Although I do not use this site and blog for travel writing very often, I feel like this may be a good starting point to get into this genre of journalism alongside some digital art I created related to one particular trip. I was in Croatia last Summer (2019) and enjoyed my trip to Dubrovnik and the island of Mljet.
Croatia is a warm and interesting country because it is a slavic-speaking country like Poland where I am currently at, but a much different type of Slavic. The people are also friendly, although they seemed more corrupt then the Polish. For instance, the ticket person in Dubrovnik up on a tower overlooking the city would just pocket the money you gave him and not even record it for just give you an official ticket. he would just make some excuse up and tell you to go up to the lookout.
The country overall is very gorgeous and full of wonders. There is a lot of lush greenery and rocky mountain sides to climb, particularly in Dubrovnik where a lot of people live literally on a hilltop overlooking the main city and port. I wondered to myself how they drive up and down these smalls streets up the hillside every day or what sort of great shape they must be to walk down them daily.
Dubrovnik is a very nice and elegant city where the main area of shops and restaurants, let us call it downtown although I am not sure if this is an official term for the area I am referring to, had a lot of activity going on. The floor tiles in the main part of it were literally shiny and you could see your own reflection walking down them. There were live street musicians performing, bars open of all sizes and varieties, as well as restaurants with people waiting for a spot at a table that overlooked the Adriatic (or Mediterrean) Sea.
I actually swam a couple times in Dubrovnik and the water was very warm and nice. It was almost greenish in hue. The only downside about it, as well as most of the Croatian coastline, was the fact the beaches were rocky and not sandy. Thus, it was not too easy to find a comfortable spot to lay down in.
We later went to Mljet for a couple of nights and Korčula for another two. Mljet was more of an excursion into a small and not very populated Croatian island; meanwhile, Korčula was the true primus inter pares of Croatia for me.
Both of these spots were islands around Dubrovnik that were 45-minute (or-so) boat rides away. Mljet was fun to go for hiking, jogging and bike riding into the wilderness at. It did not have many restaurants or much of a night or tourist scene from my memory, but it did have a nice museum and lake inside the island (salty I might add). It also had old Roman ruins we went to where I have some pictures and videos of and I may post later below.
Basically, the Croatians there did not really seem to care for foreigners or tourists too much and considered them as guests, but not people to go out of their way for, and were very proud of their heritage. They also liked to have fun and basically live on the edge while trying to hustle you whenever they got a chance. The bike rental business there was a whole racket where you could get a bike for a day and return it to another part of the island by night and they would give you like a broken bike and tell you it was new.
Despite, this their country was truly magnificent. It was a fun culture all within the larger slavic culture, due to how different it was from what I am used to and sort of mixed in with the mediterranean culture as a whole.
The last island we ended up at, which was Korčula was less steep and rocky from my memory than the other two, especially the AirBnB we stayed at in Dubrovnik. This part of Croatia truly mesmerized me and I have great memories from the trip here. The city itself was so gorgeous to just go on a stroll in due to how the sea literally encircled at and you felt it everywhere you went.
There were many clever little shops, restaurants and pubs here and this included even nightlife spots to go to in the evening. Of all the places in Croatia, I would say Korčula tops the spot for me and I would recommend it to everyone. It was also a bit cheaper than Dubrovnik as well and easier to traverse around without any need for Ubers or Taxis.
This brings me to another subject. In Dubrovnik, the fare for Ubers was almost as high as Taxis. They had some strange regulations against charging too much lower than cab fares apparently. The prices also were said to be much different, depending on season or time of the year and whether you are a local or not.
Despite me really preferring Korčula over the other two spots we visited, I still would recommend Dubrovnik and Mljet if you have the time or are doing a bigger trip. Mljet for the quieter outdoor excursion full of hiking or biking and Dubrovnik for the fancy, although more pricey fare with top-notch presentation and class.
When I was in Korčula, I started a digital sketch on my iPad that you see above. I was sitting down and eating breakfast as well as drinking some coffee off the main walkway overlooking the sea when a speedboat rode by. I then started. todo a quick sketch of the speedboat and the background around.
Below are some more variations of this sketch compromising of both original iPad art and Adobe Illustrator traces and filters I have added later. Keep in mind that I originally drew the boat where you could see both sides of the rows or sides of it.
However, when I recently looked at it, it seemed strange or that both were to the right side of the main cabin where the captain was rowing, thus I changed it. I will still post the older versions though as there is some flair to that version of the boat or aspect I prefer and am still unsure which to go with.
Below are some of the older versions or the original way I had the boat shaped.
I am thinking of writing a more in-depth article about my trip to Croatia and publishing it either on Medium or trying to pitch it to a publication such as AFAR. If I get it published elsewhere, I will post the link within this blog post later.
Some older versions of the digital sketch below.