Island hopping


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September 29th 2019
Published: October 6th 2019
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We had decided to spend a long time in Split (10 days) so we could visit islands with day trips, rather than haul luggage and pack and unpack several times. This decision has worked out well! We are in an inexpensive, but newly renovated apartment very close to the beach and the beach restaurants, and a 10 minute walk to the ferries.

Our first Island trip was to Hvar, and specifically Hvar town, an island and town popular with the jet set. Unfortunately, it is now popular with the older cruise set, and the town is much too small to comfortably handle even one ship, along with all the boats and ferries from the mainland. Hvar town boasts the oldest indoor theater in the world, but we couldn't visit it. There was an interesting model ship exhibition, all made by one man. We hiked to the fort along with a hundred other people, hiked down, and took a bus a few kilometers down the coast to the small town of Milna, where we had a nice lunch and swam in the beautiful little bay. While waiting for the bus back to Hvar town, a local woman was hitch-hiking and we
The walk from Zlatni Rat to BolThe walk from Zlatni Rat to BolThe walk from Zlatni Rat to Bol

The path seems to be recent, and beautifully done!
tagged along with her, getting a ride from a Swedish couple, who had driven to Croatia from their home. (This is the woman we later met in Split who took us to her hair salon..)

The scene on the dock was crazy, with several boats leaving at once. We met a woman from Kona HI, and were chatting, while waiting in the wrong line, almost getting on the ferry for Dubrovnik!

The second trip was to the smaller island of Solta, only several kilometers from Split, with none of the hype of Hvar. On one website, its motto is "Return to Innocence". To say the main town is quiet is an exaggeration...we asked the very bored young woman in the tourist info booth for a beach recommendation, and she said to walk past the lighthouse across the bay. The walk looked unpleasant, so we went the other way, following a path on the tourist map. We ended up in a beautiful little bay (with a small beach littered with plastics funneled in by the wind) but with teal waters and a few concrete platforms to sit on..There were small vacation cabins up in the pines, but no one but us and another couple around. That is until the catamaran with the loud German men arrived...they swam in the cove, and some had not bothered with bathing suits...they were quieter once on land, but did detract from the peaceful beauty of the place! The part of the trail near town was was very new and had some cool artwork.

Our third island trip was to Brac, the largest island in Croatia. It is best known for its stone, said to be used in the mantles in the White House (yes, that White House!) and Diocletian's Palace. It has been inhabited since the 12th millennium BCE. Since the Venetians took power in the 11th century, it has been planted in olive trees. Recently wineries have gained prominence. While large, the island is mostly rural and not a tourist destination, except for its beautiful crescent shaped beach in Bol, which was our destination.

We sat with a Croatian family from Zagreb on the ferry: a young couple with a 7 month old baby and the husband's parents, who own a few villas on the island and travel there every weekend. They had bought 50 kilos of fish in the Split market before taking the ferry! The baby was watching a "Wheels on the Bus" video in English for a few minutes!

Once on the island, we explored our transportation options (we already knew that the connections to Bol and the beach were difficult). All the locals had recommended a taxi for the hour long trip, but it was going to cost us nearly $100 round trip, while the bus was going to be around $30 (still expensive since the ferry was only $16 for both of us..). The bus schedule did not match the ferry schedule, so we would have a lot of wait time. The enterprising taxi drivers had spotted a group of Swedes who were heading to the beach too, and persuaded them to join us in the cab, bringing the cost down to the price of the bus! The Swedes (three couples) were fun to talk to, and the route to the beach was beautiful!

I noticed strange white rocky areas on the hillsides, and later realized that they were huge piles of rocks cleared from the land over the centuries!

We spent a few hours on the beautiful pebble beach of Zlatni Rat, sunning and swimming in the clear teal waters. The beach was mostly empty when we arrived, but had filled with the local weekend crowds and tourists by the time we left around 2:00 pm. We had some cheese pancakes (crepes) as a snack and walked the lovely path two kilometers into town to meet up with our taxi driver and the Swedes for the ride back to the ferry. The taxi driver hadn't wanted any money until the return trip...

On the last sunny day of our trip, we decided to return to Solta. This time we had the cove to ourselves, but it was cooler and winder, with rough water until around 2:00 pm. I cleaned up part of the beach while waiting for it to get warm enough to swim. It struck me that all the trash was non-essential items: plastic straws, bags, bottles, lids, tiny espresso spoons, and candy wrappers were the most common things I picked up...We read, snacked, and I swam before walking back to ferry landing, where we sat by the silent harbor, waiting for our boat and drinking cappuccinos at the the tiny cafe....


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Hvar:The arsenal/grain storage built in 1612.  Hvar:The arsenal/grain storage built in 1612.
Hvar:The arsenal/grain storage built in 1612.

The oldest indoor theater min Europe is built above this area. There was 1:10 model boat show here today.
MilnaMilna
Milna

Our lunch restaurant was right on the water...
Solta:  mosaics onder the bridge on the path to the cove.Solta:  mosaics onder the bridge on the path to the cove.
Solta: mosaics onder the bridge on the path to the cove.

The buildings and boats are all made of found stones from the beach.


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