We spent the majority of our time in Croatia living on a 51' sailboat, then later on a 44' catamaran. We booked the trip through Intrepid because we thought it would be a fun way to see several of the Dalmatian islands.
We had a fantastic time! Our skipper, Mato, was Croatian, which was great because I feel like we got lots of great little Croatia-facts from him. It was also amazing that he taught us how to sail, then let us try it out. Yessiree - I had a great time driving the $500,000 boat down the coast (seriously, it was awesome). There were three other people on the boat with us - a few Brits and a Kiwi - and we all got along really well. I honestly think I laughed so hard that my stomach hurt every day.
The Croatian coast is stunning. The water is a beautiful shade of blue and crystal clear. It was a bit cold for swimming up near Split (we did anyways), but much nicer in the south, near Dubrovnik. The landscape was also really beautiful with steep hills rising sharply out of the ocean. Some of the islands reminded me a lot of the south Okanagan with rocky, dry hillsides while some of the other islands were covered in pine forests. I loved all the little towns we visited. The old stone buildings with terracotta roofs just have so much character. The Croatian coast was initially colonized by the Venetians, and their influence is still visible in the architecture and the cuisine. Dalmatian cuisine was heavily focused on pasta, pizza, risotto and of course, seafood. Yummmm.
We always ate lunch on the boat as we were sailing between islands. The best thing to have for lunch was a 'picnic' of sorts, with cheese, meats, baguettes, olives & fruit (I loved the figs). It was great because we could all just pick up a little bit of something to share.
We ate about half of our dinners in restaurants and about half on the boat. It turned out that almost all of us loved to cook, so one night we had a bit of a cook-off. Well, sort-of... I made a greek salad. There certainly was a lot of smack-talk in the saloon :)
Lizzy made her 'Nepalese-style vegetarian bolognese' with linguini - she made it by grating all the veggies (onion, garlic, zucchini & eggplant) into a large pot and cooking them with chopped tomatoes until they reduced to about half. She learned the recipe from her porter while she was trekking in Nepal. The sauce came together really quickly and had a really fresh taste. I'm going to have to try it out now that I'm home!
Mato made our other main course dish, although I'm not sure what he called it. He bought some fresh shrimp (a variety I had never seen before) and cooked them in a tomato-onion-garlic-wine sauce with some paprika and fresh herbs. The shrimp were very soft and they added a lot of flavour to the tomato sauce. I think I'm going to have to email him for his recipe...
We had loads of fun on the trip, and of course, the people we were with made it extra-special. We saw lots of great little towns and ate some awesome food - I'm looking forward to writing more posts. Trev & I were laughing as we looked through our photos - there was a theme: boat, water, islands, sunsets (and repeat).