August 23, 2009

Sailing Croatia is where it's at!

Swim, sleep, eat, drink, then repeat.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to heaven...

Our week of total bliss started on a sunny Sunday in the Croatian town of Dubrovnik. Dubbed the 'jewel of the Adriatic', it was the starting point of our eight-day/seven-night trip sailing around the stunning coast of Croatia.

After climbing aboard our boat and checking out our room for the week, it was straight into town to take in the amazing views from the Dubrovnik city walls. Running two kilometres around the city, these 25-metre high walls provide the perfect vantage point to check out the pretty city and sea views.

With the 'touristy' thing under our belts (oh how we've mastered the art of looking at old buildings), it was back to the boat to meet our fellow shipmates for the week over a delicious crumbed-fish dinner. Having booked too late to get on an 18 to 35-year-old boat, we were a little worried that we would be stuck on a boat full of retirement-home residents, but our boat had the perfect mix of ages, nationalities and personalities.

The best part of the entire trip was the swimming, and our first dip in the beautiful blue waters of the Adriatic came the next morning, when we moored in a secluded bay, and all jumped, flopped or cautiously climbed off the boat, inflatable beds and toys in tow, and into the clear sea.

Despite being terrified of heights – climbing up stairs with gaps in them freaks him out – Craig crumbled under peer pressure and jumped from the very top deck of our boat with a couple of other Aussie blokes. Some very feminine screams echoed around the bay when they finally took the plunge, and it became something of a ritual at every swimming stop.

After spending the day eating, swimming, reading and napping, we headed to our first overnight stop – Korcula. We ate a way-over-our-budget seafood dinner with fellow Aussie couple Renee and Ange, then moved on to a tower-top cocktail bar where we sipped on way-over-our-budget Sex on the Beaches, then we hopped from pub to pub on a never-ending quest to find the cheapest litre of red wine we could find (it ended up being 60 kunas, which is about $AU14). In typical Lisa Paddison fashion, I couldn't keep up with the rest of them and had to head back to the boat early after a very glamorous and dignified vomit in a bush on the side of the road.

It'll come as no surprise that the next day involved more swimming, more eating and more sleeping. This time, we docked at the town of Hvar, where we climbed to the castle to take in some pretty spesh views and ate a gigantic take-away pizza.

For night three, it was a stop in the refreshingly tourist-free Trstenik. We tasted wine in this tiny town and swam at its crystal clear beach. That night, it was the captain's dinner, with sea bass on the menu (my seafood-eating prowess has not yet extended to whole fish staring at me on my plate) and at €20 a pop, Craig and I opted for another enormous pizza and a 40 kuna ($AU9.50) litre of wine on the beach.

After devouring the pizza we could hear some serious music pumping from across the bay. 'Is that coming from our boat?' we asked each other in disbelief. On further investigation, we found our entire boat busting some serious moves on the back deck. We quickly joined in and 'got down' to the likes of Lady Gaga and Michael Jackson, with the oldies giving us a serious run for our booty-shaking money.

Sinuses struck me down the next day, I slept through the entire day, waking only for breakfast, lunch and dinner, while the rest of our boat enjoyed the lakes of Mljet National Park.

I was back in holiday action by the next day, when, you guessed it, we swam and ate by day, and docked by night. This time it was the sleepy town of Sipan, where the over-priced restaurants had us turning to the local mini-mart for tomato on tostadas washed down with beer.

It was sadness and despair the next day, when we realised we were heading back to Dubrovnik for one last night on the boat. Having baulked at jumping from the top deck all week, I finally took the plunge, as we all made the most of our last dip in the Adriatic sea.

Seriously, jot sailing Croatia on your do-before-I-die list – it honestly doesn't get any better.