Whoever said that summer was the perfect time to visit Dalmatia? If it was me, my bad. After a series of extreme heatwaves (plus 40 degrees), a few horrifying (wild)fires and recent storms all over Croatia, my new conclusion is that traveling during shoulder season is best.
It felt like one moment I was there, roaming the millennial old slippery stone streets of Split for my first time in September – and the next, I was approaching the island of Šolta, breathing in a strong scent of pine trees and clean sea.
Now, I’ve heard a lot about Šolta, but during my 45-minute ferry trip there, I just didn’t feel like doing any extra research. I wanted to experience it without digging up all the rest. The only thing I knew was that the boat would bring me to Rogač port, only a few kilometers drive from… anywhere.
It was night time when I arrived and all the passengers scattered away while I waited a bit for my friends to pick me up. It reminded me of the many times I was in similar situations alone, all those moments in between. It’s nice greeting that familiar feeling with just a small, almost unnoticeable “hi”. You sense the earth beneath you and you’re conscious of the stars above you, and excitement pumps through your veins as the path before you unfolds…
Yup, all those emotions just waiting for my ride!
Only a few kilometers away, after paved streets and some macadam, the memorable evening featured homemade specialties such as pršut (prosciutto), cheese, assorted greens speckled with olive oil, fish, meat, wine and other drinks and desserts. We didn’t track any wild boars or rabbits as my friends claim to have seen the previous days, but we sure did fall asleep to the sound of the waves hitting against our rocky little bay.
The next morning I paid my dues and visited Grohote, the island’s central village. I only had just enough time for a quick walk around the parish church of St. Stephen after dropping in on a baptism.
There, I found out a lot about the island’s history: emigration throughout the past centuries, local culture and agriculture, typical architectural practices of the island – stone, stone and more stone houses decorated with wooden window frames painted hues of green and blue… It was the perfect moment to use the remaining 7% of battery on my phone and snap whatever photos could be snapped.
Šolta is a very basic island. Basically, gorgeous. However, don’t expect any entertainment on this island unless you know how to entertain yourself. This isn’t a party place, nor do locals wish for it to become one. There are few restaurants and barely any traces of modern-day fun. It’s not complete wilderness, but if you really want to take in pristine nature, Šolta is the place to go.
I must say that I love and hate my spontaneous 12-hour trips to new places. It’s like that feeling of falling in love with someone you’ve only dated twice. It’s unrealistic, but still divine.
Maybe in different situations, it would have been frustrating to just hop on a boat at 8:30 PM with nothing but my wallet, toothbrush, tiny pink umbrella, 4 pens (?) and a few other essentials. I like to plan things out (perhaps that explains the 4 pens) and try to control how they’ll turn out (not ever be left without battery!), but there’s something about Dalmatia in the fall.
The way that balmy day in Split was unwinding, it just felt so natural to stop all of what I would normally do and go with the flow.