Vis: The Best Island in Croatia.

With over seven hundred islands in Croatia it’s hard to choose which islands to visit. According to Wikipedia, there’s only forty seven that are inhabited so that helps a bit!

Our favourite island in Croatia has retained it’s charm and resisted development. It has some of the best beaches in the country, has fabulous fresh seafood and local wines and imparts a feeling of laziness even though there is a lot to do. .

Sounds idyllic doesn’t it….and it is!
For us, the best island in Croatia is Vis. 

Vis: The Best Island in Croatia

Vis is the island that draws us back to Croatia.

It is the furthest island in the Adriatic from the Croatian coast hidden behind the islands of Hvar, Brac and Solta.
For many years it was the military and naval headquarters of Tito’s partisan army and was closed to the public until 1989. This meant that it escaped large commercial development and was able to retain its natural beauty.  The architecture on the island dates back to the early days of Venetians rule. Beautiful old stone buildings, made from stone from the nearby island of Brac, line narrow streets and alleyways in Vis and Komiza.

Vis: The Best Island in Croatia

 

The main towns on Vis

Vis (Luka)

Vis town is situated in a protected bay…Viska Luka… on the northern end of the island. At one end of the bay is the port of Vis (Luka), where the ferries from Split arrive. Cafes and bars that spill into the squares and along the waterfront, come to life at night.

Vis: The Best Island in Croatia Vis: The Best Island in Croatia

Vis: The Best Island in Croatia

 

The walk to the other end of the bay and the small village of Kut takes twenty minutes. The road runs along the waters edge providing glorious views of the bay.

Vis: The Best Island in Croatia

 

Vis: The Best Island in Croatia

 

Vis: The Best Island in Croatia

 

 

Vis: The Best Island in Croatia

 

Kut

Kut has a lovely feel about it…some of the town’s old stone buildings are built to the water’s edge whilst others surround the square. There’s a few bars in the square and a couple of restaurants along the waterfront but on the whole it is quieter at this end of the bay! Vis’ best restaurant, Pojoda, can be found in Kut.

Vis: The Best Island in Croatia

The village of Kut at sunset

 

Vis: The Best Island in Croatia

Yachts on the waterfront at Kut

 

Vis: The Best Island in Croatia

Kut

 

 

Komiza

Komiza on the western end of the island, is predominately a fishing village.
The village is a delight to wander around, fresh seafood graces the local restaurant’s menus and cafes and bars line the promenade. You can also take a boat from Komiza to visit the Blue Cave on Bisevo Island.

 

Vis: The Best Island in Croatia

Komiza

 

 

Vis: The Best Island in Croatia

Vis: The Best Island in Croatia

 

Vis has fabulous beaches

Vis has some of the best beaches in Croatia. The southern coast is dotted with beautiful bays and secluded coves. Most of the beaches are stone beaches but there are a few sand beaches on the island. Stoncica, Stiniva and Srebena are favourites. Granvalac which is in walking distance from Kut, is another. There will be more on these beaches next week.

 

Vis: The Best Island in Croatia

Stiniva Beach

 

 

Vis: The Best Island in Croatia

Vis: The Best Island in Croatia

Stoncica Beach

Vis: The Best Island in Croatia

Stunning clear blue water

Vis has great food and wine

It was not an easy time for the people on Vis during the years the island was closed. Many left to seek fame and fortune.  Those who remained were were either fisherman or involved in agriculture. Today these industries are flourishing and as a result there are some interesting wines and great food available.

Vis: The Best Island in Croatia

Lobster on the grill in Komiza

 

Vis: The Best Island in Croatia

Fabulous pizza at Karijola on Vis

 

 

Vis: The Best Island in Croatia

Fresh sardines

 

 

Vis: The Best Island in Croatia

Fresh fish at Pajoda

 

 

Local Wine

Driving through the centre of the island you will pass many vineyards. The Vugava grapes used to make white wine, were thought to have been bought to the island by the Romans whilst the red wine grape, the plavac, is a Croatian favourite. Olive groves also flourish and the olive oil from here is excellent.

