Sovlje beach house

Sovlje Travel Blog

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Suni, the dangerous cat..
At Sovlje, we joined Zvonka's parents at their beach house.  I'm always a little nervous about staying with people I don't know, hoping that I'n not intruding on them too much, but they were great people and we quickly became friends.  We spent the next week swimming, eating, and relaxing. 

The only danger was Suni the cat.  She's "not quite right in the head" and will lurk under furniture and take a vicious swipe at you as you walk by or shred your belongings in seconds.

Zvonka's father Hrvoje took me out fishing the next morning out among the islands.  The whole sea there is dotted with tiny, uninhabited islands.  Using little wooden pole-less fishing reels, basically a spool with a handle, we caught a big bag full of tiny, but good tasteing fish, at least 8 species in just a few hours and cooked them over pine cones in a barbecue he had built in the back yard.
Zvonka's dad taking us to an uninhabited island
  All meals are accompanied by figs from the trees by the table, tomatoes from the neighborhood, and Deep Pivo - beer that was surprisingly good for something that comes in a 6-pack of 2-liter bottles.

In the afternoon he dropped us on a tiny island to explore while he fished out in the channel, came back to pick us up later.  The water was warm and tranparent and we spent most of the days underwater looking at the sponges and fish.  I mostly took underwater pictures while Zvonka scoured the bottom for empty sea urchin shells.  We stopped by a couple more islands and cruised the harbor at Tribunj on the way back. The rest of the days were spent the same way, mostly swimming, exploring, sleeping and eating. 

A typical day would start with figs and grapes from the yard with cheese, drinking tea made from different herbs in the yard, and hiking a trail over the hill to a 'secret' beach away from the scattered tourists who managed to find Sovlje.
Some of the many islands offshore
  I quickly found out two things- in Croatia beach means jagged limestone rocks, and the Croatians really don't like clothing.  The rocks are actually really nice though, you bring a thin foam pad instead of a towel and find smooth spots sort of the shape of the position you want to sleep in to lay down in.  So much better than sand, you're actually clean at the end of the day...

With no sediment the water is crystal clear and well illuminated since the bottom is white.  Unlike the Pacific that I'm used to, 40 feet down it's almost as bright as on the surface.  The rock walls are covered in sponges and the gravelly bottom is plowed by endless sea cucumbers and dotted with burrowing anemonies.  No sharks, but there are something called spiderfish that can supposedly kill you with toxins in their dorsal fins and are much feared by fishermen and swimmers.
Homemade brandies made with carob, fennel, sage, horehound, and other things growing in the yard. Hrvoje and I would drink "something strong" with breakfast
  The real danger though were the urchins, clinging to every rock and crevice.  We saw more than one German tourist limping about or trying to remove spines after discovering them the hard way. 

Hiking in the hills gave a view of some of hundreds of little islands offshore.  The habitat was mostly brush growing between white rock outcroppings with a mix of low shrubs and small evergreens, not unlike southern California in structure.  Everywhere are current and abandoned groves of figs and olives.  Ancient walls form terraces, and you quickly get the idea the people have lived here for a really long time...  They have the same problems with wildfire too. The single firefighting plane for the coast constantly flew over, and a group of firefighters from Sibenik, some as young as 16, were killed fighting a fire on a nearby island while I was there.
Breakfast


The soil is so red in places that it stained the white cat sort of a pinkish color.  Everywhere are outcroppings of gray and white limestone, somtimes polished, sometimes sculpted to different textures by the wind and rain.  The towns tend to be in the narrow strip of flat land between the shore an the base of the steep hills above. 

This is the kind of place you wish you could never leave, and that the summer would never end.
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Suni, the dangerous cat..
Suni, the dangerous cat..
Zvonkas dad taking us to an uninh…
Zvonka's dad taking us to an unin…
Some of the many islands offshore
Some of the many islands offshore
Homemade brandies made with carob,…
Homemade brandies made with carob…
Breakfast
Breakfast
Big worms on a truck tire
Big worms on a truck tire
Hrvoje cleaning our fish
Hrvoje cleaning our fish
Spiderfish
Spiderfish
A sampling of fish from the Medite…
A sampling of fish from the Medit…
Grilling fish and vegetables over …
Grilling fish and vegetables over…
A good sign that the fish was good…
A good sign that the fish was goo…
Deep beer, comes in the handy 6-pa…
Deep beer, comes in the handy 6-p…
Downtown Sovlje
Downtown Sovlje
Snorkeling in the shallows
Snorkeling in the shallows
Ill miss this
I'll miss this
A rare moment out of the water
A rare moment out of the water
Floating high in the sea - because…
Floating high in the sea - becaus…
Found one!
Found one!
Underwater grottoes to be explored
Underwater grottoes to be explored
Big sponges near the shore
Big sponges near the shore
Another uninhabited island
Another uninhabited island
Ready to dive from what Dalmatians…
Ready to dive from what Dalmatian…
Brightly colored sponges and tunic…
Brightly colored sponges and tuni…
Zvonka looking like the representi…
Zvonka looking like the represent…
Climbing the hills behind town, a …
Climbing the hills behind town, a…
Tribunj, the town next to Sovlje
Tribunj, the town next to Sovlje
Urchins!  Zvonka spent much of the…
Urchins! Zvonka spent much of th…
Sovlje
photo by: cneoridium