Just as we were crossing off last available days in September on our calendar, an email hit our inbox. Pretty confident introduction, statistically presented information and thorough itinerary for a trip led to a collaboration with Sandro and Boris, two brothers originally from Rijeka, Croatia – more known as Brotherside, a name under which these two fellows are branding their story. The journey took 14 days and it included everything but the plans laid out in the introduction e-mail. Nevertheless, we enjoyed following them on their adventure of reconnecting with Croats in themselves. Beside amazing photos that will absolutely stun you, they also have some nice tips for all of you preparing for your nomadic vacation.
Here is their report, Enjoy!
This last summer we did what the Croatian diaspora does best – came home to enjoy the sun and sea. This time, however, we teamed up with Lowriders Rental for a different kind of vacation – a campervan road trip along the famous Croatian coast.
Being new to peculiarities of van life, we didn’t know what to expect so we packed light, bought a stash of cigarettes, and did an intensive course of yoga to mentally prepare for spending two weeks together 24/7. One of the nicest and most surprising things of traveling in a mini camper for the first time was the newly discovered ‘camping culture’. Much like in the mountains, where hikers greet, talk and share food, gear and advice with total strangers they wouldn’t even notice on the street, numerous fellow campers treated us as old friends, providing a touch of humanity in the most unusual places and recommending some sweet hidden camping spots.
On our every photo trip, things revolve around getting up well before the sunrise and shooting the empty streets of otherwise crowded cities. Therefore, the location of accommodation is of high importance. Of course, staying close to all the landmarks will get your wallet empty pretty soon, and that’s where our camper van played a key role, enabling us to comfortably sleep everywhere – from city centers, islands, to the most remote wilderness.
Some of the highlights of the trip:
- Sunset on Dubrovnik city walls
If you’re on a budget, a few places in Croatia will put a tear in your eye, the finest example being Dubrovnik. However, if there is one place in Croatia where you should forget about everything and just enjoy the experience – it’s Dubrovnik. With its unique position, massive walls surrounding the city, and glorious history, every corner of the city tells a story worthy of discovering
- streets of Rovinj old town and road tripping Istria in general
Rovinj, the last stop of our trip, is one of those places so close to our hometown that we never bothered to visit. Small, humble, and quiet, it somehow never came to my attention, and it took me more than 25 years to finally visit it. Today, it easily tops the list of the most beautiful towns we’ve seen and serves as a stark reminder that beauty is just around the corner.
Since an in-depth summary of the trip would take a large part of your day to read, we prepared only some highlights and put together a list of things we learned along the way.
1) Pack light
Think about how much clothes you really need. When you’ve done that, take half and leave it at home. Summers in Croatia are very reliable weather-wise – you’ll be boiling wherever you are. Also remember that you can wash your clothes in almost any town along the way, often paying with only a smile.
2) Re-think your necessities
Headlamps were among the key pieces of equipment we had on the trip, much more important than any clean underpants. I wish I could say the same about mosquito spray, but our brains’ RAM wasn’t strong enough to get that covered as well.
3) Be patient and understanding to your co-travelers
It is widely known that traveling is the best test of friendship, next to winning the jackpot with a joint lottery ticket. Sharing a campervan 24-7 for two weeks straight requires tolerance and patience, so make sure you packed a bit of those instead of some clothes. On the other hand, this way of traveling provides a unique environment where you are forced to get to know your co-travelers profoundly and genuinely, thus creating a unique bond you wouldn’t get elsewhere. After all, if you’ve managed to smell someone’s socks every day and live through their nervous outbursts, nothing much can stand in your way.
4) Rest and don’t stress about the schedule
If you’re planning to see ten different places in 10 days, forget about it. Sure, maybe you’ve been saving money for years, or maybe it’s your only chance to see Croatia, but the memories you will keep by thoroughly enjoying the places you visit are much more valuable than rushing and barely scratching the surface of the culture. Take time to talk to the locals (preferably drinking rakija together) and go outside the usual routes to experience the everyday life of the country.
5) Wake up early
Summers in Croatia will get packed with tourists. Getting up early is your best chance to experience its beauty fully and enjoy your favorite landmarks as they should be – without people invading your personal space with selfie sticks. As a bonus, you will witness some of the most spectacular sunrises in your life (or possibly the first ones you’ve seen).
6) Visit one of the islands
In the land of thousand islands, no visit is complete without seeing at least one. Cliches aside, islands are the last remaining parts of the coast where infrastructure hasn’t been entirely built, which offers endless opportunities to find a secret corner by some nameless beach and have the full experience of crystal-clear waters only for yourself.