Vis: The Best Island in Croatia

Vineyards in central Vis

 

Vis: The Best Island in Croatia

Local wine for sale

 

Vis: The Best Island in Croatia

White wine with a view

 

 

Many of the vineyards also offer delicious local cuisine. Cooking under the peka or bell is a Croatian speciality. You should definitely try this at least once whilst you are in Croatia. Lamb, beef or fish together with potatoes and other vegetables, are cooked for hours in a large pan over coals. Slow cooking at its best and the result is delicious.

Vis: The Best Island in Croatia

Cooking under the peka

 

How to get to Vis

Jadrolinija Ferries leave Split for Vis twice a day and take two and a half hours. The boats also take vehicles.
Krilo (Kapetan Luka) have a fast service from Split to Vis taking one and a half hours. They do not take cars. Last year they started operating a service on Tuesdays between Split, Hvar and Vis. This could be very handy if you are going between these islands and it would be worth arranging your itinerary around it but please check their latest schedule first.

 

Where to stay

There are only four hotels on the island. Of these the Hotel San Giorgio is the best.

Most people that go to Vis stay in one of the islands many apartments in either in Vis or in Komiza. These can easily be found the web. Personally I love to stay in the Kut end of Vis town.

Vis: The Best Island in Croatia

Villa Vis

 

Villa Vis Croatia

We stayed at the Villa Vis Croatia, a four room B&B in a fabulous position in Kut whose room rates range from 80E in low season to 125E in high season based on a three night stay. There is no lift. Access to the rooms is via a small spiral staircase. I recommend the green room which has it’s own entrance. Tatjana is a fabulous hostess and knows everything there is to know about Vis and can help you decide where to eat and what to do.

 

Coming up in the next few weeks: 
The Best Beaches on Vis
Where to Eat on Vis
What to do on Vis

 

Have you been to Vis?  Did you enjoy your stay there? I’d love to hear which island you consider the best island in Croatia

 

 

Other articles on Croatia that you may enjoy:
Seven Weeks in Croatia: The Highlights
Skradin: Gateway to Croatia’s Krka National Park
A.Ston.ishing Oysters in Croatia
The Croatian Island of Cres

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Sculpture by the Sea comes to Cottesloe Beach!

Sculpture by the Sea is a favourite event on the Perth art calendar. For two weeks in March, sculptors from all over the world take over Cottesloe Beach to exhibit their art. It is a popular exhibition with increasingly large crowds coming to view the sculptures. Special programmes are organised for the school children who come to be initiated into the world of sculpture.

Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe 2015

The last time I was in Perth for Sculpture by the Sea was in 2013 so it was lovely to be back wandering amongst the sculptures and enjoying the views. There have been a few changes. There are still many traditional sculptures admired for their artistic value but today it is the whimsical pieces that amuse and become the exhibitions talking points.

Some of the artists have become firm favourites with the West Australian public. Artists such as Chen Wenling return year after year.

Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe 2015

Chen Wenling…harbour

 

Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe 2015

Sculpture by the Sea Awards

The $10,000 West Australian Sculptor Scholarship was this year shared by Norton Flavel and Kim Perrier.

“Together the two winners of the WA Sculptor’s scholarship are a contrast in approaches: whereas Flavel’s sculpture is shiny and open, Perrier’s is dusky and closed. What both sculptor’s share is a consummate understanding of the expressive transformation of materials.” – Dr Michael Hill, Head of Art History & Theory, National Art School

Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe 2015

Norton Flavel…. the lucky country

 

Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe 2015

Kim Perrier….ashes to ashes

 

The awards for the Peoples Choice Prize and the Kids Choice Prize will be announced the day before the exhibition closes on March 23rd.

 

Sculpture by the Sea Exhibitors

Other exhibitors in this years Sculpture by the Sea include…..

Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe 2015

Naidee Changmoh…. the ascetic

 

Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe 2015

David Černy….babies three pieces

 

Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe 2015

Keid Moseholm…is this a step forward

 

Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe 2015

Benjmin Storch…constellation

 

Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe 2015

Brad Jackson ….wanders conventus

 

Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe 2015

Warlukurlangu Artists…..water dreaming

 

Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe 2015

Ken Unsworth AM…..my home is your home

 

Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe 2015

Neon…house of mirrors

 

Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe 2015

The view from inside Neon’s house of mirrors.

