Archives for posts with tag: croatia

When I signed up for SAS, I didn’t really think that I would love Croatia. I didn’t exactly know what to expect. If you’ve seen Eurotrip … well I kind of imagined that desolate eastern European wasteland those guys get stuck in after hitching a ride with that trucker mixed with that one episode of Bridget’s Sexiest Beaches on the Travel Channel. I’m happy to say I was totally proved wrong! Dubrovnik, Croatia is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. My pictures really won’t do it any justice. Since my expectations were almost embarrassingly ignorant and very low, Croatia definitely surpassed them.

Day 1
After getting off the ship, the girls and I exchanged some US currency for Croatian currency – the kuna. Let me just say that the rate is $1.00 = 5.7 kuna. So we got plenty of dinner bills for 400+ kuna .. while that wasn’t much considering there were a bunch of us splitting the bill .. it def took some getting used to! My first day in Dubrovnik was spent exploring Old Town and kayaking. Old Town is the walled part of the city that is right on the water. There are shops, cafes, and souvenir stands all over, along with churches and guided tours.

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Inside the city walls 

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Croatia! 103 View of Old Town Dubrovnik from the water

After a little shopping, we met up with some other SASers and our kayak guide, Marco. The kayak company actually overbooked for the day, so we ended up with a private guide who was supposed to take us on an easy kayak trip with a stop at a deserted island for wine and cheese before kayaking back to shore.

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I figured that it couldn’t be too hard of a kayak trip if we stopped for a little happy hour on an island. Boy was I wrong! We kayaked for FIVE HOURS! While yes, it was over crystal clear waters in the Adriatic Sea, it was still five whole hours. I started out the trip excited and full of energy.

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But by the end ….

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 I think the picture speaks for itself. 

Finally, the group made it back to shore around 8:30. After cleaning up and putting the kayaks back on the racks, we finally headed back to the ship around 9:30. I was salty, sweaty, and cold. I NEEDED a shower. I still can’t believe this, but when we got back to the ship, the water had been shut off!! We had known that it would be shut off at 10:00 pm, but we figured we would either make it back, or that it wouldn’t be shut off at exactly 10:00. We were wrong. And salty, sweaty, and smelly until the next morning.

To make matters worse, we were all super hungry  and the ship was done serving food for the night. We headed out to this little pizzeria near the ship .. the pizza was good .. the free beers were better! The owner was a  young guy named Murat.. he was nice and kept the place open late for us because there was no where else to eat!  However, like most things in life, it was all too good to be true. Right before our food arrived, we saw a mouse scuttling across the floor and into a hole in the wall.

I was way too tired, salty, and hungry to care.

Day 2
Obviously the first thing I did on the second day was take a longggggg hot shower. After that, Mollie, Victoria, Caitlin and I set out to find this little place called Cafe Buza that Caitlin had heard about on wiki travel. It’s basically a little cafe that is carved into the rocks on the seaside .. my pictures won’t do it justice. There are rocks that you can cliff jump off, lay out on, and there are places to get into the water and swim. It’s AMAZING!

Croatia! 054 View from the entrance

Croatia! 058  Caitlin & I on the rocks

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View of the water from our table

After spending the day swimming and laying out, we decided to see what Old Town at night had to offer. We went to a “pop lounge” called Gil’s which was so fun, I could have stayed all night. It had the cool vibe of a club, the lighting and music, but places to sit and chill while enjoying a drink, like a bar.

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After a round or two of drinks, we attempted to meet some other SASers at a different club, but we decided against it because we had early plans the next day.

Day 3
This may have been my favorite day in Croatia. Us girls woke up early and headed into Old Town to catch a ferry over to Lopud Island.
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Croatia! 097  Jamming to cheesy techno music before leaving

Once we got to Lopud, we ate some pizza (for the millionth time), got some coffees, and did a little bit of shopping (not much mom, I promise!!). The island is very small and has two sides. The side we got dropped off on was more of a boating, shopping and eating side, whereas the other side was more of the beachy, lay out side. We ended up trekking over to the other side which wasn’t very far, but it was up a huge hill. Once we got to the top and could see the beach, it made it all worth it.

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The beach was a half moon shape in this little harbor. It was so cute! The water was separated so that boats could anchor off the shoreline, but there was plenty of space for swimming too. Unlike the beaches I’m used to at home in Florida, this sand was a mix of white and black and it was HOT. While the water was clear, there were tons of rocks littering the shoreline, so it made it a little hard to walk in. There were tons of fish, big and small, as well as sea urchins and crabs.

I did a lot of observing for my ecology class at this beach. I think it’s easy to forget sometimes, because I’m doing and seeing so much, but I  am actually taking classes when we are sailing between ports. I’m really learning a lot, but it’s not as interesting to write about, especially because there are no pictures of it.

