We left the boat early in the morning, everyone feeling pretty average. Asti has booked a hotel the night before to try sleep off her illness in comfort, the rest of us were a pack of coughing, hungover humans quite happy to be getting off the rocking boat.
We took the bus straight to the airport. Packed in like sardines, we had to stand up in the alley and the motion sickness combined with my hangover had me repeating ‘you will not spew on the bus’ over and over. I made it there, and made it through check in… But then ran to the bathroom and spewed my guts out. Felt heaps better after that!
In Barcelona we found our AirBnB apartment with ease and Mario, was the ever enthusiastic host. He carried my bag up the ‘four’ flights (read six) of stairs to his apartment where the three of us were uber excited to have real beds and showers and space after the boat.
By this time my cough and sweats had set in and he also translated the instructions for the medication I had picked up.
We explored Las Ramblas where we were staying (awesome place to be based), grabbed a snack and set out across the city. We walked to the waterfront, the gothic quarter and Arc De Triomf before returning to Las Ramblas for dinner. Big mistake. Do not eat on Las Ramblas! Staff couldn’t give a flying f*ck, prices were inflated and well, the staff really made it a terrible experience. We couldn’t even leave for ages because he wouldn’t get us the bill.
I was beginning to feel really unwell and Asti was still recovering so we had an early night in.
Days 4-7 were just more drunken debauchery with a side of site seeing.
Thank goodness the day after Carpe Diem was a rest day, tanning on top of the boat. We docked at Stari Grad, wandered the small town and ended up at a dirty beach with a number of topless sunbathers.
All the beaches are pebble beaches and as well as uncomfortable to lie on, hot as hell under your feet.
We took a charter bus to a winery where we were treated to four wines and a 8hr slow cooked feast. Beautiful views and all organic food sourced from their own farm. The tomatoes were incredibly flavoursome.
The next morning after a swim stop we arrived in Makarska, a beautiful city on the mainland, surrounded by huge rocky mountains.
I went for a big walk on my own, around the actual town itself (not just the touristy waterfront) and found a beautiful boutique food store where I bought some tasty jambon (smoked ham) and made puppy dog eyes at the truffle cheese.
Bumped into Gemma at a store and we found some of the other girls and went for some drinks. We were soon joined by some of the guys and were well on our merry way before dinner.
Dinner was at a typical Croatian restaurant in the square, half the group got parmigiana’ to my surprise. I had my fave, grilled squid. We had group races to the bottom of 1l sex on the beach cocktails, getting us prepped for the pirate party!
Everyone was well prepared and in the mood for the pirate party. Another ‘happy hour’ on the boat followed by another bar and finally the ‘rave cave’ or Deep as it is more commonly known. Deep was just packed full of pirates and loose Australians. Didn’t stay there long!
That night a storm came through and we had to skip our scheduled stop and instead arrived at Split a day early, which quite suited me. The rocking on the bot had been shocking the last few days and I’d started swaying even when I was off the boat. Add to that the whole boat coming down with some kind of mad cough and I was happy to be somewhere I could spend more time on land.
The first day we did a walking tour and had our Captains dinner on the boat. The others went out, I finished my consulting work for the QOC and had an early night. Lucky I did as I would need it for the next night!
We visited Krka during the day, beautiful scenic waterfalls about 1.5hrs away. Stunning views and a very refreshing swim. Shite food, take your own if you’re going.
Back in town we went for dinner at a fantastic restaurant called Fife on the waterfront, I highly recommend it. Croatian food, cheap prices and great service. I had another black squid ink risotto (a national dish) as it was our last night. I also had many red wines and a few vodkas and sodas which were much more vodka than soda.
Needless to say, my quiet night turned larger quickly! We danced the night away at an open air bar and met up with a group from Contiki who we had seen a few nights back. Lots of drama ensued with various ‘couples’ and it was all very entertaining.
Got home around 3am, fries in hand and ready to hop off the boat the next day and get to Spain.
I’d love to tell you the names of the places we have been visiting… But I really don’t recall! Apart from Hvar, that’s an easy one to remember. The others were smaller and not well known.
