We Shant Find Sand

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Zlatni Rat from Above
So, as I may or may not have mentioned last time, our departure for Bol was in part, in fact LARGELY fuelled by our desire to hit a sandy beach. First, we looked around Split. Rocks. Then, Hvar Town. Concrete. Then, an excursion to Palmazana, where the Rough Guide promised us a sandy beach. Rock terraces. So, we headed to Stari Grad, where once again we were told there were sandy beaches. Concrete platform (though admittedly, the other side of the bay may have had sand). And so, yesterday, we left early in the morning for Bol, of which we'd seen actual photographic evidence of sand (Zlatni Rat beach). Much like the picture on the left (not taken by me, incidentally). So, imagine our surprise when we arrived to discover that, lo and behold, rocks, when viewed from far enough away (and perhaps a touch of Photoshop for good measure) look quite a bit like white sand.

Bol from the ferry
Having said that, the water is always pristine, the weather's nice, and pebbles aren't really that bad, but it is rather amusing to me that we've had no success in discovering a sandy beach. Anyway, we arrived in Bol, which is a nice town on a hillside, and got ourselves a room. Then got all the internet stuff done we wanted to. After which, we discovered she had given away our triple even though we'd booked it and given her our passports. Because she was more likely to be able to sell these other three travellers on a triple than splitting them, and hey, she already had our passports. So we got separated despite my attempts to rectify the situation or at least come up with some recompense for our trouble. When you have only one place in town for booking and they know it, it's quite easy for them to say, "Well, fine, take your documents and try to find a place." It's again, not that bad, but it was pretty underhanded in my opinion and although I pay less for a single room than I would,, well, anyway...

Zlatni Rat from Beach Bum-Eye View
We walked to the beach, found a place near the tip (see photo for beach bum-eye view), it's actually quite nice and beautiful here on the ground as well, and did a little snorkelling. The weather was windy and fairly cloudy, so it did get quite chilly at times, but still enjoyable. We hung around there for the afternoon and then ventured back, stopping along the way for a little outdoor pool. While playing, a couple locals came over and challenged us to some foosball, which I accepted, probably to the dismay of my English collegues. It seems they were quite reticent to engage in a game where their skill was perceived to be lacking, and I actually had to flip a coin to pick which one of them would HAVE to play. We had fun anyway, and managed a respectable 5-2 loss.

Dusk as we ate our dinner
After that and a rather poor Italian dinner (because of all the Italians here, it's pretty much all you can find), we went back to our respective rooms to shower with the plan of meeting in the square at 11:00. It was here I learned that pasta, two glasses of beer, and a warm shower should not be combined with a "quick laydown". I awoke at about 4:30AM realizing I'd missed the meetup with them and worse, I had no subsequent meeting place or time for tomorrow. Not to mention they'd be stuck waiting. But there was nothing for it, and I went back to bed, only to completely randomly stumble across them the next morning. Again.

Kiteboarding and Windsurfing
We looked into kite boarding, but the first lesson cost over $100 and consisted of sitting on the beach flying a kite, so needless to say, we passed. I also checked into windsurfing, but too windy. Rental cars were almost $100 for the day as well, so we cheaped out, grabbed an ice cream cone, and returned to the beach for another day. The surf was raging and it was quite nice and easy body surfing as well, we had a lot of fun. That night in Bol we went out for a while, but we had an 8:30 ferry to catch, so it was nothing to write home about (in spite of the fact that I have, in fact, written home and to anyone else who might care to peruse the site).

Scenery en route to Sarajevo
Yesterday, we caught our 8:30 ferry, which I'm pretty sure did not make any attempt to move under its own power, but rather to let the Earth's spin carry us to the mainland only a few km away. We got in just before 10, and caught the 10:15 bus towards Dubrovnik. However, this is where I and the English (by the way, Luke does a great impression of the guy from Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous and I now want to watch it simply to hear how he talks) would part ways. I got off the bus at Ploce, a very ugly industrial town that feels deserted, and caught the 4:00 train (Jess, close your eyes - sorry!) up to Sarajevo. By which I mean, the train departing roughly at 4, choosing the wrong track and ending up almost derailing, waiting for an hour for workers to patch a section, backtracking, going forward to just past Mostar, debarking for a bus, and transferring back to another train elsewhere up the line. Yeah, it was a chaotic trip. The scenery was reputed to be beautiful and at times was, but it's very much ruined by some damming activity in my opinion, leaving mud and weird flood planes and things.

Scenery en route to Sarajevo
So now I'm in Sarajevo, I've done a bit of a tour, hard to believe everything that happened here was 10 years ago, and now I'm off to see some things we didn't cover so much on the tour. As for the tour itself, it was very interesting, seeing a tunnel used to sneak food in past the UN, to whom there is great bitterness here. There are also what are called Sarajevo Roses all over the place, basically shell marks on the ground where people died that have been painted in red (usually) and turned into a monument for them. And on the topic of the city, it's quite an interesting collection of all sorts of cultures, I think I'd say it's what Berlin claims to be but isn't, a true gateway to the East/West. Mosques, Catholic churches, synagogues, all side by side, in one part of the city only 150m apart. The city is still recovering from the war, but I think that the spirit of it is very palpable and with that, I'm off to experience it.

I leave for Dubrovnik tomorrow morning, then off to Italy where I'll probably run into Rob from my Contiki tour. Because I'm so tight for time, I don't know when I'll be posting again, but see you soon anyway.

<Dalmatian Coast Photos>


Dean said...

I hate to delete a comment and have it go back to zero, so I'll wait for someone else to write something...

the_dutch said...

ooh I can't believe your blog got spammed. Ouch! Croatia looks beautiful.

I'm heading to Mexico for a week tomorrow. I'll take lots of pics.


Anonymous said...

lets talk about genetically engineered trees.
its a serious issue!

Anonymous said...

i too love the timber insustry & where the hell are ya in naples?!

Dean said...

Gah, stupid internet or rather lack of it in Italy. It appears Roberto and I missed each other. :(