What an amazing place. Vis was a great choice for us to stay on our 1 year wedding anniversary. We arrived the day before and wandered the 20 minutes along the harbour towards what could very well be the nicest and most expensive (still affordable) place we will stay in during the whole year, San Giorgio. Thankfully it was only for 2 nights so the budget would not be too stretched. Until, I realised I got the ferry schedule wrong and we needed one more night… Whoops. We booked the cheapest room, but the nice girl at the reception discovered it was our anniversary and we were upgraded to the second best room.
The afternoon was spent wandering around the town of Vis, along the harbour and through the backstreets lined with beautiful old buildings. One thing we noticed was the majority of shops were closed. It was a Saturday after all so we thought it shut down for the weekend, until we arrived at the main swimming area and found all the local shop-owners sunbathing and swimming. Come 5pm, they packed up and strolled back to work to open by 6pm for the evening trade. Not a bad way to do it.
We wandered back to the hotel (via a couple of bars) and politely enquired as to the whereabouts of the cheapest restaurant. It was a one-minute walk away, called Lambik, and served our new new favourite food, pizza. Our minds were blown, we had never thought of it, but we will be making this pizza from now on. We will give you the recipe
Dried Oregano and…
Wait for it….
It was delicious and cheap. It was the best ‘Pizza Day’ we had to date. Rounded of by a delicious red wine from the Island we meandered back to the hotel for a good nights sleep on a real life double bed.
The following day was our wedding anniversary, so we were blowing the budget and going to see the island and tour their vineyards. We started with a romantic breakfast (Coco Pops and Sausages) before jumping in the car with our guide, Robert from Paiz Tours. First, we drove across the island to Komiza, where we jumped on a small boat to the island of Bisevo. We hopped on another boat and motored around the point to a small opening in the rocks where we entered the Blue Cave. It is blue, it is a cave and it is definitely worth seeing, but we were comparing it to another blue cave we had visited in Vanuatu. Both equally as beautiful, but in Vanuatu you have to swim under the rocks to get to it, and with the crystal clear water at this blue cave, we all wanted to do the same, but there was no swimming. We were quickly back on the boat to Vis, where we wandered the old town before bumping into another couple from the hotel, who kindly bought us a beer (they had heard how someone had blown the budget with an extra nights stay) before going for our first swim in the Mediterranean. You could call it a swim, but realistically we hobbled across the hot pebbles into the water, where we stood for 10 minutes trying to get up the courage to dive into the cold water. When we finally did, we immediately stood up and walked out to enjoy a well earned beer and a… ummm… Pizza. Don’t judge, we eat other food as well but it seems where ever you go, pizza is everywhere.
Robert picked us up at 3pm and we headed off on our wine tour. We had made things more difficult by starting in Komiza and it was also a Sunday so rather than just checking out the vineyards, we were lucky enough to get a full tour of the island as well. First up – we went up. We drove to the to the highest point of the island, Hum, that had incredible views over the Adriatic and where, around the corner stood a beautiful, and tiny chapel Saint Spirit.
Where we stood, was not actually the highest point, as we could see on the hill next to us, was a military station for the Civilian Army and NATO. Robert explained that the Island of Vis was formerly the general headquarters for Tito. We were back in the car and before long were driving off-road where we pulled up to walk a few hundred meters to what would have once been one of the oldest lighthouses in the world, but now, a bunker from the wars, 2nd and Yugoslav. It was another beautiful view and as we drove back to the main road, we inquired about a strange wall we had seen on the way in. He said it was a former spot for anti aircraft missiles and was above a bunker that was part of almost 70km of bunkers and tunnels that were on the island. He asked if we wanted to see one, and of course, we did, so he detoured down another dirt road. We entered the bunker through what looked like the remains of an old farmhouse. It was dark, so Robert went first, flashlight in hand and at every doorway, would run the light around the doorframe, then along all the corners of the room before entering. The only thing we could imagine he was looking for should not have been imagined, so we blanked it from our minds and ventured further in. In the dark and dingy concrete rooms, there were still abandoned wooden gun racks as well as old ammunition boxes . It was quite surreal, and claustrophobic being in the tunnels as we went deeper and deeper until we found a small spiral staircase that led us to the top of another one of the former anti aircraft missile spots.
We drove around the rest of the island, stopping at beaches and and some vineyards. One in particular was situated in a former shooting range overlooked by 4 entrances to bunkers. We finished the tour with Tony Lipanovic, the owner of all the vineyards we had visited earlier and where, in a former military bunker where he produces the wine and where we got to taste. We tried a red, Plavac, which was nice, and white, Vugava, that was incredible (2012 is the year you want). He told us that all of his wine is currently sold only in Vis and he is yet to export it, so thankfully, if we ever want to to drink it again, we have have to go back. Ah well.
We spoke for about 2 minutes about the wine and about an hour talking about the well known Croatian sport – cricket. Tony is a mad cricketer and is in the local cricket team that has even hosted the Marylebone Cricket Club. Randomly, the topic of conversation turned to Australian cane toads. When told that they were a pest and difficult to kill, Robert looked at us puzzled, until his eyes lit up and explained how to get rid of them. “Napalm them,” he exclaimed. The idea worked for Tony too, as it would create land for a cricket pitch. Clearly we had too many wines, so we headed back to the hotel where we had a lovely dinner in their courtyard restaurant, Boccadoro.
On our final day, we hired a scooter and rode across the island, flippers in hand to snorkel at another bay, Srebrna. It was a bit of a walk down a hill to beautiful white-pebbled beach with crystal blue water. We donned our mask and snorkel and quickly jumped in, much quicker than yesterday, surprisingly. The visibility was great, but there was not a lot of marine life to see, a few fish and a purple-pink jellyfish and quite a few sea urchins. I just popped my head up to tell Sarah to be careful of little black spikey creatures when 10 metres away, on the shore, we noticed a similar creature attached to very obese man standing on the rocks. Ahhh, a nudist beach!
We giggled like school children and swam away, only to look back and realise it was a complete family of naked people eating lunch. I guess in Europe, a family who eats naked together – stays together…
We jumped on the scooter and rode away (still giggling) and sat on our balcony watching the sun set over the bay, with a chilled glass of Tony’s Vugava wine talking about how much we loved the place. We had our final dinner – Tuna Pizza, of course – before heading to bed before our 7am ferry to Hvar.