Thursday, 23 August 2007

crusin’ croatia

Six days isn’t a long vacation, but it was more than enough time for me to fall in love with Croatia. Landing in Split I was lying in the 30-degree sunshine on a gorgeous pebble beach within the hour. Fabulous.
From Split we hopped on a ferry to the island of Hvar. A gorgeous little harbour city laced by boats form the humble dingy to multi-storey yachts that dwarfed the city behind them.
By day we were soaking up the glorious sun and dipping in and out of the sparkling blue Adriatic water marvelling at our sublime surroundings.
By night we feasted on fresh seafood then hit the town. Nothing beats lounging alfresco on a warm summers night, sipping cocktails and watching the beautiful brown people pass you by.
There was also a hint of glitz and glamour in the air, with the sighting of Miss Nicky Hilton, sister of the infamous Paris. We joined the paparazzi for a moment as she passed us by in a blur of flashing bulbs...gotcha!
Fun to see a Celeb, but it also signals the fact that the world has truly discovered Croatia now. Damn, secret is out.
The next day it was time to head back to the mainland to explore Split, the second largest city in Croatia. A palm-lined harbour draws you back into the historical Old City which is over 1800 years old. The Old Town and surrounding city walls are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. And it’s not difficult to understand why, the maze of narrow medievil cobbeled streets beckon you at every turn to explore further.
One of the most commanding Roman ruins still in existence is Split's Diocletian's Palace. Far from being a pile of abandoned buildings, the 220 buildings within the palace boundaries are home to about 3000 people.
For the last two days we packed up the car and split Split for a mini road trip. Heading north and inland to Zagreb we drove through beautiful lush countryside. The ravages of war still evident as we passed desecrated buildings and scared houses.
On the way we planned to stop and see the Waterfalls of the Plitvice Lakes. Sadly, we didn’t know you needed a good three plus hours to do so. Problem was there’s no look-out close by from the entrance that you can walk or drive to, instead you catch a train to certain points of the national park then walk back. But it’s an incredible place so I’m including a little info on it anyway.
Situated on the eponymous Plitvice plateau between three mountains, the lake lies near the Bosnia and Herzegovina boarders. There are sixteen lakes in total, separated into an upper and lower cluster formed by runoff from the mountains, descending from an altitude of 636m to 503m over a distance of some 8 km. The lakes are renowned for their distinctive colours, ranging from azure to green, grey or blue. Their colours changing constantly depending on the quantity of minerals or organisms in the water and the angle of sunlight.
Definitely something to look forward to next time.
Continuing onto Zagreb now, the capital city of Croatia has a booming economy. A lovely city with Austro-Hungarian architecture and a much welcomed cooler climate. Taking it easy for the last day, we mooching about and soaking in the sights. A little market shopping for some prized local produce: lavender oil, olive oil, honey and fresh figs. I managed to get half my figs home un-squished, and they were the starring ingredient in my Croatian Fig and Apple muffins I made for a friend’s birthday the following day. Delish!
My stay was short but jam-packed due to a stellar efforts of one utterly charming Miss Linda. A big thank you, my Dear. And a big hugs and kisses for Suki Chik for inviting me. A truly unforgettable holiday hijack. Good times, ladies, good times.

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