Wednesday 6 July 2016

Homeward bound

There's nothing better than rocking up to a random town only to fall in love with it and imagine yourself living there. We imagined Ethan playing on the beach with all of his friends after school, jumping in the crystal clear waters and having so much fun. There was an amazing mix of families, old men playing chess and young girls and boys playing football and eating ice cream. 

We stayed at Kastel Novi last night, what we thought was just a little airport town but happened to be one of our favourite places in Croatia.

After spending the morning in the pool at Tucepi, we left around midday for an hour and half drive to Kastel Novi. Ethan (and I) slept pretty much the whole way which was a bonus although we missed out on what terry called some epic views.

After arriving at our accommodation in Kadtel Novi, we went out to explore. The streets are cobbled and the buildings are all squeezed in together with beautiful old stone and window features. The old ladies sit on their porches watching the world go by. This really wasn't a tourist town which we loved. We really got the sense of real Croatia. 

We had our last meal out of lasagna and of course pizza which was delicious and strolled back along the seafront (grabbing an ice cream along the way) to our apartment. 

Another perfect day and ending to our trip. 

So in summary it's been a blast. It was relaxed, adventurous and exploratory. We got to see the main highlights of the country. Travel 8 cities in 9 days. Walked up waterfalls, swam in the turquoise seas, ate in some beautiful restaurants, explored some fascinating towns and watched our boy experience his first adventure. As our lovely friend Margherita would say 'great success!' 

A little bit of luxury to end Ethan's first holiday

We were so excited for today. I booked us a luxury apartment with a pool to finish our trip. I wanted Terry to really see Ethan in action in the swimming pool. It's surprising that swimming pools are actually quite hard to come by in Croatia. I guess primarily because their beaches are so spectacular that they aren't wholly required.

After department Mljet Island on the ferry, we drove up what is called the Maskarska Riveria. It's stunning. Mountains to one side and ocean to the other. We were headed for a small village by the ocean called Tucepi, and we arrived to a beautiful mountainside retreat complete with plush apartment and pool all to ourselves! 

We spent a few hours lazing by the pool, swimming and just admiring the view, and how perfect for those few hours life was. Ethan didn't sleep all afternoon so crashed at 6pm. Luckily we had a balcony so could watch as the sun went down on another day and the sky turn to a thousand stars. 

Trouble with having a baby who goes to sleep at 6, no tv or Internet, is that at 6pm you are pretty much stuck in that one place so we got the cards out and has a championship of rummy. It seems to be he only 2 player card game we know! 

Another fantastic day in paradise. 

Wednesday 29 June 2016

Magical Mljet Island

I'm starting this blog from the small lake at Mljet island. It's emerald green and sparkling in the sunshine. There was no one here when we arrived an hour ago by car ferry but it's starting to build up with others enjoying the surroundings. The lake is so inviting. It calls you in every few minutes to cool you off. Even Ethan loves it. All those swimming lessons were worth it! He absolutely loves the water.

I'm now writing the blog from our balcony in Korzukari on Mljet. It's one of only 4 houses in this little remote village and has stunning views of the ocean and the mainland. It's also fun to see all of the village children jumping into the crystal clear water and laughing at each other splash. What a special island. It kind of feels like Jurassic park, without the dinosaurs of course.

Ethan again was amazing, just took it all in his stride. After getting up at 4am to catch the 7am ferry, we travelled for 20 minutes on the island to the national park. We put him in the carrier to visit the lakes and he loved it. Plodding along with Terry and looking all around. He was fascinated by all of the butterflies and flowers. We took 2 boats trips in the park also and he was giggling away when the wind was in his face. Too cute.

We swam this afternoon again and chilled on the beach, although this particular beach was stony so a little hard on the back, although some do pay a lot of money for hot stones massages! 

Ethan fell asleep at 6pm so after lots of food given to up by our host, and my homemade bruschetta, we just relaxed and watched the sun go down on another successful day in Croatia. 

Sunday 26 June 2016

Dubrovnik in all its glory (and rain!)

Ethan woke up at 6am this morning and I knew that terry had just spent the hour before that trying to keep him from waking up. He seems to get extremely fidgety in the mornings! I decided to take him outside onto the loungers and give him a bottle.

It was so peaceful, just a beautiful warm sunrise, birds tweeting and me and my boy. Bliss. I didn't want it to end.

The hosts at the apartment were amazing. They just loved Ethan so off he went on a garden tour to smell the flowers as we packed up for another day.

The drive down to Dubrovnik was 3 hours. The scenery was out of this world.; mountains, forests and old houses with terracotta roofs. We stopped along route to have a break, let Ethan stretch out and make some necessary local produce purchases. We went into a local shack on the side of the road and picked up some olive oil and lavender honey. Ethan even tried a bit and reached out for more (he's super greedy now). 

You have to travel through Bosnia when going to Dubrovnik. Border patrol just let us straight through the EU exit (guess we have that luxury for just 2 more years :(). We thought it was strange to not have to even show our passports. Some border patrol! The coastline in Bosnia is pretty much the same as Croatia with just a different flag! 

We arrived at our accommodation in Dubrovnik at midday. It was seriously hot now, around 39c so we let Ethan sleep in our air conditioned room. He slept for 3 hours! Luckily we have a beautiful balcony with stunning views! 

It was a good idea to relax in the apartment so he could rest up and get ready for some more adventures! Unfortunately or maybe fortunately the heavens opened and the rain cooled everything down. We saw some epic lightening too! We took the bus into the old town and spent a few hours being spellbound by its beauty. Such wonderful architecture and history flowing through a majestic city. 

Ethan again eyeballed our ice creams so I caved in and gave him chocolate, this was his reaction after I wouldn't give him a fifth lick...

The sunset this evening has been the best yet. Off to bed now as we have a 4.15am wake up call before we are off to a mystery island! 

Saturday 25 June 2016

Plitvice dreams and Sinj relax

This morning, Ethan decided to wake up at 5.30am. At the time I was desperately trying to get him to close his eyes again but he wasn't having any of it and in hindsight he did us a favour.

We arrived to the gates of the national park at 8am and it was still a cool 25c so much better for a hike in the park. We were glad of the bit of cloud in the sky too as we prepare ourselves for a 3 hour hike with the baby Bjorn (definitely not a hike for pushchairs!). 

Once in the park, we were greeted by lush waterfalls everywhere, stunning blue lakes and the sounds of birds and butterflies. It was dreamy. 

Ethan did brilliantly and was fascinated by everything around him and all of the noises of the water and nature. Pleasure to see his little face all inquisitive. 

After walking and taking a boat ride back to the car, we travelled for 2 hours to Sinj, a rural Croatian town which literally has zero tourists for a chill out afternoon and evening. It's so quiet here, just us and a huge garden and balcony overlooking Split. 

We've truly been spoilt with accommodation so far. Ordering in a pizza tonight and having an evening with the doors open, the fresh air coming in and enjoying the time with my little family. Loving it.