Our summer holiday. (July/August 2012)

We are in Croatia for a week or so, with Hayden and Andrea to share the experience a European summer holiday.

I guess to most, everything we have done in the last six months of our travels has seemed to been a ‘holiday’

But believe me, constantly travelling, experiencing new cultures and learning about old ones, is a lot more strenuous than a week in the sun.

We firstly spent a few days in Dubrovnik, one of the world’s most spectacular and well preserved Medieval walled cities.

It has survived the Ottomans, Venetians and more recently the Croatian War of Independence.

Walking around the almost 2 kilometers of uninterrupted Dubrovnik walls gives you a sense of why they were never breached by a hostile force.

The Walls of Dubrovnik, as we see them today, were mainly built, modified and then extended, between the 12 and 17th Centuries.

The best way to get an overall picture of city is to take the funicular up to the rocky outcrop overlooking Dubrovnik and the port.

This was the cultural part of our Croatian experience and much the same as we have been doing for the last 6 months.

Next we caught the ferry to Brac, a small island off the Croatian coast near Split.

We rented an apartment in the centre of Bol, one of the main resort towns on the island.

The island is alive with holiday makers from all over Europe and other parts as well. There is a very famous pebble beach, Zlantni Rat, about a 30 minutes casual walk from our apartment.

Apart from walking you can get to the beach by a small ‘Train’ and a large number of ferries that leave from around the harbour in Bol.

Zlantni Rat is on a promontory and the shape of the beach shifts due to the winds and currents. There is a reliably afternoon breeze known as the Maestral that blows in to cool down the holiday makers baking in the hot Croatian sun.

And there are thousands of them crammed onto this small peninsular. Many lying on the pebbly beach but far more on the rented sun lounges, under rented umbrellas.

They can also retreat from the heat into the shade of the trees that run part of the way down the peninsula.

If something more strenuous is needed then there is no shortage of water activities like tubing, Banana Boat rides and a hybrid pedalo/water slide.

And when the Maestral blows it’s perfect for wind surfing and kite boarding.

We were told that on the north of the island was Lovrečina, a stretch of ‘long sandy beach’.

It was a beach and it was sandy!

It was also very shallow, which meant that it was perfect for families with small children. Stumbling over pebbles gave way to running flat out through the shallows and building sand castles on the beach.

Some of them had a remarkable resemblance to the fortifications at Dubrovnik.

We then took the ferry from Brac to the mainland and Split, an ancient town that is built around the Roman palace of the Emperor Diocletian, in AD 305, as his retirement home.

Between two mountain ranges on the outskirts of Split is Klis Fortress. It has a commanding view of the city and coastline. It’s little wonder that it was able to withstand a siege by the Ottomans for over 25 years in the early 16th century.

Rejuvenated again, we were now back into our more familiar and strenuous pattern of site seeing and stumbling over ruins.

After all we had just had a holiday.

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