Archive | August, 2012

Croatia’s Beaches on Krk Island can be “A Pound of Therapeutic Dirt”

Muddy Escape to Klimno

Add Klimno beach bay area in the Bay of Kvarner on the island of Krk in the Primorje (Preemorryeh) region of Croatia to your list of reasons to visit Croatia with direct flights from Toronto at http://www.airtransat.com.  This beach is unique to even to Krk’s pristine, rocky and crystal clear beaches because of it’s healing mud and you can expect the shallow waters to be much warmer than other bodies of water. In mid-summer, it can feel like a bathtub! If you are like some of my relatives that prefer warmer water and sun for their joints, this is the place to visit and makes a great day trip.

For those planning trips earlier than peak season, around June, or after the madding crowds have thinned in September and October,  guesthouses throughout Croatia are significantly cheaper. Even the beginning of July you can still get good prices on rentals at private residences. September and October, the prices for rooms or “apartmans” drop collectively according to the tourist rates set by the board. Even in mid-season, you generally don’t pay per person, so you can get an apartment for two couples for the equivalent of 75-100 Euros which is very reasonable.

The shallow waters of Klimno are also ideal for families playing a game of “Pitzigeen” with a tiny ball in a wide circle and diving and volleying to keep the ball in the air. The game is a cross between water polo and volleyball, passing on scoring, in lieu of splashing. You can pack a picnic with your taxi boat or load up the car and drive across the bridge near Rijeka and follow the well marked signs and roundabouts.

Klimno can be reached by taxi boat from Selce, boat tour, or by car by crossing the bridge where Rijeka airport is located on the island of Krk. Unlike other pristine rock beaches typical of Croatia’s coast and islands, this area boasts therapeutic mud to cure anything from sports injuries, to arthritic complaints. It is also has great detoxifying properties when applied topically and deep cleans your pores. The sea is a plethora of curing properties in itself, cradling us in it’s elemental salt and minerals and purifying our soul. The mud and sea draw out aches, pains, impurities, negativity, and fill us up with positivity.

I was told to let the black mud dry on the skin in the sun which is part of the healing process. Enter the Adriatic Sea which is quite shallow here, rinse and repeat 2 more times for maximum benefits. Luckily, I had my wonderful Uncle Zvonko take us there by fishing boat.  We laughed and smothered ourselves in mud pits. The mud pits are tricky, so be careful with children and just dip from the shallow puddles of mud to be on the safe side, rather than immersing yourself into the deep pools.

Easily accessible from Selce or Crikvenica with some tours offered which include this beach. Don’t want to do the mass tour thing? Hire your own taxi boat and make a half day of it. A word of warning, you will have a faint, peculiar smell coming off your pores for about 2-3 days.  So, don’t do what I do and go on a lengthy road trip with your cousin…unless you roll your windows down. All that cleansing smells like a pound of dirt!

After our day trip, we parked my Uncle Zvonko’s boat near the red posted pier and ate the best grilled calamari (squid in English, or lignje-Leegnyeh in Croatian) I have ever had. While waiting for our savoury soups, I tried to gently shoo 3 wasps from drinking from my bitter lemon soda pop bottle. The waiter assured me they were domestic wasps with a wink. So I poured bitter lemon into a small dish on the side and slowly lured them away from the table.

Dinner ended with a final dip in the water and the start of the big “Bura”, or big winds where we fought against waves in his teensy boat. Fortunately, halfway to Selce, the waves subsided and the wind picked up as we made our way back to Selce by night. My Uncle is a very experienced fisherman, and we waited a little too long to get back to the mainland. We lived to tell the tale, but there was a lot of praying going on.

It is very important to consult the locals, the fisherman on matters of the winds, the “Bura” and take the car when the occasional weather change happens. The wind can look harmless and be fine to swim in from the shore, but avoid taking kayaks, floating beds or inexperienced boat trips which can carry you away.

To enjoy earth’s gifts, we have to respect that we can never conquer it.  The panoramic view of the village of Selce, our mainland refuge, can be enjoyed incoming from Krk, usually a 45 minute-1 hour ride. We would have strolled the riviera, but headed straight for bed after a day in the healing mud, sea and sun.

There are many more places to visit on Krk Island, like Vrbnik (a village built on cliffs), with a pirate ship and glass bottom boat tour from the charming village of Selce. The town of Krk, Baska (Bashka), and many more villages on Krk are as unique as the changing landscapes shaped by the sea. For more great places to visit in Croatia and around the world, please explore this world loving blog and let me know where you have enjoyed travelling.

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Pirates of Selce offer Treasure Tours of Krk Island

Pirates of Selce offer Treasure Tours of Krk Island

This old pirate ship located in the small fishing village of Selce offers daily tours of Vrbnik, Silo (pronounced Shilo), Fish Picnics, and many other treasures that can be seen if you dare to board. Signage for tour details provided on the Riva (riviera) just in front of the Turist Bureau in Selce town Centar. There are many mannequin shipmates to photograph with like a very good version of Johnny Depp drinking a pint in full pirate splendor.

