16-20 June: Arrivederci Italy, Zdravo Croatia!

Author: Mr A

Location: Ancona, Italy & Split and Stobreč, Croatia

Monday: It was time to board our second ferry of the trip from Ancona, on the east coast of Italy, and head over to Split in Croatia. We had absolutely loved Italy. The people, their ready smiles, their amazing food and wine. What would Croatia be like? A first visit for both of us. What adventures awaited us?

Getting our motorhome onto the ferry was the first one. I followed the somewhat ambiguous gesticulations of a rather excitable young man as he guided me on. Not really sure what was happening, he then had me doing a 5 point turn and then reversing down the length of the pitch black hold of the ferry! Thankfully I’m finding that the more of these little challenges I have to tackle, the less stressed I get about them…Catherine likes that as well 🙂

Boarding the ferry…no idea what awaited us at this point…
Reversing all over, Truffy in place for the journey

As it was a 11 hour overnight trip we had booked a cabin. I had read the web site last night and was looking forward to “the luxurious cruise liner” experience they had promised.

Our cell…I mean cabin…

Well the toilet seat wasn’t even attached and promptly fell off. The curtain rail and curtains followed. The mould and peeling paint didn’t exactly call out 5 star. Like so many situations where there is limited competition, with a duoply running on on this route, it was appalling.

Up on deck as we pull away from the Italian coast
The sun sets on Italy
The best sunset this trip (so far)

Anyway, with a beautiful sunset wishing us arrivederci to Italy we went for dinner, and had our first poor meal since out last ferry across from the UK to France. Self-catering has to be the way to go on ferries we have concluded.

Sunrise over Croatia as we pull into port

Tuesday: We arrived at our campsite after a short drive through the uninspiring suburbs of Split, with graffiti covering every wall, and rubbish strewn everywhere. This is a city that swells to a million tourists in the summer season. Where is that revenue going? Certainly not back into cleaning and infrastructure. A little bit jaded after our poor night and disappointing first impression of the city, we walked down through the campsite and got our first glimpse of the setting we were in. Wow!

The beach was stony but the view just spectacular with the barren mountains providing a stark backdrop to the bright blue shimmering of the water. In we dived….well to be honest it was a rather a slower process of adjusting to the “fresh” temperature of the ocean after the 30 degree pool we had been using all last week!

We dug out our inflatable kayaks from the depths of our motorhome, as this would be the first time they had seen the light of day since making the trip over with us from Australia.

Exploring the little harbour on the other side of the bay
Admiring the incredible backdrop which looks all the more grand from the water
Mrs A heads off to disturb a flock of juvenile gulls
With plenty of sea life in these waters, fishing is a popular pastime

We headed off and its hard to describe the exhilaration you feel to be out on the water under your own steam, free to potter about where you want. We headed south round the foreshore, with a flock of sea-birds rather annoyed at our intrusion through their watery paradise. We spent a few hours exploring the coast, and it was a fabulous introduction to Croatia.

Wednesday: The next day was a bit of a repeat button with a swim and a paddle, this time north back towards the city. It’s certainly a very busy part of the world at this time of the year, but out on the water in your own little bubble, it was serene.

Perfect azure waters as we paddle up the coast
Kids spending time snorkelling and jumping off rocks
Mrs A cannot resist a swim in the 25 degree waters
Busy beaches, despite it not yet being the school holidays

We spent the afternoon packing to ready for an early departure tomorrow down on another ferry to Dubrovnik, but then rewarded ourselves with dinner at the restaurant on the campsite.

Waterside table for dinner

Look at this view…and the food was pretty amazing as well. I opted for the local speciality of black cuttlefish risotto, served with bread fired in a pizza oven. Catherine tucked into freshly made gnocchi with fava (broad) beans…a new favourite of hers.

Fine dining

Alas no wine – we are trying to clock up a few AFD’s (Alcohol Free Days) before the next onslaught starting in Dubrovnik!

Thursday: The morning dawned once again with clear blue skies, and a 28 degrees by 7am…another warm one. Our taxi arrived and we were off back to the port…and realised we had forgotten our precious mifi device with our generous data SIM in it. I left Catherine at the ferry and thanks to our super great taxi driver managed a dash back to collect it and made the ferry just as it was boarding.

Dubrovnik here we come!

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