Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Discovering bodacious Croatia + stacked Blondies
Here are a few pictures of Croatia, as promised. We visited it in July when the temperatures were high and the wind was dry. Needless to say, I spent most of the days in the shade where possible.
For a week, we rented a sailing boat with a couple of friends and their two teenagers. That was the first time I've 'sailed' in my life. Learnt the meaning of tacking - when the crew shifted the front sail (jib) to the left or right, and the boat would tip strongly to the left or right. It was always interesting to hear the crockery in the galley shifting audibly. Then I understood why the gas stove is on hinges - so it could remain horizontal, more or less. ^_^
(Above) Omis in the daytime and after sunset. That rocky mountain sure is imposing, huh?
Being a visitor in Croatia is kind of expensive. The hotels are about the same prices as those in Italy and Germany but their standards are not as high or consistent. It's a better bet to rent one of the many apartmani (apartments) offered along the coastal road. We often saw an oldish 'auntie' seated in a chair at the roadside in the sunshine offering brochures or information about some apartment-for-rent.
The Croatians, generally, are friendly, helpful and courteous. They speak pretty good English, at least those in the tourism and service industry. The young women are long-legged and gorgeous, togged in all kinds of fashionable clothing. The outdoor cafe culture there is great for people-watching. It is not an uncommon thing to see families with four or five young children.
Our recommendation would be to visit during the cooler months, say, in September or May.
Ice-cream is a must for those sultry hot days, strolling about the ancient parts of small or big towns. It's five kuna for a scoop of one flavour. (Seven kunas to a euro.)
The beaches are only so-so - gravel and pebble beaches mostly - but the seawater away from main harbours is clear and beautifully blue or aquamarine. Those of us who come from South-East Asia and Australia are spoiled by the soft sandy beaches. So if you intend to visit Croatian beaches, bring a pair of rubbery beach shoes - to protect your feet against sharp pebbles and especially sea urchins in the water.
As for Croatian cuisine, alas! I've no pics for you. The most outstanding was the octopus salad and the fresh-from-the-Adriatic-Sea array of seafood. Yum, yum, yum!
One last note: Parking in Croatia can be rather costly. Don't be surprised to find fee collectors at a small desk under a tree at some remote beachside parking lot or halfway up to an ancient, picturesque chapel.
The view from a hill of a cove we anchored in. Yep, that's our rented boat with its sails furled. (Above right) The boats all docked neatly at Rogoznica at dusk.
And, for those who asked, "Where's the food?", here's the pic I took of a stack of Blondies (use Mr Oliver's recipe; just sub the dark choc for white and lessen the butter) beribboned with a cut napkin strip: