The Grand Eastern European Adventure: Hvar Island, Croatia

4 June 2014

I dragged my hungover ass out of bed, sloppily packed my things, and had some girl talk and breakfast with the three Canadian college girls.  A few hours later, I checked out of my party hostel and bought a ferry ticket in the harbor, quite ready to get the hell out of Split.

Croatia is a magical Medditteranean paradise that happens to be set in Eastern Europe.  It’s long coastline stretches along the Adriatic Sea and contains thousands of islands, most of which are tiny and uninhabited, but quite a lot have towns and accessible to tourists.  I’d read of two of these islands, Korčula and Hvar, in my guidebooks, and thought it would be just too freaking cool to stay at an island overnight.  Hvar seemed a little easier to get too and less expensive, so I booked a bed at the Hvar Out Hostel (owned by the same punny folks as the Booze ‘n’ Snooze in Split) and was set for 24 hours in paradise.

If you ever do visit the islands in the Adriatic and aren’t rich enough or fortunate enough to do so on a private yacht there are two kinds of ferries you travel on: the large commercial ferries that carry cars or the speedy Catamaran ferries that zip through the water and take a mere hour to get from Split to Hvar.  I was lucky to get the latter on my trip out to Hvar, and so was every other young British tourist fresh off the plane looking to get their summer break started.  I chatted with two nice British girls, Jo and Anna, and we had a good time people watching.  Only ten minutes into the boat ride a large group of tank-top clad, mustachioed young guys had already hit the ferry bar and started their “bird watching”.

Once in Hvar, I found my hostel easily, as it was just steps from the dock.  I got a map and wandered along the coast to find The Lads, the group of guys I’d made friends with a few days before in Zagreb, who were also in Hvar and had rented a boat to check out the islands.  Hvar was adorable and tranquil, and it was great to be amongst familiar, friendly company again.  The boat, dubbed “Hetty”, was cute too, and had a motor, but was by no means speedy.

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Tiny boats docked at Hvar Island
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Hetty the boat
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Hetty the boat

We took the boat out to a tiny nearby island and docked.  The Sams quickly got to work swimming and sunning, and Thom and I ambled along the rocky volcanic coastline, pausing to check out rock formations and a curious lizard.  Then I had to go in the water as well!  I haven’t been to Asia, or many tropical islands, so I can’t compare, but every time I went swimming in the Adriatic (which was pretty often during my time in Croatia) it was always the clearest, most pleasant water.  It wasn’t terribly warm, and was pretty salty as well, but brisk and refreshing.  On the way back, the Lads let me steer the boat, which was probably a bad idea considering how much I oversteer when playing Mariokart, but we made it back to Hvar unscathed.

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Our island
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I’m on a boat!
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“The Lads”

We made plans to meet up for dinner and went back to our respective hostels to shower and change.  My shower was somewhat less clean than I’d imagined.  In my hurry to get out of Split I’d left my shampoo, conditioner, and soap in the hostel shower!  So I setteled for a rinse and managed to slice my finger open on my razor, bleeding all over the bathroom and using up my last bandage.  Somehow on my trip I ended up with a fair amount of “battle wounds”!

I met up with the guys back at a restaurant with a gorgeous ocean view that had a good pizza menu.  I tried some cherry brandy with my seafood pizza.  The seafood along the coast was amazing of course, as was the pizza and pasta.  Croatia is just down the way from Italy, and indeed parts of Croatia were part of Italy during the middle ages, so there is some crossover in terms of their food.

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Dinner view, sunset on Hvar

After dinner, the Sams split to go watch a football game in a bar (that’s soccer to you Yanks) and Thom and I had some gelato and wandered around town.  There were various bars and clubs, but we just weren’t feeling it and the night was warm and clear, so we walked all the way to the fortress on the hill and enjoyed the nighttime view of Hvar.  Around 11 we called it a night.  Hvar has a reputation of being a party island with these epic beach rave dance parties, but I think I got the best night of sleep on my trip that night, in my empty quiet hostel in paradise.

Good Luck and Happy Travels,

Mo

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