Monday, July 29, 2013

The Elaphite Islands

Dubrovnik is a beautiful city and the perfect place to venture to other little wonders just off of the Dalmatian Coast. We booked a day trip to three of the seventeen Elaphite Islands. The ones we visited were the only inhabited islands of the lot. We were picked up early in the morning from our apartment, taken to Gruz where the boat lived and were taken out onto the blue for the whole day.

I'm not sure why this bridge tickled me in the way that it did, but I found it very amusing! From a distance, it looks like the angles are all wrong and as if the cars would just fall off the edge. Obviously it is in perfect functioning order!

Being at sea is so relaxing (until you start to feel queasy) and even though there were plenty of other boats/ships floating around too, it felt like we were a million miles away from anything else.

After about an hour, we reached Lopud. Croatia isn't known for its sandy beaches as most are rocky but Lopud had some lovely sand. The feeling that you get stepping on sand for the first time in a while is priceless :)

The people in the sea are doing an aqua aerobics class! A much more inspiring setting than the local leisure centre at home! The island has roughly 200 inhabitants and although we saw a lot of tourists who were staying at a hotel, we did spot a few locals just sitting by the sea, writing and reading. It is a stunning place to live and wonderfully quiet (as were all of the islands we visited) but I wonder how long it would be before I missed the city. I love the peace and quiet, but I am very much a city girl.

I don't know if this was a stray dog or if he belonged to somebody but he didn't have a collar and was very good at posing as you can see here!

We had three hours on this island so we did some exploring and ate lots of ice-cream.

This botanical garden was a welcome hideaway from the intense sunshine. Don't get me wrong, I loveeeee the sun but this was an enjoyable relief! There are species of plant from all over the world in these gardens because the sailors have brought back so many from their travels.

Lopud has sandy beaches on two sides, with golf-buggies carting visitors from one to the other. We had to be back at the boat in time for lunch so just stayed on one beach. I read my book (The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell - definitely worth a read) and paddled in the sea.

Three hours flew by and pretty soon it was time for lunch. The kind boatmen served us freshly caught fish with salad and drinks, including some local wine which was tasty but had to be abandoned after a few sips after realising that nothing could beat cold water in the heat!

We ate on the boat - probably the most picturesque lunch setting I have ever experienced. We all felt really lucky.

Our second stop was Koločep. There is apparently one little souvenir shop here which the shopkeeper will only open if you knock on the door and ask nicely I presume!

Isn't the water just amazing? I love how clear it is in Croatia. Made us want to jump in all the time :)

We didn't have as long on this island and didn't fancy trekking to its nudist beach so walked around the ruins and enjoyed more ice creams.

We wondered whether the old lady's shop was behind this door...but sadly nobody answered.

It wasn't long before we were back to our trusty boat and off to our final stop: Šipan

Here we stocked up on ketchup flavoured crisps and guzzled down bottles and bottles of cold water like there was no tomorrow.

I read some more of my book and had a little sleep before home time. (That's not me asleep in the photo above!) As we were leaving the island, we spotted a lady moving all her belongings in. She must have been moving house as she had a fridge with her! Interestingly, she didn't have too many boxes of stuff, just a lot of paintings. It made me wonder what my absolute essentials will be when I move out of home next year. What you need vs what you think you need are separated by a very fine line.

We were all exhausted by the end of the day, as if boats didn't exist and we had been swimming between each island. Isn't it funny how being on water can tire you out so much? 
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