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.

Rije­ka, their home town and a start­ing point of their trip.

 

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.

Galac­tic cap­ture @Brotherside

 

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.

Rov­inj, coastal Istri­a’s star attrac­tion

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.

Boris and San­dro shot by their friend @vchoiii

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).

Dubrovnik in the ear­ly hours

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.

Text and pho­tos by: @Brotherside

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