The cruise ship I am working on has brought me to Hvar in Croatia. This island is a tender port which, for those who don’t know, is when the ship cannot dock, so it has to drop the anchor in the middle of the ocean, and then Crew and guests get ferried across to the island on little boats called tender boats. The tender ride took about 10 minutes.
Once off the tender boat, I took an immediate right turn and wandered along Hvars’ waterfront looking out at the crystal clear water. I sat for a while, legs dangling over the edge, breathing in the sea air and soaking up the sun. With the smell of lavender in the air from all the lavender stalls, Hvar had me feeling very relaxed, and this was just the start.
I enjoyed the 10-minute stroll along the waterfront towards the main part of the city. This beautiful town is made up of traditional Croatian buildings that have been here for hundreds of years. Hvar is a town with mainly mature occupants as all the younger locals tend to leave Hvar to go to university. I find it ironic that this city is home to older, less mobile people, and yet it is the most difficult place to get around if you are mobility impaired. All the cobblestone streets are narrow and look the same. Along the lanes you will find random steps that blend into the ground, so you see a lot of people tripping up. However, if you aren’t mobility impaired, these little features only add to the character of Hvar.
I started to make my way along the network of narrow, windy alleyways that separated the houses. I found myself getting a little lost as I ventured further into the stone maze, but I loved every second of it. Occasionally I would come across the most spectacular buildings that didn’t look right being tucked away in a small street, and looked as if they were deserving of their own mile long driveway. Also, I was catching the amazing views of the mountains that surround Hvar through the gaps between the houses which left me speechless.
As the streets all look so similar it was quite hard to navigate. I wasn’t rushing so I just carried on wandering until I found myself in someone’s garden. As I said, it all merges into one. Just as I realised I was in someone’s garden, an elderly lady came out and smiled. I apologised and told her how I had got confused. She ushered me over to sit on her garden furniture. I carefully sat down on the 3 legged chair, which I was sure would collapse as soon as I touched it, but it didn’t. She poured us both a cup of tea and she sat across from me smiling. She couldn’t speak any English, and I didn’t speak any Croatian, so we sat in silence basking in the sun. I occasionally tried to communicate by using big gestures but she quite clearly didn’t understand. I leant forward to pick up my tea, but the chair started the shake and I spilt the tea all over my hands. Trying not to cause a fuss I slowly started to lean back in the chair while wobbling rapidly from side to side on the cobblestones. The lady looked at me and laughed while steadily taking a sip of her tea. After drinking half my tea and wearing the other half, I stood up and thanked her. She smiled and waved back. That was a nice little surprise stop.
It took me about half an hour to walk back to the harbour. The main square is called the Square of St Stephen. This looks out onto the picturesque harbour and also houses a brilliant choice of restaurants and shops, which makes it a perfect place to get a coffee, and people-watch in a harbour full of mega yachts and jet skis. I sat here and had a salad whilst watching the world go by, which was a lovely way to end my walking tour of Hvar.
Hvar is so stunning and being welcomed into that lady’s home made the day so special. Even though we didn’t talk and we didn’t know each other names it was so humbling that she invited me in, when the normal thing would have been to kick me out.