This past weekend, the first May Bank Holiday weekend, Andrew and I accompanied Rachel and David, Joanna and David Iliff, and Tara and Nick Vuono to Split, Croatia. It was David Kent's birthday trip, and Rachel had arranged for us to stay in two "villas", which turned out to be just two small, but charming, flats in a small apartment building within walking distance to the everything in city. In our flat, there was a downstairs that had a pull-out futon-like sofa bed, a kitchen and dining area, and a bathroom, and then you walked up some rustic-looking wooden stairs to the upper bedroom, which also had a ladder going to up to a loft and a balcony off the side of the building. It was very picturesque.
Nick and Tara and Andrew and I flew in on the early flight, and when we arrived at the flat, Andrew and I immediately went exploring while Nick and Tara got cleaned up and waited for the rest of the group. We wandered around these adorable markets that seemed to blanket the entire city, saw some neat statues, churches, and ruins, and then wanted back over to the flat to before the rest of the group arrived.
Once the Kents and the Iliffs got there, we went out sightseeing again as a group, and wandered up to an adorable little café in a piazza with a view of the sea for a pizza lunch (apparently, Split is known for their pizzas).
After lunch, we wandered around some more and found another cute little café in a another piazza where we settled down for a pint and to rest our feet. Then we split up (no pun intended), and the girls went off shopping while the guys wandered around to find a cigar shop. We girls ate some gelato and bought some water for the rooms, then made a booking a restaurant that Rachel had heard about that sounded good. All in all, quite productive! The boys found a cigar shop and then went to grocery store to buy supplies (drinks and snacks) for our sailing trip the next morning. Rachel had arranged for us to rent a sailboat, complete with skipper, to take us out and spend a day on the sea, hopping around to different islands all day.
On the way to dinner that night, we wandered along the water at sunset, and I found, oddly enough, a crimson and white houndstooth hat, which Andrew bought for me to wear to Alabama games next year! What a strange thing to find in Croatia! I look forward to wearing to Bama games and seeing the looks on people's faces when they ask where I got it and I tell them I got it in Croatia!
That night we ate a fabulous restaurant called Nostramos. Rachel definitely picked a good one. (The next day, the Skipper of our sailboat claimed that it was the only good restaurant in the city, which I don't buy.) We basically ordered two seafood platters for the table and all shared family style.
The following day we rose early and put on swim suits and sunhats to go out on the sailboat. We packed plenty of drinks and snacks, and even brought some extra clothes in case we decided the water was warm enough to swim. It was NOT. That morning it was disastrously cold. I was wearing a swimsuit and a seersucker sundress with flip-flops, a cardigan, and a denim jacket, and before we even made it to the marina, I had thrown on a pair of jeans underneath my dress and put on a windproof jacket with a hood on under my denim jacket! Andrew had on khakis and a golf shirt with a sweater over it and his ski jacket (no lining, so it was more like a heavy raincoat).
When we got to the marina, we found the most amazing sailboat I've ever seen (of course, I haven't seen that many sailboats, but it was still amazing). It was a 45-foot boat and had four bedrooms (it slept eight comfortably), a kitchen area with a dining table that could seat eight, and two bathrooms. Off we went.
The water was SO choppy that morning. The Skipper, whose name was Ringo, taught Andrew a lot of sailing techniques. Andrew has wanted to learn to sail for about as long as I've known him, so he was having a great time! We girls hung out for a long time down in the cabin of the boat, out of the wind, until we realised that the sea felt less rough up above in the wing. Then we bundled up in blankets and braved it. One of the girls got quite sea sick, but hung in there nonetheless.
We docked at an island called Brac to get our land legs back and wait to see if the sea calmed down any. By that time, the sun was out at least, and we docked in a bay where the wind was not as harsh. We had a pint at a café on the water and then wandered over to the closest restaurant for lunch.
After lunch, Andrew and I wandered behind the restaurant and found a gorgeous garden of roses and lemon trees.
By the time we finished lunch, the weather had greatly improved, and we decided that we were ready to brave the sea again. We were pleasantly surprised to find it had calmed quite a bit, and we sailed over to another bay and set anchor. We girls hung out on the front end of the boat and chatted and napped periodically (it was still a bit cold to sunbathe) while the boys hung out at the back of the boat with Ringo the Skipper having beers and smoking their cigars.
David Kent had picked up these bizarre snacks that were basically peanut butter-flavoured cheesy-poofs, and they were pretty disgusting, practically tasteless fluffs of crunchy air. Since no one was eating them, I began throwing them off the side of the boat to see if they would attract any fish. Sure enough, I started getting several bites, and giggling every time I saw one. Andrew came to see what I was doing sitting on the back of the boat by myself and started feeding them, too. We never could tell what they were; we really couldn't see them properly, but there were a lot of them by the time we got bored with it!
Later, we pulled up anchor and headed back to Split. Watching the sunset on the boat was one of the prettiest sights I've ever seen.
When we got back, it was pretty late, and we were afraid the restaurants would close early since it was Sunday (we've all lived in London too long, where things close at 4pm on Sundays!), so we dropped our stuff and headed to dinner a restaurant near the flat still wearing our swimsuits under our clothes! We ate and then hung out in the flats and then slept before heading home the next day.