Category Archives: Croatia

Caribbean Liars Island

On August 29, 2012, we woke up and we were in Dubrovnik, Croatia.  It’s great to wake up and you’re in a whole new city and you didn’t have to do anything to get there – that’s why cruises are so cool. (That and the unlimited food of course!)

Ivan, Lil Dave and I rushed to the port in Dubrovnik.  We’ve been here before, so we wanted to go on a boat going to see the Elephanti Islands.  Ivan booked it through Adriana Cavtat and a few minutes later we were off on a boat with about 50 people on it.

Our first stop was Kolocep where we stopped for 30 minutes.  We walked around.

The boat started going to the next destination which was Sipan.  The boat only stopped here for a short time. 

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We walked around and enjoyed the sun. 

It was lunch time once we got back on the boat. 

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We got lots of fish and coleslaw (seconds and even more if we wanted).  The red wine and juice were all free as well.  We were shown how to eat a fish without the use of utensils.  The bones of the fish were thrown into the water for the birds to scoop up. 

The boat stopped at our last stop which was Lopud.  There was a beach here.  Ivan, Lil Dave and I relaxed on lounge chairs by the water. 

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Ivan and I each got a Somersby Pear Cider which is so very tasty.  We read our books while chilling out.

It was back on the boat and awhile later we were back in Dubrovnik.  We then got back on board the boat.

Lil Dave went to go find his monkey friends on the ship.

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It’s awesome having a balcony for the views and of course the lovely sunsets.

Later, we went to see the new Hasbro Game Show.  The games were really fun (like putting in basketballs to play Connect Four), but the main prize was just a big package of, yup you guessed it, Hasbro games.

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It’s not going to make me want to play – but a lot of people seemed to want to play….I guess they are desperate for a free board game!!

For dinner, we went back to the first table we had with the British couple, Latin/French couple and the Scottish couple.  At least they were all friendly and chatty (well, the Scottish were a bit quiet) – also we were all about the same age.

I started off with penne with artichokes  while Ivan got the salmon cheesecake.  Ivan got the Indian vegetarian for his main course while I got the Louisiana catfish.  It was a tasty meal.  We left diner to check out the Liars Club.

The Liars Club features three of the entertainment hosts.  We’ve seen this before on other Carnival cruise ships and it’s always funny.  We were happy to see that Calvyn was part of it.  He’s so hilarious that he could be a stand-up comedian.  The host of the show was a girl named Amy who’s 6 feet 3 inches tall so her nickname is 6-3.  Amy is the assistant cruise director.  Amy says a weird word and the three must give a definition of the word and the audience gets to decide who we think is telling the truth.  One is actually telling the right definition while the other two are lying.

Each host had a funny story.  Taylor was the beauty queen.  She would always say I’m Taylor and I’m a Beauty Queen.. each time she would say how she was in the beauty contest for Ms. Spam or Ms. Pork and tell a story related to beauty or beauty contests.

Calvyn would always give a long story about his past like getting bullied in school or working in Wendy’s. 

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He was definitely the funniest.  He puts on an act that he’s depressed.  At the end of the story, he would say thank you.  6-3 would then look confused and say Calvyn you didn’t tell us what the word means.  He’d say Oh, and then say a really short definition like a Middle Eastern leg warmer.  It was hilarious.  I would love to hear Calvyn tell jokes all day. 

The third girl was Stephanie who was the least funniest.  Her story was that she would talk about a guy she met (usually a French guy) and how the word related to sexual situations.  Only some of her stories were funny.

We wanted to check out the Mind Magic which features a good magician named Rakesh that we’ve seen before on another Carnival cruise ship.  The Mind Magic show was in the Limelight Comedy Club which is way too big to see a magician – we prefer smaller, more intimate venues.  It was already packed, so we left.

Later on, we went to the Lido deck (right by the pool) for the Red Frog’s Caribbean Party.  There was fun party music playing.  The entertainment hosts and Butch the cruise director were handing out things to people.  I wanted some so I started dancing.  I got glow sticks, beads and a whistle.  I wanted a funny straw hat, but they were only giving out only a few.  Ivan wasn’t dancing since he would rather dance to house music.

Ivan and I jumped into the jacuzzi and enjoyed the hot bubbly water.

Ivan and I stopped to get some ice cream which is open all the time.  Ivan thought it would be funny if I put my head under it and put ice cream directly into my mouth.  I was trying to find out a good way to do this since it would be a weird angle.  Luckily, there were two girls there and I asked them to pour it in my mouth which they thought was hilarious. 

