Croatian Vacation! Boat Cruise, Snorkeling, and GoT (?)
Updated: Dec 31, 2019
From fruit trees to golden sunsets, our Croatian Vacation exceeded my expectations by one hundred folds. Not only did the warm Croatian sun cure my pre-winter blues, but it also made me realize how vast the world is! When I was living in Minnesota, I’ve never realized how much I had yet to see. I truly didn't know what I was missing out on until being granted the opportunity to dive in. Like literally dive into the ocean because I went snorkeling for the first time!
To you, I might sound like some average awestruck tourist visiting new places, but let me tell you—I was SO hyped about seeing a kiwi tree for the first time and witnessing landscapes where the oceans and mountains created a real-life Bob Ross masterpiece! Our trip from Split to Dubrovnik opened my mind to a new world of opportunities that I’ve never considered, along with new ideas for honeymoon destinations and retirement plans!
On Wednesday, the four of us took an overnight bus from Prague to Zagreb, Croatia. The bus ride was about 9 hours but we slept for most of the way! Our layover in Zagreb was 4 hours. It gave us time to stretch and get breakfast, but not enough to see the city. We boarded the bus for another 4 hours and headed to Split.
Although the bus rides were long, it made the trip to Croatia much more affordable! When we were researching flights, the cheapest option was around $200. Our bus tickets were around $35 each! We also got really great deals on our Airbnbs in Split and Dubrovnik. They were both around $45 per night and after dividing the total by 4 guests, it was around $10 per night! I highly recommend staying in an Airbnb in Croatia because they were very affordable and top quality! The distance was close to the city and it was also very affordable to Uber!
Day #1: Split, Croatia
By saving money on transportation and stay, we were able to spend our money on boat tours and fresh seafood! The weather was sunny and 75, so we decided to spend our day in Split on the water by going on a boat tour! On our trip, we stopped at 3 islands including the Blue Lagoon, enjoy lunch on an island, and went snorkeling! At our first stop, I jumped off the boat and snorkeled to find the boat wreckage! The water was crystal clear with different shades of blue, like the kind you see in postcards. I saw sea urchins and even held a sea cucumber for the first time!
Besides swimming and sunbathing, we talked to people from New Zeland, Australia, Colorado, and England. The family from England introduced us to their 3 daughters and we had a great time getting to know them! During our departure, Cathrine (the mother), gave us her farewells and said "I hope you succeed in what you decide to do with your lives! But whatever it is, make sure it's environmental!"
Thank you, Cathrine! I couldn't agree more!
We finished the night by watching the sunset from the boat dock, indulged in some fresh seafood and ice cream! (A recipe for a wholesome day, if you ask me!)
On the note of seafood, I thought about an expression that I've never fully grasped until now.
"The world is your oyster"
In the literal sense, the expression still doesn't fully make sense to me, but I felt the sentiment behind the expression on this trip. If you aren't familiar with this expression, it means that you are in control of the opportunities that life presents you. To me, it also suggests the urgency to take advantage of your opportunities. Take the opportunity to talk to strangers because their kids might just make your day. Take the chance of jumping in the ocean without knowing how cold it might be because you might find a cool shipwreck underwater. Catching on to my metaphors? Being in Croatia made me realized how much of the world I have yet to see. My age gives me the advantage of being flexible with where I live and work. It made me reflect on taking advantage of job opportunities, especially as a college senior looking for full-time positions. The world is your oyster--how will you make it yours?
Speaking of oysters, here's the seafood galore that we stuffed ourselves with! From goulash in Prague to octopus, fresh fish, and mussels in Croatia!
Day #2: Dubrovnik, Croatia
The next morning, we checked out of our Airbnb and boarded a ship at 7 AM to Dubrovnik! Ever since the hype of the TV series Game of Thrones, Dubrovnik has gained its place on the tourism radar! And let me tell you--I see what the hype is about!
We spent the day exploring the area by our Airbnb, eating more seafood (surprise, surprise), laying on the beach, and exploring Old Town Dubrovnik. Our Airbnb host gave us great recommendations for restaurants, including a bar that's right outside of the Dubrovnik wall called Buza Bar. We were able to make it to the bar and enjoyed a local beer on the rocks (us, not the beer) with a golden sunset view!
The next morning, we got up at 5 AM to catch the sunrise over Old Town. Our schedules were thrown for a loop because the clocks were set back an hour for daylight savings! We almost didn't make it in time! Good thing we didn't stop for coffee as we had originally planned!
The Old Town was fun to explore in the morning, especially during a time that wasn't overrun by tourists. I couldn't help but think about the history of the buildings, the people, and how the story of the town has changed since Game of Thrones was released. The streets were quiet in the morning like you could almost forget about the advertisements and GoT merch plastered all over the city walls. To some people, Dubrovnik was their home. They resided inside these walls. To others, those walls are only known as King's Landing and the only history they know is one that has been mediated by the fictional drama.
I'm sure there are many positive economic factors that the fame of the show has brought to Dubrovnik! After all, how can you not love this beautiful city? Regardless, I think it's important to engage with history and think about how each story is carried out. After some reading, I found out that Dubrovnik contains Greek roots. In the early 7th century, the town was inhabited by Greek settlers after their island was invaded by Slavs. The Greek influence is very apparent in Croatia. From the landscapes to the stone architecture, Croatia is the perfect blend of Mediterranean, Bohemian, and a hint of Italian!
To protect themselves from future invaders, the people built a wall surrounding the city. The famous Wall of Dubrovnik still stands today, even after some damage from an earthquake and WWI. The wall takes about 2 hours to walk, but you can definitely feel the charm and history of the city by walking around Old Town and finding one of its four ports.
If you're a bit of a history geek like me, read more about the history of Dubrovnik here! : )
I bet you weren't expecting a history lesson! Trust me, I didn't either! My 18-hour bus ride gave me a lot of time to reflect while watching the Croatian geography disappear like I was starring in a dramatic music video. It's fascinating how the capacity of our perspectives change when we relocate ourselves outside of our daily routines. The term "worldview" literally represents how our perspectives are broadened by how much of the world we have seen! Turns out, I am an awestruck tourist! One who is beyond grateful for the opportunity to see, to feel, and to dive into the experiences that this world offers.
Thank you, Croatia, for reminding me that something beautiful is on the horizon. I just have to wait for the perfect moment to see His glory unfold.
Go get your Oyster!