travel

ISLAND HOPPING IN CROATIA: BRAC

image

image

image

 

image

image

One of the great pulls of Croatia is how many island’s the country actually has. Not many people realise that there are a crazy amount of small, inhibited islands that surround the mainland making island-hopping a must. When I looked at where to stay and visit on our adventure, Brac kept popping up as a real must-visit location. A tiny island just an hour’s ferry ride away from Split, it’s small enough to make a fantastic day trip but not quite big enough to warrant an over-night stay. Known for its famous Zlatni Rat beach, we decided to not do the tourist thing and find something a little more…exclusive.

Although taxi drivers will push you to visit Zlatni Rat because i’s around an hour away from the ferry port and they want to make a buck or two, if you don’t want to go there-persevere! We took a chance and went to an off-the-beaten track beach called Lovrecina Bay. Around 20 minutes from the port, it’s a secluded sand beach (yep, we found one finally!) surrounded by lush green grass, pine trees and small boats bobbing on the horizon. It’s the kind of place people hire a boat and whizz over to for the day. But it’s still one of the best kept secrets.

We find our legs again after the crazy taxi journey and stumble to the only “restaurant” on the bay. I use that term loosely because there’s no signage, and no menu. It’s simply a small team in a house with outside seating serving beautiful fresh food depending on what’s been caught that day. We had spaghetti with fresh seafood in a homemade tomato sauce and parmesan cheese. It sounds basic but it was honestly, the best pasta dish I’ve ever had for around £5.

With no other amenities around, make sure you bring everything you need for the day, including towels, water and a good book. That’s all you need. With just a handful of other people bathing in the crystal seas, it was simply the best day.

Wearing: Accessorize Panama Hat 

ROOM AT THE INN: THE PORCH HOUSE, COTSWOLDS

There’s something about driving through the Cotswold countryside that’s both comforting and familiar. Passing through the beautiful town of Burford and arriving at Stow-on-Wold, it’s hard not to pack up your life, don a wax jacket and move here to embrace the boutique-way of living. A typical market town, Stow-on-Wold possesses the charm and beauty you would expect from a Jane Austin novel as people move quietly from shop to shop picking up their weekly groceries and last minute shopping. Situated on the bustling main street, The Porch House is a regular for residents and the odd pilgrim in need of an open fire and a pint of ale.


porch3

Ducking through the narrow hallways and low beams to our room, it’s difficult not to appreciate the original features of England’s oldest inn, which was built in 947 AD. Our suite was amazing and deceptively contemporary given the traditional interiors of the bar downstairs. With vaulted ceilings, pristine cream carpets and crisp white linens, it was a home away from home. Retro modern radio’s, old-fashioned phones and antique hand mirrors subtly bring you back to the inn’s heritage whilst remaining quirky in their stylish surroundings. A winding staircase leads up to the en suite complete with large roll-top bath and cosy hot water bottle for those dark winter nights. All of this was of course viewed from the meltingly comfortable bed, complete with pillows that swallow your whole head in a delicious puff of feathers.

Walking around the deserted town before dinner, it’s easy to see why so many people escape the rat race and implore a slower pace of life. Shops look as though they’re stately homes, and the stately homes look vaguely familiar as you realise they’re probably in one of your favourite films. Each retail outlet is a boutique offering an individual array of one-off finds and beautiful soft furnishings worthy of an interiors mag.

After collapsing into bed after a particularly busy day, my much-anticipated slumber finally begun at 2 am after the jovial punters below had departed. Although under no illusion that The Porch House is first and foremost a popular drinking hole, it also caters for sleeping guests that could benefit from a touch of sound-proofing perhaps.