There’s that familiar feeling that you desperately need a holiday. It’s the get away from the mundane and the promise of something exciting. But choosing where to go can be the hardest part.
I decided to let the experts do the hard work. I spent a little while flicking through the suggested destinations until I settled on something unexpected. Croatia.
It’s that moment that the excitement begins to build and you begin to accept that this is where you’ll be spending a blissful week of your life with no commitments. I flicked through picture after picture of the hotel, the beach, the sand – everything looked gorgeous.
And it was.
From my balcony I could see the beautiful coast stretching for miles, the beach only meters away and the stunning greenery in between.
The temperature is a comfortable 27 (Celsius) and as we walk alongside the water, it’s clear we’ve found some place special. We sit at a little café, order Mozzarella Sticks and sip cocktails. The sea is practically at our feet, clear blue and dazzling. Children come and go, parents sunbathe and the constant splashing is music to my ears. I smile and think to myself: This is going to be a good holiday.
Like the classic Center Parcs, there is an abundance of activities. We decide to hire some bikes and cycle to the next town, explore a little outside the complex. It’s a couple of miles but I don’t mind absorbing the surroundings. Row upon row of grape vines are planted in the garden of a dilapidated house with peeling orange paint. The ground is rough, the color of wet pottery clay and cracked in places from the heat. Today is 30 degrees at least.
The arrival in Poreć is met with the need for ice cream. The bikes are left locked up near a market stand selling olive oil and we walk along the edge of the sea. There’s no beach here, just a sheer drop in the clear, almost green, water. Small fish dart to and fro, unable to decide in which direction they should go. There is an almighty cheer, followed by a short 6 second line of music coming from my left and looking ahead, I can see the tournament arena of the Volleyball Major Series.
We walk past the Swatch truck and the Swatch hammocks to enter the arena. Silver benches line the stadium, dotted with people here and there. We climb up the steps and seat ourselves somewhere near the top. It’s the perfect place to see the teams. 4 women are walking about on the sand, a ball is thrown to them and they practice a few serves to warm their muscles. The commentator is overbearingly loud as he begins to announce the next match.
After the game, we wander into the town. We walk past the Basilica and a hundred tiny shops, all selling their unique, handmade items. The locals greet us, saying hello from their shop doors and patiently wait for a purchase decision. There’s a quaint café by the mariner with a view that overlooks the passing boats and an island hotel.
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After another ice cream, we continue our exploring, watch some more volleyball and then begin the cycle back. Our adventures are not confined to the day and once night falls, the cafes become bars, the market is suddenly alive and busier than ever. Live music can be heard from different directions and people are queuing for ice cream even though it’s close to midnight.
Walking back into the hotel, we stop and look at the notice-boards. There are flyers everywhere for this, that and the other. Aqua parks, theme parks, boat rides to Venice, and excursions to everywhere you can think of.
We spend a day close to the hotel, finding out what the resort has to offer. There’s another volleyball tournament down by the water, a smaller one but it still draws a crowd. People sitting wherever they can find space, an uncomfortable number in the shade under the tree. Phones have been set up on tripods and left to record. The laughter and clinking of glasses as people enjoy themselves.
We decide to walk up to the sports complex and spend an afternoon entertained by Table Tennis and Mini Golf. Our time was up and so, abandoning the sports, we wander back down to the beach and discover Jet Skis for hire. We hand over the money, strap on a life jacket and climb aboard.
The machine grumbles like an angry Grandfather as we’re instructed where to go. Between the two islands, look for the telephone tower on your way back. And then we’re off. The engine moves slowly at first, we have to be careful of swimmers. The coast is shrinking behind us. My arms are wrapped tightly around my driver and I peer over the edge into the water.
Bits of this and that are floating in the stunning blue sea. The ripples made by the Jet Ski flow behind us. I feel almost as if I’m floating, the water looks so deep and never-ending. A sudden wave of panic sweeps over me and the Jet Ski bobs along as if nothing has happened.
We reach the outer islands where we can finally add some speed and the experience terrifies me more than I can say. The vehicle jerks forward as the throttle is revved higher and higher. The speed gauge goes up and the water is flying underneath us. I realize that I’m clinging to my driver and my legs are tense against the seat, my whole body is telling me not to come off.
I try to relax, take a moment to look around and everywhere I look I see more beautiful water scenes. Some pedalo boats have made it to the closest island and their drivers lie in the sand sunbathing. The swells in the water rock us gently. A speedboat passes us as we begin to turn and head back to shore.
Once back in our room, we collapse onto the bed, exhausted from the endless list of activities. I make the ultimate decision to spend our very last day by the pool, relaxing and soaking up the sun. By the time I reach Gatwick, I am already planning my next holiday. I’m remembering Croatia with fond thoughts and wishing I could be there now.
|Natasha Orme: Natasha is a German-born Brit with a love for the unusual and a thirst for culture. Natasha loves to explore in her writing and experiments with different styles. She is a book addict and a petrol head. You can follow her adventures here