 

Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe 2015

Ayad Alqaragholli…hearts in paradise

 

Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe 2015

Kevin Draper….penelope 2015

 

Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe 2015

Yuko Takahashi….. way of the wind 2015

 

Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe 2015

Annette Thas…dame cockatoo and entourage

 

One of my favourites….

Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe 2015

Wendi Zhang….mi no 5

 

Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe 2015

Close up of Wendi Zhang’s red mesh flamingoes

 

Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe 2015

Russell Sheridan…..sisters

 

This is the first year that an underwater sculpture has been shown….

Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe 2015

Olivia Samec and James Moe…sanctuary

 

Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe 2015

Stormie Mills…..the #stormie millsproject

 

Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe 2015

Ray Surman…food for thought

 

Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe 2015

Jimmy Rix,….roo shooter

 

Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe 2015

The view from the Surf Club where smaller sculptures are on display

 

Which is your favourite sculpture? 

 

Articles you may enjoy:
The Cloisters: A Hidden Museum in New York
The Golden Mosaics of Monreale Cathedral
The Beauty of Melbourne’s Notorious Weather
Sculpture by the Sea

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Explore the Elements: A Photography Challenge

Photography competitions are a challenge in not just taking fabulous photos, but in choosing photos to match an esoteric idea. I love taking photos but a photographer I am not, so I need a lot of prompting to enter. This time, the prompt to enter Thomas Cook’s photo blogging competition ‘Explore the Elements‘ has come from Jan from Budget Travel Talk and Nita from Spilling the Beans. Thank you.

The challenge is to publish four photos that best express the elements through travel blogging: Earth, Water, Fire and Air

Here are the photos I have chosen:

Explore the Elements: Water

We are very lucky here in my home state of Western Australia that our long coastline offers a life based around water. Lives depend on the fishing and lobster fishing industries, boat building offers jobs to others and the tourist industry  thrives on the scenery that makes our state famous. Beautiful beaches and clear blue waters are probably something I take for granted.

Explore the Elements: Water

Europe has history, architecture, food and many other things but the waters that we saw never compared with home until we went to Croatia!
The island of Veli Budikovac, just off the coast of Vis, was surrounded by some of the most beautiful clear, blue water that I have seen! It probably has a lot to do with the stone ‘sand’ but whatever the reason, these waters are hard to beat. The bays on both side of the island offer a fabulous place to moor to spend a lazy day on a boat.

 

Explore the Elements:Fire

Explore the Elements: Fire

Fire means cooking….and again I thought immediately of Croatia and some of the fabulous meals we had of fresh seafood cooked on the open grill….especially on Vis.

I could also have mentioned the Croatian specialty of cooking under the bell, or peka, where large casserole type dishes of meat or fish and vegetables are cooked for hours over hot coals. Delicious!

 

Explore the Elements: Earth

Explore the Elements: Earth

Mention earth and again I think of food and wine!
Great food and wine come together in Piemonte and when you look at the soil there, it’s no wonder the food and wine is fabulous.

The rich clods of soil that hold the vineyards of the Langhe area of Piemonte are just the start of the process. Here Nebbiolo grapes that are the basis of the famous Barolo and Barbaresco wines, flourish. The delicate white truffle is also found in the forests in this area by the specially trained truffle hunting dogs.  This delicacy is best tasted shaved over eggs or fresh pasta.

Explore the Elements: Earth

Explore the Elements: Air

Air is all around us and we are never more reliant on it than when taking a hot air balloon ride. Ballooning is is one of the most peaceful, exhilarating and exciting things to do. My first balloon trip was over the desert at Wadi Rum in Jordan. I loved it so much I had to take another….this time in Cappadocia!

Explore the Elements: Air

Cappadocia has some of the most unusual and beautiful landscapes in the world. At times you feel you can reach out and touch the fairy chimneys, pigeon houses or the trees that fill narrow valleys. The sight of the sun rising and the sky covered with balloons floating through the air is not to be forgotten.

 

As the competition closes tomorrow I won’t be nominating bloggers to enter! If you’d like to know more about the competition, or would like to enter at the last minute, you can read about it here.

