Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Wanderlust Wednesday: CROATIA

What would you do if you won the lottery? Hands down my answer is travel. One of my biggest regrets is that I did not study abroad during college. Diving head first into a different country and culture is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I often mentally kick myself for not taking advantage of such a wonderful opportunity. Oh well...I guess I will have to spend the next (hopefully) 70+ years making up for it! 

One of my favorite pastimes (obsessions) is to research travel and plan hypothetical vacations. There are so many amazing places in the world to see! I am also an avid TripAdvisor stalker and could spend hours researching hotels, restaurants, and activities. 

The first destination on our list is CROATIA! 

Croatia? Random? I know I thought so too until I saw the light! Croatia was absolutely nowhere on my radar, let alone, my bucket list until around 6 months ago. While on a brewery tour I began talking with a couple and they began telling me that their son was currently on his honeymoon in Croatia. I likely stared at them blankly. I  remember thinking to myself how weird. WRONG WRONG WRONG. I didn't think much more of this until a few months later when I was watching my main man crush Anthony Bourdain and his experience in Croatia. The beaches, the crystal water, the food, the wiiiiine. After that episode I was a believer! I'm not the only one..Croatia is quickly becoming one of the Mediterranean's top destinations!

Where the heck is Croatia? According to Wikipedia, (yes, I had to google it) Croatia is located in Central and Southeast Europe and borders Serbia, Hungary, and Bosnia. I'm going to take their word on it. Wherever it looks marvelous. 

The peak season for Croatia is April-September when the weather is at its finest. Naturally, prices will also be at their highest during these months. However, if you want optimal weather and culture this peak season may be the best bet. During May is the Dubrovnik film festival which apparently rivals Cannes! There are also numerous outdoor musical festivals during these months.

What I would do! 

The coasts and beaches of Croatia are breathtaking. However, if you tire easily of laying stagnant on the beach (I do) I've rounded up some other great options.

Skycellar Museum of Wines

A museum of wines..need I say more. This place looks amazing. Located under the Dubrovnik Airport runway is the Skycellar---a cave that has been transformed into a wine cellar. I don't know about you but this may be my first stop. Imagine jumping off a long plane ride and immediately going underground for wine tasting--sounds perfect to me. 

Day Trip to Island of Lokrum

How beautiful is this? We all dream of going off the grid to our own private it in Dubronvik with a day to trip to the Island of Lokrum. This small island nestled in the Adratic Sea not only has a beautiful but also your front row seat to stunning wildlife and botanical gardens. I'm going just to see this lovely creature...

Tour the Old City Walls

Admittedly, I'm not much on taking guided tours of historical scenes..BUT I would do this. The walls surrounding the city were built during medieval times to protect the city against foreign threats. After all these years the walls are still preserved and align the city perimeter.

Eat, Drink, Repeat

Make sure to pack your stretchy pants. If/when I visit here I may have to order an extra plane seat for the flight home. This is a food lover's paradise. Croatia is separated only by the Adriatic sea from Italy so the Mediterranean influence infiltrates this tiny country--in a big way! Fresh seafood, truffles, high quality olive oil, and wiiiiine! 

Every basic girl loves truffles. Truffle fries, truffle mac and cheese, must I go on? These hard to find fungi pack a huge punch, but are a delicious treat. Truffle harvesting is BIG in Croatia. You can even take a truffle tour where you hunt your own!. 

Take Tony's word on it...

The ever eloquent and insightful Anthony Bourdain has the following to say about Croatia...In his own words:

On Croatian wine: " I want to bathe in this. I would like to frolic in this wine. Where's my toga?

On a meaty risotto dish: "I didn't bring my bathing suit but I'm thinking about jumping in there." 

On drinking too much wine in Croatia: "Everything was beautiful in Croatia, but people got hurt."

Oh Tony...I shouldn't love you this much..but I do.

What destination are you lusting after?

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