Our trip from Budapest to Split was heinous to say the least. We headed out from Budapest at 1pm in the hottest imaginable train. Everyone was hanging out the windows to try and not die from heat stroke. We got into Croatias capital, Zagreb, at about 830pm feeling like shite. The next train was at 1120pm over night, arriving at Split at 810am. Surely it couldn't be as bad as the last train?? The thing we didn't realize was that there was a national public holiday that weekend so everyone was catching a train to the coast. The thing is that they don't stop selling tickets when the run out of seats. The train was over capacity and we had 7 people in our 6 person carriage. We both got almost no sleep on the train. When we got into split, we left our bags at the hostel and went straight to the beach and fell asleep in the shade for a few hours.
Saturday: SPLIT - HVAR
We set sail at 1pm after making the precarious hop skip and a jump over the two vessels to get to ours... We definitely had a solid hold on our bags. Dropping them in the water would have not been ideal. We had lunch upon departure which was a chance for us to get to know our fellow travellers, then stopped for a swim at one of the hidden bays heading towards Hvar. Hvar is the longest island in the Adriatic and one of the best known, and a party island! We went for a walk along the waterfront, admiring the crystal clear water and browsing the waterfront restaurants... and bars which we would later bless with our presents. After watching the sunset and dinner at the pumping Hula Hula Hvar bar (where people would sip their cocktails and then go jump off the pier into the water and then return to their drink), we met the Madona Crew back at the boat and headed out for our free shots at the Nautica Bar... Oh and copious amounts of Long Island Ice Tea.
Sunday: HVAR - TRSTENIK
Early in the morning we continued our trip south. Our first stop was in one of the bays near Loviste, on the Peljesac peninsula. After a refreshing swim we continued towards Trstenik considered to be one of the most beautiful and unspoilt traditional villages along the Croatian coast. Trstenik is set along a deep south facing bay which is lined by a pebble beach. The sea here is crystal clear, and is rich in underwater life.
We grabbed our lilo's and floated around the shore while the Captain and Crew fired up the BBQ for tea. Most of the Madona Crew caught a boat to a beach party, but Brad was feeling a little dusty so we just stayed near the boat and went ashore with our new friends, Adam and Jayne for some cocktails... The bars were closing so we managed to con them into making us some take away cocktails before they closed up.
Monday: TRSTENIK – DUBROVNIK
After brekkie we departed for Dubrovnik, with a short swin stop before arriving in Dubrovnik in early afternoon. The old town was completed in the 13th century and remains virtually unchanged to the present day. We went for a walk into the Old Town and made our way straight to the beach. We decided to bail on any sight seeing because we would be coming back after the cruise. The boys decided that they would like to head to Cafe Buza which sits on the cliff face along the walls where you can sit back and watch the cliff divers (about 10m) jumping off the walls with the sun falling in the background. This is Brads current Facebook picture! Amazing.
Later in the evening, we joined the Pub Crawl where we smashed through the 'hour of power' where you drink as much as you possibly can for free for one hour... After this hour, drinking slows down dramatically because everyone is sufficiently boozed for the remainer of the evening...and morning. Hehe
Tuesday: DUBROVNIK - MLJET
After a night of debortary in Dubrovnik, we leave this magnificent town early morning. Some only just make it back to the boat in the mornings before it departs :o/ We continued our cruise north through the Elephite islands where we stopped for a refreshing swim before heading onto Mljet National Park.
We arrived late afternoon so we all made our way, with our lilo's and beers in tow, to the amazing blue salt lakes in the National Park for a few hours of relaxation and further Madona Crew bonding. We all grabbed a few drinks and sat by the water to watch the amazing sunset before going out for dinner - reservation for 28 please!
Wednesday: MLJET – KORCULA
After the night in Mljet we left this magnificent island later in the morning and continue our cruise towards the island of Korcula stopping to swim for much of the day. Later in the afternoon we continued onto Korcula, the birthplace of MARCO POLO. We hit up the lovely beach...again sporting our lilo's, and the boys played a game of basketball in the hot afternoon sun... Crazy. A few of us did the Buggy Safari which was reasonably disappointing compared to our previous Lagos four wheeler experience. We drove the buggies for about 15mins to a not so nice beach, where we all played a game of beach volleyball in the 'sand' which was mixed with concrete, rocks and prickles.. Then 15mins back. You could only go as fast as the people in front, so it was fairly lame. In the evening, we hit the town where we found a bar with a projecter showing the soccer. We had a great time here until we were made aware of all the huge Croatian guys who feel the need to try and pick fights with the tourists... We were really disappointed by this because we were having a great time, but it left a bad taste in our mouth. We then moved onto the club and had a good dance, once again till the wee hours.
Thursday: KORCULA – MAKARSKA
The next morning we will sailed back up the Dalmatian coast up to the Makarska Riviera. We spent the afternoon swimming at one of the beautiful bays before arriving into Makarska later in the afternoon. Makarska is the most attractive coastlines on the Dalmatian coast nestled under the massive peaks of the Biokovo mountain range with Mt Jure the highest seaside peak on the Mediterranean. We stroll through the markets searching for costumes for our nautical theme party. Then lazed on the beach while some of the guys hired slippery slide paddle boats, which was very entertaining to watch big rugby players slip and slide like little kids.
There was another cliff jump here too, and it was pretty high! 17m this one, which was definitely at test of courage - or stupidity... Katie really wanted to do it as she hadn't done it before but was terrified. She buildup the guts and jumped, unfortunately not landing so well. She had instant bruises from knee to bum on both legs and a sore back.
We all got ready for our Nautical party before heading to the infamous club “Deep”, a natural cave set into the cliff next to the sea which booms till the sun comes up. The outfits were all awesome and the photos pretty much explain the fun that was had....
Friday: MAKARSKA – SPLIT
We stopped for a swim at Makarska where we left the boat to go white water rafting. There wasn't a lot of white water....but the scenery was stunning and the water was beautiful and clear so we had a great time miandering down the Cetina River for 3 hours. We caught a bus back to Split later in the afternoon where we rejoined the boat.
Friday night was the last night of the whole crew together. Most people were weary by this time, but everyone rose to the occasion for our farewell party.
We had to say goodbye to the crew and all your new friends... It was a struggle as most of us were still drunk, and some hadn't even been to bed! We were unceremoniously woken and booted off by 9am so they could load the next weeks passengers. The port was littered with very hungover sail Croatia people and their luggage. It was quite the sight. Katie and Mark from the cruise were spending more time around eastern Europe so we decided to spend the next few weeks traveling together and all go to EXIT Festival.
The boys carried all the luggage to our hostel, while I passed out under a tree... And then spent the next few days getting our plan together, whilst still drinking and attending pub crawls...