My first souvenir purchase perfectly sums up our weekend romance with this captivating island located about 50 kilometres southwest off the coast of Split. Our friends Frank and Viv on Dominos had raved about Vis when we were berthed alongside them months ago. So whilst we hadn’t done much research before arriving, we knew we were in for a treat.
I clearly remember the name “Tito” from modern history high school studies. Marshal Josip Borz “Tito” was considered a benevolent dictator and leader of the Yugoslav Partisan army. Whilst an authoritarian leader, he implemented many successful polices as president and maintained a peaceful coexistence among the nations of Yugoslavia. In a position of authority up until his death in 1980, it is said in the decade that followed tensions rose and the Yugoslav republic’s relationships eventually disintegrated into a series of devastating civil wars in the Balkans.
Incredibly during World War II, Vis was a strategic Adriatic outpost that fell under the control of Austria, France, Great Britain and then Italy. Next Vis Island served as an important military base for Tito’s army and was closed to outside visitors from the 1950s only reopening in 1989. Today exists an old grassy WWII airstrip, submarine bunkers, ammunition storages, sunken wrecks of battle ships and Tito’s cave hideout that was used as his command headquarters.
After an extended hiatus from riding pillion passenger on anything with two wheels and an engine, mum bravely gave her consent that we hire scooters for the day to explore. On departure from Vis Town, first stop was the pretty fishing village of Komiza where unfortunately our trip to see the Blue Grotto was cancelled last minute. Ocean swell was causing waves to hit the roof of the cave entrance, rendering it impassable. Though that allowed plenty of extra time to buzz around the empty mountainside-hugging roads with uninterrupted ocean vistas.
Our 50cc scooters struggled up to the unmarked base of Tito’s original cave hideout on Hum Mountain. Yet the most memorable location find belonged to the romantic cove ofStiniva. A sign that warned ‘descend at your own risk’ didn’t lie in what was a 20-minute mountain goat scramble path down and up. Fortunately the tricky access must also help to keep the crowds thinned in peak season. Love Croatia shared my photo of Stiniva on their Facebook fan page wall that generated over 16,500 likes and almost 2,500+ shares in just a couple of days. It was fun to watch my photo go viral in the global social media sphere – just doing my part to share the Croatia magic!
At our lunch stop, the sweet Belgium-born taverna owner explained that on Vis, serious crowds only occurred during mid July to mid August. So for the remainder of spring and summer the ocean-bound jewelretained its old world charm, free of packaged and mass tourism. And although it was already well discovered by the yachting crowd – there was the irresistible feeling you’re experiencing a true taste of the original Croatian island way of life.
With limited fridge and storage space, menu planning has become a key weekly task for Mike and I. Though in the towns where we have access to some of the freshest and most varied green markets, fish markets, butchers and bakeries – it has also become a real joy.
Split’s daily farmer’s markets are exceptional – the best I have ever personally encountered. With 100+ different stalls from local farmers, every morning selling whatever is growing in their fields or gardens. Organic is not a term used here, as everything is farmed organically. Stalls are currently overflowing with strawberries, cherries, peaches, lettuce, green beans, carrots, cucumbers and zucchinis to name a few. Where else can you buy one kilogram of the freshest strawberries or cherries for A$3 or caught-this-morning fish markets with whole bream, tuna, tuna sashimi, squid, octopus, mussels, scampi and sardines. What I’d do to have access to such markets everyday for the rest of my life. Credit must also be given to my darling hubby Mike whoseskills in the kitchen seem to have deepened with his tan. We’ve all never eaten better or healthier in our lives.
We are currently trying to perfect salt and pepper calamari so if anyone has a recipe or the technique dialed, please share!
On our second-to-last Split visit, measurements were taken for a new, fully waterproof cover for dad’s trike aircraft. During this final visit, the cover was trial fitted and after a few adjustments by the team at One Sails, is now installed and gives far greater protection from salt spray than the original soft cover. Along with the new cover, very strong but soft webbing straps have been added to the lifting arrangement, making it far simpler to lower and raise. Below is the multi-talented One Sails sail maker, seamstress and motor trimmer Zora Mikulic proudly showing her finished cover.
We’ve since departed Split for the final time, now that all trade work and current maintenance projects are finally complete. And just when I thought this blog post had sufficient photos, we anchored the night back in Pakleni Islands off Hvar Town. Words cannot do justice to the water colour and clarity nor the funky beach bar of Laganini. Instead I’ll let the pictures do the talking. If you ever find yourself in Hvar Town on a fine sunny day, we highly recommend boarding a water taxi out to this bay and beach bar. A fine way to soak up the afternoon sun and remind yourself how lucky you are to be alive. Now that the water and air temperatures are warming up, last photos show our very first morning swim – an energising way to start the day.
Today we’ve moved to the island of Korcula and have just read the good news that we may be receiving our next round of guests a month earlier than expected. Can’t wait to welcome the newly weds Rebecca and Joel on board!!