Brač: life on the biggest Central Dalmatian island

Brač (pronounced “Bratch”) is the largest island off the coast of Split, but also one of the less touristy (compared to Hvar and Korcula). It’s mostly known for 2 things: its white stone and the Zlatni Rat beach, which were about the main highlights during my 1 night stay there with a Croatian family. 

The easiest way to get to Bol (the city on the other side of the island where I’d booked a small AirBnB room in the home of a Croatian family) from Split is probably by the once-a-day direct ferry. But since I didn’t want to wait until afternoon to take the ferry (it runs at 4:30pm during the summer and 4pm the rest of the year), I got the 9am catamaran over to Supetar first, and then the 1 hour-long bus from there across to Bol. Let’s just say, I think I underestimated how much of an ordeal it would be getting there, just kind of floating with the idea of “island=small” in my head when I booked the room without much research. Oh well. The bus ride allowed me to see a lot of the piles of white stone I’d read about (mostly after my visit). Did you know that a lot of the stone from major monuments (like the Reichstag in Berlin, Diocletian’s palace in Split of course, and even the White House), comes from Brač? Pretty cool.

Boats in the Split harbor

Adorable family on the ferry. Ferry was a lot like the Marin-San Francisco one back home.

“Old Boys Club” sitting around one of the bus stops in the middle of the island.

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Split: when a city doesn’t always satisfy expectations

Sometimes you get to a city and instantly know you’re ready to leave- that the main “story” you’ll get out of it is “well, I guess now I’ve seen it.” If you’re thinking of going to Split for more than just a stopover, below is my account of why this city for me was Split. I also considered titling this post “French tourist mecca.” Take it with a grain of salt.

I decided to head to Split because I’d heard good things about the city. Granted, this is all from someone who’s never been there. First mistake. And I admit that I can see how the city might have held a certain charm before it exploded from being just a transit hub into being a full-blown tourist mecca.

On my way to Split from Šibenik, I did get into a mess that I knew would happen at some point. Since I was sick of being that obvious tourist and repeating “Split? Split?” (insert name of city you’re trying to get to here), I did my best to check the signs on the front of each bus, and hopped on board the one I thought was headed to Split. Big mistake. Turns out, the bus was coming from Split. 5 minutes after we pulled out, the ticket guy got to my seat, checked my ticket, and said roughly and matter of factly: “Split? No. Zagreb.” Continue reading

Šibenik: small town with a gorgeous sunset

I started my stay in Croatia in Šibenik, which took a good 3 trains and a bus to get to from my Slovenian farm stay. The bus was supposed to be a train, and I’m not really sure why that short leg was replaced by a bus. If it had something to do with the refugees and border closings I’m not sure. But as soon as we got on and crossed about 2 minutes later, the police got on and asked for my passport. Now when you just got on a bus and don’t even realize how close you are to the border, that isn’t exactly the most comforting. But within a few minutes they brought our passports back (there were about 4 of us on the bus…) and we were on our way.

I got into Šibenik late at night, and when I got to the hostel the owner, a woman in her 40s or 50s, looked so relieved to see me, ready to close up for the night. She was very nice in broken English, though, and got me a seat in the back of her son’s car to go to Krka National Park the next day, the main reason I’d come. I chatted with some other travelers for a while and then called it a night when it started to rain.

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