The island is pretty much the centre of my universe, and so my capacity for excitement has perhaps shrunk to fit a slightly smaller place. Outsiders may feel that bowling competitions, film festivals, klapa concerts, saints' day processions, tiny classical concerts, and good pizza is perhaps stretching the definition of 'excitement' too far. I notice when the local bench is repositioned, the seasonal changing of the field's fragrance and, like every other local, roll eyes at the weekly youthful Antipodean incursions who enjoy very loud music and occasionally ring the church bell at 3am.
So when friends visit I like to push the boat out for them. As it were. All visitors here are subjected to hours on ferries! As you've read there is usually wonderful swimming and incredible beaches, long hot walks in the fields, early morning kayaking, hours of paddle boarding, and really lovely food. Louise was no exception and I'd been planning for her arrival for a few weeks. She adores Croatia and so was really looking forward to the trip. She was coming in to Dubrovnik to see me especially, before flying up to the bright lights of Zagreb a few days later. Last time I saw her, we had both ended up there but I wasn't going to be persuaded this time.
I had the usual early morning start to greet my guest, with the treat of coffee and a fresh bun. We corresponded with each other from our respective modes of transport; me from the bus station, to her on wifi in the sky, and we had already starting laughing. Apparently one of her suitcase was looking forward to being pulled by aunty Clare. As her cases are legendary for their mischievous antics, I was already regretting not bringing a muzzle and ankle guards. My rucksack was already full as I'd picked up some extra essential bits from konzum. Deodorant, for instance. Not to mention crisps and wine.
Considering we'd had so little sleep - 3am start for her - we were surprisingly chipper and had a sunny journey back to mine. Given I have so much sun cream at home, she hadn't brought any so fair skin was already starting to glow on the ferry. The cases had already caused a commotion and were busy chasing other patrons. As we arrived into Suđurađ, and hauled everything past the bar, the big one must have caught a whiff of previous parties and ran over her toe in its hurry to order a round of Sambuca shots. Naughty case.
Finally with a little help from landlord senior we were soon in my little flat making a cup of tea. And checking out Jenny's abandoned beach shoes...no joy there as they were a little large. We chilled out on the terrace with some melon and peaches and just enjoyed the tranquillity. I demonstrated the local way to deal with wasps *SHOOOOO*. Then she spotted one of the best insects I've ever seen. Climbing the grape picking ladder, we watched him for ages wondering how we could help him, as frankly he was going nowhere. A ceramic plate didn't work but we were able to coax him onto a piece of paper and then on to the bamboo screen. We assumed he would head up to the safety of the vines.
We finally hit the town beach where, without Adriatic Sea shoes, pebbles are a little pebbly. It was good to stretch and refresh after a day of travelling. Before I can assure Marija that my guests are kayak safe, I like to see them swim! We paddled around for a bit, then diet talk made us think about food. So whilst she went for a shower I prepared stuffed peppers, which take a couple of hours to cook. In the meantime the stupid insect was waving precariously at a seagull. We left him to it. I was hazily aware that the weather could turn nasty at the start of the week so suggested we make the most of the evening sunshine. We put on appropriate footwear and went up to my favourite look out to see the sunset. The timing was perfect - the lighting effects were spectacular.
After swimming and hill climbing, the hearty peppers were welcome, and washed down with a glass of white they were suitably local and tasty. We enjoyed the sounds of the evening, discussed a Sunday 'plan of action' and decided on a short post-dinner stroll. We were accosted by a young gentleman who offered to buy us drinks. This place is fabulously friendly! By 10.30pm we were all falling asleep - middle aged party animals - and looking forward to an action packed day of walking, paddle boarding, food and laughter. As the weather forecast was doubtful we also had contingency plans for baking and make-up practice but that is another story.
Oh and we still had Adriatic Sea shoes to track down.