Tuesday, April 28, 2015

It's pronounced "Vees"

So it's been a long time since I wrote about this particular subject - it involves passports and suitcases and swimsuits (usually)...
And this.
This post.
Wow. So long overdue I feel silly even posting it.
And yet as I contemplate our upcoming adventure to France and Italy I just have to post it. I'd be doing a serious disservice to the world by keeping this hidden paradise to myself.
The remote, the rustic, the rapturously beautiful island of Vis.
But it's pronounced "Vees." Get it right.

Situated in the middle of the Adriatic Sea off Croatia's Dalmatian Coast, up until the 1980's it was a military base for the Yugoslavian army. Because of this it's one of the most unspoiled (yet inhabited) islands in Dalmatia - more for those desiring a quiet adventure than a lively night scene. An island full of vineyards, family farms (i.e. amazing food and wine) with hidden beaches you hike down to, Vis had our names written all over it.

From Split we took a morning ferry to the island. They have a huge car ferry as well as a high speed passenger one but it wouldn't have got us to Vis until much later in the day and we wanted to make the most of our "island time." Unfortunately just as we set sail so the rain set in. For almost the entirety of our Vis visit. But not to worry. We made the most of it... as you'll soon see.

As Seattleites we're used to ferry rides. In Croatia they're not so different - just a little bigger, a few more people and everything's in Croatian. But we made the most of our 2 hour sea voyage. I wrote. He read. A beer and a book. His mini heaven.

We arrived in the harbor of Vis and pushed our way through the hoards of people the ferry seemed to vomit out in order to secure a rental car for our stay.  I felt like a soldier ready to brave a fierce battle in a foreign land as the ark-like door to the car deck descended. I'm sure there was a way to reserve a vehicle in advance but, well, we went with the "fly by the seat of our pants" strategy. Thankfully it worked out for us. 
The guys at Ionios were super friendly and got us all set up with our quirky Crayola-yellow convertible, along with a map and directions to the nearest grocery store so we could stock up on breakfast items before we headed off in search of our VRBO villa. 
The narrow roads (which seriously look like alleyways or really generous bike lanes) wind up the steep hillsides providing ridiculous postcard views of terra-cotta clad harbors and wild hills rolling verdant and lush.

My go-to guide for dining while traipsing through Croatia was the oh-so-reliable (and amazingly international) TripAdvisor. Before we departed from Split I did a little dining recon. A TripAdvisor must was Lola Konoba & Bar. And just an FYI "konoba" means tavern... you'll run into that word a lot if you're traveling in Croatia. 
The restaurant was, well, totally my kind of place. Perched above a building, the entire restaurant (as far as I could tell) was alfresco with seating areas situated in different terraced portions of this secret garden. The ambiance and decor made me wonder if I'd stepped straight into the pages of an Anthropologie catalog. And when we arrived it looked like they'd just had a wedding there (I spied a seating chart still leaning against a wall). I can only imagine how perfectly wonderful that reception was... 
The service was impeccable, especially considering we were literally the only people eating there that night. A note on dining on the island: since most rentals run weekly with Saturday as the turn over day it tends to be the quietest one of the week. We also came just before the peak season hit so yeah... we had the whole place all to ourselves. Not gonna lie... it was a little awkward. 
But the food was anything but awkward! It was exquisite! This was most certainly the finest dining we experienced while on our Honeymoon, and the meal was more akin to something we'd see in the states. Croatian with a twist. I'd highly recommend Lola Konoba & Bar - especially if you're wanting a romantic evening out on the island... or a destination wedding?

After our delicious dinner we decided to explore a little more of Vis Town- one of two cities, ok villages, on the island. The place is littered with beautiful old stone buildings, their painted shutters either white or green - faded from sun and storm. The patterns and texture they created in the evening light captured my inner photographer. So I did what any artist would do... I stole Ryan's camera. 
Okay maybe I stole it one too many times... It is his camera and he is the photographer after all..
I bought him some gelato thinking that would smooth things over. 
It didn't really work. 
After a scolding I handed the camera back to him and all was well.

Now that's the work of a real photographer!
The sunset was glorious and we ended that first day excited for the "Part II" of our Croatian Adventure - Vis!!! 

Friday, April 17, 2015

Swan Song

I've run out of words.

I know, I know... You're probably wondering how that's possible, since I haven't written a single thing for this blog since... I don't know... February?

Well get ready! You're about to be inundated by posts.
Feast or famine, people, feast or famine.
Man I really need to get myself out of this "all or nothing" mentality. And I don't just mean in my writing habits... It seems to be my default mode in nearly every area of my life. But that's an entirely different post.

At any rate I'm talking about words for what I'm about to do. What I'm about to dance.
The incomparable and exquisite Swan Lake.

©Angela Sterling Photography

This ballet and I, we have history. A lot of it.
I think it's my fifth or sixth time dancing this gem. Every time it feels new. And yet every time it feels like coming home. My arms, my back, my body, my soul they thank me. My hips and feet not so much - they get a bit abused by all the running and standing, but, well they can suck it up... The rest of myself is utterly rejoicing on the inside and out at the privilege and delight it is to dance this, my most favorite ballet.

©Angela Sterling Photography
And today marks the beginning of the end. Actually that would've been yesterday - our last weekend of shows. But today's the day when I get to start "crossing things off" - roles I won't be performing again. Quite possibly ever - or at least until I go Home...
It's bittersweet these endings. On the one hand, my hips and feet are excited about the upcoming rest they'll receive (a 3-week break in 3 long days). On the other hand, my soul is sad at the thought of having to say goodbye to this beautiful ballet - a ballet that is so very much intwined with my heart and soul.
I've run out of words because I've already written a piece about Swan Lake for 4dancers - a dance blog I contribute to (quite possibly more frequently than my own blog - yikes!).
So I'm not gonna try...
Please, click here to read the piece - Searching for Swans. A piece that came from the depths of my heart and soul.
My "swan song" to Swan Lake...

I hope it inspires you and tugs at your heart too.

Photo by Lindsay Thomas