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It was fun, but messy!  I’m sure the girls tried it after we got our ice cream.. and their parents came back.  The kids would say We just saw a woman do it.  They would probably say Suuure that’s what you saw and wouldn’t believe them.

We headed back to the room to get some rest.

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Indian Freedom

On August 15, 2012, Ivan, Lil Dave and I woke up at 8:15 am.  I found out some bad news about my friend (who used to be my boss) who passed away – he was really sick.  So, I was crying during the free breakfast.  The lady who works at the hostel asked me if anything was wrong.  I said no.  I bet she thought I was crying coz the breakfast was bad.. but I wasn’t.. the breakfast was quite good with cereal, cheese, meats and boiled eggs.

I packed my things up (Ivan packed his last night) and we got into a taxi at 9:40 am headed to the bus station.  We got the bus to the airport which took 40 minutes. 

Check-in, Security and Immigration went by pretty fast.  We were early for once.  There was no free wi-fi at the airport.  I wrote postcards and Ivan and I shared a salmon and cream cheese bagel.

The plane left Dubrovnik, Croatia at 12:30 pm for Edinburgh, Scotland.  Our plane landed at 2:30 pm.

We got the bus to the centre of Edinburgh.  Then, we walked around with our backpacks to try to find a taxi to the Airbnb apartment we were staying at during our Edinburgh stay. 

10 minutes later, we arrived at the apartment and met Adriana.  She’s a nice woman who showed us around the apartment and  said if we had any questions we could ask her.  We also met her boyfriend.  It was great that we were able to have things sent to their apartment.  I bought some books for our upcoming cruise and a few presents for Ivan’s birthday next month. 

Ivan and I took showers and later went out.  It started raining which is typical Edinburgh weather. 

It was time for dinner.  Ivan was glad we were having Indian food at Kama Sutra.  He has been missing it since at home we cook Indian every day for lunch. 

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Ivan and I shared pan fried crab with yoghurt, daal, pind de choley (chickpeas dish), vegetables with curry sauce, aloo gobhi (potatoes).  Lil Dave had a banana tikka masala.  We had our food with a lovely Syrah from Spain which complemented the spicy food.  It was a delicious meal.  We will definitely be returning back for more.

Next, it was our first Edinburgh Festival Fringe show Stand up for Freedom.  The show that benefits Amnesty International which is a group that protect people wherever justice, fairness, freedom and truth are denied. 

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Hannibal Buress

We saw lots of comedians and acts like David O’Doherty, Josie Long, American comedian Hannibal Burress, The Boy with Tape on his Face and Frisky and Mannish.

The hosts talked about one of the causes Amnesty International was currently supporting.  A Russian feminist rock band named Pussy Riot performed a punk prayer inside a church saying that President Vladimir Putin should be removed from office.  3 of the band Pussy Riot were arrested and are awaiting sentencing soon.  This has brought on international support from such celebrities like Madonna and Stephen Fry. 

If their name was something normal, I don’t think I would have remembered their name.  Plus, I felt that the band had balls for doing something political in a church.  Girl power!  At one point, we were asked to stand up for a video being made. 

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We had to scream FREE PUSSY RIOT!! and asked to throw our fists in the air.  I did so and even pulled a mean face.  The sentencing was for ‘hooliganism’ (seriously, they were charged for this!! I didn’t know people got charged for that! Haha.. just sounds so funny). They have now unfortunately, been  sentenced to 2 years in prison.  Quite harsh!

Credits: Hannibal Buress photo

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Back to Dubrovnik

Ivan, Lil Dave and I woke up at 9 am on August 14, 2012. 

We walked into the Old Town.  I went to check out the shoe store Borovo.  If you remember from yesterday’s post, I was trying to find a certain shoe.  There were many styles of the shoe like orange stars, blue stripes and black & pink lace.  Unfortunately since I have such small feet, they only had a few different styles in my size.  The only one that fit was the ugly navy one.  I wear a 5 1/2 in USA and I think the shoe runs small because I wear a 35 not a 35.5 for Europe sizes.  There’s a store in Dubrovnik and we’ll see if they have my size there.

Ivan grabbed some tuna sandwiches and water and then we got on the bus at 10:30 am.

The bus was headed to Dubrovnik from Split, Croatia.  We went through Immigration through Bosnia and then we went back into Croatia.  About an hour away from our destination, the bus stopped for a 20 minute break.  Very strange.. you’d think they would have stopped earlier in the trip. It hardly seemed worth stopping when we were so closed to Dubrovnik.

The bus arrived at 2:20 pm. Right on schedule…which was nice because we were anticipating some epic 6-7 hour journey with traffic, multiple stops and a very hot bus – like other journeys we had been having! But no..everything went to plan!

