Adriatic Fanatic

I consider myself a fortunate young man. I think that in the first quarter of my life I have been to some pretty awesome places and have had a number of very inspiring experiences, a few of which I have shared with the world through this blog. I have been contemplating all day whether or not my experiences during the last few days belong at the top of this growing list, and have decided that they indeed do. I will try and gather my thoughts, organize my photos, and explain why this past long weekend getaway was so moving.

It starts with Anuska (...my sister's... fiance's.... parents'.... neighbor.... HA!) - and an amazing woman, who I now consider my closest friend over the age of my parents. Anuska is from Gradac, a small town between Split and Dubrovnik on the Dalmatian coast in what is now Croatia, formally Yugoslavia. Though I would consider Gradac to be one of the farthest points from a tourist destination that I have personally been, it has transformed significantly in that direction since the 1940s, when Anuska lived here. She was born in a lovely room of a lovely house (where I slept my first 2 nights in Dalmatia) and grew up with two younger sisters, both of whom I had the pleasure of getting to know. I could go on for about 294 pages (the length of her recently finished book filled of stories of her youth which I have begun to read) about Anuska and her wonderful family, but I will instead now get into what I was up to while visiting the coast of this beautiful segment of land along the crystal blue Adriatic sea.

I usually like to tell highlights of vacations and avoid boring mush, but every bite of fresh caught fish, every step along the pebbled beaches, every drop of fresh red wine, every site of pristine land, every swim in the crystal clear water, and every minute spent with new amazing friends was a highlight. I will let the pictures do most of the talking.
I was humbled by Anuska's sister and her 73 old husband who hiked up the 750 meter mountain with me (Hans, the husband, had just finished swimming to the next village and back... a couple km... no big deal) Older people who are active and in shape inspire me.

The following day, left Gradac bright and early to depart from Ploce, cross the Peljesac peninsula, depart from Orebic, arrive at Korcula, and zig zag through the island to Poplat, near Vela Luka... as seen on the handy dandy map.

Arriving at the peninsula

Departing from Orebic

Marco Polo's hometown

View in the direction of Italy from island of Korcula

Friends of Anuska seem to have somethings in common; they are all extremely generous and welcoming, and they all have amazing artistic talent.

The afternoon was spent indulging in fresh and delicious local cuisine and liter after liter of wine while enjoying pristine views and fresh air, perched hill side in a secluded cove at the most amazing, handbuilt home. Ante Marinovic has spent the last 40+ years of his life working on every slight detail of this work of art. He has put thought into literally every stone used, making up everything from the pillars to the detailed mosaics and now lives here with his lovely Ella, who is also an incredible artist.
Room with a view

Anuska's famous massage

Eros and Psyche mosaic

40+ years in progress

Sunset swim

Where in the world is this paradise?

This was just a 'pre-game' for later festivities. We cruised around Vela Luka checking out friends' homes and artwork as we continued to indulge. These were not your typical 'starving artists.'

The pre-game gang - in the latest piece of work by Milly (mustache man). Milly, inspired by his friend Ante, constructed (and made the furniture in) this beautiful cottage... no big deal...

After sleeping to the rhythm of the waves crashing, we woke up to travel back to mainland. From Vela Luka, passed Hvar, and to Split we arrived. Just in time for more deliciousness and some high speed site seeing - Anuska/Ben style - so I could catch my flight 'home.'
Anuska rubbing her lucky big toe

I miss my tall, white haired, hospitable friend. She and her Dalmatian friends and family showed me that growing old doesn't have to suck. I learned that it is important to figure out what you want and work for it. No one can stand in your way of having some fun on your journey. Every grape, bite of fresh fish, and sip of wine was sweeter this weekend and for that I thank Anuska.


1 comment:

  1. no lie buddy, i've got goosebumps. this is awesome! I'm both wicked happy that you are experiencing this and jealous that i'm not with you. seriously man, are you kidding me? THIS IS AWESOME! when you have some time, gimme a ring a ding ding. i miss you man. Keep on livin.