(To read the gripping first part, click here.)
We awoke the next sunny day, admitted how stupid the fight was, and moved on. We had big plans that involved laying in a cabana on a private beach club on a tiny uninhabited island. Carpe Diem not only has the most thumping open-air dance club in the Hvar harbor, they’ve also co-opted a small island nearby and turned it into a daytime beach club where one can rent loungers or cabanas and eat and drink all day while a DJ spins music.
We sent an email to reserve our cabana ages ago (a serious bargain at only $40 for the whole day) and received instructions on which water taxi to take and who to find once we reached Carpe Diem island.
What they did not communicate to us, however, was the fact that (a) although this is a beach club, there will be no towels in your cabana and, therefore, you needed to bring your own, and (b) they only accepted cash. Oh, and obviously, there was no ATM.
We packed a bag with books, sunscreen, cameras, and hats. We paused in our packing to query as to whether we needed towels. Me, ever the pragmatist, said, “No, that’s silly, of course there will be towels. Surely they wouldn’t let us pay for one of their top-line cabanas at a remote beach club and not have a couple of towels sculpted into towel swans awaiting us. Pshaw. What kind of beach club wouldn’t have towels?”
(In hindsight, I agree, that was quite silly of me to go to a beach with no towel, but in my defense, IT WAS A BEACH CLUB!!)
There were no towel swans. Nor were there any credit card machines. Which meant one of us—poor XFE graciously volunteered and I put up a mildly pitiful counter-offer—had to make the 20-minute trip back by water taxi and procure the essentials, then make the 20-minute return trip to Carpe Diem island. Which just freaking sucked. To put it mildly.
However, it was also during his multiple boat rides that XFE found out that the last water taxi from the island was at 7 pm. Again, something that was not conveyed to us in the numerous email exchanges. Kinda important information to know, since I had no desire to be abandoned on a scary remote island.
So, when XFE got back from his stupid excursions-in-bad-club-director communications, we proceeded to drink lots, and lots, and lots of lovely cold drinks, which led to a very jolly time all around. We read and sunbathed and participated in our favorite vacation activity: people watching. We tried again to dip our toes in the Adriatic (yep, still too cold for me). We had salads and a bottle of rose for lunch, then retired back in our cabana and drank more caipiroskas which are like caipirinhas but with vodka, and infinitely easier to pronounce.
We finally made our way back to the water taxi and Hvar Town, and decided to check out the beaches in town. A short, 10-minute walk from the harbor brought us to Hula Hula, a very popular outdoor beach club in Hvar.
Since the sun was slowly setting, we decided to hang out for a bit and found a small bench near a group of guys. Turns out we had stumbled into the private party areas, sorta of like the private bottle-service booths you see in Vegas. But no one kicked us out, so we just kept sipping our drinks and bopping along to the music while avoiding eye contact with our unwitting hosts.
And that’s when it turned a bit into a scene straight out of a rap video. The wait staff kept bringing the various private bottle-service parties (VPBSPs) bottle after bottle of pink champagne, which the VPBSPs then proceeded to shake up and spray at each other in what can only be described at pink champagne fights.
Each group would try to spray their champagne the farthest, douse the most people, and shoot the most bottles. At one point, I saw a guy in Gucci sunglasses and a popped collar shaking and shooting two bottles at the same time! And the wait staff just kept on bringing them more. We couldn’t believe it. It was insane.
It was also, clearly, time for us to go. Drenched in pink champagne and just a wee bit tipsy, we made our way back to our hotel, for pizza and French fries and bed.
The next morning we woke up ready to drive to Split. Now, the most direct route would be to catch the car ferry at Stari Grad, which is only a few minutes from Hvar Town. That ferry goes directly to Split. But we had had such a great time at our little lazy beach the day before we decided to drive back to the Sucuraj-Drvenik ferry so we could check out some of Hvar’s other, undiscovered beach areas.
Sunscreen applied and beach plan in hand, we liberated a few hotel towels, and got on the road just after 10 a.m. or so. About 45 minutes later, we ran into a road block with a lone construction worker leaning against a plastic orange temporary barrier. You see, that new asphalt we had so enjoyed the first day we drove through Hvar has to be laid at some point. And that point would be between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Daily. And, of course, there is no alternate road or route through the island. No more beaches for us that day.
When this information finally sunk in, we quickly backtracked to Stari Grad, disappointed and furious that no one had told us about the daily road closure. We drove up to the car ferry terminal just in time to be the first people to be refused entry on the already full 11:30 ferry that was just pulling out. We could be first in line for the next ferry at 2 p.m. Oh. Goody.
The ferry terminal at Stari Grad is not….let’s see…how would I put this? Glamorous? It’s not sketchy or anything (believe me…I’ve spent more than a fair amount of time in some bus terminals that should have been condemned), but it’s not very exciting either. Nor should it be. I mean, it’s where trapped people are killing time, waiting for their escape, ie: the next ferry. It’s not a destination hot spot.
They have a couple of big box-type stores with very sad looking merchandise in them (cheap children’s toys and plastic shoes, primarily). There were, of course, several take-away ice cream shops, including one that did not have any plastic spoons, something that I would think would be an important feature for a take-away ice cream shop. Instead, she gave us metal spoons that we could borrow and bring back after eating our ice cream.
Honestly, if it had been me and I had run out of plastic spoons, I probably would have just closed up for the day, or just let people keep the metal spoons and closed when I ran out. Sorry, boss. I’m not doing dishes for 10 kuna ($1.76) scoops of ice cream.
There was also a pub-type place where we sat glumly and had large beers and hot dogs. Well, I had a hot dog. XFE had a despondent little burger. Quite a difference from our lovely fresh salads and rose of the day before, let me tell you.
By the time our ferry had come, we were quite ready to shake off the Hvar Blues and get into the Split Spirits. The ferry ride was much longer and more boring than our previous short jaunt from Drvenik. There were also lots more rambunctious children on this ferry, or so it seemed to our Pity Party of Two.
Something had to be done to get us back into our cheerful vacation mood.
We were in luck. As we pulled into the Split harbor, a young man came slowly strolling through the cabin of ferry, spraying Ax Body Spray all over himself as he walked. It was seriously, just “psssst pssst pssssstttttttttttttttttt” as he walked through a crowded, enclosed cabin. Even children sitting nearby wrinkled their noses and fanned the air in front of their noses.
Someone had serious plans for the afternoon and he needed to be FRESH.
XFE and I busted out laughing and like that, the mood was alleviated. We began making jokes about what the most popular Ax Body Spray scent might be in Croatia. Would it be Carpe Diem Party Musk? What about Hvar Lavender Slate? Maybe Split Sexiness?
Here’s the thing about vacations: you don’t want to waste a whole precious day with mundane things like getting from point A to point B. You’ve only got so many days and you want each one of them to be full of wonder, or relaxation, or special memories; and things like logistics and boat schedules and road crews and credit card machines just put dents in your bright, shiny holiday dreams. But they’re also a very real part of travel.
Not every day will be full of pink champagne sunsets and suntanned skin. Sometimes you’ll miss a ferry. Sometimes you’ll get a face full of Ax Body Spray (this actually is especially true in Italy, by the way).
Sometimes you’ll get in a fight with your loved one over ice. ICE.
But. You’re still on vacation. And a vacation fight beats an average, ordinary at-home fight pretty much any day of the year.