 

What photos would you have chosen for these categories?

 

Other articles you may enjoy:
Capture the Colour
Capture the Colour in Turkey
It’s all about Shapes

 

 

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A Taste of New York: Knish

knish1

Have you ever had a knish? I certainly hadn’t before I went exploring New York’s Lower Eastside with Walks of New York.

A Taste of New York: Knish

 

As the poster at Yonah Schimmel’s Knish Bakery says ‘a knish consists of a filling covered with dough that is baked never fried’. 

The fillings can be sweet or savoury. The traditional filling is mashed potato. Schimmels also mention cabbage, onions, kasha (buckwheat) and cheese as traditional fillings too. Today anything goes…spinach, mushroom, sweet potato…even fruit.

A Taste of New York: Knish

The Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe bought knishes to New York in the 1890s along with many other traditional foods.

Yonah Schimmel started selling knishes from a cart in the 1890s. He opened a shop in East Houston St in 1937 and since then this family run business has operated from here. The knishes are made by hand below the shop and sent upstairs in an old lift. There’s no short cuts here!

A Taste of New York: Knish

 

A Taste of New York: Knish

 

We tried one with spinach and cheese and another with a potato filling…very tasty! What a great way to start the day!

A Taste of New York: Knish

Knish and eggnog!

 

 Have you ever tried a knish?

 

Yonah Schimmel Knish Bakery
137 E Houston St 

 

Articles you may enjoy:
Eating in New York
What to do in New York
Brunch in New York
The Cloisters: A Hidden Museum in New York

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A Culinary Backstreets Food Tour in Athens

Food, glorious, food….I’m always in search of local food and if you don’t know a city, one of the best ways to find the places to go is to join a food tour.

So when Jo from Frugal First Class Travel asked if I’d like to join her and Vanessa from Turnipseed Travel on a Culinary Backstreets food tour in Athens , I jumped at the opportunity.

 

A Culinary Backstreets Food Tour in Athens

As we sat down to breakfast, I knew we were in for a treat. How could we not be when the first dish we tasted was this delicious Greek yoghurt with honey and fresh walnuts!

A Culinary Backstreets Food Tour in Athens

I could have eaten this yoghurt all day but it was not the only dish our guide, Despina chose. Galaktoboureko, is a tasty slice similar to a custard slice. Encased in filo pastry, the slice can also be made with vanilla and orange.

A Culinary Backstreets Food Tour in Athens

This was followed by a delicious pudding which baffled us when we first tasted it. Moustalevira is a traditional dish that is made from the must left over after the grapes have been pressed. It was more like a jelly …an addictive jelly topped with walnuts!

A Culinary Backstreets Food Tour in Athens       A Culinary Backstreets Food Tour in Athens

 

Despina explained that this old fashioned dairy bar is one of the last of its type in the heart of Athens. Now being worked by the fourth generation, it has been here since 1931.

A Culinary Backstreets Food Tour in Athens        A Culinary Backstreets Food Tour in Athens

 

This became a recurring theme on our walk. Most of the places we visited had been in business for a long time. Family traditions were important in Athens and most business we saw were now being run either by the sons, grandsons or great grandsons of the founder. They have stood the test of time, watched newer places come and go and now serve the younger generations of their original customers.

As with the dairy bar, our next stop Krinos had a similar history. Krinos is one of the oldest loukoumades shops in Athens. The owner’s grandfather opened a shop in Crete in 1912. When he died the sons moved to Athens and now the business is run by one of the grandsons.

 

Loukoumades at Krinos

Loukoumades are delicious deep fried small balls of dough….a greek doughnut! We tried two different ways of cooking them In Athens…one in a honey syrup and this one in a sugar syrup. Cooking in sugar syrup is the Cretan way of making them. They are light and delicious… and moreish! The serve is quite large so you only need to order one plate. Make sure they are freshly cooked for you.

A Culinary Backstreets Food Tour in Athens

 

Feta Cheese

Everyone knows feta cheese but did you know that only the Greeks are officially allowed to use the name as it is DOC (Denomination of Controlled Origin) protected in the European Union.