Into a taxi we went to the hostel. 

Ivan checked us in to Villa Divine which isn’t in the Old Town.. a 15 minute taxi drive there or a 45 minute walk.  So really bad location – but they were very friendly and the common room had a balcony with a divine view of the port and the mountains….however location counts a lot for us, so this place gets a thumbs down from us…but it was only for one night so no big deal.

Later, we started walking towards the Old Town.  Earlier it was overcast, but now the clouds had disappeared and it was really hot out.  The walk was hilly and tiring.  It was one of those walks that sounds like a good idea before you start it –but then half way through you start to have second thoughts! Ivan flagged down a taxi and we went the rest of the way to the old town.

We checked out the gelato shops.. but most wouldn’t let you try it.  Finally, we found one that let you try it.  Why not let people try it… it helps people decide if they like it or not.  Although, they might not like it, but if it’s good quality gelato or ice cream.. they will buy it.  Ivan and I each got a yogurt and cherries gelato while Lil Dave got banana.  The gelato was good, but the Kiwi place in Korcula had the best gelato.

We then headed to the meting point for the ‘Walls and Wars’ tour. You see, Dubrovnik is surrounded by these old city walls which circle the entire city and are about 1.5 miles long. You can just walk around the walls by yourself, but we figured it might be a bit more interesting to have a guide so we at least know what we are looking at.

The guide was this friendly chap called Marko who had watched way too much American tv and movies (he looked and sounded like he was really trying to imitate an American ‘dude’, even though he was 100% Croatian who was born and raised in the old town of Dubrovnik.

He took us up onto the walls and he immediately started giving us lots of interesting tidbits about the city, the walls, and all the wars.

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He was quite interesting to listen to, and the views we got were amazing.

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It was, however, very, very tiring. By the end of the walk we could barely stand, so we plonked ourselves down in the D’Vino wine bar  and did what we did last time we were in there – ie not get any of their lovely looking cheese and tasty wine – but just get two espresso’s instead!

Once we were caffeined up, we headed up the steps to the table we had made a reservation for at the Nishta vegetarian restaurant. This was where we ate last time we were in Edinburgh and it was so good last time, we figured it needed a repeat visit.

We got a carrot/orange/ginger soup called sunrise which was AMAZING just as it was last time (we really need to get a recipe for a good vegan carrot soup – like this one was – we did actually ask them for the recipe, but they didn’t seem to keen on giving it out, and said it was just literally carrot, orange, and ginger and NOTHING else). Also got a dish called ‘Simplicity’ which was like its name – very simple!

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For mains got a bean ragout, and another dish whose name escapes me – both incredibly tasty. They were washed down with some ogranic blackberry wine and a pomegranate brandy. For desert we got a local dish made with figs and cream which was very very delicious.

We got a smiling stone with our bill.  I wish we got this last time.. it’s so cute! 

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It has a smiley face on it and on the back it says Hvala (Thank You in Croatian).

Afterwards, we were feeling tired so got a taxi back to the hostel.

 

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Rakia Buffet

I woke up early on August 13, 2012 at 8 am.  Ivan and Lil Dave woke up a few minutes later.  We used the internet and then packed all our backpacks up.

I said good-bye to the Airbnb lady and gave her the keys to the room.  She’s a very friendly lady.

We walked over the bridge and caught a taxi to the bus station which was 10 minutes away.  We were 12 minutes early for the bus that was headed from Tisno to Split.  From there we wanted to go to Mostar, Bosnia.  12 minutes passed and a few buses passed, but not the right one.  More time passed and still no bus.  We weren’t sure if it came early or what.

I started making some mailart to pass the time since it might be an hour until the next bus.  A bus came at 11:30 am and we got on.  We weren’t sure if it was the earlier bus that was very late…or the next bus which was very early. Either way, we were glad to be going somewhere and not just sat at a bus stop in the middle of nowhere.

Since the bus was taking so long because of the traffic we had three options: Go to Mostar (4 hour journey), Go to Dubrovnik (4 hour journey) or stay in Split (which is where the bus we were heading on was going to).

The bus arrived in Split at 3:30 pm.  We decided to stay in Split since we didn’t fancy another long journey.  If we went to Mostar, it might be longer since we would have to go through Immigration at the border. We did really want to visit Mostar, but just couldn’t face another long bus journey that day.

So once in Split, seeing as we had no accommodation booked (a very rare occurrence), Ivan went off in search of something, and luckily found a nice croatian lady who offered us a room in her house, right behind the train station. No wifi or conditioning, but this didn’t really matter as we were only there for one night and the room didn’t appear to be that hot at all, even though it was day time, and the fan wasn’t even on yet.