Skywalker, Paula Skywalker-Croatia Must See Villages

Skywalking in Croatia-Vrbnik

At the base of the pier in Vrbnik, Croatia, is a heart-shaped cave opening with a secret beach which only stays sunny till mid-day, but is worth passing through the rocky archway. If you have a kayak, or flippers and a floatation board (and you feel confident in the water) you can venture from this beach into the water and around the right bend to another private beach which is harder to access and quite a bit further. My husband found many underwater artifacts there with his snorkel gear. He also got the bends diving too deep without a tank and surfacing too quickly. There is a lesson in there somewhere.

Just off the pier is a small port where the water is quite a bit warmer than the coast. Vrbnik is located in the Bay of Kvarner and is less than 40 minutes from towns on the mainland, the closest being Selce on the border of Crikvenica. Vrbnik is one of my favourite go-to villages built on cliffs. They are famous for their home made “Zlatina” (pronounced with a soft “g,” “glatina,” meaning golden) wine, prosciutto, lamb stew (that graze on salt sprayed grasses), fried sardines and many typical Croatian dishes.

Region? Primorje, on the island of Krk. Krk, (follow the signs Otok Krk), also has the Rijeka airport on it, and the bridge to Krk island is near Rijeka. There is a small fee to cross the bridge. There are many tours offered by boat if you don’t drive that can be booked from Selce, Crikvenica and Novi that I have noted.

Wardrobe? This is a conservative town, so wear your beachwear on the beach. Put clothes on when strolling about town unless you want a Babushka shaking a stick at you in disapproval. I bought my maxi-dress in the store New Look which can be found downtown London, England or the suburbs. Maxi dresses are my favourite wardrobe item! It is a staple item for the summer and is always in my suitcase when travelling south. I keep it in my carry on bags in case my suitcase gets diverted so I have emergency clothing. New Look stores have a regular, tall and plus size section called “Inspire.” I always check them out when I am in their town for jeans and other offerings. A maxi dress with sleeves and long length will not offend when entering holy places of worship. Plus you can wear supportive undergarments without showing your bra strap, and it can double as a discreet “changing room” as you switch to dry clothes in some corner of the beach or boat. Yup, an inventive change-room maxi-dress. Bet you didn’t see that one coming.

Vrbnik a Hop, skip and a Boat Ride from Selce, Croatia

Vrbnik a Hop, skip and a Boat Ride from Selce

So many reasons to visit Vrbnik by car via the bridge for Otok Krk (otok means island, near Rijeka) or a boat tour from Selce which is the closest point to the village of Vrbnik. If you are wandering on your own up the hills to the village built on cliffs, you will find many wonderful narrow streets to photograph. I have loved this spot since my childhood and have often photographed this door with a gorgeous view of the sea.

I have also seen boats from the cities of Crikvenica, Novi and some other small towns.

Selce to Vrbnik on a Pirate Ship-Harrrgh!

Just an update on trips to Vrbnik from Selce is that there are two tours available. One is a Johnny Depp inspired pirate ship with several wax shipmates on board to photograph with in addition to actual crew members that will provide you with the best view entering Vrbnik which is by sea. They take you into the pier and transfer you up the hill for about 7 kunas (about a dollar) up the steep hill for tasting of prosciutto, home-made cheese and the wine “Zlatina” which makes this village famous. Vrbnik is truly adorable with it’s narrow streets, colourful characters yelling at you to when you come up to town in your beachwear, warmer water to swim in especially off the inside of the pier and several restaurants to choose from. Bikinis only on the beach please. Great snorkeling, especially opposite the main pier through a small cave to private rock beach. Bring your water shoes or buy them in Selce for about $10 Canadian.

Another possibility is to take a similar tour in a glass bottom boat. Both can be booked on the riva (riviera, waterfront) on the pier in front of “Turistichki” building. You will see large signs there. There are also several travel agents, but only one working in the Tourist bureau but at least you can get some info. from them. If you are facing the tourist bureau you will see a “Pekarna” to the left which is seeping the smell of baked goods into the street. If you follow the street to the left of the Pekarna (bakery) then you will see Travelex directly across the street from a local bar with some postcards etc. This agency not only spoke excellent english, they took our needs for booking tours seriously. They even found alternative tours for us for the same place when we were told other bus companies had cancelled the tour. They were willing to come to Selce by van or car for us. (This was regarding a tour for Pula, Rovinj and Porec on the Istra side of Croatia.)

Autorans is a major bus company that offers tours but sometimes cancels if there are not enough people to fill the buses. But there are other companies that Travelex can tell you about. The problem so far that I can see, is that the main  tourist bureau does not collect a written list of all the people who ask about the tours throughout the day so that they can actually fill the bus from several cities. So, one by one, we are each told that there are not enough people for the tour the next day. Times by that 10 people and 3 cities and nobody has figured this out yet. Then they go for coffee and nobody else can help you. But it was all meant to be when I discovered the travel agency on the street. And then another one called Millenium tours which I have yet to check out.

Happy Travels in Vrbnik on the island of Krk! It can also be accessed by car by taking the bridge just before Rijeka towards otok (island) Krk.