Friday, October 7, 2011

Croatia - Hvar

We decided that it would be crazy to come all the way to Croatia and not make a trip to the island of Hvar, vacation destination for celebrities and heavily lauded paradise. Being the off season, we found a little apartment that was a steal at just $33 a night. Our hosts are a couple in their 40's who met us at the ferry dock so we could follow them to the apartment in Stari Grad. The owners live on the property as well and after we arrived they invited us to join them out back for a drink and to see the garden. The man's name is Davor and he led us over to show us an outdoor area housing a tortoise. Thinking I might impress him with my reptile knowledge I asked him if it was box tortoise to which he politely but gruffly replied, "What do you mean? It is a turtle. A normal turtle!" We also had to back out of a dinner invitation since we were exhausted and the meal was octopus. It was a little awkward but we decided not to feel too bad about it since they were having several people over and we are paying tenants as opposed to guests in their home.

Davor built the building himself over the course of ten years and it is a traditional stone home. It's a great place for us for a couple nights but there are a couple of wonky things that suggest both home job and lack of building codes. Both the toilet and sink in the bathroom leak and there is a slight but disconcerting electrical charge if your hand lingers too long on the kitchen sink.

Today we drove into the city of Hvar and walked along the promenade for a good couple of miles. Although the temperature was pleasant, there was a threat of a storm on the horizon which kept the waves choppy and the air breezy. After so many hot days it was a refreshing change. Overall the place felt deserted - a little like sneaking into an amusement park after it was closed. Restaurants were open but there were only a few, if any, customers sitting outside. There was music pumping over the loud speakers but deck chairs that normally rent for $20 sat empty and the guy folding towels at a posh hotel let Vaughn go in the pool for free. Jacob and I sat on the deck chairs and chatted while Vaughn went down the waterslide and played under the waterfall from the upper pool.

This morning Jacob and I had a big conversation about our living plans for when we return. Some of our friends have expressed sadness that we are already thinking about jobs and homes and the like but it is in this space, when we are away from 'real life' and our heads are clear that we can really think about our priorities and what our dreams are. In short, this is the optimum time to think about such things. At any rate, we had recently gotten excited about the idea of subletting a place for just a few months until we could get established in jobs and then buy something again since the market is so good right now. But this morning we Jacob reminded me how different life had become since we stopped being homeowners. We finally had money in savings, we weren't beholden to our jobs, we could pick up and leave at any point, and we didn't worry about every little thing aging and creaking in the house. We decided that home ownership wasn't something we needed to get back into right away and if this trip is to have any purpose, it should be that we question these goals that we've been pre-programmed to believe.

Tomorrow we jump back on a ferry and head northeast to spend a few days visiting the national park, Plitvice Lakes.

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