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The adventures of the Mel

Hanging out on Vis (warning: long and includes rant)

CROATIA | Wednesday, 5 October 2011 | Views [1086] | Comments [1]

I’m sitting on the ferry that will take us from Vis back to Split, from where we will drive to Dubrovnik, and I can’t believe that week is over already. Only another three nights till we board a plane, and only another 30 or so hours after that we will be home; probably by the time this goes online it will be even closer.

On one hand I don’t really have much to report – generally speaking our days have gone a little something like:

*Get up and have first breakfast

*Go for a walk and a morning swim

*Come home and have second breakfast

*Go out and drive to a secluded beach

*Lie on beach for a few hours

*Come back home and have a late lunch

*Read a book/do some work/or in the case of the boys, drink lots of wine

*Go out for dinner (and the boys drink more wine)

*Go home to bed (and yet the boys drink still more wine).

Lucky for them the wine is only about $5 a bottle.

The island is just beautiful and I am sad to leave it. In town (Komiža) the almost medieval streets wind their way through the town, towered over by buildings that elicit memories of Venice. The locals are unbelievably friendly and English is widespread, which helps make up for our lousy Croatian. Even the half-stray cats are ridiculously friendly (though mostly searching for food, they are not against a bit of a pat) and are making me miss our little baby back home. I am very glad that she is in good hands, but I can’t wait to cuddle her (whether she likes it or not) when we get home!

I am almost used to pebble beaches now – they have the marvellous advantage of lacking sand. Sure, it’s hard to be graceful on a pebble beach – but you don’t get sand EVERYWHERE, which I have thoroughly enjoyed.  We did go to the one sandy beach on the island, which was okay (but nothing on Australian sandy beaches), but when we got home I remembered why I’m not a huge beach person. I dislike sand. In a big way. I enjoyed the walk around the outskirts of the beach much more – it had some stunning views, which I unfortunately only had my phone, so the photos are a bit ‘digital’.

***edit – if you’re only interested in travel stuff, skip this next very long, philosophising paragraph***

One thing that I have been thinking a lot about since embracing the pebble beaches is body image. After spending a week on these beaches, I have come to think that Australians have a very poor sense of body image and what is ‘perfect’. I think that at home people  (women in particular) have a very warped view of what bodies should look like and we, very unfortunately, too readily cover ourselves up because we don’t fit an ideal that is often impossible to achieve. One thing that I have discovered over here in Europe is a glorious acceptance of my body. At home I wouldn’t dare go to the beach in a bikini – I feel far too....not perfect, far too old and far too judged. Here....every woman is in a bikini. Many bathe topless. Nobody flaunts, nobody hides...your body just is. It is just wonderful. Now, I know that people like my Dad are shaking their heads and saying ‘See, that’s what we’ve been trying to tell you’; but it’s one thing to be told you don’t look so bad....it’s another entirely to feel it. I wish that we would learn something from this, but I know that sadly that our society is just much too image focused. I know that it will only take a few days for me to get home to be reluctant to get into a bikini again, and this makes me sad. We are our own worst enemies. We are surrounded by media harping on about various aspects of body image; weight loss, weight gain, flattering clothes, poses and even sections dedicated to fashion faux pas’; but until we (and perhaps I should write women) stop caring about these things and stop buying and feeding the media, we will be forever surrounded by it. It is an awful cycle that I don’t know how to break. It’s not enough to just tell your daughter to ignore what she sees around her and that she is beautiful. How do you instil the belief that you are beautiful, and the self-confidence to ignore the tripe around you? I guess it thoroughly relates to how I feel about self-acceptance and individuality. Too often we are told that we should do this or shouldn’t do that <insert long list of society’s expectations here>. You know what? Fuck normal. Fuck different. Everyone just is. I wish that everybody would accept everybody for who they are and keep their god damned judgements to themselves. So what if they’re wearing something that you think is comical? They obviously like it. So what if you wouldn’t let your child do that? That’s obviously a choice the parents have made. So what if you would have done that differently? Their choice, not yours. One of the best lines I’ve read in a very long time is that you’re entitled to your own opinion, but you’re not entitled to dish it out unsolicited (and yes, I appreciate the implicit irony of including that at the end of my own diatribe).

So anyway.....Vis, right? (Sorry about that!) The first day (Thursday) we just strolled around the town and lay down on the town’s pebble beach, and had a bit of a think about what we would do over the next few days. Friday saw our venture to the sandy beach and then a beautiful lunch at a tavern called Golub. The boys ordered a combination of meat and seafood, and I had some lovely grilled vegetables. It’s interesting how they do their vegetables, they are definitely grilled, but they also come dripping in a very light oil – it didn’t give you that heavy feeling that oil often does.

Saturday was probably my favourite day – we drove the car to another isolated place and trekked our way down to the secluded cove below. Now, when I say trekked, I mean we freaking trekked. About a third of the way down I didn’t want to continue anymore, it was steep and there were heaps of loose rocks or slippery rocks and my knees and ankles were not amused. We eventually made it down and were rewarded with a beautiful sight; the beach’s deliciously blue water is towered over by two very tall cliffs. Getting into the water and swimming out between the two cliffs very much consolidated the feeling of ‘I’m on freaking holiday, baby’. Trekking back up the steep trek was much easier, though I have to admit that I got a bit lost at one point because sometimes the path looked like a sheer cliff face.

Later that afternoon Andrew picked me up and cracked my little toe on an open window, which pretty much tore off its nail (it’s hanging by not much), so I unfortunately had a very work-filled Sunday – I couldn’t stand the thought of having to navigate a pebble beach, so the boys went and had some quality time of their own. We did go out to tea at a great restaurant named Babba, which was coincidentally run by the same people that ran the tavern Golub. We tried a dish which we think was Swedes ‘Dalmation’ style. I could tell you that it had basil in it and that it was absolutely delicious....but apart from that I’m not sure.

Monday saw us trek up to a cave called Tito’s cave – I’m a little hazy on the details because they were delivered in Italian, but from what we could gather, it was where the former leader of Yugoslavia hid out for many years. Aside from the interesting snippet of history, it was pretty anti-climactic. We trekked up further and found a church named Duh. That was absolutely my highlight of the day. That, and the view of Komiža from Duh was pretty spectacular. We ate again at Babba (this time taking Cam with us).

Which brings me to today. After checking out and saying goodbye to Tomislav and his wife and Duje (which I was wrong about the pronunciation – it’s more like Doo-yeah), we drove to Vis town and had a bit of an explore. The boys were also keen to explore some random isolated area, which was a nice walk but had a lot of abandoned bunkers that made me feel like I was walking into a horror movie (or the muzzle of a gun held by some crazed drug lord). Needless to say I backed out, much to Andrew’s disappointment (he just said, ‘I thought they were cool...’. Of course you did, moronface). And now, we’re on the ferry making our way back to the mainland.

Apologies for the long post (and the rant). Like I said, on one hand I don’t feel like I’ve got much to report, on the other (which I didn’t get to say) I did have to cover a week and some contemplation. I will hopefully update about Dubrovnik before we leave, but otherwise it will make its way online shortly after we return. I can’t believe we’ve only got another three nights till we leave. Sad face.

Vis photos

Until then, Gadget.




Where ever you are right at this minute, to you hear me standing up and yelling my agreement to your rant?

  Sal Oct 5, 2011 9:09 PM

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