Thursday, 9 September 2010

WHO STOLE MY BLOODY FLIP FLOPS!!!! Oh, and Croatia - Part 2...


And a good evening to you from across the Pond after another GREAT DAY in the Mother Country. As fate would have it, our original plans for the evening fell through. Consequently, you all get Croatia part 2 tonight! However, before I get into Croatia, I simply must relate the horror that befell me today.

Okay, so simply put, it’s been a long week of loss in the Taylor family. On Tuesday I washed a load of clothes, and the result was:

1. A rip in a t-shirt so big that I couldn’t tell which hole was the collar and which was a tear.
2. A pair of socks from my FRESHMAN YEAR OF HIGH SCHOOL FINALLY giving up the ghost (since I could put 3 toes through the hole in each sock, I figured it was time).

3. A pair of boxers with a COMPLETELY exploded crotch.

4. A pair of my OLD SCHOOL Duck Head khakis with holes in the butt by each pocket so big you could drive a Sherman tank through them .

As if that wasn’t enough, I put my i-Pod (that’s right – the original i-Pod procured through Spirit Points that is so old that when I went to buy the arm band for it, the little 14 year old working the kiosk said “Whoa! I’ve never seen one of these!”) onto the docking station to charge on Wednesday night, only to see an image appear on the screen showing an i-Pod with a frumpy face (aka frown). And it hasn’t turned on since. DEAD. DONEZO. Bought the farm.

Now, all of this was painful, but today was the final straw. As I started for the gym this morning for my lunchtime run (5+ miles today – weather was PERFECT), I noticed that something was amiss. Shoes? Check. Outfit (LIVESTRONG – Price, you LOVE it)? Check. Flip Flops? Ch….WHAT!?!?!?!?!?!? That’s right, folks – SOMEONE STOLE MY FLIPPY FLOPPIES!!!!!! IS THERE NO HUMANITY IN THE WORLD?

Before I left for Croatia, a colleague visiting from the states noticed my flip-flops (which do NOT smell, for the record) sitting beside my desk and asked, “Sam, do you think anything you do ever offends anyone in the office?” My response was,” I feel pretty certain yes – every single day.” I guess I didn’t realize how true those words were…

And so Team Taylor will be doing some shopping this weekend (Hitman – control your excitement). I’ll also be buying several additional tubs of kerosene. Just sayin’…but enough of this. I am on the couch now, third AFD in progress, and it’s time to talk Croatia.

Day 2 – Lokrum: big sun, big waves, and big, old naked people…

So first and foremost, the Taylors started this day with SLEEEEEEEP (insert Chuck and Cat saying, "Of COURSE you did!" here). We got up about 10:30 and made our way down to the streets of the old town, where I tried the staple brekkie food of Croatia: THE BUREK, BABY!!!!! Let me give you a quick rundown of the ingredients:

1. Fried pastry

2. Cheese
3. Lard
4. Grease
5. A stick of butter

These things come in around 1100 calories on average (we actually looked it up), and they are SO GUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUD (peppy cheekies - OSC - you will miss this when we don't get that 12 hour cooked pork belly - just sayin'...). The second they are dropped into the take-out back, the sides of the paper go SLICK with grease. Yeah, it's extra awesome.

We then wandered to the old harbor for the featured event of the day - Lokrum! So Lokrum is an island right off the old harbor, and it's just a 20 minute ferry ride. So we paid our 25 kuna ($5) and hopped on board, catching a GREAT view of the city walls as we neared the island.

Once we arrived, we marched straight for "the beach." Quick note on Croatia: THERE IS NO SAND. As I said in part 1 - it's not beach with white sand and a gradual descent into the water. It is A CLIFF FACE WITH AN EVIL KINEVAL DEATH DROP INTO THE WATER. Lokrum was no exception. In fact, it was CRAZY.

So you walk to the rocks, lay out your towel, and then you walk to the edge where the rickety ladders are. This is the point where a mini-Taylor's Ledge met my near-death experience at Bondi Beach (T-bone, see a pattern here? You are ALWAYS around when I get hurt), as I was staring down into serious waves. But hey - nothing for it but to jump, right? And so, counting to 3, I plunged into the water, Navy SEAL style (minus the fitness level and cool gear, of course).

It was AWESOME. We spent 3 hours on the beach and in the water, jumping off cliffs and enjoying the waves. I honestly felt like a kid again. I kept saying, "I feel like I'm 8 years old!" I mean, mentally I always feel like I'm 8, so it was nice for mind and body to be in unison for a bit.
Eventually, however, we had to leave that beach, because, well, there were WAAAAAAAY too many old naked people running around. And I don't mean just "I was tanning my shoulders and my top fell down" kind of naked. More like "I have been doing this since I was 10 and now I'm 95 and want to live in a nudist colony but since I can't this rock will do fine" kind of naked. Big Cat - inadvertently, you might have been right when you said I was fond of "nakations." Just sayin'...

We broke the day up by wandering around for a bit, seeing the old Monastery on the island and then swimming on the "calm side." We caught the 5:15 boat back and marched home to change before having our first "nice dinner" of the trip - Taverna Arsenal. This place ROCKED!