We went into the old town for a bit to check out some shops, and look around the very atmospheric atmosphere of the old town in general.

I went on a search for a pair of shoes that I’ve seen two girls wearing that I thought were cool.  I asked one girl at a shoe store, showed her the picture of the shoe.  She said I should try Peko.  Peko didn’t have it and the lady there told me to try Borovo and pointed in some direction and said Palace.  Hopefully, we’ll be able to find Borovo later on.

We then came back and got ready for our night our in Split.

The night started off at a restaurant called Buffet Fife which was highly recommended in a lot of guide books. It was certainly very cheap and quick and friendly service, but the food was only so-so. We got fish soup, mixed fish grill and fried calamari.

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It was okay-ish…to be honest we are getting a bit sick of fish lately as we have been eating so much of it lately.

After eating we headed to the old town to meet up for the pub crawl we had planned to do. At first there was nobody there but we figured we were just a little too early. Nearer the time more people started turning up, and by the time the group set off there looked to be at least 100 people! This was certainly by far the largest pub crawl we had ever been on!

We were taken to this bar called ‘Nada’. The guide admitted that it wasn’t really that nice a place…And he was 100% spot on! It was this smallish room with no windows nor atmosphere that was just awful. Combined with the fact that they crammed to cram all 116 people in there, meant that it wasn’t long before we were saying to each other ‘er why are we here’. Even though we had already paid for the pub crawl, we decided to cut our losses (it wasn’t too expensive) and ‘Split’. (ha ha).

Instead we went to the rakia bar Aprodisiac Ghetto Society which we had gone to the last time we were in Split.

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We tried a whole bunch of rakia’s – like honey, lemon, blueberry and herbs. 

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I saw a new wall that I didn’t notice last time I checked out the rooms in the rakia bar. 

It’s cool that there are steps near the rakia bar where there are tables and people sit on cushions on the steps.

We headed back to the room.

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Relaxing Ceremony

Ivan, Lil Dave and I decided to chill for the day on August 12, 2012.  Travelling can be so exhausting.. a break is needed every now and then so we can relax. Its nice to have a day where we don’t have to plan on what to do, or where to go, or where to eat at etc

We had lunch at Konoba Broscica again.  We ordered salted sardines,  a pizza with tuna and mushrooms and tuna.  The pizza came with COLD mushrooms and tuna like they forgot to put on the ingredients.  Ivan tasted it and it was not good AT ALL.  He told the waitress that they should heat it up more. We both really hate luke warm pizza.

The pizza came back and it still didn’t taste right.  The bread was stale.. probably one of the worst pizzas we’ve ever had.  It really was inedible. We told the lady that the pizza was horrible.  She didn’t charge us for it and apologized.  That’s good customer service!  I bet this restaurant realizes it’s important to treat the guests right because there’s not that many restaurants in Tisno. 

It was a relaxing day at the hotel.  We used the internet and I worked on the blog on the balcony.  What a lovely view!! It was great having fast reliable internet also, rather than a connection that continually disconnects and is slow and just really temperamental (like its been the past week in other places we have been in).

For dinner, we went to the same restaurant again.  Ivan and I got a great octopus starter for a starter. Lil Dave got a banana cannelloni.  

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Ivan and I shared grilled mackerel and sea bream.  We also had some cherry rakia.  It was a great meal.

Later, we watched the Olympics Closing Ceremony on the internet while drinking fig rakia and eating nuts.

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Donkey Festival

Ivan, Lil Dave and I left the Airbnb apartment at 11 am.  Ivan bought food at the market.  We ate our tuna sandwiches before the bus left.

It was time to head to Tisno by bus from Split.  The bus left at 12:30 pm.  It sure did stop a lot… and we had lots of traffic.  We arrived near Tisno 3 hours later.  They literally drop you on the side of the road at a bus stop.  Ivan went to the restaurant right near by bus station and asked them to call a taxi.  He got directions from the lady on Airbnb. 

I have so much stuff.  Usually when we’re backpacking, we travel very lightly.  I seem to be carrying around so much weight with three bags.. usually on travel with 2.  Some days I think my back is going to break from carrying so much weight around.

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The taxi took us to the restaurant the lady owns in Tisno which was about 10 minutes away.

We checked in to the nice room which had a huge balcony which was shared with two other rooms.  The view was gorgeous!…Beyond gorgeous in fact!

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Ivan and I used the internet while enjoying the view on the balcony. 

The lady from Airbnb recommended a place for dinner.. so we headed to Konoba Broscica for food.  Ivan and I shared a black ink risotto, sea bass and mackerel. 

