Sunday, 1 October 2017

WinterSummer is coming - the boys' landing

Summer is coming...  Or was here!  It's been a long time since we went away together and that was in Rome last October.  We were well overdue on a good break together.  So this adventure takes us to Croatia but with a little twist - part holiday and part stag party.

Before we met up with the other chaps for the stag party me and Gary decided to have a week to ourselves.  We divided the first week up with Dubrovnik and Makarska then up to Tisno for the Soundwave Festival to celebrate the upcoming marriage of two of Gary's friends; Daniel and Rosie.  So here is our Croatian adventure...  Our eyes weren't ready for what we was about to see.

Dubrovnik 19-21 July 2017
Gary and I got a late afternoon flight that flew over Western Europe.  As we relaxed we looked out of the window and saw some gigantic mountains with snow and small lakes on top.  When we landed in Croatia we got a bus to Dubrovnik which dropped us off outside the Old Town (Pile).  The sun was just setting at this point and we had a sneak peak of what were going to see in the next few days.  The Old Town reflected the evening sun and was golden in colour.  We then got another bus to take us to Lapad, which is the area we stopped at for the next couple of days.  We found our villa and I was amazed how modern and quiet it was.  Our room view was brilliant, it overlooked a small beach that was just past a gorgeous little strip where we had food later that night.

On the second day we got up early to walk around the wall of the Old Town. Before this we had to walk down to a little cove where the sea was. There was Game of Thrones tours so we kind of hijacked some of the talks and learned that there were many scenes filmed in this location and around Old Town. We headed to the wall and when we got there, we were smiling from ear to ear because the view was just as overwhelming, really breath-taking, just as when we first saw Rome and the Pompeii ruins. This was truly an amazing experience! You could look into the centre and see the figures of people walking around the town and market areas. On the other side you have the edge of the mountains and the lush blue sea lapping up against the ragged rocks. We then ventured up to a high point around the wall for one of our best pictures yet before popping down to explore the harbour. Gary had been recommended a vegan restaurant in the Old Town by one of his clients, so later that afternoon we ate there and it didn't disappoint, the Mediterranean vegetables were delicious.

For the third day in Dubrovnik, we island-hopped to Lokrum.  Gary had discovered there was a naturist beach here so we decided to join in!  The beach itself was beautiful, massive dramatic rocks over looking crystal waters, it was liberating to be in the sea in our natural states.  We had a walk around to Lokrum's 'Dead Sea' which was a enclosed rock pool with water from the ocean.  It was time to relax again (we are on holiday after all) so we went for long sit down in Lokrum's park where there were wild peacocks and rabbits roamed.  The evening activities involved going on the cable car that was above the Old Town to watch the sunset.  This was quite a magical experience joining the others sat along the mountain ridge waiting for night to come.

It was now time to move onto our next place, which was Makarksa.  We got a local bus which took about 4 hours.  Along the way we went through Bosnia as they own a little bit of coast. We stopped there for a short break so we seized the opportunity to get a picture, you know, just to say we've been there!

Makarska 21-23 July 2017

The next 3 days we spent in the upbeat town of Makarska.  As most of Croatia's coast is on the edge of the mountains, there is yet more steps and hills to walk up, which is where our apartment was.  On the first evening we ventured out to see what this place was like.  It was more of a holiday-maker place with lots of restaurants, bars and shops.  We found some good cocktail places and knew that we would be back later to try them out.

On our first full day we got a local bus to the very beachy Brela, Gary had found this place online and was eager to find some particular rocky outcrops.  This was like a pocket version of Greece that had a series of mini beaches.  We spent the whole day there and enjoyed the sun, sea and shale!  I have to reiterate just how awesome the coastline is along the Adriatic Sea.  This was just before the heatwave and the temperature was averaging out at 35 the whole time we were there.  It felt more like 40's though.  On our way back we waited around an hour for a bus that never turned up,  so we ended up walking 15 minutes down the road to a taxi drivers house to get back - we got back ok with the help of Google.

The day after we took a nice relaxed day to explore more of Makarska.  The morning started by being woken up by a thunder storm and heavy rain.  We started by walking around the harbour and to a nice tranquil point that overlooked the dramatic mountain-esque view.  Afterwards, we walked around the front and into the old village area.  We then made our way towards the main beach for an ice cream, we became very fond of Croatian sorbet having one nearly every day.  We saw a good view point across from when we was at the harbour, so we headed there next.  It was a nice park and had a statue on the side along with love locks all over the fences.  We had one more cocktail at the bar from earlier and then prepared for our next journey to Tisno to meet up with the stag guys!

Tisno 23 July-1 August 2017

We took an extra long  journey to Tisno which involved two buses and a taxi all of which were delaying and involved waiting in traffic, never mind we soon checked in the 'lads' apartment.  We explored the small town to get our bearings then awaited the boys' landing!

We weren't as rowdy as you would have expected, but had our moments!  We enjoyed a few morning swims in the sea and attempted water polo.  One of the main features of this next 7 days was to go to the Soundwave Festival that was in The Garden Tisno.  It was like a mini Ibiza club party on the beach, which was even better at the night.  We went there four times in total, once in the day and the rest at night.  In the day we relaxed on the shale beach listening to the tropical music.  In the afternoon we had booked to go on a reggae boat, even though we wouldn't normally listen to this music you really get into it on the boat as its perfect for those Summer vibes.  It was pretty awesome to be dancing to it in the middle of the sea until early evening.  On the evenings we went to the different stages that had a few varieties of music and remixes of modern and classic songs and there were food and drink stalls.  We had a really good boogie and joined in with the festival-goers.

One favourite day involved myself, Gary and his brother exploring the local area.  We walked around to the neighbouring Jezera, it took about a 20 minutes.  There was a stunning coastal pathway that allowed us to take in the blue sea and small islands around us.  We knew we had to come back with the guys to chill on the beach along the path and spend the day there.  The sea was really warm and much clearer than around the town area.  I couldn't keep out of it!  I even had little snorkel session around the rocks.  So many creatures and corals that go unnoticed.  Some of the guys were brave and decided to swim to another island!  They made it back after a couple of hours worth of swimming!

The whole group hired push bikes and we cycled around Jezera to find some good view points at the top of a large hill.  Then we took a route back to Tisno.  Before we took the bikes back me, Gary and his brother had them for a bit longer and cycled around the opposite side of Tisno to be rewarded with a good long downhill ride.

The group of us rented two boats and toured the surrounding areas. we stopped off in Jezera for breakfast and literally just pulled up into the harbour like we were going to be greeted. Afterwards we headed to an island that was recommended for cliff jumping. All the other guys jumped the said cliff except the groom-to-be who has a fear of water and the ever present sharks within! I didn't even entertain the thought of jumping, this was one of my rare sensible moments! We circled another island and made a make-shift water ski before heading into the Soundwave Festival beach area for a short while with the boats.

The holiday and celebration ended in Zadar when we got to the airport for a late night flight back to the UK.  Thank you Dan for letting us share your holiday stag party with you.  All my love and best wishes to you and Rosie on your wedding day next year.