We have done this sort of thing before- a boat tour around an island or two with an on-board lunch of fish, salad and wine. Generally, a pleasant experience. The Bura had blown up the previous day just to remind us that the Adriatic can be windy if it so chooses. John was much more inclined to choose a larger sea going vessel than a smaller more intimate one with far more interesting destinations. I was pitching for variety, but we settled for safe.
Pirat Rijeka, the name of our boat, would take us on a wonderful journey around Lošinj and then head for the island of Susak famous for a very rare commodity in Croatia– a sandy beach. The tour began at ten and would finish at five. The boat would take its 80 or 90 passengers (it had the capacity for 250!!!!) to a number of bays and around a couple of islands. Once we were all on board and on our way there was a slight change of plan. We are going directly to Susak where we would be able to enjoy the beach at our leisure -for four hours!!!
Susak is nowhere!!! There is nothing there!!! Sorry…There is a inconvenience store and two bars and a sandy beach. Not a golden sandy beach as we imagined but a grey, brown, muddy sand with foul smelling seaweed interspersed to make it interesting? We ventured down the beach and away from the madding crowd and the distinctive marine odour and found ourselves a couple of sun lounges and an umbrella. There was absolutely no other shelter. We coughed up the 100HRK and settled in for the four-hour abandonment….and I left my book at the apartment!!!!! I was traumatised.
We waded, I really mean waded….it was at least 200m before the water got to our chest but then it was incredibly clean, clear and an amazing azure blue. This was an ideal beach for families and those with little or no water confidence. We swam and then waddled back to shore in need of liquid sustenance. Three hours into our desertion we were herded back to the boat for lunch- grilled whole fish with cabbage salad and a glass of white wine from a five-litre plastic cask. Despite appearances, the meal was surprisingly delicious. No guesses as to the quality of the wine. Our journey back to port was accompanied by a blast from the past. I think John and I knew every song on the selection from Dire Straits, Beatles, Roberta Flack, finishing of course with ‘Sailing’ by Rod Stewart. We hummed all the way. It was rather nice. I’m just a recalcitrant.
So…we rented a car. We had to consider mortgaging our unit to do so!!!!! Wow!!! You want that much for one day!!! Anyhow we decided we wanted to explore more of the island and go up to Cres town and eat Cres lamb. Cres town was smaller and more enchanting than what we had imagined, and the Cres lamb was amazing. John popped into the travel agency and asked for a restaurant recommendation and without hesitation the woman replied, ‘Bukaleta’. We keyed it in and headed for the hills. We arrived at Loznati. Umm looking a lot like Susak….nowhere!! We continued following the GPS and stumbled into a major traffic jam…in a carpark. Oh dear…should we have booked? Nah…this place was huge and catered easily for all of us. Brilliant!!
Completely sated we headed back towards Mali but decided we had to check out Veli Losinj- coffee, ice cream maybe? It was as described in the tourist literature – a cute, colourful ‘Italian’ village- well this whole area was once ruled by the Venitians. It was adorable.
The Bora Bar Konoba, at Rovenska, was recommended to us by an American couple that we met who encouraged us to go and experience the pasta…remarkable!!! From Veli we decide to drive. Very bad idea!!! It was about 800m from our parking spot to the restaurant however we had run out of coins, run out of time and so we drove. I confess I am the world’s worst navigator and add to that a nasty ADHD streak that would cut any driver to the quick, we have always agreed that I should remain focussed and drive. Into the narrow lanes we boldly went where no Fiat 500 has been before and as the side mirrors came within milimetres of the walls either side of us, we knew- yes it is definitely a walking lane!! Fortunately we could reverse a little until we found someone’s yard.
I was totally composed, collected, controlled. On recollection, John did not remember these circumstances as I did. A memorable driving moment -up there with aquaplaning across a flooded river and hanging our car on a wheelie bin after reversing over it. Yes I did that. He even dared to take a photo at the point when I stormed out of the car, calculated the insanity of the situation and resolved the problem. The woman on her terrace above us sipped her wine and considered us with sniggering contempt. We managed to escape. Ha!!! Next problem…where to park the rental overnight. Everywhere on Losinj will cost. We paid.
Just an observation. I was insanely amused by the fact that our car, a Fiat 500, was ‘automatic’…optional!!! While there was no clutch, the driver had the option to move from A to M, change the gear and drive it as a manual!! I was totally bewildered! Why? A car designed for malcontents. Perfect!!!
We resolved to finish the day happy-with a quiet drink and a wander around the harbour.