We should have set sail from Split once again at 5.00am, but when I awoke at 7.35 and peeked through the curtained glass panel of our door, we were still in the same place as we were last night. 🙂 The sky was full of low, grey and purple clouds and a brisk wind was blowing. Where was the sun? 🙂
As we were getting washed and dressed, the engines of the Solaris sprang to life and we felt the increased vibrations in our cabin. Another look out of the window confirmed that we were finally underway.
We went outside on deck and headed for the dining room for breakfast. The six Brits had, by now, all gravitated to the same table, which had been set out with jugs of orange “juice” (read squash) and platters of cooked meats, salami, prosciutto and cheeses along with baskets of fresh bread. At the other end of the room there were croissants and a selection of cereals and yoghurts.
I enjoy charcuterie for breakfast and I tucked into the spicy salami and the delicious prosciutto, accompanied by thickly-sliced buttered bread and washed down with coffee – I wasn’t keen on the watered-down orange squash. As we were sitting there, the captain appeared and informed us that we hadn’t left at five o’clock because there were too many “big waves”. This had scuppered our planned itinerary for today so, instead, we would be making our way to a place quite a way down the coast, called Makarska, and staying in port overnight. We should arrive after lunch.
This was not met with too much dismay by the passengers, as by now the weather had worsened with gusty squalls of rain. Trevor and I braved a walk along to the bow, where we were nearly blown off our feet; the captain waved from the wheel-house as we staggered past. 🙂
We spent the morning relaxing, reading, chatting with our fellow passengers and occasionally popping outside to see if the weather had improved (it hadn’t). At least they had decent wifi (free!) on the Solaris. It was a far cry from the blue skies and azure waters, sunbathing and swimming we had expected, but we were determined not to let it spoil our holiday. 🙂
We had lunch at 12.30pm which consisted of mozarella cheese, tomatoes and pesto with fresh bread as a starter, followed by beef in some sort of tomato-based sauce with rice as the main course. We finished off with pistachio ice cream and washed it all down with a glass of cold beer. 🙂
By this time the Solaris had stopped, and was being made fast against another yacht that was already berthed. The rain and wind had stopped by now and the air was pleasantly warm at 19°C although there was still lots of low cloud. We couldn’t wait to go ashore and explore after our morning on a choppy Adriatic. 🙂
We put on trainers, jackets and our cagoules and made our way to the dockside, crossing the Solaris and stepping across the gap to the next yacht.
We then had to walk through that yacht, along the deck and down their gangplank. We thought, with some amusement, of how some people might have gone ashore, had rather a lot to drink, then tried to get back on board, inadvertently ending up on the wrong yacht! I bet this has happened before, expecially as there was no-one at the gangplank monitoring the comings and goings of the passengers (unless we were captured on CCTV). 🙂
We strolled around, heading nowhere in particular, just glad of the chance to stretch our legs. As it was Sunday, many of the shops were closed but there were some supermarkets and souvenir shops open, and there were lots of bars and restaurants doing a brisk Sunday lunch trade.
We wandered around and soon came to an interesting looking church, which Google Lens told us was St. Mark’s Cathedral. Being a Sunday, we had expected it to be open so we could go in and have a look around, but the main door was firmly closed. It looked so picturesque surrounded by palm trees, with its backdrop of mountains topped by low clouds.