Anyway…. after getting back to Dubrovnik that night,we went back to Murat’s pizza shop for some beers and to use the internet! (I finally got to skype Rob!!!) Murat was super friendly, and invited us to this club that a bunch of SASers were going to that night. It ended up working out perfectly, because when we arrived, no SASers could get in, but since we had Murat’s phone number, we called him and we got to cut the line and get in for free! Once we were in, he pretty much ditched out on us, but we were all kind of happy about that! We only saw him one more time that evening, and he asked us if we were having a good time and to have a good rest of the night.

Day 4
On our last day in Croatia, we headed back to Old Town to go to Cafe Buza. Only we didn’t  go to Buza, we went to another little cafe on the rocks that we thought was Buza. It’s hard to find these places because they aren’t marked. Finding them is like doing a scavenger hunt.
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The signs for Cafe Buza and the “No Nudist” cafe

Once  you see these signs, you have to kind of walk down alleys and up staircases until you find the right place. It’s actually really fun, and once you find the entrances, it’s such a feeling of relief!

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So we finally arrived at the cafe, we put our stuff down and set out on our mission. We had to go cliff jumping. At the cafe, there are stairs to get in and out of the water, but to get up to the cliff, you have to climb the rocks and scale the side of the cliff to get to a “safe” spot. I think the climbing was a lot scarier than the actual jumping. The jumping was a total rush. I looked out into the horizon, had my friends do a countdown, and took the plunge.

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After jumping, we laid out, swam, and hung out for a little before heading back to the port. We had plans to go back to Murat’s for some pizza and to use the free internet, but the line was so long that instead we hit up the grocery store right by the port for some snacks and sunscreen before hopping back on the boat.

All in all, I don’t think 4 days here was enough. I feel like I did see most of what Dubrovnik had to offer, but I would have liked to head out to Split or into other countries like Montenegro. Croatia was so amazing.. if you’re thinking of going, DO IT! Seriously! Oh, and so unexpected, but EVERYONE here spoke English! I communicated with people so much better here than I did in Italy, I really wasn’t expecting that!

I think Capri has been my favorite place, but if I had to choose a favorite country, Croatia would definitely be it!

So far anyway …

Alright, my itinerary for this summer is official, and on the semester at sea website, we are listed as “current voyage” – how cool is that? I  have less than a month to go, and I want to post the countries I’ll be visiting, and take people’s suggestions of must see, must do, or must eat places! I know this is kind of ridiculous – but I’m so anxious about this trip because I feel like I MUST DO EVERYTHING in EVERY COUNTRY. I know that’s impossible, so if you’ve been to any of these places, let me know what to see and what to skip!

The ship leaves from Halifax, Nova Scotia. My mom and I are going up there a few days early and just spending some time before the ship departs!

And then .. I’m off!  

    Barcelona, Spain June 24  – June 27
    Civitavecchia / Naples, Italy June 29 – July 05
    Dubrovnik, Croatia July 08 –  July 11
    Piraeus (Athens), Greece July 14 – 14 July 18
    Istanbul, Turkey July 20 – July 24
    Alexandria , Egypt July 27 – July 31
    Casablanca, Morocco August 07 -August 10
    Norfolk, VA USA August 21

     In most of the countries, I’m sticking to the port cities.

    Gotta tell you though – in Spain, I’m going to the Medes Islands with my bio class to snorkel – and YES this counts as a lab class !

    In Italy, I signed up for a trip through SAS. There is SO much I want to see and do in Italy, and I felt like going with the program would be the easiest way. After arriving in Civitavecchia, I’ll be going to Venice, Verona, Florence, Rome, Pompeii and then meeting the ship again in Naples!

    I know almost nothing about Croatia except for what I learned on Bridget’s Beaches .. so I plan on exploring and beaching it up here.

    In Greece I want to see the Acropolis, but I’m hoping to spend a night or two in Mykonos as well!   According to my sister I MUST eat a lamb gyro – but this vegetarian is not so sure about that …

    I can’t wait to go to a traditional Turkish bath in Turkey! From what I’ve heard, they scrub you, beat you with sticks, then you get to relax in a sauna. And of course, I know hitting up the Grand Bazaar is a must.

    In Egypt, I can’t tell you how excited I am to see the pyramids!! I loved every second of Anthony Bourdain’s episode of No Reservations about Egypt – I  can’t wait to see the hustle and bustle of Cairo at night! Hopefully my Arabic skills won’t fail me and I’ll get to talk to some locals. Plus, my family is thinking about meeting me in Cairo for a few days and that would make me beyond happy!

    Finally, Morocco – nooo idea! I considered signing up for a field trip to camp out in the Sahara, however, upon further introspection, I decided that I value a modern bathroom, air conditioning, and running water available to me at all times way too much. Besides, I’ve already ridden on a camel, and I did NOT enjoy it.

    So there’s my summer in a nutshell! I’m trying to keep my mind on the last few weeks of the quarter here at Ohio State, but this trip is def more exciting to think about than Dies-Alder reactions and other carbon based molecules.

    Help me out! I’m more than open to suggestions!

    And if you want a postcard, comment, email or fb me! I love sending mail 🙂