Croatia was a revelation. That one country has such diversity of well preserved historical cities, national parks, beautiful countryside and postcard worthy islands is almost unbelievable. Up front I will admit that the only reason I wanted to go there was Dubrovnik. Specifically, Game of Thrones. That’s it. The other week or so after Dubrovnik came second, and honestly not one that I expected much from.
Oh, how wrong was I. As much as Dubrovnik eventually charmed me, it took me a while to overcome the terrible overcrowding of the city. However, it was the Croatian island of Vis which had my heart, truly and completely. “Lets come back again please?”, I said teary eyed while boarding the ferry back to Split. “Of course, whenever you want”, said the husband. Not sure how true that was, but it did make me feel fractionally better leaving the island behind.
Vis is where life slows down to a pace where you are aware of breathing, of feeling the wind in your face, of the sun warming up the skin. It is also where locals urge you to just enjoy yourself. Time spent lazing at taverns, driving on winding roads cutting through vineyards and olive groves with the Adriatic sea at back, staring at panoramas of the distant horizon still throws up a warm, fuzzy feeling. More than anything else, the immense tranquility of the island draws you in. Before the first day was over, I was in love with this tiny piece of heaven.
Cut off from the world because it served as a military base for the Yugoslavian army till 1990s, Vis resisted any development which led to many locals leaving the island. Just 3600 remain today, that too mostly catering to tourists. This also makes it the most untouched of all Croatian islands. Add to that the fact that it is the farthest from mainland Croatia, and it is the perfect escape for some quiet. Precisely the reason why we chose it over the more popular Hvar, Brac islands and stayed put at Vis for bulk of the Croatian holiday.
Sheer bliss it was I’d say. When your days start with hearty breakfasts by the harbor, continue on to views of deep azure waters of the Adriatic sea, views that never really leave you even when inland, and end in balmy evenings with spectacular sunsets, there is not much you can ask for from life. Inbetween, I stuffed myself with the freshest of seafood, and downed bottles of local wine (it is one of the best I’ve had). Although, one of my best memories from the island is walks between the towns of Vis and Kut, one time under a star studded sky, along the harbour with waves gently lapping about.
We were lucky to get a lovely, hot sun considering it was May. As summer time hadn’t kicked in, going a little further from the island’s three towns meant that there were simply no souls around. Beaches were sparse or best, empty. Taverns had their tables with sea views unoccupied. All the solitude one can have in a relatively obscure island in shoulder months was had. Once in a while during those drives, we’d see a scooter come in from the opposite direction with the occupants grinning broadly and fist pumping, carrying the same thought – here is an island all to ourselves to get pampered with.
All I wait for now is to go back.