June 5th, 2012 | Posted by Shannon
– Be Yourself. Nobody Else is Better Qualified.
Menu at the Hula Hula Bar, Hvar Town
It is difficult for me to get started on a post about a place that I feel is so magical that it transcends anything that I could possibly write about it. Really difficult. There are so many layers to this island, which I truly feel is a magical place. I am, in the words of Evelyn Waugh, drowning in honey, stingless.
Its not that it is a place for everyone, this island. It would not be for people who have a hard time sitting around staring at the sea, or for people that get irritated by tourists easily. It would not be for people who can’t or don’t want to walk too much. Maybe it would not be for people who get scared off by luxury yachts in the harbor, who don’t see just past the yacht the little dingy with the guy sorting out his fishing tackle and a golden retriever chilling at the stern.
But for me, Hvar is a place that is singing in its own voice, regardless of the tourists or the yachts or the happy hour specials. Hvar has been around so long we that are here now are just a tiny blip on the radar. Having said that, if I were a Venetian sailor coming through back in the 15th century, I might have stayed here. I feel myths and legends all around me. It is so amazing here.
Yesterday, because it was way cooler and dryer out than the previous couple of days, I walked up to the fortress at the top of the town. The Venetians watched out for invading Turks up there. And later the Austrians had it. Until now, I guess I didn’t really know the Austrians controlled a lot of the Adriatic sea after Napoleon. Did you ever sort of go “what?” or “huh?” or even snigger a little when Maria Von Trapp’s captain was a Austrian naval hero? Well snigger no more. Anyway.
Walking up to the fort is almost better than being at the fort. For one thing, there is that wind again – the most pleasurable wind I think I have ever known. It is clean and warm, and somehow even managed to blow the oil out of my hair. The path up the hill is all stairs at first but then changes into easy to traverse switchbacks lined with some pretty awesome flora and fauna. Backyards at the top of the stairs have fig and orange trees and grapevines, above that surrounding the switchback paths are pine trees, olive trees, and a lot of cactus and succulents. The air smells of pine. It is most intoxicating up there. In my mind I watched the Greeks arrive and then the Venetians on their large and colorful ships. Centuries of ships and of people watching them come in, just like I was doing.
It is at times like these when I really and truly love to be alone. Mostly so people don’t think I am crazy.
By the time I got down the hill it was 3 PM and I was kind of hungry, but in a sort of haze so I went back to the Hula Hula bar, thinking I would eat something. Once I got there – and I really, really, REALLY love that place – I didn’t want to eat anything. Somehow bar food was going to totally wreck the vibe at that particular moment.
On the way to the Hula Hula bar I snuck around to the front of my Venetian ocean cottage. It is so beyond awesome, that I can’t fathom not staying there someday. Check it out:
There is a sign that it is for rent, but no contact information. But I will persevere. I thought to myself, I want to see the waves crashing, I want to be here when there are no people except the islanders, I want to watch a crazy storm cross the bay and hit the windows with force. Today, it looked like I would get my wish – it rained in the night and then was cloudy in the morning. The beaches were deserted, but it was just as beautiful.
Later on, it cleared up and was, unbelievably, even more beautiful than before. I had plans today to go on a hop on hop off bus that goes all over the island. But the bus was broken today. So instead I went to a place where nuns make lace out of the agave cactus that grows all over the island, and walked around some more, and went to the Hula Bar and then to a fantastic bar where I got my Don Draper photo:
It was hard for me to get myself off that couch. The fact that I could sit there as long as I did, and that the wine was something like $8.00 a glass.. I am surprised I am not STILL there.
I have one more day here, and hopefully the bus will run. Then it is on to Dubrovnik. In the meantime, more of Hvar Town:
But at this moment, I did not smell pine. Instead, I smelled saltwater.