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Lil Dave got a banana burger with french fries.  Ivan and I also enjoyed a fig and cherry rakia.  The cherry was lovely.  The food was very tasty.

We headed to the Donkey Festival.  It was really busy, but nothing was going on yet.  Ivan and I don’t understand why people stand for hours just to reserve their spot.  How silly!  I’d rather relax and then look for a good spot when the event is about to start. 

Ivan found a bar to get some rose wine and sparkling water.  I really wish sparkling water in the USA was more affordable like it is in Europe. 

We walked around to find a good spot, but we couldn’t really find anything.  I hate being short sometimes! 

Ivan did find a bar that was three levels.  So, we grabbed a prosecco and headed upstairs.  There were two windows on each floor.  There was an old lady sitting at one.. so we watched behind.  I went to the toilet and the lady had left.  I guess she didn’t like us watching behind her.  Ivan, Lil Dave and I sat at the window sill and waited for the Donkey Festival to begin.  It was taking ages with the Croatian announcer talking so much about something and the English translation was super short.  They introduced all the countries and a marching band came on.  It was taking WAAAY too long.  It was supposed to start at 8:30 – but I guess all the talking started at 8:30.

The first semi-finals came on 9:10 pm. The three to qualify for the finals were Bosnia, Brazil and Slovakia.  The donkeys sometimes would go away.  I saw one trying to push his donkey since he was being so stubborn and another dragging the donkey. 

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So funny!

The second semi-finals went on next.  This one was exciting since USA and England (Ivan got a bit peeved when they said UK and not England since it was CLEARLY the England flag).  The next three countries to qualify were Australia, England and USA.  Ivan and I made a bet… of course, I was betting on USA and he bet on England. We both qualified, but England was ahead of USA.  So Ivan won the bet, and I had to sleep on the floor that evening (the conditions of the bet!)

The race was funny.. the guy who was driving the England donkey looked he was lying on the donkey.  Another time, two donkeys started getting it on.  It was funny since the Croatian guy started talking about and all I understood was sexual intercourse.

The finals was up next. Austria ended up winning. 

There was a small fireworks display after the final donkey race. 

It ended up being a little boy about 12 years old who won driving the donkey for Austria. 

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I saw the two American girls (They were really sad that they lost since they changed their shirts and it said SAD on it. I wonder if they had HAPPY shirts if they won.) kiss him on the cheek at the same time.  I bet this boy was in heaven.  He probably couldn’t believe his luck.

I told Ivan he should try to enter next year.  Lil Dave said he’d be the donkey driver.

A band came on next.. it was boring Croatian music.  Even if it was in English, I wouldn’t like the music.  It would probably send me to sleep.

Ivan found white chocolate rakia.  It was rather tasty.

We walked around checking out the souvenir shops before headed back to the apartment.

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Cheese Segway

On August  10, 2012, Ivan, Lil Dave and I headed out to the Old Town at noon.

We were planning to go to a cheese and wine but were starving and so wanted to get a quick snack to line our stomachs so to speak, so we could actually enjoy the cheese rather than just swallow the entire block whole,due to our hunger pains! We found a little paste place called Kogo.  Ivan and I shared a gnocchi with a  nice veggie mix.  Lil Dave got a pasta with banana and chicken.

It was time for wine and cheese at Paradox…(isn’t it ALWAYS time for wine and cheese though?!)

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Ivan and I got two cheeses which came with two jams, anchovies (which came with free sun dried tomatoes) and two wines to start with.  Lil Dave enjoyed his own banana and a banana juice.  The cheeses were hard cow’s cheese from Pag Island and hard sheep’s cheese with rosmary from Krk, island, Croatia with the wines  Grand Cuvee Bokinac 2009 and Mlvazija Bastina Cuj 2008.  The Mlvazija Bastina Cuj was recommended by the waitress – after first we didn’t like it, but then we thought it was more complex after drinking it more and eating it with the cheese, anchovies and bread.

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Ivan thought we should do more wines.  We ordered the rose and Prosek Tomic wines.  The waitress said good choice.  I smiled like I knew all about wines.. which I really don’t know much.  I just know that I like it, it tastes good and gets me drunk.

It was a great time sitting there drinking the various wines and eating the very tasty food!

Afterwards, Ivan and I got some frozen yogurt at Chill.

I was checking out the shoe shops.  I saw some cute shoes that two girls were wearing (different print but same style) and I wanted to buy a pair.  I didn’t have any luck finding it though. 

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We walked around Old Town.  I really this cool building.

