If for a moment I thought I’d “seen it all” in my beautiful country, I was about to spend a week recognising the fact that I’d seen nothing at all in Croatia. I was invited on a week long press trip by The National Tourism Board of Croatia to go sailing around the Kornati Islands, a UNESCO listed National Park that was also included in the first Epic Week edition and on my bucket list of places to visit in Croatia.
If there’s one thing that can pull me away from visiting Istria region one more time this year, it’s a yacht because I have never been sailing in my life. It’s not how my family travelled, so I had no idea what to expect. The closest I’d come to sailing in the past was island hopping on a boat for a day in Croatia and was drunk for the duration of it. But to physically call a yacht a home for a week, never. You could say that I was quite keen to experience another way of seeing Croatia.
Our trip begins in land, in Split where we spend the night at Hotel Park, a newly renovated 5 Star Hotel across the street from Bacvice Beach. After a walking tour around Old Town Split, we then dine at Apetit, a restaurant so popular that people are more than happy to wait in the lobby for a table. Here we begin to get to know one another. We’ve got Roni Kordis from popular Slovenian website, had.si, who becomes even more fascinating when I find out he’s vegan, Wojciech Tyluś from Poland’s #1 website on Croatia, CroLove.pl, Yuya Matsuo, a phenomenally talented young photographer from Japan who has spent the past 3 years snapping breath taking images of the balkans, Annie Macpherson, a journalist for The Sun UK from Glasgow who I promise will say “wow” at least once a day and Tatiana from Russia and Lauren from France who write for Yachting magazines in their countries.
The following morning we meet in the lobby and take a mini taxi to Krka National Park. It’s my second visit to the National Park this year, however I’m aware that this time round there will be a lot more bodies roaming the park and less space for fancy photos.
We meet with Steve at Skradin who is our official guide for the afternoon and tells me he’s from where I’m from aka Australia. We both now happily call Croatia home. It is during these few hours that Roni puts his hand up to be my instagram husband for the week and considering he took a killer shot of me in Split the day before, I tell him he’s hired.
A big thumbs up to anyone who manages to get a decent shot in the water at Krka National Park, the stones are so slippery, this was not an easy capture for both Roni and I. I can’t imagine what these waters look like in peak summer because there was no chance in September that I could get a shot without a single person in the background. Never mind, I am more than grateful I finally got to get into the water.
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Following a belated lunch at La Cantinetta in Skradin where we uncover each other’s love for food and fine wines, we then head over to our yachts at the Marina. Two yachts have been hired for the week through Ban Tours, our Skipper, Captain, and (my personal) Lifeguard, Karlo goes through the ‘Yacht Rules.’
No charging of anything while we are sailing, no showering longer than three minutes and no flushing of toilet paper down the toilet. Oh my god, w-t-f is my life for the next week, I thought sailing was meant to be luxe.
We stay docked and sleep at the Marina in Skradin, a world class Marina I figure out by the end of the trip, where you have access to external bathrooms and unlimited hot water. Keep this sentence in the back of your head for the next post, it will all make sense then.
The next day which is Sunday, we are meant to sail to Sibenik but the winds are too strong and a mini bus is organised instead. Our ‘key to Sibenik,’ Marina walks us through the Old Town and judging by my vlog, all I seem to be doing is walking and walking up a million flights of stairs through a “bura,” also known as strong winds.
Sibenik is the perfect city to lose a few hours in. It’s pristine and untouched, with only 1,000 residents living in the Old Town. Sibenik is most famous for its Saint James Cathedral, which is on the UNESCO World List. We are lucky enough to wander through inside and learn a little more about the architect in charge of creating this gorgeous Cathedral. I’m deeply fascinated by the facades on the sides of the building and Marina tells me that the artist re-created the faces out of stone of passersby and placed them on the Cathedral.
We make our way up St Michael’s Fortress and Annie yells my name, “Adriana!!! WOW!!!” as she oversees the whole city. It was a little windy and cloudy but we still managed to get a wow for the day!
We come up with the phrase, Croatia Full of Wow’s.
For dinner we visit Tavern “Vidrovača” and to get there hop on a speed boat in the middle of a lurking storm. I was terrified and thrilled at the same time. From Skradin Marina, it’s less than a 5 minute boat ride.
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** This post and press trip is in collaboration with The National Tourism Board of Croatia. All views, observations and opinions are my own. **0