Day 1 – Split to Milna, Croatia

Last night, we arrive in Croatia. For this trip I travelled with my girlfriend Carrie. We had taken a flight from Toronto to Munich to Split.

We arrived in Split tired and an hour delayed, however we had arranged a taxi to pick us up at the airport and take us down town which was lovely.

Afterwards we checked into an airb’nb which was in a small Fishermans house in the middle of split. It was the perfect location for wandering around and checking out the town.

We spent our time checking out Dicoleasus’ Palace and eating dinner in the Plaza.
Early in the morning after sleeping in to catch up on some of our jet lag, we headed out with our bags to find our boat.

For this trip in Croatia we were sailing with Top Deck Tours for 7 nights through the Croatian Islands. If you did not have the app for this trip I would see trying to find your boat very difficult. Our trip was to start at 11 am.

At 10 am we received a message that our boat was at pier F.  Not knowing quite what that meant, we headed out to the harbour hoping for the best. We actually found out boat quite easily. Which was amazing since we were really nervous about it.

Our boat was docked to three other boats, so we were not sure what we were supposed to do. We were not alone in wondering what to do, our entire boat had gathered on the pier with their bags and were waiting to see if a guide would come and tell us where to go.

A guide did not come. Honestly I think this is a fault of Top Deck. Since none of us had ever been on a boat like this before, we had no clue it was ok to just boat hop to our boat to check in, so we were waiting for a representative to show up and lead us on the boat. Having a representative or a sign that they put up saying – Top Deck tours, please walk on this boat to get to your boat to check in, would be great.

At 11:30 our guide showed up and asked us why we were all waiting on the deck, and told us to get a move on and get on the boat.

What proceeded was possibly one of the most un-organized hours of my life. We were at a mad free for all to find papers to fill out our emergency contact numbers and allergies. Then left with free time, until we were called together again to get our room keys.

I’m used to Contiki, where the check in process would be very different. It would have been a smooth welcome speech. Then call people up two at a time to fill out the forms/get room keys. It just would have been more organized.

In the chaos, me and Carrie escaped to what I’m going to call the Captain’s Nest, for lack of better knowing what the proper boat term for it is. It is an area of the boat that is infant of the room where the Captain steers the boat from. It was a quiet area that had 6 deck chairs and a white bench, and often had a wonderful breeze so that you could see exactly where the boat was going, get some sun and not be over heated.

We promptly claimed two deck chairs as our own and sat down to enjoy some sun while the chaos of check in happened around us. At this point we got our first introduction to our Top Deck guide, Gemma. She climbed the ladder to our deck and promptly asked us, “Are you on my tour?” “Cool. Just checking.” And off she went. So as you can see the security on the boat is somewhat limited.

After what we thought was a good amount of time, we went down to the deck where welcome announcements were finally made, and we received our room keys. We dropped off our bags and then went back up to the main gathering area, to grab a beer and listen to the welcome speech. We got a short speech from the boat company with some rules for being on the boat, then Gemma took over with some additional insight for us.

After that it was tine for lunch and our boat took off to head to our first port. I was a little sad to see Split go, since we did not really have the chance to do a lot of exploring, but I just gave a hope that there would be time on our return to see everything.

Lunch was a three course meal which was delicious, but was an insane amount of food.

Our first meal was a clear dumpling soup, a salad and a piece of fish cooked in wax paper. The fish was delicious. The soup was great. The only thing was it was a lot of food!! I wish I had known the menu ahead of time so I could pace myself. I also wish I knew the menu so I would know that all the dishes were traditional Croatian, and would be able to order them later.

I’ve hunted for the recipes and found these three.

By this time the lunch hall was warm and me and Carrie were full, so we took our beers and sat outside and watched the boat sail away from Split off to Milna.

When we were close to Milna, we stopped for our first swim break. Now before I booked this trip, I knew that I would be jumping off the boat and into the water for a swim break, but I did not realize that by jumping off the boat for a swim break meant you were going to jump into the middle of the ocean, and swim in deep waters .

The cove we stopped in this time was a small cove surrounded by rocks and a few scattered pines. There was the loud sound of Cicadas. And we could see one or two houses with their old stone fences. It had started to rain a bit when we arrived in the cove, but we all jumped into the water, determined to make the most of our swim breaks.

Our boat had 5 swim floats on the boat. We were encouraged to buy more if we wanted our own. But other then that, most people jumped off the boat then clung to the pool floats with their friends. Me and Carrie liked to do laps around the boat as some thing to do. But swim breaks where you want to keep your head above water are pretty boring. I had no idea. So lesson learned, buy a swim float. Once we were tired out, we climbed up the ladder to get back on the boat to change into dry clothes so that we could expose the island of Milna.

Milna was the cutest little city on the Adriatic  Sea. It was home to 800 fisherman, and I love it. We arrived at 3 pm and took off immediately to explore the streets and stretch our legs. We loved finding all the old worn down wooden doors painted in shades of green and blue. We loved the stone buildings and walk ways.

We found a traditional bakery which served burke, which we tried even though we were not that hungry. I’m glad we did, since it was the only burke we found on the entire trip strongly enough.

At 4pm we went on a wine and olive oil tour. It was only 10 kn, which is nothing really. And had a great time. We could not understand why most of the people on our boat did not want to come. We had about 10 people come with us on the tour. We went to a Milna lady’s shop, where she makes her own wine, presses her own olive oil, and used to press lavender to make lavender oil.

She showed us this huge stone container full of olive oil and gave us a tasting. I am not one to be a connoisseur of olive oil, however Carrie, apparently is. And she was impressed. She said it was some of the best olive oil she ever had.

Then we were able to go over to the 4 metal wine barrels that were set up at the far end of the cellar. We got to try 4 types of wine. A red, a white, a rose and a procecco. The lady told us that she makes the white for her husband and the red for her, so they never fight over wine.

We all loved the white wine. And for 30 kn we decided that it was a fantastic deal, so we bought a bottle and proceeded down the promenade to find a spot to watch the sunset and drink out bottle of wine.

We shared our bottle of wine with Jenn, Dana and Luke on the steps to the church. We felt bad since shortly after we arrived a nun dressed in white came to the church to pray. However she did not stay long, and we were left in peace to get to know one another and to watch the sun setting on the harbour.

When our two bottles had been finished off, we all realized it was time to go to the boat for our BBQ dinner. We wished in hindsight that we had not opted for the BBQ dinner, as it would have been nice to have a local dinner in this small town. There were tiny restaurants that would fit groups up to ten. But I can see why Top Deck arranged the BBQ as an option so that you could bond with the other members on your tour.

The BBQ was basically a plate of meat. It was ridiculous. But it was tasty so I can give it that. After eating so much meat, Carrie, Jennifer and I needed to go for a walk along the harbour to work off the meat. We checked out the boats and really bonded as the “oldies” of the tour.

Once back at the boat we all gazed at the stars and ordered fancy drinks as we checked out the harbour.

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