At our next stop, another business that had been in the family since 1916, it was explained that feta is made either from pure sheep’s milk or a mix of up to 30% goats milk. If it is made within these boundaries it can be marketed as feta.
The northern mountainous regions are famous for their feta. The cheese matures in brine for at least 2 months before being sold. It is then sent to the city in beech barrels that can only be used four times. A barrel holds 65kgs of cheese which sells for 8.50E per kilo. This shop sells a barrel a day which is a lot of greek salads!

You can also buy butter here made from half goats milk and half sheep’s milk. I’m told this butter is great for desserts!

A Culinary Backstreets Food Tour in Athens

 

Athens Central Market

We had now wandered into the streets surrounding the Athens Central Market which you can read about here.

A Culinary Backstreets Food Tour in Athens

The fish and meat markets in the historic covered market are definitely worth seeing but if the blood, gore and guts of the meat market is not for you, head to the fish market, grab a stool at the small bar in the far corner and order a glass of tsiperou (an aperitif from northern Greece) and a plate of mezes.  Jo and Vanessa have stories about our time in the market which you can read on Frugal First Class Travel and Turnipseed Travel

A Culinary Backstreets Food Tour in Athens

 

Greek Coffee

Coffee stop…..and a coffee cooked in sand!
I’m not a coffee drinker but those who were, said it was similar to turkish coffee. We watched how it’s made, fascinated by the process but I don’t think it’s something you can do at home.

A Culinary Backstreets Food Tour in Athens

 

Pastourma

From here we walked past the vegetable market to a local pastourma shop. Pastourma is air dried meat similar to the pastirma from Turkey.  Just near the markets are two shops run by feuding Armenians. Both sell pastourma, cheeses and different mezzes. Originally they both had small shops but one shop then expanded and of course the other had to follow. Don’t you love the local gossip!!

A Culinary Backstreets Food Tour in Athens

 

I have tried pastirma in Turkey but never camel pastourma. It was actually not bad…..very similar to the beef and not as strong as the lamb. We tried it with a couple of different Greek cheeses including metsovone, a delicious smokey cheese that is only made in one area of Greece.

A Culinary Backstreets Food Tour in Athens

 

Greek Slouvaki

A Culinary Backstreets Food Tour in Athens
What is a Greek food tour without a slouvaki stop. I was waiting to see where Despina would take us. Had we not been following her, we would have walked right by the Kostas’s  Slouvaki Shop. It’s quite well known and the queues certainly indicated it was popular.  We were fortunate that Despina had rung ahead as our slouvakis arrived two minutes after we did. I can’t believe I found room to eat it but we all wolfed them down….delicious!

 

Seafood Lunch

I thought the slouvaki was lunch but no!
A few turns to the left , a few to the right and we were walking down a little arcade. After seven stops, Despina announced that it’s lunch time…a late lunch! We arrived well after the lunch time crowds have left but that was ok, the food was great.

Zucchini fritters and a traditional split pea dip preceded the cafes signature dish…..a plate of small tiny whole fish accompanied by a tasty plate of wild greens. We ate it alll!

A Culinary Backstreets Food Tour in Athens

Gelato in Athens…Yes!

No food tour is complete without dessert but we weren’t expecting gelato. After all we had eaten it was the perfect finish to our culinary tour. The owners had gone to Italy to learn the secrets of making gelato and had returned only recently to open this shop. Being a citrus girl, it was my gelato of choice whilst others favoured pistachio and chocolate. So good were they that we managed to return a few days later and try some of the other flavours! A Culinary Backstreets Food Tour in Athens

Unlike the other shops we had been to on the tour, this shop had only been open a short while but I wonder whether in its future it too will have a history to tell and be run by family descendants.

 

Greek cuisine is actually quite simple. It’s all about the best ingredients, the seasonal produce and family recipes. With Culinary Backstreets you will be introduced to this, the history and the anecdotes and taste some culinary delights that you might not have otherwise found.

 

 

I love a great food tour! Whilst we were given a media discount on the Culinary Backstreets Tour of Athens, it was not a factor in whether I enjoyed it or not.

 

Other tours you may enjoy:
A Foodies Tour in Istanbul
Walking New York’s Lower East Side
Made in Bensonhurst

 

 

 

 

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