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Saturday, 16 April 2016

BACKPACKING EUROPE: Vela Luka, Croatia

Sunset in Vela Luka
Saturday 2nd May, 2015

Gazing into the turquoise waters of the Adriatic Sea with the warm sun caressing my skin, I felt euphoric. There's something liberating about being on a boat, a sense of freedom and escape. As we sailed towards the island of Korcula the town of Split grew smaller, and the surrounding panorama of the natural world was breath-taking. We drifted across tiny, desolate islands, which were crammed with trees instead of tourists. It was a 3 hour ferry ride and I grew more and more excited at the thought of being away from the noise of the modern world.

Vela Luka, a small town situated in the Croatian Islands known as the Dalmatians, was a place in which we had never planned on visiting, in fact, I had never even heard of it until earlier on today. Vela Luka seemed less touristy than other parts of this region and it was also an easy access route to get to Dubrovnik, our next destination. We had been staying in busy places quite a bit so we were craving some peace and quiet, a place where we could process the past few weeks and all that had happened. Travelling is pretty overwhelming at times and as satisfying as it is to live in the present moment, sometimes it's nice to have time to reflect.

Walking along the seafront in Vela Luka









Colourful houses in Vela Luca
We arrived during the evening in Vela Luka but there was still hours of sunlight left. The town was quiet and still and I felt calm and content because I had no expectations, Vera (the owner of our apartment for the night) met us off the boat and guided us to where we were staying. We couldn't understand each other very well so we were communicating over awkward sign language but it was nice, she was very placid and patient and made us feel comfortable.

Our apartment was simple but sweet and felt very Mediterranean. I remember thinking, "we had best make the most of this", as we had got used to staying in apartments instead of hostels, and we were staying in a hostel in two days time. After a couple of beers on the balcony and some crappy, homemade pasta, Jack and I headed out for a walk.

The town was full of pretty, little houses and orange rooftops, which were surrounded by green hills and old walls, the Adriatic sea as its stage. The town was so peaceful, I think we only saw 10 or so people and a few dogs about. And oh my god the sunset was so spectacular, I lost myself in the mesmerising colours until every speckle of sun had vanished. I wanted to get up early tomorrow to explore so when the night had fallen, I went back to the apartment for a good nights sleep.

Beautiful backdrop in Vela Luka


Nature porn in Vela Luka


Sunday 3rd May, 2015

I awoke feeling relaxed and refreshed.  It was a beautiful morning, the sun was beaming and the sky was a beautiful, clear azure. After a shower and some cheese and crackers (sticking to our budget for a change), Jack and I headed out for a stroll. As we walked along the seafront, enjoying the warm air, the spray of the sea and the pleasant atmosphere, we came across an elderly man and a young girl, which I can only assume was his granddaughter. He had hooked a squid out of the water, showed it to the little girl (who was freakin' out big time) and then just let it drop to the floor. We all stood there watching this peculiar, slimy creature pulling itself along the floor and back into the water, leaving a trail of splattered ink behind. It was quite fascinating. Once the moment had passed, we carried on walking until we came across a bakery, obviously we were going in and I'm glad we did because oh dear god, the pastries were absolutely delicious. The food was so good and cheap, Jack and I went back in for seconds and thirds!

We floated around the town for a few hours, enjoying the tranquil atmosphere and its cultural heritage. After a long walk in the sun, we decided to go back to the apartment for a little while and cool off, it was so bloody hot! So we bought a few beers from the supermarket and sat on the balcony listening to music. I felt like I was on holiday. I kept asking Jack, "Is this what travelling feels like?" We were surprised at how easy and stress-free it had been so far, it didn't feel real.

Beautiful town of Vela Luka


Bell Tower, St. Joseph Church in Vela Luka

Pretty wildlife in Vela Luka
As the day approached late afternoon, Jack and I decided to go for a hike. He was super intrigued about the rock formations in the surrounding hills so we decided to take a look for ourselves. We walked up the steep hills and rocky terrain, climbed over bushes and tree trunks and pushed our way through long grass and overgrown wildlife, dodging bees and probably grass snakes the whole way up. I was sweating when we got to the top and so out of breath that I almost forgot about the purpose of the hike. Turns out that the intriguing ruins we set out to explore were just old walls left behind from historical settlements. I decided it looked much cooler from a distance.

Vela Luka looked even more beautiful from above. We stood there for a little while, admiring the view below and how far we had come since 14th April. As we stood at the top of the town, with the world below our feet, it was a good time to reflect. It's strange how sometimes in life you come across places that you least expect and Vela Luka was one of those. I was grateful for this moment and every moment that I had experienced in the last 20 days.


Our hike in the heat was worth the view, Vela Luka

Double denim bitches, Vela Luka

Picturesque view of Adriatic Sea
As the sun began to set, we took a slow and steady walk back down the hill and we were grateful that the air was growing cooler. I was sweating like a pig and my feet felt gross and damp, I needed to take these bulky walking boots off and change into something less restricted so we went back to the apartment first.

Yes of course there was another amazing sunset. It was so beautiful that I actually had to leave the table to take a picture during a conversation with a girl we had just met in a bar, how rude of me! Larissa, a 20 year old student from Seattle introduced herself in a bar in which we had stopped at. She was an intelligent and ambitious girl who was travelling around Europe solo, and time passed by quickly as we bonded over travelling and photography. It was almost dark by the time we had finished talking and realised that we were all hungry so we headed to a nearby restaurant.

By time we had finished eating, it was getting pretty late and Jack and I had to be up 4:30am tomorrow to leave for Dubrovnik. Although, I was extremely excited for Dubrovnik, I was sad to be leaving Vela Luka and this tranquil life behind but I think the last two days had been just enough. So we said goodbye to Larissa, wished each other the best and went our separate ways. It had been an amazing day, full of unpredictable moments and I was really looking forward to bed! After all, we had to be up very early to catch the coach and if we missed that, we were screwed.

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1 comment

  1. Thank you fo so amazing review and photos! I have never been to Croatia! And after your article I want to go there on my holiday? And do somebody know something about this club in Austria https://wellcum.at/en/

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