The Island of Hvar

Trip Start Jul 01, 2007
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15
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Trip End Nov 25, 2007


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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Our ferry steams out from Dubrovnik harbour slowly on a hot sunny Sunday morning. The ferry is full and it's difficult to find to find a cpmfortable spot outside to camp on. We end up laying down Alice's sarong and my green towel on the hot hard steel deck and try to get some sleep. The steel is so hot from the sun that I am getting burned and can't take it for very long.
We are on our way to Hvar, possibly the most popular tourist spot in Croatia - during July and August the marina is full of pleasure boats, the streets are crowded with holidaymakers, and the bars and nightclubs are hopping. It is the end of the season, and we're hoping it won't be that crowded. We find lodging in a hostel on a hill above town and after an exploratory walk around town and dinner, get lost on the way back, as we haven't taken sufficient care with orienting ourselves.
Next day we take a day cruise, which is quite expensive, but there are a lot of activities involved and we will get to see a lot and lunch is provided. We first head off to Vis island, which is some distance away and we make the acquaintance of some people we will hang around with for most of the day - Jim, a retired policeman, and his partner, Chris, both from Melbourne. They are enjoying the retired life, travelling as often as they can around the world. Jim is an old-fashioned type of Australian man - a mixture of someone who is very polite and courteous, especially around women, but he then tells me about all the drinking in his younger days in the police force, and various colourful stories and escapades from his career.
We also make the acquaintance (or should I say she made our acquaintance) of Gail, who is from some mid-western part of the US, and has an interesting way of asking questions - within seconds of meeting her she was asking me whether it was going to rain today, and if it rained, how long for, and other questions in that vein, as if I would know. She also seemed to make everybody else's acqaintance on the boat and asked similar things of them, although she met her match when the lady who organised religious excursions to Medugorje tried to convert her (Gail is Jewish). For a bit of fun we tried to teach her some Australian slang phrases such as budgie smugglers, but it took a lot of explanation to get the meaning across (even though I had some on - for non-Aussies you will have to use your imagination - budgies are little birds called budgerigars and budgie smugglers are men's swimming costume such as Speedo's), and then she fluffed it when she tried to tell Jim because he couldn't understand her accent.
Our first stop was the so-called Green Cave and those who want to are invited to have a swim, so we do. The water is beautiful and still relatively warm. We chug along a bit further to the island of Bisevo and are taken by rowing boat into the Blue Cave through a small opening - we all have to lie down so as not to knock our heads on the rocks and we are then transported into a magical blue grotto - unfortunately we aren't allowed to swim there.
Finally we are taken to the town of Komiza, where we go for a swim at the shingle beach, and also stop for drinks at Konoba Jastozera, a restaurant in a former lobster farming complex that went broke. The setting is fantastic and people were eating at another table and the food looked excellent. Must remeber that the lobster season is 15 May to 15 September for nect time I come here.
That evening we have a light meal then head down to the famous, or should I say infamous Carpe Diem nightclub - apparently some people come to Hvar just to come to this nightclub, and our guidebook says that in August in the height of the season VIP's hang out here (they mention Gerard Depardieux drinking the cheapest red wine in the house, and some others whose name I forget), and you have to reserve a table, but in September there are fewer tourists and you can, and here I quote from the guidebook 'go for some egalitarian shimmying a deux on the dance floor'.
Alice and I rock up and order drinks - Alice orders a Cosmopolitan and I order a Margarita (the first since Mexico 8 months ago), and the barman spins the bottles around his back, and over his head, etc and makes me the worst Margarita I've ever had - could hardly taste the tequila and lime for the amount of ice, and served with a straw - of all things.
From what I could see it was the usual dismal club/bar scene with loud doof music, overpriced watery drinks, and everyone yelling to make themselves heard, and giggling, etc and convincing themselves they're having a good time. Deeply shallow indeed (says I who has spent the last couple of weeks sunbaking, swimming, eating icecreams and drinking wine :). Please tell me if you think I'm sounding too much like an old grump. Anyhow, we sat out on cushions on the terrace away from the noise and pretended to be bohemians.
For our last day on Hvar we had another swim and sunbake (probably our last on this trip we thought), then nice lunch with plenty of veggies at Paradies Garden (their spelling) while listening to a lady with a very posh British accent talking to a local (Alice is a great mimic and often entertained me with her accents), a last icecream (forgot to tell you we have been having icecreams pretty well every day), then caught the ferry to Split in the afternoon so we could catch the overnight train to Zagreb.
So, goodbye to the sunshine and beaches and icecream and on to the Croatian hinterland.
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