Monday, 24 June 2013

sailing the adriatic

When I told my well-travelled friends that I was going to Europe for summer, they all raved about the sailing trips in Croatia. And why the hell not?! Travelling is exhausting (yes, I said it!) and to spend a week on the water sailing through some of the most beautiful islands in the world with your whole itinerary planned for you is just a brilliant break from the "train-hostel-cathedral-pubcrawl" scene.

When Mai and I were living in London we went to the London TNT Travel Show to snag some deals, and boy did we get lucky! We bought a 2 for 1 sail Croatia trip that is usually about 800 quid for 399 each. Plus we also bought a 3 day La Tomatina festival pass with festivals all round for 150. We were all set for some good times! If you’re in London, go to the travel show (held in March) and get yourself a bargain!

After sleeping in Belgrade airport, we arrived in Dubrovnik and hopped on a bus to Split where our boat was departing from the next day.  Early Saturday morning we packed our bags and headed to the port where there must have been at least 200 vessels of all sizes waiting to set sail. It was all a bit crazy but we ended up finding our vessel in the end, Rojac.

The best thing about little Rojac was that it was way smaller than the rest of the boats, with only 16 people compared to the usual 30-40. Our new sailing family included two Swedish girls, an Australian couple, an Aussie girl and her English boyfriend, two English guys, two Colombian girls and two Croatian couples (plus Mai and I). It was a nice mix and surprisingly, there were only 4 Aussies! Awesome! I was afraid Sail Croatia would be a massive Aussie Fest.

I love living on boat. It's so simple. Eat, swim, lie in the sun, eat, drink beer, repeat. During the day, we sailed from one island to the next, with swim stops, snorkeling and chillaxing under the sun. In the evenings we explored the town, went out for dinner and hit the famous Croatian bars and clubs. I would totally recommend the company, Katarina Lines. We did the ‘Young and Fun Southern Island Hopping’ and the whole trip was very well organised.

The itinerary from Split included:

  • Makarska -  there was an optional river rafting experience on the Cetina River, we stopped for our first dip in the deep blue sea, the town itself was absolutely stunning with backdrop mountains but unfortunately the famous outdoor cave club, ‘Deep’ was closed (we ended up finding some great places anyway!)

  • Mljet - with the beautiful lake National Park, a group of us had a picnic dinner over sunset and we met some people who were trying to convince us to swim out to their big boat for a party. Not likely.

  • Dubrovnik – we went walking around the old town exploring the hidden gems, I went for a run in the afternoon and we had a free walking tour which was really interesting, covering the history of the town, at night we had a random last minute dinner with our table set up in the street and went to a massive MASSIVE club in a castle

  • Trstenik - my favourite stop, a beautiful tiny Island covered in vinyards, I went for a run up a hill in the heat, we did a wine tasting tour and played a game of football with a French football player

  • KorĨula - believed to be the birth place of Marco Polo, I did a backflip off the top of the boat and flipped too many times. The back slap was painful as f*ck!
  • Hvar: I’ve heard so many things about the nightlife in Hvar, but it was pretty damn expensive to get into a club. We played a few drinking games on the boat and some of the others went out. Definitely a place I’d like to come back to with more time!
  • Split: The last night on our cruise, it was one of the Swedish girls’ birthday so we all went out in style (that is, drinking 1L beer out of plastic bottles in the park and going clubbing). I ended up playing guitar with a small group of people until 4am! We had people leaving the club join us in sing-a-longs. It was a brilliant end to a brilliant trip!

I promised everyone I’d write a song to sing on the last day and I did. Although it was a cover, I wrote the lyrics which included everyone one the boat and some of the hilarious things that happened over the trip. 

Some of the highlights of the trip were: the food (the most delicious boat food I’ve had and probably the healthiest we’d eaten in a while!), The Mine game (a rule of the boat where if someone said ‘mine’ they had to do 10 pushups anywhere, anytime – including shops, restaurants, bars etc., it was comedy!), the endless amount of card games we played on deck, the sing-alongs (the two Colombian girls had amazing voices and we sung together a few times) and of course, the friends we made (it was such as small group that we got to know each other well and had a lot of fun).

I would totally recommend a Croatia Sailing trip if you want to have a nice balance of relaxing and partying and it’s definitely the best way to see the stunning Croatian Islands. You’re only challenge is to the dodge the Aussies!

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