Island Life 101

8 06 2017

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Today is a travel day and we can see our ferry out the window:

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The ferry to Vis Island is scheduled to leave at 11:00am and we have been advised to be in the car line early. When we get to the “parking lot” (if you read yesterday you already know that it is a demolition derby) we are greeted with this:

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Then this:

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Great.  Just great.  In all of the years and times we have rented vehicles, we have never returned one with damage.  Even though this doesn’t look too bad we are pretty sure that we will get over-charged substantially for this one.  Let’s see how the Amex rental car insurance works. Nothing else to do but continue on.

After a bit of juking and jiving and trying to figure out exactly which car line to be in, we manage to park our car in the Vis line around 9:00 so that we can scoot back in town for breakfast.

Our host for last night had told us about a great local place for breakfast and Janel expertly navigates through the streets of Split ending up at Bistrot Toc.

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Janel and Rich go for omelets and I choose the Dalmation breakfast of tuna, cheese and olives. A couple of lattes later and we are happy.

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Time to board the ferry.  The whole process is super-easy.  I have printed out our ticket at home and they barely take a look at it before waving our car forward onto the boat. The journey to Vis is 2 1/2 hours and we use the time to relax, read and blog.  (Janel carries “the internet” in her purse thanks to our car hotspot from Sixt.  Did I tell you how awesome that is?)

 

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Soon Vis comes into sight.  We go up top to get the full view of our next home port.

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There is something romantic about arriving anywhere by ferry

 

Vis looks gorgeous from the water.  When I was researching Croatia I knew we wanted to spend time on one of its many islands.  I chose Vis because it was less touristed than others and it just looked like our kind of place.  We will be spending 3 nights here and are looking forward to putting down some “roots” at least for a while.

When the ferry docks and we drive our car off we see a man standing and holding a sign “Lemon.”  We will be staying at Lemon Vis apartment and have been told by the owner (Berti) that he will be waiting for us at the ferry dock.  Fantastic! Berti tells us where to meet to find our parking space.  We take a wrong turn (which is hard to do in this little town), but eventually find our way back to Berti.

The Lemon Vis apartment intrigued me online immediately.  It is part of an historic baroque stone building from the 17th century and simply oozes charm.  Just walking the narrow cobblestone street to it is great.  I think we will love it here.

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There is a large living area, small kitchen, bathroom, large master bedroom and a nice little loft bedroom for Janel.

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View from the loft

I am happy to see that there are two A/C units.  However the windows are open and a nice cool breeze is flowing through.  Maybe we won’t even need the A/C.

Berti shows us around and tells us of a few island highlights. A bit of unpacking is done – we can actually settle in here for a few days.  Then we discuss how to spend the remainder of the day.  It is decided that we should take a ride out to discover Stiniva Beach.  We poked around online and found this description from The Telegraph:

Almost completely obscured from the view of passing boats, Stiniva beach on the Croatian island of Vis has something of the James Bond villain lair about it.

But its secret is out. This week it was named the top beach in Europe for 2016 by the Brussels-based tourism organisation European Best Destinations following a poll of more than 10,000 holidaymakers.

Its inaccessibility is part of its allure. Vis is the farthest inhabited island from the Croatian mainland; beyond Brac and Hvar, it is more than a two-hour ferry or catamaran ride from  Split. The beach itself can only be reached by hiking down a steep and narrow path or by taking a taxi boat from the nearby cove at Rukavac. And only those vessels small enough to pass through a gap of a few metres in the cliffs can reach it. “

Well alright.  It can’t possibly get any better than that.  Berti had mentioned Stiniva to us but warned that the hike down (and especially back up) could be grueling.  Do NOT attempt in flip flops.

On the way to the beach we make a stop in Milna Bay to check on the possibility of Stand Up Paddleboarding for tomorrow with Islomania Vis. I have been in touch with the owner, Lea, and she told me to check with her regarding conditions when we are here.

 

Milna Bay

Milna Bay is calm and beautiful.  We discuss plans with Lea and end up discussing chartering a boat tomorrow for island/cave hopping and SUP. Loyal readers may recall my first experience with Stand Up Paddle onboard the Safari Explorer in Alaska. You can read about it HERE. Then Rich got into the act in Tofino on Vancouver Island (HERE).  We also both loved SUP on Crystal River in Florida (HERE)

Evrything is very laid back here.  No firm plan or time is set – we just tell her we will show up between 8:30-9:00.  She says the boat will be there and we can decide what we want to do when we arrive..

With the expert assistance of our navigator (Janel) we motor on and easily find the entrance to Siniva’s hiking path.

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Upozorenje!

The hike is challenging with steep downhills and slippery rocks – hard on the old knees. We keep our eyes on the prize of Stiniva that we can see peeking through at the bottom of the trail. (every step I am already thinking about having to climb back up)

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We are rewarded when we reach the bottom.

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There are a few boats and people here.  We call them “cheaters” because they took the easy way in. There is a little beach bar where Rich quickly makes a great purchase. He asks for 3 “Karlos.”

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Rich and Karlo

We are not really beach folk, but this is hard to beat.  We people watch and chill.  At one point Janel decides to try the water, but quickly finds out that the small round rocks on the beach are extremely painful to try and walk on.  We both don our flip flops to get to the water’s edge but it is way to cold for me to get in (water temp probably in the 70’s but I am a wimp with cool water).

The people watching is great, but it is even better when most of the boats and people leave.

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Nope. Can’t get any better.

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Our private beach

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A rousing game of “my stone is rounder than your stone”

What goes down must come up:

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It is tough going back up.  Fortunately it is not hot or I would really be whining.  Somehow we got off the trail and ended up scrambling up sheer rocks and making our own path.  In the end we figured we cut out about 30 minutes of walking that way! It actually took longer to go down than up.

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Made it!

Stiniva was a great choice with which to begin our exploration of Vis.  I think we are going to like it here.

We head back home and get ready to go out for the evening.  Tonight we will have dinner at Pojoda.  This restaurant was highly recommended to us both by our hosts at Villa Sumrak and also on TripAdvisor.  We are eager to have more fresh fish!

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The shadow of Janel’s parents are always with her

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On the way to Pojoda we find a tiny bar situated directly on the water.  This looks like the perfect place for a couple of Aperol Spritz.

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How lucky are we?

Pojoda awaits and we are hungry from our hiking.

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We let our server lead the way tonight.  We have found (especially on this trip) that it pays to ask the waiter what we should order.  He does not disappoint.  We are presented with a “Shrimps from My Grandfather, a zucchini ragu and octopus “balls” to start.  The octo is a standout.

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Soon we are presented with a tray of the fresh catch so that we may choose our fish. Various varieties are available, but the server steers us towards the John Dory.  (I remember having it only once in NYC when Eric was paying $$$$ – It was a memorable dish!). We will have the JD.

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After being grilled, the John Dory is filleted tableside.

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We are hoping he doesn’t take the skeleton away. Thankfully, he leaves all the pieces and parts.

The fish is absolutely divine.  We devour the fillets and then start in on the bones.

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Not a morsel is left when we get through. For dessert we choose a typical fig “bar” that our server tells us is the original energy bar in Croatia.  A Grappa-like digestiv is served alongside.

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Wow.  Just wow.

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If this is what life is like on Vis, sign me up.

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