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Ivan had a surprise for me.  We walked to the meeting point before 4 pm.  It was time to go on a Segway Tour of Split.  I was happy since I’ve always wanted to do one.  The Segway had to be lowered since I’m so short. We got to practice riding around in the big square.  It was a little tricky at first but didn’t take long to master. Ivan was like an old pro as we had a Segway in Vegas once for a few months and he rode it a lot then. 

Since the big event (bunch of famous dj’s playing) was happening later tonight, the Rive street was closed off.  So, we would be going different places than usual. 

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Our guide Boris took us up a big hill with amazing views. The group consisted of another couple, two teenagers (one was a bubbly English girl and one as an American who never seemed to smile), us and one monkey.

We stopped at a Catholic church for a break.  The couple and I followed Boris to the 15th century church.  It’s only used for weddings on Saturdays. 

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We couldn’t go inside the church though.  There’s a secret area that’s locked – only the church can enter.  Boris wants to go in there.  He said he heard it was very cave-like inside.  I wanted to check it out.  Too bad I have no opening lock skills… if only it was so easy like in the movies!

We reached the top of the hill which was the highest point of Split. 

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It was so very lovely up there.  I love riding the Segway.. it’s so much fun!  I want one back home now.  I bet they’re expensive though.

The group started heading down the hill.  We stopped for a break and we got a free drink.  Ivan and I got a Apple Somserby (Boo, they didn’t have the tastier Pear in stock) and Lil Dave got a banana and strawberry juice. The views from the café were amazing.

It was a great day for a Segway tour.  At first it was weird controlling the Segway, but I got used to it.  Ivan and I were usually head of the pack…Which makes a change really coz usually on tours we are at the back! (like on cycling ones or kayaking).

Later, we had dinner at Pizzeria Karaka down by the sea near our apartment (we were too tired to walk into the old town, plus it would have been REALLY busy there tonight due to the big event happening on the Riva .  Ivan and I shared an octopus salad for a starter.  Lil Dave got a banana pizza and a banana crepe for dessert.  Ivan got a tuna steak while I had a spaghetti frutti di mare.  The food was good.

We were all so very tired, so we called it an early night.

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Split

Ivan, Lil Dave and I woke up early at 9:15 am on August 9, 2012.  I think Ivan and I slept like 5 hours.  We had bread and cheese for breakfast.

We left the apartment at 11:05 am.

Lunch was at the Pizzeria Mama Leona and Vita place again.  We all had a salad customized by us.  Ivan and I also shared a vegetable sandwich.

It was time to head to Split – the ferry boat left at 1:45 pm.  The ride from Hvar island to Split took an hour and a half.

At the port, we were picked up by Peter – we were staying at his apartment with his mom which Ivan booked through Airbnb.  The place was about 10 minutes walking from the port.

At the apartment, we met his mom Mira who doesn’t speak English.

The room was spacious and breezy since the windows were open. 

It was to check out the Old Town.  Ivan checked out to see how much tickets were for the David Morales the following night.  There’s one BIG main street in Split and they have big parties there.  General admission was sold out and the golden circle tickets were way too much.  Ivan thinks that general admission probably wasn’t sold out so they could make more money by selling you the golden circle and VIP tickets. 

It was weird that this street had lights and kids were dancing to the music that was playing.  Tomorrow, it would be packed with thousands of people dancing to house music.

We went back to the apartment and showered. 

Since we were both knackered (tired), we took a 2 hour nap.  Lil Dave took a short monkey nap and Skype’d his Dad Big Dave.

We walked into the Old Town to get dinner.  Sperun turned out to be a ncie restaurant.  Ivan and I got marinated sardines Dalmatian style, marinated anchovies, grilled tuna fish and oven baked mackerel.  Lil Dave got grilled banana Dalmatian style and a tuna and banana salad.  It was a great meal.  We had an espresso which turned out to be free since the first one they were going to give us was already cold….see…never hurts to complain!

We tried out the ‘best ice cream in town’ at Hajduk.  Ivan and I tried the chocolate and it was too creamy and didn’t taste right.  Ivan got cherry and raspberry while I got cherry. 

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Mine tasted better than Ivan’s, but it definitely wasn’t the best ice cream in town.. I’m sure there’s better tasting ice cream there.

It was nice walking around the cool Old Town.  Ivan said that the Romans built it and you could tell from the big huge columns and lovely architecture.

Ivan and I checked out the rakia bar called Aphrodisiac Ghetto Society. 

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It’s a cool bar with great décor and a cool outdoor area. 

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One of the coolest things is that from the street you can stop by the window to get rakia or absinthe to go in a plastic cup.  Ivan and I tried a few rakias.. with the best ones being the nut and the cherry.