So, for starters, the view was just INCREDIBLE. We got a table open air staring out at the harbor, and the weather was the perfect temperature throughout the meal. Secondly, we made a great discovery here - in Croatia, they serve house wine BY THE LITER, BABY. Granted, some of the stuff we drank would have powered cars and taken paint off doors (credit to you for that one, Ian), but this stuff was guuuuuuuuuuuuuud. Throw in some gorgonzola cheese, tuna and amberjack (a new fish for me), and you have a GREAT meal. But I still haven't spoken about the highlight of the meal - Black Risotto.

Seriously - this stuff was LIFE CHANGING. You take a cuttlefish, grill it and slice it up, throw it in with some rice and barley, and then soak it in the ink sack from the fish. The result - SO DELICIOUS. Apparently the "Croatian Cuttlefish ink sack" is the spiciest ink sack of them all, and it was guuuuuuuuuuuuuuud. But a word of warning here. It is black on the way in, and JUST AS BLACK on the way out. Yep, you're all welcome for that image. To make matters better? I ate it 5 times in 10 days.

Walking out of dinner, however, something was missing. We couldn't put our finger on it until a MASSIVE ASS ICE CREAM STATUE appeared like a beacon in the darkness. Instantly it came to us - what is a vacation without daily gelatto? Yumaaaaaaaaa...

We hit the hay early that night, as we were telling ourselves that it was imperative that we actually got some rest on this vacation. For the second night in a row. We slept guuuuuuuuuuuud...

Monday - The majesty, the mystery, the island of Mljet...

This day dawned early, as we had to grab our Bureks (duh!) before 8 to catch an early bus to the "new" ferry port across the town. We arrived early and bought tickets aboard a high speed catamaran to the Island of Mljet, which was apparently "the most verdant and beautiful of all Croatia's islands." Let me tell you - this place did NOT disappoint.

1 hour and 45 minutes after leaving Dubrovnik, we rolled over to the island, where we immediately rented bikes for the day. When we rented the bikes, I asked the lady," Where is the lock?" She just shook her head and said, "It will be safe. It is an island, where are they going to take it?" I will confess that at first I didn't trust her, but once you've seen 10,000 bikes laying everywhere, you start to believe the locals might actually know what they are talking about on their own island.

The guide book said "beware the sharp climb upon leaving the port," and I had visions of Alison Lailey saying "this next bit of Snowden is short and sharp." Oooooooh was I wrong. It would have been more appropriate to say, "This next bit is like scaling K-2 with an anvil on your back."
We had a 2km climb that was NO JOKE (those Tour de France donkeys are just IDIOTS), and then we finally got to coast downhill. All the same, I wasn't too excited about this coasting, because I KNEW WE'D HAVE TO CLIMB BACK UP. All the same, we soon arrived at the highlight of Mljet National Park - the 2 salt water lakes.

This was just SPECTACULAR - a perfect sky, warm water, and a lake so salty that you bobbed like a cork! It was just nuts - you could stand there like a knot on a log and never go under. We swam for about an hour, going between the 2 lakes and LOVING IT. Well, we did pause for ice cream, of course (Magnum white - SO GUUUUUUUUUUD).

We then hopped back on the bikes, making the ride around the island and taking the road to where it ended at the sea. Along the way we stopped at another swimming hole (which was GORGEOUS) and then to look at the old 13th century monastery built on an island in the middle of the larger lake (Jezero, as opposed to the smaller like Malo Jezero). The monastery looked cool, but the highlight of the day was Land's End.

We walked to where the sea first began it's journey through the island, cutting inland to make the 2 salt water lakes. Talk about GORGEOUS - it was just spell binding. The blue water, the jagged rocks, the waves and open see, and all the abundant vegetation just made for a picture perfect reward for the ride. It also made it that much more difficult to turn around and start the journey back to the ferry.

All in all, we rode about 40 km around the island, and it was GREAT. I love days where you feel you've really burned some calories and earned your beer! However, I will take one VERY valuable lesson learned from that day - DO NOT WEAR SWIM TRUNKS WHEN CYCLING. Fellas, I'm pretty sure I can just leave it there.
We got back to the port in time for a farewell beer before climbing about the return catamaran and PASSING OUT. We rolled back home about 6:30 and just missed the bus back to the old town. Granted, there was another one coming in 15 minutes, but since the old town was "just 2 km away," we figured we'd hoof it. Serious tactical error in judgment.

I am not saying JT and I are world class athletes, but we do a mile walking in about 15 minutes. Given that, does someone want to explain what hole in the space-time continuum we stumbled through in Croatia? I only ask because that 1.2 mile walk took FIFTY-FIVE MINUTES. Consequently, when we got home, we were starving.

We marched straight to a pizzeria with no discernible name where we polished off 2 pizzas and a liter of wine. All in all, it was another GREAT night. This ended up being our second favorite day of the trip, and I would tell ANYONE who visits Dubrovnik that this is a MUST DO on the itinerary.

Okay, that's 2 more days down, and I think that's enough for an evening. Again, there's more news that's fit to print, but it will keep until tomorrow. Chat then!


Sam and Jenny

No comments:

Post a Comment