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Split to Hvar

July 4, 2010

I have neglected the blog, I know. I spent three nights in Split, mostly hanging out on various rocky beaches and breakfasting with an Aussie from the hostel, and jumping off of high rocks with a bunch of Americans from out west, wandering home from the club late at night and accidentally ending up on the roof of a port building, where from a man clad in slacks and an undershirt emerged to warn us that it was a roof, and that there was danger.

From Split, I decided to check out the nearby island of Hvar. Hvar is terribly picturesque and romantic. Yachts and dinghies and sailboats crowd the harbor, little red roofed buildings covered in flowering vines and crowded by gardens with citrus and fig trees rise in clusters up the hills. The main thing to do in the way of sightseeing is to see the fortress atop a high hill. In this fortress, residents of the town sought shelter from the plundering Turks. I climbed the hill, panting, and paid to enter, and checked out the view of the town below.

I made friends at the hostel: two Canadian friends and an English couple. At around 10 in the morning, after picking up sandwiches and bottles of water, the five of us went down to the harbor and rented a motorboat. The man who owns the boats gave us a small map of the outlying little islands. He explained how to turn the motor on, how to steer, when to let out the choke. When we were all seated in the boat, he collected our 350 kuna (this works out to about 70 kuna or $12 each for the entire day), gave us his mobile number in case we had problems, and told us to have the boat back by 7 pm. “have a nice day, goodbye!” And with that, we were on our own. He did not collect a deposit, or write down our names, or take our IDs, or anything. AMERICA, YOUR LITIGIOUSNESS TAKES THE FUN OUT OF EVERYTHING.

Our boat was about as powerful as a riding lawnmower. We skipped and bounced over the wakes of yachts and water taxis. We whooped and laughed when we gained air.

After 45 minutes or so of puttering across the open water, we found a secluded beach and tied up there. The wind blowing through the trees on the high hills sounded like the roar of the surf in the Atlantic, and the air was fragrant–I imagined it was lavender, since the stuff grows all over Croatia, but whatever it was, it was very faint and slightly spiced and woody and delicious. After hours on that first beach, we set off in search of another cool spot. We found a nice beach but the wind had picked up, so the water was choppy. It was kind of a treacherous landing (we gave up trying to climb onto the rocks from the boat. Instead, we tossed our bags ashore, then jumped into the water and swam to the beach). And once on the island we found a sign advising that there were snakes and scorpions. We gazed out at an obscene yacht (had its own helicopter and everything) before heading back to the harbor (but first we had a slight mishap. We started the motor but forgot to pull up the anchor, and the line got tangled in the engine, but the Canadian guy was an able captain, and stayed calm, untangled the engine, and capably steered us back to town).

I do not really care if I make a lot of money when I grow up, but I have to admit that the yachts made me wish, a little bit, that I was the child of a mogul, and I could chill on a yacht and not think about my family’s ill-gotten gains (I mean when you have that much money, some of it has got to be ill-gotten, right? Like you have to be some sort of shady financier or something, I assume).

My last night in Hvar, I discovered that a guy at my hostel, yet another Australian, was catching the same ferry back to Split as I was. I had planned to go to Dubrovnik for a night, but was wavering, since it didn’t seem worth it to only go for a night, and because I wasn’t ready to leave the islands. He had a few nights left to kill before he flew home. So, when we got off the ferry the next day in Split, we both decided to check out Brac, a 1 hr ferry ride from Split.

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