Days 2-4, we covered The islands of Mljet, Korcula and Hvar. Each day we leave about 5am, arrive mid morning for a swim stop in the ocean for an hour on our floaties then travel in to dock around lunch. Lunch is a 3 course meal everyday and each day I try to eat everything (overeating continues in Croatia) then we explore the island, head out for dinner then party.
Mljet is a stunning national park, with two big salt lakes. We swam around and got massive surprises when the fish are our feet. Kind of like Thailand, but much more surprising in the middle of the lake when you haven’t paid any baht for it! On the way back I grabbed a smoothie, there’s not much fruit or veg on the boat.
Korcula was a party night, we did a quick look around town, had cocktails at a bar that pulls your drinks up to the 4th level on a pulley system and has zero OSH standards, bought souvenirs at Marco Polo and had a group dinner with our sister boat (they have 13 touring.) I ordered what I thought was gnocchi in a red sauce with beef but was just meat. Like a casserole. Me no Likey.
Party started at Dos Loco, there were stripper poles and terrible music followed by many shots. Around midnight we all got on a bus with the other boats (usually Contiki, Top Deck & Sail Croatia will end up docked together) and headed to Boogie Jungle.
Boogie Jungle was fun, spew everywhere in the toilets but the hamburgers on the way out (around 2am) are a must!
I met a guy from Welly and we drank on the helm of the boat talking shite until 4am. He and another guy then pretended to be Miley Cyrus on the floats that separate our boats – it was hilarious at the time.
The next day and we slept most of it, (no surprise) which was fine as we were on the ocean most of the time until we took the water taxi to Hvar as we couldn’t dock yet. We explored the markets and went up to the fortress to look around, stunning view.
Hvar lived up to its name, a playground for super yachts and the biggest and most luxurious was right next to us. It was as much of as an attraction as the fortress! Although, I don’t really see what’s there for them. The restaurants (as far as I know) were no different to anywhere else and little shopping.
We went to the bar with everyone and I wasn’t really in the mood. A few cocktails and shots later and I could bare the terrible 90s music everyone else was digging. I even had the shot where you wear an army helmet and they smack you around with a large glass of tequila and soda.
I quickly got sick of how crowded it was and Gem, Asti and I left to find another place. We partied for a while, Asti got her crazy dance moves on and was quite the star! We had shots then on to the hotel sky bar. We made friends and had cocktails and shots on the house with them the suddenly we were on our way to Carpe Diem.
Carpe Diem is a fancy club on another island, you pay 200 Kuna (40aud) which covers your entry and boat ride there and back. It’s opens at 12.30am. We made our way over at 1.30am with some guys from Miami that the girls had met. Problem is, boats make me sleepy. I was ready to go to bed by the time we got there. It has everything you need there and is a day club too with cabanas etc. Friday (when we went) was quiet, apparently Thursdays and Saturdays are better. We or tied for a bit, Gem went for a swim and then we got pizza and the boat back. Another 4am evening / morning.
In between all this, we lie on the roof of the boat, nap and drink. Mainly sunbathe. I’m getting a decent tan and we have a great group.
We checked out of our cute attic and had breakfast on the waterfront. Figs and kransky’s were my favourite so I had platefuls – it was a buffet.
After fluffing around, trying to make SIM cards work and sort out buses, we made it to the port and found our sail boat. Much bigger than I had expected and 17 people on board plus crew!
Gem and I are rooming, it’s tiny, a bunk bed, basin and little room for anything else. My suitcase is under the bed and you get the bare necessities, in our case, a pillow, a sheet and a tiny towel. Tiny. It just wraps around my waist, with a full thigh split.
The boat went straight out and we had honey shots to welcome everyone. We have a lovely tour guide who explained we would stop in a few hours to swim in the middle of the ocean then moor at a small island overnight.
Lunch everyday is three course, today was broccoli soup, bread, salad, bolognais and banana with choc and cream for dessert. The beers were already flowing.
Swimming off the side of the boat is refreshing and fun, almost everyone got in on the action. It’s very buoyant – maybe because it is so salty.
