we told the hotels we stayed at to get a free dessert at check in. 🙂
Croatia has also been on our list for a while. Madison’s grandma Olga has very strong roots in Croatia (or Yugoslavia as she still calls it). Also, ever since a friend went sailing around Croatia’s coast for a week it’s been a romantic idea to “sail the Adriatic.”
We flew into Dubrovnik on September 1 and two days later rented a car to drive up the coast to Split where we stayed for 2 nights before driving back to the Old City and flying to London on September 6. The views? Amazing. And my fear of heights was mitigated by Croatia’s surprisingly very safe and well planned roads. While it did seem at first like a typical “Victoria & Madison try to fit too much into one vacation” scenario, I’m happy to report we were able to find enough time to relax and take our mind off work for a bit.
We’re in agreement – the best part of the trip was sailing. All I really wanted to do was be “on a boat” and sailing on a private boat around the Elaphiti Islands absolutely checked that box. We spent half the day on the water, feet dangling in the waves, stopping for a bit to watch a pack of dolphins swim by and snorkel in front of a cave that I wanted no part of going into. (I’ve seen Rescuers Down Under and know that you should generally avoid holes that fill with water.)
A few other highlights in no particular order:
- Luka’s ice cream in Split. So many flavors! So little time. We settled on hazelnut, gingerbread, poppyseed cake & chocolate but you really can’t go wrong.
- Paddle boarding in Split at sunset. It’s as romantic as you’re imagining — we had the sea to ourselves, just paddling into the sunset — until the soft purples in the sky became darker and you couldn’t see what was below us and we laughed nervously until we were safe on the dock with some prosecco in hand.
- Fresh figs at breakfast
- Stumbling upon a secret passage in Dubrovnik that took us outside the city walls to aa bar with a house party vibe complete with swimming off the rocks in the Adriatic Sea. It felt almost hedonistic finding such a cool place to unwind and literally cool off just outside of the walled city.
- The water is so blue! While the beaches were rocky, once you were in the water it was so lovely swimming around in the clearest water, and looking back at the shore – rocky with massive hills rising up all around the bay.
- Coastal views while driving along the Adriatic – we were up SO high! There weren’t many places to stop and take a photo but the drive was truly spectacular, even when we turned onto the highway and drove through the mountains a bit more inland.
- Learning a touch of Croatian! Dobra Dan!
- Eating outside. The temperature was lovely in the evenings and spending so much time outdoors made us realize how we really hope to always have outdoor space wherever we’re living and preferably on / near the water. #LifeGoals
- All the cats! A theme of all of our European travels, Croatia didn’t let us down with the felines roaming the cities. We even considered taking home a Dumbledore lookalike near Luka’s!
- A new title for V: “Lady”. Hey Lady. For the lady. Lady, what would you like? Welcome lady. Good evening lady….
We had amazing weather the whole trip until our very last day. Thankfully it didn’t rain too hard on our drive back to Dubrovnik, because oh my goodness did it storm. The wind. Thunder! Lightning! And so much rain. Alllll night. It was a fun storm to watch but kept us pretty cooped up and forced to eat hotel food, which at the Sheraton was the worst! We were very sad to leave a sunny and warm Croatia the next morning but thrilled to be heading back to London where we have more dining options & a kitchen.
Croatian food is mostly seafood (we had a lot of Sea Bass) with some of the Eastern European influences you’d expect like sausage and beer and quite a few Italian inspired dishes as well. My favorite item on the menu wherever we went was the olives and I ate them at every meal (we didn’t order any dessert since we were treating ourselves to ice cream and sorbet during the day). So many olives. We also enjoyed wine from all different regions of Croatia and can report back that it all tastes the same! Chalky, as a result of the limestone that’s everywhere. Not terrible, but I don’t think we’ll be seeking out Croatian whites anytime soon.
Coming off this trip which so closely followed our tour of Wales and England we are feeling very lucky and ready to get back to the grind.
V + M
PS – I was able to finish “Along the Infinite Sea” on this trip which was not what I was expecting but ended up loving the plot. I can’t seem to get away from the WWII historical fiction genre — this one was an accident, I swear — but I highly recommend it. Can’t go wrong a love story set in France…