Sunday, September 2, 2012

Croatia: God's Swimming Pool

Let's see, where to start?  Croatia.......didn't know very much about this country before we went, so it was definitely going to be a learning experience from start to finish.  I should correct that. When I say "didn't know very much" what I actually mean is "knew absolutely nothing", including the general geography of Eastern Europe.  Actual quote from our flight from Geneva to Croatia:  "What ocean is Croatia on?  I think it's a sea. I'm not sure, it's across from Italy so.....what sea is Venice on? ....Not sure....hmmm oh well, I guess we will find out when we get there."  In case you are wondering, it's on the Adriatic Sea which was probably the cleanest, safest, and calmest sea or ocean that we have ever been in (will talk about that a little later).  Learned another interesting geography fact on our taxi drive from the airport, we were on the border with Bosnia....hmmm that's a possibly important piece of information that was overlooked.  I don't know about you, but the word "Bosnia" holds a certain connotation of war to me. Luckily my immediate "Holy Crap.... We Are Looking At Bosnia Right Now.... Where Are The Tanks?....Is Anybody Going To Shoot At Us!"  worries did not last more than about one minute.  Although traces of the war were almost always evident, everywhere we went felt extremely safe and laid back.  The people were all extremely friendly and proud of their heritage, culture, and history.
Nicole here:  I just want to interject a little something about the culture of this country.  For starters, people have an incredible sense of history.  By history I mean, famlies live in the same house for 500 years - take a minute because that is 2 times the age of the USA.  Everyone knows everyone because families go way way way back. It is like if the show Cheers was a country. It make sense that there was a war in the region.  What would you do if someone tried to take over a home that had been in your family for half a millennium?  Not to mention the absolute natural beauty that the Croation coast embodies. 
Josh is back:  We kind of dubbed the culture "prankster" because of all the little jokes that people would play on you....."the taxi is only 3 kilometers away.....haha....I kid....its right here"  "You can't drink anything other than Rakia (Croatian Brandy) after you eat figs, it's just bad for you"  "that is a nudist beach" ...oh wait that wasn't a joke, people loved being naked in this country!

This was a very good combination holiday that was active as well as relaxing. We ran in the mornings, kayaked in the afternoon, and swam and snorkeled to our hearts content. The apartment we rented was very comfortable and on a small island outside of Dubrovnik with only about 150 inhabitants so we were always able to find a swimming hole to be completeley alone.  We signed up for a private sailing cruise one day not really knowing what to expect.  Best Day Ever!  Small 21 ft. boat, great captain, and obviously incredible swimming!  At one point he let us out in the middle of nowhere and let us swim in the deep blue see, it was incredible! The great thing about the Adriatic Sea is that there is nothing sharks, no jellyfish, no stingrays, no strong currents or waves....just beatiful sea as far as the eye can sea.....God's Swimming Pool.  Highly recommended to anyone who loves a sea adventure.
It was an unforgetable week of deep clear blue sea, lovely people, and an education on wonderful country with more histroy than you can imagine. This is on our short list for a repeat visit.  Quick weekend of sailing and snorkeling only a quick flight away - how do you say no.

Nicole's attempt at being rugged - day 1.

15 minutes later - being rugged is over.

Figs from the garden of the apartment - served with Rakia

View from the balcony

Swimming hole #1 (one of the few places people wore suits)

Nicole tried to name him Harry (thought it was ironic) but apparently its not creative.  We settled for Usain, when Bolt was deemed as uncreative as well.

Pirate ship that Josh secretly wanted to ride

View from Dubrovnik

City walls of Old Dubrovnik - like really old

Sea of cruise ship inhabitants invade a city!

Kayaked here and it was like being on the edge of the earth

Croatian 40

Lady pipi restaurant- need I say more....

Coolest basketball court in the universe (at least so far)

Yes, that is Josh being Jason Terry. Wildcat fans will get it.

View from our sailboat (actually it is Dimirs)

One of many moments when we realized that our life is AMAZING!!

Sea Eggs - better than oysters

Our captain harvested these from our swimming hole

Jumped in the deep blue sea - in the middle of nowhere

Find your beach... if only Croatia sold Corona.

Old Dubrovnik from the sea - this is the same view you would have seen from the sea in 1300s

Pulled a 'Mason' and kayaked back to the same swimming hole.
A Mason: when you go somewhere or do something that is so good you just keep going back

Day drinking - we couldn't go on holiday without an entire day of drinking

Obviouly towards the end of drunk day...
An amazing trip all around.

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