The island had two market stalls (I bought a floaty tube for our next ocean swim and a towel), two restaurants and a little superette. We bought beer and chocolate and sat on the beach with the crew for a few hours.
Back on the boat dinner was served, a BBQ with chicken, pork, bread, chips and a capsicum spread then the drinking kicked in. Another Busabout boat moored next to us and we all made one big happy family playing have you ever until about midnight!
Well it’s 10.30am and I’ve had a hell of a morning already!!
Up early (yuck), get to train station, missed original train. This was okay, the next one got us there just in time. Couldn’t find the ticket station, finally get a ticket, race to platform, getting hangry. Get a choc croissant from the vending machine – not bad actually. Run to hop on train.
Hop on train, poor Sheldon gets super confused and is a day ahead, convinced we are missing out flights. Finally work out we are good, ticket man comes over. Give him our tickets, apparently you must validate your ticket (which they don’t tell you) and there is a 50€ fine each, unless we buy another, more expensive ticket. Buy ticket, frustrated. So is half the train, everyone is getting done for the same thing.
Get close to airport, realise I’m going to need to run to make bag drop. Say goodbye to Sheldon. Run the wrong way – ha! Should have taken 5 and checked the departure board. Get to terminal 1, read board, realise, run back. Get back, find out I have to take a bus. In true Italian fashion, there’s no bus times or info about how long it takes. Sheldon is in line. Run across to ask cabbie if I’m better going with him. No English. Bus arrives, run back. Bus nearly full, decide to take cab after all. Cabbie takes off and announces it is 15€ for 5mins. I have no choice. Speedy cabbie, good man. Much further than I originally thought. Thank god I took the cab!
Race into Terminal 2 (STA Travel, this should really be on my booking info FYI), lovely man puts me to front of line. Check in, bag dropped, made it, yewww!!!
But then, boarding is super soon. Commence next round of running. Run to customs, run to gates. Stop briefly for salad (haven’t eaten any freaking greens since I arrived in Italy, body is confused) then continue run to gate. Get to gate, biggest queue everrrr, stand in line for 25mins to check in… Negates all the running but thankful I hopefully burnt off some of that pasta and wine as I’m on a boat in Croatia for a week next.
So here I am on the plane to Dubrovnik, which is only an hour flight, and I’m truely ready for a nap! In good spirits – you just have to laugh at times like these!!
Made it to Dubrovnik, easy bus ride in. Beautiful city, I’m sure all you Game of Throne fans already know what it looks like.
We had booked a private room in a hostel, it’s very cute and a great location. It’s like a little attic. Met up with Gemma and Asti and went for lunch. Grilled squid of course, washed down with local beer.
Gemma and I walked the city wall. Spectacular views, it really is like stepping back into another time. Pics can tell the story. It was a very sweaty expedition – the pics tell that story too – ha!
Inside the walls it’s exceptionally touristy which I’m not a huge fan of. Didn’t last long there other than to devour a beautiful cherry and choc gelato mmmm.
Looking for a spot to watch the sunset we toured all around (walking off the pasta still from Italy) and settled on a pebble beach at a bar with swings. I promptly got motion sick (whaaaat?!) and had to move to a barstool. Pretty sure the barman was drunk.
Most beautiful and captivating thing I have seen was on night fall, the moon licking the ripples on the ocean a stunning girl and her German Sheppard arrived to play in the water. They swam together in the moonlight for an hour, the dog following her whenever they went and getting mighty upset when she disappeared under water. Beautiful to watch the love and fun between them… And no, I haven’t even been drinking to write this!
We also went for a late night dip. It took a long time to get us in the water but it was lovely once we were.
Dinner, we scouted for black squid ink risotto, apparently a local specialty. Found a place, my god the service is terrible here!
They do no give a shite about you and when you want your drink or if your main comes out 1.5 hours later (that actually happened) even after you had told them to forget about it when they realised the forgot. Anyway, the risotto was good but that was about it.
Home to sleep about midnight in our little attic before boarding the boat to sail Croatia for a week! Can’t wait. Blogging may be intermittent – not sure what wifi etc we will have.
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