I used to think the beaches in Split were the most beautiful beaches I had ever seen, especially beaches like Kašjuni. But even Žnjan and Ovčice seemed ideal (though I did always think Bačvice was a little overrated). The beaches and the sea were beyond anything I had seen elsewhere: tranquil, clear, and accessible without being over developed. Though, I noticed that locals weren’t that impressed.
Before my daughter was born, my wife acted like she couldn’t be bothered going to a beach if it wasn’t south of Omiš, or on an island. Split’s beaches just weren’t worth getting out of the house for. At the time I thought this was super snobby. Like your friend who will only drink really nice wine even though everyone is having a good time and the wine is not bad… nope, fine wine or nothing.
Seeing the difference
Then I went to some of Croatia’s exquisite beaches like Brela, Baška Voda, and Makarska (before the season starts) and I too became a beach connoisseur. And so this week as my cousin and his girlfriend visited Croatia for the first time, it was my turn to be the snob. We were swimming on a beach that’s not quite Žnjan but close enough that we all still call it Žnjan. And by any standards it was nice. Still, I had to turn on the snobbery, and let them know that I was now versed in the finer things in life, like beaches with strange sounding names.
‘You know this is considered a crappy beach,’ I said. Unaware of the fact that I just informed them that they travelled thousands of kilometers for me to take them to a ‘crappy’ beach. Though it didn’t matter, because like me they couldn’t understand how this could be a crappy beach. But then I felt bad and had to add, ‘Um.. tomorrow… we’ll drive to a better beach.’ Saved! Except, I saw that everything south of Split was going to be in the 39-40 degree temperature range. I imagined long slow moving caravans of cars, crowded cafes, and very crowded beaches.
To the islands
Then inspiration struck! Let’s go to an island! My wife thought I meant Supetar on Brač, and was like no. But I threw out something unexpected: Šolta! And so the next day, after an easy, hour long ferry ride, we arrived on Šolta. And even I, with all my snobby pretensions, couldn’t believe how beautiful the sea was, and just around from where we disembarked from the ferry.
Isolated and insulated
There is just something about being on an island that is unique, though it doesn’t seem like it should be. After all, we were not on some adventure, but only an hour from Split. Yet, being disconnected from the mainland geographically helps sever your connections psychologically. While we were on the island we all spent less time on social media, and more time being in the present. The stress of time and its passing seemed to wash away as we swam in the sea. On the mainland there is a feeling that the rest of the world is always tugging on you. On the island all that seemed much further away than just the opposite shore. For a few hours, amid a hot afternoon the whole world felt infinitely far away.