Croatia Day 13: Komiža to Vis to Split

Yesterday was our third and final day on the third and final island of this trip. We packed everything up and then went down to a café for a leisurely breakfast and some morning people-watching. Rachel got a cappuccino that looked better than any drink you could get at Starbucks, and because I can’t drink coffee, I got something called Cedevita. I first encountered this during World at Play. It’s like a cross between Emergen-C and Tang: it comes in powder form (in orange or lemon flavor), and you mix it with water. Like Emergen-C, it has a lot of vitamins in it and not many calories; like Tang, it has a robust flavor that far surpasses that of your average vitamin drink. I think Cedevita is really funny because if you order it at a café like this (it is EVERYWHERE in the former Yugoslavia), you’ll get a glass of water and a packet of Cedevita attached to a straw. It’s just a fun way to drink something. (If you buy it bottled, it’s even more fun: the powder is stored inside the cap, and as you twist the cap it’s released into the water below.) anyway, Cedevita is great, and I’m bringing some home with me!

After breakfast we walked around a bit, peering into shops and walking to the other edge of town (which takes about 10 minutes). There were lots of cute kids running around enjoying their last days of summer. We saw some nice clothing and some funny t-shirts (one said “I’m in Croatia, bitches!”) but didn’t buy anything until we got to the little market (read: three stalls) where an old lady was selling olive oil and honey. We figured this would be much better than anything we could buy in Split; I mean, this woman probably made all of this herself! Talk about locally sourced! I bought a jar of some honey with walnuts and berries floating in the top. Honey is a big thing here (supposedly “Balkan” means “land of blood and honey,” hence the title of Angelina Jolie’s movie about the war in Bosnia), and when I was here in 2011 practically every breakfast we ate involved bread and honey. My favorite type of rakija is called medica; med = honey.

At noon we went back to collect our things and say good-bye to Zrinka, who was as lovely as ever. I asked her if she knew anyone who could teach me Croatian if I came back, and she said she knew someone who’d learned a lot by just making it a point to sit with some of the old people who congregate each afternoon and talk with them (using a translation app). She said she’d learned English entirely from tv, and though she is not the first person to tell me that, I always find that remarkable. She said if I came back then we could talk to each other because she wants to improve her English, and I think she’d be a great tutor. We all exchanged a lot of best wishes, and she said “God bless you!” to us as we left. What a sweet woman!

We had a little over two hours to kill before the next bus that would take us back to Vis town (where the ferry would pick us up), so we trooped back to the other edge of town and sat for an hour on a bench under a large palm tree that had its own little courtyard with a view of the water. After that we went back to the restaurant we’d eaten lunch at on the first day, and our same waiter came over and again deliberately spoke to us in Croatian. (I understood him though and was able to respond!) We each had a salad and split an order of ćevapi (because inevitably you get an enormous amount of ćevapi, well beyond what you can really be expected to eat). Our waiter asked (in English now) where we were going next, and we learned that he too is not from the island but just working here for the summer. He wished us safe travels and a happy life. I just love how kind people are in this country!

We went to get on the 2:45 bus to Vis town and arrived around 2:30 to find that they were only driving a 16-passenger van rather than the full bus. We ended up being crammed into the narrow aisle as there were at least 21 of us in this van, and it was incredibly hot – we were all drenched in sweat after the 15-minute drive. (But at least we made it on the bus – two people showed up at 2:40 and were turned away, with no option but to wait until the next at 5:00!)

Stumbling out of the sweltering van and into the 80-degree air was like walking into a refrigerator, and we spent a few minutes sitting on our bags recovering. We had a few hours to wait, so we walked down the harbor and settled on an open piece of docking wall. This ended up being a prime location to watch a few big yachts arrive, and it’s quite a process they go through to dock! We watched expectantly to see who would descend from one that parked right in front of us, but sadly it was no one we recognized.

Our ferry left around 6:00, and we sat on the sun deck so that we’d have a prime view of the sunset, which would happen during the trip. We’ve seen some pretty spectacular sunsets here, but this was the winner. I was listening to some great music while taking pictures of it, and it was hard to resist the urge to dance around the deck! It filled is with such joy and appreciation, for the hundredth time, for the blessing this trip has been.

We arrived in Split (now very familiar to us) around 8:15 and had no trouble finding our way to our last apartment of the trip, located five minutes from the harbor. It’s owned by a family, and Mirko, one of the sons, met us and gave us an energetic and enthusiastic welcome. Their family has a vineyard on Korčula, so they provide everyone who stays here with unlimited free wine (including two bottles to take home) and also some liqueurs (flavors I have not yet tried). The apartment itself is small but very nice, and we have access to a rooftop terrace with a great view of the city.

We were pretty tired and unmotivated to actually go out to dinner, so we went into a local pizzeria to get some pizzas to go. The older lady who took our order was very cute, and the pizzas were delicious: mine had prosciutto and mushrooms. Once again, dinner immediately made me drowsy, so I climbed into bed and fell asleep in maybe 30 seconds.

Today is Rachel’s last day (she’s leaving tomorrow for England, where we’ll reconnect when I move to London on September 1), and I have two more days. Today we’re planning to explore a big park outside the city center, do some shopping, and then have a good final dinner and evening out. It’s hard to believe the trip’s almost over!

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