12 June 2017

Croatia with Medsailors: Vis, Palmižana, Hvar

I'm currently suffering with a severe case of the holiday blues. This time last week, I was on a yacht, exploring the islands of Croatia. The hardest choice I faced was do I sunbathe, or do I go for a swim? So in an attempt to relive my experience, here's what I got up to with Medsailors

Medsailors was initially mentioned to me by my friend, Kirsty, in September last year. We were at work, sad that summer was over, and the topic of holidays came into conversation. As soon as I looked it up I knew there was no chance I wasn't going. Next payday, we put down our deposit.

The company offers skippered sailing holidays around Croatia, Greece, Turkey and Italy (and they're currently looking to venture into the Caribbean, very exciting) on yachts - or a catamaran if you're feeling flush - that cater for up to 8 people, plus a skipper.

Despite our 'crew' being the first to check in (we were all on the 5:50am from Gatwick), our boat was the last one ready at the Marina Baotic. Kirsty and I were told to pass the time at Trogir, but after 20 minutes of walking in the full sun and not finding anywhere decent to sit, we returned to the marina to try and find shade. Oddly you're told on the Medsailor's site that you spend the first day exploring Split, which is misleading. We were taken directly from the airport to the marina, so we never saw any part of the city itself.

Finally, at 3pm our yacht was ready to board.

We sailed to Sesula for our first night which is also where we had our first dinner as a crew. Intimate and buzzy, the restaurant (along with the half litre of wine you get) is a good chance to get to know your crew - ours was myself and Kirsty, a couple, two friends of the couple, and an Aussie solo traveller. This has been said on other blogs, but I'll say it too... despite the skippers' efforts, the chances are you'll stay within your boat and not mix a huge amount with other boats. So make an effort. And as I learned... it's okay to hold your tongue, sometimes (!)

Our first day was spent in Vis, a former military-occupied island. We decided to get our culture fix and go on a tour to learn a little bit about the island's history.

''No bullshit holidays"

The rest of the crew rented scooters and explored the island solo, but the tour was equally fun. We were out and about for about 3 hours, visiting a fort (now a nightclub, natch), underground bases, and secret tunnels.

To finish the tour we were taken to the highest point of the island (technically the second highest, as the highest was still something military) which offered the most stunning views...

In the evening, after a few cups of punch in a field (the skippers' attempt to get the boats mingling, bless 'em), we politely declined the suggestion of a local pizzeria, wanting to try something a little more authentic instead.

What we stumbled upon was a restaurant with a small but perfectly formed menu, and also the most perfectly formed candles I've ever seen - if a bit phallic, but whatever.

Can we just have a moment for these?

The food was incredible. They bought out an amuse bouche of breads with fish pate and olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping. Unreal. For mains most of us opted for steak, and there was lots of satisfied mmms as people took their first bite. I can't remember the name of the place... it was called Konoba *something* ('Konoba' means restaurant in Croatia, so you come across a lot of them), to the left of where we moored. 

I mean, we knew it was going to be good when we came across this as we walked through the restaurant to our table...

Not to mention, the wine rack was goals, with a barrel full of corks next to it.

We were delayed heading to Hvar due to windy weather (you are, unfortunately, at the mercy of the weather when you're sailing, so it's worth pointing out that you might not end up sticking to schedule) so we spent the next evening moored by Korčula.

Despite the restaurant looking dreeeeamy, the food was yet again a let down... but we voiced this to our skipper and said from this point onwards we'd prefer to scope out our own places to eat, should we get to a marina by the evening.

Later that night we took a boat to a riverside club to make up for the lack of Hvar action and got a little carried away on vodka mixers and singing/wailing/shouting the lyrics to 'Despacito'...

Looks can be deceiving...

The next destination of note was Palmižana, which neighbours the infamous Hvar. We arrived there mid-morning and were thrilled at the prospect of REAL SHOWERS (the showers on board aren't the one, I'll tell you that) as well as the chance to venture to the nearby beach if we wished.

The beach presented itself through arches of beautiful purple flowers and low-hanging palm trees, with a block of blue as the light at the end of the tunnel.

The beach was a suntrap, but the sea was clear and cooling...

Everyone headed back to the boats sharpish to get their gladrags on for Hvar. Little tip for getting your face on: do your make up on deck - the best lighting, more space, and it's cool come the evening so it won't melt off...

We got a watertaxi direct from the marina and made the schlep to renowned sundowner destination, Hula Hula Bar. The temptation to refuel halfway around was too much, however, and we had a breather with some darn tasty frozen yoghurt, topped with strawberries and white chocolate buttons and drizzled with honey.

But don't worry, we made it to Hula Hula bar in time for the sunset.

And we had a bit of a boogie, complete with frozen margaritas #wheninHvar.

After a dinner of fried calamari and chips (basically my dream), Kirsty and I took one look at Kiva bar and were like NOPE (too many bad clubbing flashbacks for me, gross) and instead opted for an Aperol spritz before venturing up to the hillside castle and soaking up the night time view. Pretty dreamy with all the twinkly lights, but the romance is lost with the sounds of partygoers below...

Although Hvar is known as the party island (who hasn't heard of Carpe Diem, after all?) you don't have to sweat it out in da club and immerse yourself in house music if you don't fancy it. But if you do, you've found your jam.

To be continued...

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