An unusual Spring Break in Croatia.
Last year I spent spring break sailing in Europe. When I tell people this, they assume I was eating delicious Mediterranean food and enjoying cocktails in a bikini while one of the princes of Monaco waved to me from the shores of some glimmering beach. To be honest, that’s exactly what I thought my trip was going to be like, but it wasn’t like that at all. First off, the beginning of April in Croatia is not warm.
The one day I wore my swimsuit, I accessorized with a blanket. Our plan was to head down the coast to Croatia’s big cities. Our captains, however, told us that because of the wind, it would be much easier to sail the other direction. Thankfully we listened because the crew ended up showing us the amazing places where they grew up that we would have never known about otherwise.
To begin our journey we spent a day on trains and buses to get from Vienna to the docks in Biograd. Taking trains in Europe is definitely worth the extra time because they are quite inexpensive, especially if you take advantage of the deals. Each of our two boats came with a Croatian captain who let us put our boat shoes to work. The boats fit the fourteen of us perfectly, with two people to a room with giant beds, kitchens, bathrooms, and areas outside to hang out. The only downfall was that we had to pay extra for any electricity and water used, so we showered on land every three days or so and most of our meals were cheese on toast.
While sailing, we listened to music, read, and laid out on the front of the boat. On land, we saw the beautiful waterfalls at Krka National Park, spent an afternoon climbing a rocky hill on an island with more stray cats than people (literally), and explored sea towns. The most interesting day was when one of our captains told us that his friend lived on an island with wild lambs. We showed up, handed over kuna (Croatian currency) that was the equivalent of about ten dollars each, and a few minutes later a box of meat was plopped onto our boat. The lambs drink salt water and ours had been roasted for three hours that morning: the fire had sealed in a lifetime’s worth of the lamb marinating itself. It was one of the best meals of my life.
My favorite stop was Zadar. Zadar has an incredible ‘old city’ region, with ruins and a tower overlooking the entire city and the sea. There is also a sea organ along the water that produces sounds from the flow of water coming into it. Anyone from the west coast of the United States will appreciate that we found an In-&-Out Burger in the heart of the old city. At night we went to a great dance club and finished off the day with late night bureks (warm pastries typically filled with meat and cheese).
Though not at all a typical spring break, I did things I never imagined doing, was able to relax at sea, and experience a country from the perspective of a local, thanks to our ship captains. While all of my friends head to the beach for our last college spring break this year, I’m ready for another unexpected adventure.