We arrived in Croatia fresh off our super active 2 weeks in Switzerland where all we did was hike mountains. To say we were feeling a little exhausted is an understatement.
We were looking forward to 2 straight weeks of beach hopping to rejuvinate our bodies and minds.
Our latest house swap was on the island of Hvar, a 2 hour ferry ride from Split. So off we drove early the next morning after landing late the night before.
We had a few hours to kill in downtown Split which was filled with hundreds of shops, restaurants and endless supplies of gelato.
This, as it would turn out, would be the beginning of a very unhealthy relationship with ice cream.
Getting that car onto and off the ferry though, will go down as one of the most stressful moments of the trip. Maneuvering a small manual car onto a ferry is no easy feat. There are several levels and you are coaxed into your smaller than ideal spot by some Croatian who doesn’t know a single word of English, and you at this point, know nothing of the Croatian language. Well except for the fact that they seem to have replaced all vowels with the letter K.
Again, Bryan and his nerves of steel got us through a rather unpleasant few minutes, all the while the kids are playing happily (and loudly) in the backseat, completely unaware of the anxiety that was building in the front seat.
“Please don’t make me go to the lower level, please don’t make me go to the lower level” I wish I could have taken a photo of this narrow hole in the floor that we, of course, were sent down.
When we did make it to the Island, a young boy on a moped was waiting for us and escorted us through Stari Grad and to our home.
First impressions? Hvar is CHAR-MING. Everything is so old, yet so beautifully maintained. Old stone buildings with colourful doors and roofs, cobblestone roads and the most beautiful fishing villages adorned with lights and restaurants all serving up grilled fish.
As for the apartment? We are in a 1 bedroom apartment that has Bryan and I sleeping on the couch again, but it works well for us for the time.
Turns out, Hvar is one of the leading exporters of lavender! We were fortunate to be on the island during harvest, so we made a stop at one of the fields to pick some and take some photos. It smelled heavenly!
Now as for those beaches, despite looking like there would be hundreds of beaches to choose from, they are proving to be difficult to reach. Our first impression and love affair of Hvar is quickly fleeting.
The first few days we came up empty handed, driving to a part of the island only to have to walk for about 30 minutes through spider infested woods to find hundreds of sea urchins waiting for us in the rocks.
It wasn’t until we discovered the little town of Jelsa that we flip flopped back to love affair. We stumbled upon two (man made) sand beaches that became instant hits. The beaches were crowded, but we were able to find shade and start our necessary relaxation time, even a small playground!
The kids insisted on new bathing suits upon reaching Croatia. I think all three of them were looking to “blend in” more after the realization in Spain that “skin, was in”.
We reluctantly agreed on the 2 pieces for the girls, and Bryan by the end of the trip was buying his very own teeny tiny bathing suit too (Stay tuned for photos on that!)
Jelsa is a really fun town, just the right size, with the most beautiful beach bars and restaurants. We ended up wishing we had stayed there instead!
Our luck finding beaches thankfully changed, and once we decided to just hang with all the tourists, we immediately started stumbling on the most beautiful beaches.
Till next week! xo