Continuing our meanderings, we soon found ourselves drifting along the sea front (the sea is always the main attraction!), looking at some of the attractive little bars with a view to returning after dinner tonight. We soon came to a large park that went right down to the sea; an interesting statue stood in a prominent position; his plinth proclaimed him to be Dr. Franjo Tudjman. As ever, Google was my friend, and we discovered Franjo Tudjman, PhD was the first president of Croatia between 1992-1999. Hey, you live and learn, but if ever we’re in a quiz and the question is “who was the first president of Croatia?” we now know the answer! 🙂
Walking through the park down to the beach, we found ourselves in a lovely little bay, with crystal clear water and a view towards some other islands. The pebbly beach was devoid of any sunbathers or swimmers, but nearby was a pleasant looking restaurant/bar which tables and chairs outside, some in the open and some under a canopy. We recognised some of the seated patrons as passengers from the Solaris, and spotting some Aperol Spritz was enough to tempt us to stop for a drink or two. At least it was dry now, although the threat of rain was never very far away and indeed, looking across to one of the islands, we could see that they were already experiencing a shower. We stared at the billowing grey rain clouds scudding across the sky and decided they were heading away from us, so we had some respite for now, at least. 🙂
Sitting at the table, I enjoyed a refreshing Aperol Spritz while Trevor had a pint of beer. Through the glass side of the restaurant, we could see long tables with what appeared to be well-dressed family members sitting around them; grandparents, parents, younger people and their children – the demographic covered four generations. The little girls wore frilly dresses and the little boys were scrubbed and clean in their white shirts and carefully pressed trousers. Huge platters of sliced beef were brought to the tables and there were large dishes of fresh vegetables and fruits, as well as lots of ice-filled wine buckets. Obviously some sort of celebration, and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. People-watching really us an underrated pastime. 🙂
We enjoyed our drinks so much we ordered another one each. Just then, we felt the tentative drops of the inevitable rain so we sought refuge under one of the canopies. After 20 minutes or so, the rain abated to a slight drizzle, so we took the chance to finish our drinks and head back towards our yacht.
As we arrived back to the quayside, we saw that another yacht had arrived and had been lashed to the Solaris. So we were now the middle part of a yacht sandwich. 🙂
Back on board we returned to cabin 15 where I had a long, hot shower and washed and blow-dried my hair and changed into clean clothes. Around six o’clock we decided to go to the salon to partake of a pre-prandial drink and catch up on the chat with our fellow passengers, always a pleasant way to pass the time. 🙂
Dinner tonight consisted of freshly caught whole sea bass with fresh vegetables and potatoes. The fish was delicious and was perfectly cooked. I washed it down with some Croatian house wine and it was followed by banana split. The captain put in his regular appearance and advised we would be leaving at 5.00am again tomorrow, to which some wag shouted “the same five o’clock as this morning?” to much laughter and good humour.
Shortly afterwards, the bar staff brought round complimentary shots of grappa again; the Italian fire-water. We all raised our glasses and said “živjeli”, which means “cheers” in Croatian. I was unable to do a “down in one” with the shot glass; this stuff really is strong! 🙂
When they came around with a second glass of grappa, I asked the barman for a glass of Coke and mixed it with the spirit; it made it infinitely more palatable. 🙂
Around 9.30pm we tentatively went out on deck to find it had stopped raining (yippee!). Looking at Google Maps, we could see that the nearest bar was a mere 140 metres away and was open until 02:00am, so we thought we’d go there; at least if the heavens opened again we wouldn’t have far to sprint back again. One of the other British couples, Jerry and Gaynor, asked if they could join us, and the four of us walked through the Solaris, over the gap, and through the next yacht onto terra firma once again.
The first bar we went in was fairly quiet (but at least it was warm and dry), so we had a drink in there, sharing stories of our travels around the world (as you do). Afterwards we decided to go somewhere more lively; the rain had started up again so we didn’t want to go far. Talk about any port in a storm; this was the case in more ways than one! 🙂
The next place we went to was called the Rooster Bar and was much more of a traditional pub. We liked the atmosphere straight away as we took our places, on high stools, around a table. The barmaid took our order and we looked around the bar; some people were in chattering groups, others were lone drinkers looking at the screens of their mobile phones, but many were smoking. It’s been several years since smoking in public places was banned in the UK, so it was a bit of a shock for us to find ourselves in that smoke-tainted atmosphere once again, and see tin ashtrays on every table.
We all enjoyed another drink and then, at 11.00pm, the barmaid said if we wanted another one we had to order now, as they were about to close. Jerry and Gaynor declined, but Trevor and I had one for the road and it was about half eleven when we left the bar to return to the Solaris. As we stepped outside, it was with dismay that we saw the rain was coming down in torrents, bouncing up from the pavements and splashing noisily in the puddles and down any guttering.
Pulling the hoods of our cagoules firmly over our heads, we made a run for it, arriving back at the yacht 10 minutes later. My top half was nice and dry, but my jeggings and mesh trainers were soaked through, and I squelched my way up the gangplank, across the gap (I was terrified of slipping as everything was wet) and into the Solaris. As we stood there dripping, we said our goodnights and returned to our respective cabins to get into our ‘jamas and ready for bed. We’d had an interesting day. 🙂