Bird’s Eye Views & Sapphire Blues: Walking the Walls of Dubrovnik, Croatia

 

Dubrovnik, Croatia’s gem on the glimmering Adriatic, is undeniably touristic. However, it is also indisputably alluring. Thanks to its rich history, immaculately-groomed limestone buildings, commanding seaside position, and formidable, 7th-century fortifications, the city attracts tourists from around the world.

Having discovered the rewards of off-season travel, Shawn and I visited the so-called ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’ one April, thrilled to discover that while Dubrovnik’s streets were still teeming with cruise ship passengers by day, we largely had the polished limestone lanes to ourselves by night. Walking by the illuminated Rector’s Palace after darkness had fallen over Dubrovnik, we sifted through details from the city’s past, most notably that it was once the Republic of Ragusa, which existed for nearly five centuries.

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Hvar Island: A Croatian Odyssey of Music, History & Wine

The Croatian island of Hvar is renowned for its 2,800 hours of sunshine, intensely-blue water, luxury yachts, and summertime nightlife. Visiting there during an early spring weekend, however, Shawn and I encountered something quite different from the Hvar of postcards: refreshing rain showers, landscapes that appeared to be wearing a sepia filter because of clouds overhead, and quiet lanes via which to explore the paradisiacal island. After we’d had a picnic at the Hvar Fortress and spent countless hours aimlessly strolling Hvar Town and Stari Grad’s streets, we had the great fortune to mingle with a talented winemaker and his lifelong chums, who together with our friend from mainland Split, painted an idyllic picture of life on the real Hvar.

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An Immersive Experience: Tasting Croatian Wine From Under the Sea

 

Lately, our Sunday afternoons have been overflowing with opportunities to learn about Croatian winemaking, thanks to our wine connoisseur friend, Srđan. Ever on the lookout for immersive travel opportunities, Shawn and I were introduced to a bottle of Zinfandel that had been aged under the Adriatic Sea for one year. How fitting given that Croatia is Zinfandel’s ancestral home and that these grapes, known locally as Crljenak Kaštelanski, have been grown in the area for more than 1,000 years!

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Croatian Food & Wine at 400 Meters: A Sunday in Split

 

In Croatia’s Dalmatia region, the people are warm, engaging, and generous with invitations to share a shot of rakia, a plate of pršut (dry-cured ham) or a hearty peka meal. Our Dalmatian friends are no different, and in the past weeks they’ve been keeping us entertained with things to do in Split. Let’s just say that Croatian food and wine have been featuring prominently on the agenda.

One Sunday afternoon, we met our friends, Srđan and Jakša, in a cluster of seven towns next to Split called Kaštela. Although it was late morning, a few fishermen were still out on the bay. Jakša’s friend had recently delivered a fresh catch of seafood to Jakša’s seaside home and business. We would grill the fish later in the afternoon at Jakša’s vineyard cottage, 400 meters above the steel-grey Adriatic Sea.

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Making a ‘Split Decision’ in Croatia

With a need to escape the borders of Europe’s Schengen Zone, we packed our bags for the winter and made a ‘Split‘ decision to head to Croatia’s splendid seaside city of the same name. Incredibly, the city has been continuously inhabited for 17 centuries, ever since Roman Emperor Diocletian had his retirement palace built here. Split’s history actually even goes back farther than Diocletian since the Greeks colonized the area in the 6th Century BC. The resulting mix is a series of intriguing labyrinthine streets and Medieval homes wedged into the shell of Diocletian’s Palace structure.

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A Farewell to Trogir, Croatia

 

“Nothing makes the earth seem so spacious as to have friends at a distance; they make the latitudes and longitudes.”

-Henry David Thoreau

Our time in Trogir, Croatia is rapidly ticking down, and we are getting sentimental about leaving this special corner of the world that we have called home for the past seven weeks. Today, we will be heading to Dubrovnik, the so called ‘pearl of the Adriatic,’ by bus. It is a bittersweet morning. Continue reading “A Farewell to Trogir, Croatia”

The Wild Asparagus of Croatia: A Foraging Trip & Lunch in the Dalmatian Countryside

When spring returns to Croatia, residents do what they’ve done for centuries: take to the fields and forests in search of wild asparagus, known in Croatian as šparoge. The asparagus-hunting season has just begun here in central Dalmatia, and last weekend, we were lucky enough to be invited by Croatian friends to go foraging for it in the countryside, about 40 minutes’ drive from Trogir.

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Sailing the Adriatic: A Day Trip from Trogir, Croatia

As our new friend’s sailboat, Jonathan III, powered itself away from the marina, I watched as the city of Trogir faded off into the distance, blending in with the sparkling blue horizon of the Adriatic. With each second, the 2,300 year-old town looked more and more like a tiny, medieval Lego land.

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