Although I said Mallorca would be the last blog about my family, I don’t think I can promise that…they are just too funny. Croatia, September 2019! Me, Mum and Lily arrive at the airport car park to find Dad, briefcase hitched uncomfortably over his shoulder, waving at us with bulging eyes almost popping out of his head . He’s been waiting for us for two hours and the joy of seeing us is unmistakable.
The flight to Dubrovnik is easy- luckily all of us fall asleep and there is absolutely no drama. When we land, we all drag our sleepy selves through the airport and wait about 40 minutes for Dad to rent the car. We finally manage to flop into our seats after a long journey, and surprisingly Mum doesn’t seem too worried about the fact we have absolutely no idea where we’re going to eat dinner. She goes off the vague advice from her holy grail- the email of recommendations given to her by property owner Georgie. ‘The food’s delicious there’, said the email.
What we don’t anticipate is just how quiet the town is, (the name I haven’t the faintest recollection of) and at 10.30 pm we are lucky find anywhere to relieve our starvation. The sweet waiter, whose name is never quite known captures the interest of Lily and Dad immediately. I don’t think he’s expecting an English family to be so interested in him. Twenty questions, some awkward mumbles and a few tiny smiles later, we all decide we love him. Of course, Mum tells him to come to England, whilst Alice and I hug him as we leave- probably not the most appropriate thing to do, but I think we made his evening.
With a great start to the long night, everything changes. The sat nav has absolutely no idea what it’s talking about and sends us constantly to the wrong place. The irritating but slightly bearable English lady’s voice has now changed to an exasperatingly annoying American man who sounds like a robot. I am jarred awake (after a couple of glasses of wine at dinner) by a squabble which has broken out in everyone’s tiredness. American man’s voice has been turned off by an infuriated Dad, and I have to direct him with the useless directions given to us whilst everyone is silent with anticipation in the backseat, praying beyond hope that we find our house.
Finally, we spot the white wall on the side of a road. It’s 2.30 in the morning and we are all beyond excited. After room allocations, some grumpy disagreements and confusion, I flop into bed only to realise that me, the fusspot in the family who cannot sleep with a single noise near me, has the room with a generator outside the door. I don’t sleep properly for 2 nights, envying the lucky sleepers who are snoring peacefully in their beds, probably in some blissful dream oblivious to anything around them.
We all begin to realise, over the next few days, that although the house itself is beautiful with an amazing view of the sea and mountains, there’s almost NOTHING to do apart from relax. As a brief experiment to see how far we can walk without seeing any other humans, my sisters and I walk down the empty promenade. The only other people we can possibly bump into are our parents, which is exactly what happens, driving in the opposite direction. After a conversation about probably nothing, I’m about to get in the car, when Ali looks at me with an astonished look on her face and says: “What on earth are you doing? You literally have nothing else to do but come with us”. I reluctantly get out of the car and continue our walk into yet another ghost village.
We go to a nearby town, Loviste, just over the hill for an explore. Ali and Lily decide to find some lunch, and they arrive back almost two hours later. Ali has a white plastic cup of red wine balanced in her hand and Lily has somehow come across a wonky looking wine glass filled with gin & tonic with a soggy slice of lime. They both flop on to the beach and begin to tell us about Boris, the Croatian fisherman they manage to befriend on their search for food. He finds them wandering through the street, gabbles away at them in Croatian, hurries them into his house, feeds them fish and plies them with his homemade wine. How they always have some unbelievable story up their sleeve I will never know. It seems those two are becoming more and more like Patsy and Eddie from Ab Fab, with me more like Saffy, sulking in the corner annoyed that I’ve missed out- although Saffy never feels left out does she?
Dad never really likes just flopping around in the sun and much prefers doing outdoorsy activities. We are lucky enough to hire a boat for a couple of days and zoom over to the Island of Mijet, previously called Ogygia, famously known as the home of Calypso and hero Odysseus for seven years . As soon as we arrive, a Croatian harbour master tell us off for not flying the Croatian flag, a complete know-it-all who obviously hates tourists and either hates his job or takes it far too seriously. Oh dear, not a great start to the day, but Mum and Dad somehow manage to get out of it, perhaps because of the mixture of curiosity and confusion sprawled all over their faces.
Next thing we know, we’re cycling around the island- not just half of it, but the ENTIRE island, bearing in mind it’s about 28 degrees at the peak of the midday heat. About five minutes after we begin cycling, we’re already lost, half a mile from the starting point. Lily and Mum randomly hitch- hike back to the bike hire after forgetting to buy tickets for the lake. Dad decides he doesn’t want to wait and suddenly cycles off into an unknown forest down an incredibly bumpy track, probably doing unsalvageable damage to the forlorn looking bicycle. We find him half an hour later panting on the side of the lake, bike strewn on the floor next to him. In his defence, he had done a monumental short cut.
Another ‘Dad diversion’ comes on our last day on Korcula, an island directly opposite us. Somehow Dad persuades us to drive around almost the entire island, and when I say entire island, I mean very far from the beaten track. It’s what we’ve always called Dad’s ‘around the corneritis’. We drive for what seems like hours, up and down unbelievably bumpy tracks and through a couple of empty towns, with Dad determined to find a beach he somehow knows about. We’re all about to lose the plot, terrified and sweaty when we come across a rocky track which leads us to a secluded beach with white pebbles, and it’s deadly silent. It seems that Dad’s exploration’s have paid off. I think it’s our favourite day of the holiday.
The cherry on top of the cake comes on the last evening, when Lily finally gets to spot the turtle she’s been wanting to see all week- he comes to say hello and Lily is so excited I think she almost cries, although perhaps that’s partly to do with the glass of wine in her hand.
Overall another success, with adventures, plenty of mishaps and Ab Fab moments. Do you think our holidays will always be like this? I hope so.