Our Love Affair With Croatia Continues….

Our drive down to Trogir was marred only by a bunch of major roadworks and badly signed diversions (of which our CoPilot seemed blissfully unaware!) which led to a bit of stress for Team Sebo…..particularly for Harley who, having listened to his Dad muttering “FFS!!!” on numerous occasions, now believes there to be another dog onboard, called FFS! That aside, we had a picturesque drive down the coastal road, still awestruck at the beauty of The Adriatic Coast, passing by numerous small towns and villages, all with their pretty red-roofed houses and small quayside moorings/large marinas, crammed with charter fleets, small fishing boats and rather sumptious-looking “gin palaces”. Sure as hell, this is a “yachtie’s paradise”.

Eventually, we arrived at Trogir – a fascinating wee place. Tiny mediaeval town, UNESCO listed (Croatia certainly seems to have more than it’s fair share of UNESCO listings but deservedly so all the same!), on a small island linked to the mainland by a small roadbridge and to the adjacent island of Čiovo by another tiny bridge. Very, very pretty, it has to be said. We continued over to Čiovo and pitched-up at Kamp Rozac at Okrug Gornji. In the summer, apparently, this place is pretty much gridlocked so popular is it with holidaymakers. At the moment, it’s pretty quiet- so much so that half of the many beach bars here are closed or in the middle of renovations but it’s a nice wee spot, handy for Trogir and Split and has a rather nice long stretch of gravel “beach” , Despite it’s popularity, there’s not a single high-rise block here – in fact, we haven’t even seen a hotel, just lots of houses advertising rooms or apartments. The campsite itself is also quiet and it’s location is superb! We’re parked-up just a few metres from the sea and within easy walking distance of Trogir, albeit up a steep hill, but the view from the top makes it all worthwhile!

On Wednesday morning, we took a stroll along the beach here and treated ourselves to a cappuccino at one of the beach bars. It’s getting warmer by the day now, even at night (we haven’t needed to resort to Sebo’s heating system for over a week now! Happy days!) and we really feel like we’re “on holiday”. Not sure if it’s just the warmer weather or maybe it’s the relaxed atmosphere here that’s precipitating this feeling!

On Wednesday evening, we donned our summer gladrags – it was actually warm enough for me to wear a summer dress! Yippee! Off we tootled, up the steep hill and over the island to Trogir. We meandered around the old town for a while, taking in the wonderful architecture and narrow, winding streets, whilst perusing menus and avoiding a couple of very loud drunken American sailors! We finally settled on Konoba Toma as our “eatery of the week”. It proved to be an excellent choice – the location, service and top quality food could not detract from the 500kn (€65) bill-the most expensive meal we’ve had since we arrived! The Seafood Platter For Two was enormous and exceedingly tasty- two whole calamari (cooked to perfection, I might add!), two huge langoustines, a rake of mussels and two whole seabass, all served with boiled potatoes and salad- YUMMMMMM


With the customary litre carafe of house red (yeah, I know, it’s fish, we should be drinking white but, hey, we’re Philistines!), an espresso and two free digestifs (limoncello for me and grappa for Himself – quite why the male/female distinction we have yet to establish!) we had no problem justifying the dosh expended.

Thursday dawned and, whilst eating lunch (a nice juicy lump of hot roasted pork we’d spotted in the local supermarket and just HAD to purchase!), I got a message from my old sailing buddies to say they were in Split and, basically, “get your asses over here pronto – we have G&T’S waiting for you!” No sooner said than done! Harley was put on “guard duty” (ahem – he was in his bed and asleep before we’d even got to the door!)  and we headed for Trogir for the bus into Split. Now, we’d already gleaned the necessary info regarding public transport to Split from the very helpful young lady on Reception here. Three choices – all departing from Trogir – local bus, goes all around the houses and takes 50 minutes, express bus, only stops once, takes 30 minutes, or the ferry, takes 45 minutes but this was her recommendation as being the most interesting. Off we set, once again up the “big hill”, aiming for the 3pm bus (as I’d gleaned this info from The ‘Net and, since it said it took 31 minutes, I assumed this was the express bus- as you would!) as we probably wouldn’t make the 2.30pm ferry (once again, info gleaned from The ‘Net). Due to us “power walking” up the “big hill”, we arrived on the other side with a few minutes to spare for the ferry so we headed there first. Ferry parked-up, no-one on it! Quick convo with the guy standing alongside it informed us that the ferry wasn’t running due to “high winds” – mmmmm, OK, there’s a bit of a blow alright but not enough to halt a sailing, we thought – more a case of there not being enough punters, possibly? Not to worry, we’ll make the bus so off we tootled to the bus station and purchased two return tickets to Split. Our fatal error was omitting the word “express”, apparently! Anyhow, still ignorant to this mistake, we boarded the bus – a rather uncomfortable, old, “bendy” bus- which turned out to be the local bus and took an hour to do the 20km journey into Split, having stopped at what seemed to be every street corner enroute! Needless to say, by the time we finally reached Split, we were in dire need of the promised G&TS onboard our buddies’ boat!

