Hvar Island, Croatia

In Croatia there arnt tons of hotels, and the ones they do have are really expensive. And there are not any hostels anywhere. So instead what everyone does is stay in private rooms, in people’s houses. At every train, bus and ferry station there are all these little old ladies who attack you when you arrive, yelling ‘sobe, zimmer, rooms!’. And man, you should see most of these ladies. If I ever need to cast medieval hags for a movie, I’ll know where to come. They’re priceless. You can arrange private rooms through the tourist office too, but so far (in Zadar and Hvar) I’ve had okay luck just getting a room from the ladies on the street. They’re a tough sell, these old ladies, but my rooms have been nice, and cheap. In Hvar I’m paying 100 kuna a night, which is like $17, for a room with a private bath, about 4 minutes walk from the center. It’s cheaper than most hostels would be. It would be more expensive if it was in an old building closer to the center, or if it had a view, or if it was the high season. It’s pretty nice though.

Off the Dalmation coast there are tons of these long, thin islands running parallel to the coastline. They’re basically a submerged extension of the mountain range that separates the thin strip of Dalmatia from Bosnia. Hvar Island is one of them. It’s about 80km long, and only a few km wide at most. I’m staying in Hvar Town, which is this great little adriatic fishing villiage. It’s a bit of a resort town, but right now the tourist season hasnt started, so it’s pretty abandoned. To me it feels a lot like some of the Cinque Terre towns in Italy, though perhaps not quite so picturesqe, and without the crazy houses on cliffsides. Still, it’s really very very pretty, and quite pleasant. There’s an old Venetian fortress on the hill above the town which is really well-preserved. There’s a big defensive wall with parapets running down the hill. I guess the fortress dates back a millenium, and the site’s been occupied since pre-roman times. Its famous for repelling the turks in the 15th or 16th century, or something. They light it up at night. Its very cool.

This is the first place I’ve been where it’s really felt like summer. I guess some of the expensive resorts around here actually guarantee sunshine, or you sleep free. That’s how good the weather always is. I went for a swim in the ocean yesterday, and had the beach completly to myself. The beaches are rocky, but the water is incredibly clear and nice. There are tons of fish. I got pretty sunburned, but that’s cool. I cant remember the last time I’ve been sunburned.

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