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Ivan and I were both really tired, so we headed back at midnight.

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Secret Mousse

On August 8, 2012, Ivan, Lil Dave and I woke up at 8:30 am since we were going on the The Secret Hvar Tour today.  Sinisa (nickname is Simon since it’s easier for us tourists to say) was our guide with a green SUV.  Ivan and I got inside and thought there might be more people, but it was only us. 

The views were lovely during our off road tour.  It was a little bumpy with lots of great scenery all around us.  Simon stopped and let us smell something and try to guess what it was.  One was rosemary (which we didn’t guess) and the other was oregano (this we did guess). 

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Our first stop was up a hill with a gorgeous view.  Simon said they usually don’t stop here if there’s a lot of people.  I’m glad we were able to stop since the view was amazing.

Ivan thought we should go to Stari Grad.  It was nice to have a private tour where we could customize it. 

We passed a village where only 7 people live, in the summer 20-25 people live there.  We saw another village which was hidden from the sea, so they pirates wouldn’t find them.  This village was abandoned.. we got to peek inside one of them.

Simon was nice and said we could ask him to stop the car at anytime if we wanted to take a photo of something. 

Simon showed us a snow shelter which was a dome shelter.  The entrance faces the west, so that when the sun comes down at night it brings in light.  It was a lot cooler inside the snow shelter than outside.   The shelter was put together by placing rocks on top of another without any adhesive. 

There are many stone walls along the mountains in Hvar.  These were built a long time ago to make grapes and other fruits grow better since the walls created humidity. 

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Ivan asked if we were stopping at a winery and Simon said no, unless you want to.  So, later one we’d be doing a winery tour instead of going to Stari Grad.

The tour stopped at the highest point on Hvar island. 

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We started headed towards the place for lunch.  There was lots of trees missing since there was a big fire on the island.

I asked Simon about the Dalmatian dogs.  Apparently, a long time ago in the Dalmatia region.. a monk found a Dalmatian dog.  But, a lot of people think the dog originates from Egypt.  Hard to say, but the dog is a symbol on postcards.  If you’re American you know the Dalmatian dog is a popular firehouse dog

Simon took us to Human which is an ethno-eco village (whatever that means!).  It had lovely views and horses for kids to ride.  Our table was outside which had a great view.  We got octopus cooked in a clay pot which was delicious.  The pan was covered with a dome lid and coals were placed on top.

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The octopus were cooked with potatoes – the best potatoes were the crunchy ones. 

Next, we drove a short time to get to the Vina Tomić.  We were going to take a winery tour.  Simon told us earlier that the wine god might be there – it’s Andro Tomić the owner of the winery and quite famous in Hvar.  I was hoping we’d get to meet them since it’s not every day that you meet a wine god.

A guy showed us around the winery.  We saw a funny picture of the wine god.. you could tell he has a sense of humor. 

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Ivan and I saw the vats the wine is made in.  Simon told us that the wine god was in the building since we saw him although we didn’t know it was him.  Next, we saw the barrels.  Then, we were taken to the beautiful wine cellar for the wine tasting.  We paid extra for the wine tour… think it was 150 kn per person. 

We enjoyed the four wines.  We grade our wines out of 10 and describe what we think of it when we do wine tastings.

The best were the Opolo Nobile 2011 which smelled like strawberries and Ivan quoted it as being cheeky.  Another favorite was the award winning wine called Plavac Mali 2007which was 14.3% (wow!!).  Ivan thought it was like dark chocolate and I thought it was velvety.  The dessert wine Prosek Hectorovich was delicious and scored the most with 9 out of 10.  Simon says it tastes like honey.  I thought it was very sweet and oh, so good while Ivan thought it was naughty.  The wine came with cheese, anchovies and more cheese that went well with the wines.  Simon told us a funny story about drinking a lot of Prosek which will make you do funny things… isn’t that most alcohol if you drink enough?!  Simon told us that fathers will keep a bottle of Prosek and keep it until their son or daughter gets married.  The guy who gave us the tour said that his dad’s Prosek would REALLY be like honey (from aging so long) since it’ll be awhile until he gets married.  I’m not sure why though.. since the guy was cute.

Oh yah, we got to meet the wine god!  We took a few photos with him.

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He thought I was Spanish coz he said Hola.  Simon said I was American.  I told him I was Filipino.  Ivan said Merci to him.  He’s Croatian, but he knows French since he studied how to create wine there.

It was time to go on the road again.  I wanted to buy a bottle of the Prosek, but it’s too heavy and we have too much stuff as it is. 