A quick walk through Split’s crowded Old Town – a haven for huge cruise liner crowds – took us down to the marina and a happy reunion with my old sailing buddies that I haven’t seen in 7 years! It was so good to see them again – and especially to see they hadn’t changed a bit, other than their two beautiful girls had now blossomed into equally beautiful teenagers. We sat in the cockpit of their sumptuous chartered catamaran (and believe me, sumptuous is probably an understatement!), reminiscing about our 2009 “Around The Baltic In Eighteen Days” sailing trip, shamelessly posing with our drinks for several hours. How the other half live, heh? Thankfully, they were heading out for dinner as darkness started to fall and we, still full from our roasted pork lunch and with Harley’s welfare in our thoughts, declined their offer to join them for dinner but walked back up to the Old Town, did a bit more sightseeing with them, had a quick drink in the square and then bade them farewell, with a loose arrangement to maybe meet up again in Hvar Town on Monday.

We headed for the main bus station – notably NOT the one at which we had arrived – inquired as to the possibility of getting a bus to Trogir and were told “yeah, there’s one leaving from Stand 1 in 15 minutes but No, your return tickets aren’t valid on the express bus, you’ll need to go to the local bus station ” – since said bus station was a good 20 minute walk away, a team talk ensued and a decision was made to just bin the tickets and buy express bus tickets. Job done, we climbed into a luxury coach, complete with USB charging sockets overhead and comfy seats! Half an hour after setting off, we were in Trogir, making our way back up the “big hill” and home. Harley met us at the door though, judging by the sleepy look he was wearing, I’d swear we woke him from his slumbers when we put the key in the door!

On Friday afternoon, we decided to hit the “big hill” once again, this time with Harley in tow, and spent a very pleasant few hours strolling around the town. By this stage, the town was thronged with tourists and the small cruise ships were “double parked” along the Town Quay – a hugely different place to the one in which we had dined on Wed eve! Also, there seemed to be some kind of “event” going on – folk dressed in medieval garb were walking around and there were several medieval stall type things in the square and several stalls selling various local products and handicrafts set-up on the waterfront. Not sure if this was a one off or whether it’s maybe a tourist thing they do at weekends – need to do further research methinks! Anyhow, we took a rather comfy sofa on the terrace of the Hotel Concordia and indulged in an aperitif and a spot of people watching in the sunshine. Great fun was had watching young girls posing for selfies and a particularly slick piece of parking by a private yacht with a crew of young fellas alongside the Town Quay. Unfortunately for said young fellas, just as they were about to jump off and head for a few beers, the Harbour Office dude appeared, on a bike, and told them they couldn’t park there. Ropes were slipped and, have to hand it to them, despite their obvious thirst, their exit was every bit as slick as their entrance. God love ’em – hope they managed to find a space in the overcrowded marina opposite before dying of thirst!

So much fun were we having that we had to order a second aperitif – hey, it’s thirsty work this people watching business – much to Harley’s disdain, it has to be said. Come 6pm, his dinnertime, he started mooching. I’d swear if he’d been wearing a wristwatch he would’ve been pointing at it saying “do you KNOW what time it is?????”. Thankfully, Harley IS our “voice of reason” and we DID drink up and head home. But for him, it probably would’ve been a “taxi for Semple” situation several hours later!

We had thought to go back to Split and see it properly on Saturday but, to be honest, we couldn’t be bothered PLUS it was Race Day at The North West 200 and Roy had managed to get Live coverage on the BBC Sport website so we had a lazy day and didn’t venture very far at all. This is the first year he hasn’t worked at the NW200 and he’s missing it! However, as luck would have it, it’s the San Marino World Superbikes Championship in Misano, Italy the weekend I’m away in Dublin in June so he has a 3 day “Access All Areas” ticket with motorhome parking already booked. That should keep Himself and Harley(!) amused in my absence!

Tomorrow, we’re heading for Hvar Island, requiring a 30 minute ferry journey – this should be fun as blogs I’ve read on the subject all say you need to reverse on……..watch this space……