Saturday, October 3, 2009

Bol on Brac

Parking was so difficult in Split we only ventured walking distances from our hotel, which meant we saw all we wanted to see in a day and a half. We took the car ferry from Split to the island of Brac (pronounced Bra-ch), which was about an hour off the coast by car ferry. The main thing Brac is known for is its white marble - used not only in Split everywhere, but also used in the White House. Yep. Have you ever heard that before?!

Bol (pronounced Bowl) is the primary place to visit on the island, which is on the opposite side from the ferry landing at Supetar.

It only took 30 minutes to drive there, and it was a really beautiful drive. We stopped at the first little village, Nerezisca, and walked around a bit. We saw people, but no one seemed the least bit bothered by us. You know how you can go to a small town and people kind of stare, like they're suspicious of you in some way? None of that in Nerezisca. An old woman passed us and greeted us in Croatian, and just kept going. Otherwise, people just kept on about their business.

Very different architecture here - few red tile roofs:
Lots of this very flat stone used for roofs, instead - at least on the older places.
Plus a sweet little goat in someone's yard:
Here's the village center - a restaurant/bar/cafe on the right, a little store, and a post office:
That must be the old church in the middle - they have a newer one now, outside the center of the village.
Someone's yard.
We drove on to Bol, and after a very harrowing drive down tiny little narrow alleys that fit one car only - though we did meet oncoming cars - we found the place we sought, the Villa Giardino. We rang the bell and walked into this little zone of pure paradise.

The Villa Giardino, owned by Christine. Under the arbor, over the garages, is a beautiful terrace where we ate breakfast, which came with homemade fig jam.
And this little patio was just outside our room:
The backyard:
With a gazebo:
This shot doesn't do it justice, but there was art everywhere. Sculptures on windowsills,
in hallways, on shelves and ledges, in the garden. Strangely, most of the art was female. Nude women in every position, some erotic, some explicit, some conceptual. Curious. Even some of the large stones in the garden were female, when I looked at them from a different perspective it was obviously female form.
Bol faces the harbor, and like every other place we visited along the coast, comprises dozens of cafes, restaurants, and shops.

The main thing Bol is known for is Zlatni Rat, a strange but packed-with-people beach which we didn't visit since that's not our kind of scene. Here's the classic shot of it; see all the hordes of people lining the beach? Yech.

Walking toward that beach is a very nice path, lined with market stalls (souvenirs, of course), and art, and strange trees.

This is as close as we got to the beach - if you click to enlarge, you'll see people sailing
and windsurfing. Parasailing too, but lots of windsurfing.
We walked around Bol, ate at a little restaurant off the main road recommended by Christine, drank some cappucinos, ate some gelato, walked for hours, and slept very well in our wonderful room. After breakfast, we headed back to the ferry, which turned out to be a bit of a stressful experience. One thing I noticed in Croatia is that they offer a lot of signs and directions when you're far away from something, but when you get close and really REALLY need to know whether to turn left or right, there are no signs or directions to be found. AAArgh.

Nevertheless, we finally got it all together.
In line, waiting to drive onto the ferry.
Sitting up top, watching the people and the view.
So we drove off the ferry, through Split, onto the highway, and to Zagreb. The days were dwindling, too close to the end for me.

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