26 June 2017

Croatia with Medsailors: Bol, Stari Grad, Split

The morning after what was a late one for many in Hvar, we had a quiet breakfast before setting off to our next destination. We'd heard whispers that we might not be able to visit Bol, but nothing had been confirmed yet, so we were left waiting, waiting...

Yet again, the weather wasn't on our side. We were told we were to stay on by western Brač, in a sleepy town called Milna, because the south of the island (i.e. Bol) was due to suffer extreme winds unsuitable for sailing.

We were bummed out for all of two seconds - luckily, we had an expert problem-solving crew who asked if we could rent cars for the evening instead. Which we did. There was no way, we decided, we were going to come to Croatia and miss out on that beach.

This photo, readers, was taken via a drone. Isn't it incredible? Our crew is down below, sat in a circle. Needless to say, the money and time to drive from Milna to Bol (about an hour, lots of tricky roads) was well worth it.

It was a magical experience. We even managed to spot some dolphins in the distance as we lazed and enjoyed the quietness of the beach.

Oh, and a little shout out to Jana, a Croatian water brand, who offer inspirational quotes on the back of their bottles. This was one of their gems...

"I no longer wait to be perfect in order to love myself. I accept myself exactly as I am right here and now." 

After a while our tummies started to rumble, so with a little help from Tripadvisor, we drove to the main town on the look out for a pretty spot.

We settled on Topolino, a pizzeria which offered everything from pasta, to seafood, to steak - as well as pizza, of course.

The outside space is really special: it occupies the pizza oven and there was a spot of live music happening which added to the ambience.

I ordered the pizza (when in Rome... or Bol) and was mesmerised by the chefs.

They, unfortunately, were not impressed by me...

The pizza did not disappoint. I'm prepared to say it was one of the best pizzas I've ever tasted.

In fact, it was one of the best pizzas I've ever tasted. You heard it here.

Mine was ham and mushroom - I should have gone for speck, however... make sure you go for the one with speck if/when you visit.

And a crew mates seafood pizza which he promised tasted better than it looked... plus, they weren't stingy with the toppings.

Once we'd washed down our dinner with a glass of wine, we had a mooch around the harbour. It was, much like the rest of Bol, beautiful.

Bol, Kirsty and I decided, is very romantic. There were lots of cute alfresco spots perfect for intimate and casual dinners and lazy lunches. Y'know, if that sort of thing appeals.

Our final full day, after we'd had a final swim, was spent in Stari Grad, the oldest town on the island of Hvar. Whilst the skippers were underwhelmed by it, we were keen to explore and more importantly, suss out where we were going to have our last dinner as a crew.

And how adorable is this little street?

For dinner, we settled on this lil place, Konoba Pharia.

And what proceeded was the messiest, but also most delicious and lovely dinner of the week.

People afraid of seafood, divert your eyes...

You know when you're in a beautiful place, and things are winding down and you've got yummy food and the wine is flowing and you get a little mushy? Yeah, that.

But the mushiness couldn't last for long because we were forcefully reminded 'You have a train to catch'. And that train, readers, was the Jäger train.

Oh, lord.

A Medsailors tradition, apparently, which it would have been rude not to honour... it consisted of as many Jägerbombs as they were skippers and crew (approx 85, and this was early season), all carefully arranged.

And rest assured, the night got pretty messy!


Fast forward 12 (or so) hours, and we departed the boat for Split - where we all happened to be staying a final night before returning to blighty.

The journey, let me tell you, was a nightmare. In fact it wasn't the journey so much as getting to Split (you can do a transfer with Medsailors, but it's only to the airport) which was a 'mare. We were told we could use Uber, but every Uber I ordered - with a 15 minute wait - cancelled on me. Kirsty and I ended up back with our crewmates again and splitting a taxi (we managed to get one for 500 kuna between 7 of us, but this was apparently a steal), but we were waiting for more than an hour before we resorted to this.

But Split. Oh... Split.

 The view from our Air bnb - link

Split is a UNESCO world heritage site, and you can really tell... it's spotless. Everything is clean and gardens are neat and there's no litter. It's just so pretty.

We settled on The Olive Tree on the marina for dinner, and my goodness, what a treat it was.

First, mojitos...

We were treated to complimentary amuse bouche of black olive and green olive tapenade, the latter with a hint of lemon zest, drizzled in olive oil.



I opted for the filet of seabass and it was incredible - it literally flaked away and was so juicy. It was served with spiralised veg - slightly al dente, just how I like it - and a light cauliflower puree. Plus, I couldn't resist a side of rosemary potatoes. Honestly, guys, it was a game changer.

Kirsty ordered a huge hunk of meat (ooer).

Equally impressive, I'd say.

I'd also like to point out that Kirsty and I, and the crew, all ate really well (except when we were forced to eat at the restaurants the skippers decided) and it wasn't expensive; I'd say £25 for an incredible meal with half a litre or half a bottle of wine.

Walking through the palace as the sun set

We retired early - I was shattered - and enjoyed a blissful sleep out of a boat for the first time in six days. Although I did experience severe sea legs and felt like I was rocking all night (!).

We rose late the next day for our 11am check out and a tasty brunch - again, on the marina. Kirsty looked on Tripadvisor (honestly, this website is great when you're away, who knew) and found that one of the best places for brekkie was Brasserie on 7, so we headed there.

To start, iced mochas...

Suffice to say I drank mine extremely quickly.

Kirsty went for eggs benedict. It looked fantastic. They know how to do presentation in Split, I'll give them that.

Meanwhile, I opted for cinnamon french toast with banana and maple. My mouth is watering just remembering this dish...

And because we had time to kill, I had a cake half an hour later. Because why not?

The rest of the day was spent soaking up the stunning sites, including the Diocletian's Palace, the market stalls and the incredible architecture. Honestly, there's something to look at in every direction - a treat for the eyes.

We honestly could have stayed there longer but alas, we were out of time (and er, money).

Still, there's always time for a cheesy photo

And a truly random a-board quote...

"I don't know man, I just started eating pasta and I was like 'wow, my problems, where did they all just go?" 

Croatia, it was a pleasure. 

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