The glassy jewel tone blues and sapphires, solar flaring beams of sun light, and the romance of living the life at sea. Our Flightie Chadd Andre set sail on the Adriatic sea in Croatia with Topdeck, brought home new memories and possibly just made new friends for life:
Croatia is a destination that I’d been wanting to explore for some time, and I had always considered a sailing or small ship experience in the Mediterranean somewhere as a bucket-list trip. I had previously thought I might do that some day in Greece, but when this opportunity to travel with Topdeck Travel presented itself, it was ideal, especially since I’d been to Greece on several other trips. I had only heard positive things about Croatia, so to explore a new destination just around the corner from Greece was a no-brainer (although Topdeck also provides a similar sailing experience in Greece, Turkey, and Ibiza).
The overall experience from beginning to end was pretty much flawless. After a relatively painless trek across the Atlantic with Lufthansa Airlines, (connecting in Frankfurt), we arrived in Split, Croatia, from where we would embark on our week-long adventure. The group managed to find itself together in a random roof-top bar along the Riva (the main waterfront promenade) and you could very quickly tell that the diversity and dynamic of the group was going to lend itself well to an epic week together.
To begin with, the daily pace and routine of the trip was ideal – relaxed and flexible. Each day looked very similar in its overall structure: breakfast at 8 a.m. and then we set sail at 9 a.m. After we set sail from Split in the early afternoon on the following day, we spent a couple of hours at sea heading towards our first port of call. We anchored in a gorgeous little cove for our first daily swim-stop. After a few jumps off the boat into the fresh Adriatic Sea, we had lunch on-board and then continued a short distance further before we docked in the small little village of Milna on the island of Brac.
We spent the rest of our day wandering and exploring this cute and quaint town, had a number of pints on the waterfront in the warm sunshine, before we headed back on board for dinner followed by some evening socializing, games, and group bonding. The evening hours turned into morning hours. The boat remained docked in town overnight. The rest of the week took us onward to Hvar, Korcula, Dubrovnik (aka King’s Landing from Game of Thrones), Mljet, Makarska (and an intense zip-lining adventure), before returning back to Split.
As each day passed, we constantly commented on how thankful for the experience we were, amazed by the beauty of the landscape and the environment, the charming villages and towns we passed along the way, the pleasant weather (some of the sunniest locations in Europe), as well as the history, architecture, and friendliness of the people. Our crew on board were amazing and we were all friends by the end of the week. Most of us are now friends on Facebook and follow each other on Instagram. The food quality on board was, quite honestly, impressive – I don’t think anybody in the group expected such a high calibre of cuisine on board. The ship itself was immaculate – clean, modern, well-maintained and appointed – much more so than it would otherwise appear to be from any online research. And importantly, the drinks on board were exceptionally affordable!
Overall, this was a fantastic way to travel. We were able to see the small local sights and towns that we would never otherwise had been able to see if it weren’t for our gallant tour leader. Beyond those elements, the social aspect of the trip just took it over the top. Travelling in a group of relative strangers is always interesting, but this experience had a way of bringing us all together, very closely, in the span of a week. We all keep in touch to this day through a group WhatsApp conversation – there’s nothing quite like waking up to 117 unread messages from your new friends from all around the world, who make you laugh and brighten your day. If I could repeat this type of experience at every vacation opportunity and see the entire world this way, it would be my first choice every time. For someone like myself who is relatively well-travelled, that is certainly saying something!