Simon took us to the beach next.  We had an hour to chill out.  Ivan was really tired.  He took a nap while I went in search of the nude beach.  I’ve never seen one so I was curious.  I forgot to grab water before heading out in the path covered with trees… I never made it to the nude beach since I got tired. I decided to stop among the rocky beach and go in the water.  I’m glad Lil Dave was there to keep me company.  He doesn’t like water though.. but he chatted with me while I was in the water.  I had my Northface sandals one which was good since the rocks were slippery.

I read my Needful Things book while sitting on a rock with part of my legs in the water.  It was lovely.

Simon took us back into Hvar.  We said good-bye and thanks.  If you want to take a cool tour, you should take a Secret Hvar tour.

That night, we went to The Park restaurant for dinner.  Ivan and I shared lobster soup, fish pate, mussels and grilled squid with a great white house wine.  Lil Dave got banana stuffed squids and a banana dip with pita.  The food was wonderful.  Ivan and I shared crème caramel (which is like a flan) and a lovely white chocolate and lavender mousse.

We walked downstairs and heard music.  I thought it was a record, but Ivan went to check it out.  It was a Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin (I get those two confused sometimes) song.  It turned out to be a great cover band.  The guy sounded spot on.  We sat down and right after the band was going on a break.  This happens to us a lot!!  We decided to walk around and then come back to listen to more.

Ivan and I checked out a store with cool arty decorations.

It was time to hear some music.  The band was called Just in Time.  The lead singer said it was an artificial name.. maybe they couldn’t decide on a good name yet. 

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The band played Lenny Kravitz’s Are you Gonna Go My Way?, Steve Wonder’s Superstitious, The Beatles, U2 and Sting’s Englishman in New York.  The leader singer had such a beautiful soulful voice.  Wow! Ivan and I could listen to this band for hours and hours.  The band finished and we left.

Ivan wanted to check out Club Veneranda.  It’s the club that Prince Harry went to when he visited Hvar.  He said if it’s good enough for Prince Harry, it’s good enough for him.  It was way too much to get in which probably wouldn’t have been worth it since we could hear the lame music being played.

 

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Rocky Calzone

On August 7, 2012, Ivan, Lil Dave and I got the 6 am ferry from Korčula to Hvar – it was WAAY too early to be up.  I was a zombie.  Ivan and I watched a few episodes of Episodes on the ferry.

We arrived on Hvar island at 7:30 am and a lady met us – we were staying at her apartment which Ivan booked through Airbnb.  Unfortunately, the room wouldn’t be ready until 10:30 am.  She let us store her luggage in her clothing store.

We found a bar called Cambrinus that had free wifi.  Thank goodness for free wi-fi and espresso! I really needed it.  People seem to smoke sooo much here in the Balkans.  I think that’s why Ivan and I have coughs.  I also still have mucus from being sick since Spain.  I have been taking medicine, but I don’t think it’s very strong.

We checked in to the room at 10:30 am.  Our room has a weird ceiling and didn’t have much ventilation at all.

Ivan and I got ready and then went to eat at Pizzeria Mama Leona.  This place was right next to a Vita juice bar, so you could order from both menus.  Ivan and I shared a good tuna and mushroom calzone and a salad with eggs, beets, peppers, cucumbers and chickpeas.

I was so knackered (tired), so I went back to the room for a much needed nap.  It was really hot in the room even with the window and the fan right one me, but I managed to fall asleep.  Ivan went exploring the Old Town while I slept.

Later, we got a small boat to Stipanska for the Carpe Diem beach.  This place has parties with cool house DJs like Roger Sanchez or Boy George.

Ivan got a fruity drink (which was alright) while I got a delicious mango mojito. 

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Lil Dave watched our bags while Ivan and I swam around in the water.  People were jumping into the water.  The water was salty since we were in the sea.  It’s nice to swim in, but not so nice when it gets in your eyes! 

I floated around on my back.. which feels like floating on a cloud.  It’s very lovely, you should try it sometime. 

This rocky beach is beautiful.

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Ivan thought we should order something to eat.  We shared a salad with tuna and sardines. 

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Lil Dave got a banana kebab.

We got the last boat back at 7 pm back to Hvar island. 

We walked around the lovely island.  Ivan picked up some pear Somersby cider which we enjoyed during an episode of Episodes.

For dinner, we went to Dordota Vartal for dinner.  We started off with a boring fish soup which had more rice than fish in it.  Lil Dave got a banana soup and a banana lasagna.  Ivan and I shared a boring squid black ink risotto and a good smoked tuna.  It’s a shame that all meals can’t be good.

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