It’s my third time down in Europe’s version of the “Dirty South”, and I’m still left in awe of its overwhelming appeal and the easygoing nature of the locals. Growing up in Australia, Croatia didn’t even register on the list of places to holiday. Not only was Europe a pipe dream (a place that I never thought I’d visit until I was a sandal wearing senior), but for some reason I had the impression this idyllic little coast-hugging country was something of a war ravaged shit hole. Aside from the odd farmhouse in the mountains that’s been peppered with stray bullets, Croatia has picked itself up and dusted itself off since the infighting of the 90s, with very little signs of Croat-Serbian conflict still evident.
Ravaged shit hole, she ain't
The last 15 or so years has seen Croatia explode onto the international tourism scene in part thanks to a reinvigorated economy, snappy advertising and its introduction into the European Union. Throw in yacht week and Game of Thrones enthusiasts and you’ve got a heady mix of young tourists just waiting to get fucked/see where a Game of Thrones character got fucked. Of course, all of this means nothing though if a country can’t hold its own next to the likes of tourism heavyweights such as Austria, France, Italy and Spain, to name a few. Croatia however is blessed with an abundance of natural beauty… oh, and it’s CHEAP!
The view north from our balcony. Nearly all of those trees you can see are olive trees. Apparently there's roughly one million on the island. Really, they've got no excuse for making shithouse olive oil
That, for me, is the major draw card. Living on a pretty paltry freelancer salary means you’re only ever just breaching the surface of financial freedom. Yes I know what you’re thinking, and yes, I do still get around and manage to see the world, but my travels are often punctuated but short bouts of panic. A panic that’s normally sets in at the exact moment I look at my bank account. Is the decimal point must be in the wrong place? No you’re just broke, mate.
A yacht flying the Croatian flag looking for a safe place to anchor as the sun sets behind the Dalmatia coastline
Thus is the lifestyle of a freelancer. One week you’re on fire, working (by my standards) like a Chinese bricklayer. Other weeks, all it seems like I do is send out CV’s and resumes to marketing companies around the globe.
But back to Croatia. Currently we’ve posted up on the island of Brač (pronounced Bratch) in the town of Supetar for a month. Before we came, I wasn’t aware of anyone I know that’s visited the island. Our decision to book was based on the fact that accommodation was cheap; they make excellent olive oil and red wine; AND it has the highest mountain of all the Adriatic Islands.
We kicked Split around for a while and even went as far as nearly booking a joint there. We came to the conclusion though that Split is too touristy with crowded beaches. Not to mention that saying we spent a month living on a Croatian island sounds much cooler. I’ll admit, I’m not above visiting somewhere partially for the glory and the opportunity to take some photos for insty. Not my main motivation of course, but it is a factor to consider.
A pretty standard sight on Brač. Home made olive oil and olive related products for sale. What makes this photo unique is the used artillery shell sitting to the right of the front door...
The nice September weather, clear water and friendly locals are just a bonus of spending time on Brač. All it takes is a 1-hour ferry ride from Split to get here. Our 2 bed apartment is also only a 20 minute walk into town – perfect for grabbing a coffee in the morning and far enough of a slog that we feel like we’re burning off the wine from the night before. At night we can look across to the mainland and see the lights of Split reflect of low-lying clouds that sit just above the mountain ranges that run along the Dalmatian coast.
The view from Vidova Gora – the highest peak in the Adriatic
It’s not all fun and games though. Since we arrived, we’ve been pretty flat out with work. I’m juggling 3 projects at the moment with another one in the pipeline. Alex is slowly chipping away at a mountain of translations. It is nice to think though that we can stroll down the cobblestoned streets of Supetar, grab some pomegranates off our neighbours trees, and head out for a swim whenever we’ve had enough of the laptop.
Hard not to take a moment to pause and admire the scenery
It’s going to be an interesting month ahead exploring the island. Zlatani Rat, Vidova Gora, Blaca Hermitage and Punta Rata have all been seshed within an inch of their life over the past few months. And now there are two more semi-clueless but curious tourists that get to experience all the Brac has to offer. Stay tuned for some shameless photos of our time here – most likely edited to the nth degree if I have anything to do with it.
Ladies and gentleman, Zlatni Rat