I jumped off the train in Split, Croatia. A picturesque port town from which multiple ferry’s depart each day to some of the more popular Croatian islands. And walking away from that train I couldn’t help myself from looking back, in wonder of how my spirits could be so high after laying on the ground of a rubber scented and stained train cabin for 15 hours. My only guess is that stories like that are rare to experience for ones-self, and I felt that my discomfort had been a bit of a gift.
Friends were meeting me here in Split. As I said in earlier posts, I had been thinking about heading to Croatia – so two days ago when my one of my closest friends messaged me about her soon arriving in Croatia, I felt that a few days of companionship would be quite a luxury at this point in my travels.
We met in Split, jumped of rocks into the crystal waters of the Adriatic Sea, and booked the next ferry to Hvar. There were three off us [and still are] and, coincidentally, they had been told by a few Brits in London that Hvar was the place to visit – just as I had been told the same by my British roommates in Mykonos.
Hvar is a beautiful port town; both built and paved with silk smooth tanned stones, making it comfortable to walk around barefoot. The boats of both workingmen and moguls densely pack the harbor, gently rocking back and forth. Such a site is calming – making me feel that there is nothing more I’d need in life than a chilled bottle of white wine and eternal sunset. However, as enchanting as it was, I’m writing this from the ferry back to Split – just a day and a half later.
I didn’t do much in Hvar – the reason being that it was another place where only a pretty penny was the key to a story that so many others could tell. The drinks were expensive, most places closed early, and the people we met were not travelers – they were vacationers. People looking to be primped and pampered. And have a good time be served to them.
This is not a negative thing – even though the tone I described it with is seemingly so. It is just not for me. I’m not interested in sharing stories about how clean the linens were on my lounge chair or which resort offers the best hamburger. In the pursuit of fun, money delivers little more than the opportunity to think less. And if you accept that with the wisdom that you get out of something what you put into it, it makes good sense why the enjoyable experiences of my life have not been those that are only a credit card swipe away.
Anyways, yesterday at lunchtime we were all sitting in the kind of café that offers a cold bottle water for only $4.50 (and that’s not VOS or Fiji). I was hungry, Dallas and Micky were hungry, and the thought of a $20 salad with shitty service – not included – was everything but appealing. So while they drank their morning coffee, I said wait here.
I ran over to an open market that I had spotted a bit after we arrived. It was the only place in town that I felt I’d be getting a fair price from real people. And I did. I grabbed half a watermelon, some fresh mint, limes, a red chili, and then poked my head into a dark delicatessen that I’m surprised I ever left. Ham legs and sausages hanging from the musty ceiling, a floor littered with fresh clippings from all their products, and a glass cupboard filled with handcraft chesses – but best of all, a shop owner who was proud of his profession and offered a story with each bite.
Here I picked up some feta cheese and green olives, but only after I tried the hand cut prosciutto, spiced wine soaked venison sausage, and cured wild boar – as well as a healthy sample of local cheeses. I promised I’d be back for dinner – and fulfilled that promise – but at that moment I had other goals.
Running back to the crew I grabbed them to go after painfully witnessing them pay the same price for two coffees and a snack as I did for our soon to come feast. But off we walked after picking up two bottles of white wine, along the coast until we found a smooth nook amongst the rocks.
This is a recipe I devised in Boston, though I perfected in Greece by using a watermelon as a bowl. It’s amazing the creativity that is inspired by a lack of resources [meaning I didn’t have a bowl in Greece]. The first step was to eat half the watermelon…not a difficult task. From there I shredded up the remain fruit using a small coffee spoon we had…borrowed…from the café, and then into that watermelon shell I squeeze two limes, crushed mint, shredded hot peppers, and crumbled feta cheese.
I hate trying to describe how food taste, it’s like trying to describe how sex feels – much better to just try it for your-self. Instead, I believe a list of ingredients and pleasant picture offers the necessary instruction, along with a lack of detail to plant a seed of curiosity. So that if someone is the least bit interested, they wont be able to live vicariously through me description, but instead have to recreate the experience for themselves.