Croatia 2023 Memories and Highlights
Greetings, fellow adventurers!
I recently embarked on a journey to Croatia that left me awestruck by the beauty and cultural richness of this European gem. Croatia truly stands as a world-class travel destination, offering an array of top-notch hotels, captivating towns steeped in history, ancient fortresses and palaces, plus an unforgettable culinary experience that would delight even the most discerning foodie.
But what made this journey truly special was the wonderful group of 15 incredible women who shared this adventure with me. Some were familiar faces, friends I’ve traveled with multiple times, while others were new to the Women’s Travel Network (WTN). It was heartwarming to witness how seamlessly these women, both seasoned travellers and newcomers, blended into the group. The connections and bonds that formed among them were truly heartwarming and it’s clear that many lifelong friendships were born on this trip. I have no doubt that we’ll see these women embarking on new journeys together in the future.
As for the highlights of our Croatian escapade, one experience stands out above the rest – our encounter with Nives, our fabulous guide. Nives expertly escorted us through this enchanting country and her warm and friendly personality, coupled with her impressive education, made every moment with her a joy. She spoke perfect English, as did most Croatians, and her passion for history was palpable. Nives shared her personal experiences as a young woman during the 1990-1991 Yugoslavian conflict, shedding light on the ethnic tensions, economic struggles, and civil war. Her stories revealed the remarkable resilience of the Croatian people, deepening our admiration for this nation and its inhabitants.
Our journey was a whirlwind of activities, from insightful walking tours through ancient cities to cycling, hiking and unforgettable encounters with locals. Here are just a few of the many highlights:
Hiking in Plitvice Lakes National Park:
We explored this UNESCO World Heritage site, soaking in the mesmerizing views of turquoise lakes and cascading waterfalls.
Our group was captivated by this beautiful seaside town, nestled against dramatic coastal mountains. We ventured through the spectacular Diocletian’s Palace and strolled along the charming Riva.
An exceptional experience took us to a truffle farm just outside of Split. We joined an expert truffle hunter and his well-trained dogs for an exhilarating hunt, followed by a delectable truffle picnic prepared by his daughter, a world-class chef.
Bike Riding on Hvar Island:
We peddled along winding roads, past fields and the glistening sea, stopping in a local village for gelato and enjoying a picnic lunch at a local farm, where the farm owner’s son, an incredible chef, prepared a mouthwatering Peka meal for us.
Muscle Farm Adventure:
A boat ride led us to a muscle farm, where we relished fresh bread, oysters, and mussels cooked in wine, garlic, and herbs on a private island.
Organic Farm Visit in Korcula:
On the tiny island of Korcula, we had the pleasure of meeting a mother and daughter team who ran an organic farm. Under the starry night sky, we savored a delicious dinner prepared with their fresh, home-grown ingredients.
Peljesac Peninsula Wine Tasting:
We explored the popular wine-growing region and visited the Miloch family-run winery, where we sampled their delightful red and rose wines.
Dubrovnik – The Pearl of the Adriatic:
Our journey led us to the enchanting city of Dubrovnik, often dubbed the “pearl of the Adriatic.” As we walked along the ancient marble street of Stradun, dating back to the early 1400s, we were surrounded by beautifully preserved Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque buildings, monasteries, palaces and fountains. We also took a cable car to the top of Mount Srdj for breathtaking views over the sea and the islands. We took the opportunity to stroll along the city walls to absorb the magnificent vistas over the old town.
Traditional Cooking Class:
We ventured an hour outside of Dubrovnik to a local farm near the charming village of Cilipi. Our hosts welcomed us warmly and we were treated to homemade Rakia (brandy) by the father, who also shared stories about his family and the history of their home. His son led us in a cooking class, teaching us to prepare the slow-cooked Peka meal of meat and vegetables, which we enjoyed on their vine-covered patio.
Throughout our guided tours of the cities and towns, we delved into the diverse history of Croatia, from Roman occupation to the Ottomans, the Austrian Hungarian Empire, and its transformation into a socialist state in 1945. This rich history was vividly reflected in the architecture, and our exploration of the centuries-old cities and towns introduced us to the charming people who call this diverse country home.
Our journey to Croatia in 2023 was a tapestry of unforgettable moments, and I’m eagerly anticipating more adventures with the incredible Women’s Travel Network community.
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