I'm happy to report last night was my first completely issue-free camping experience - no rain, no wind, and no lightening! Unlike my last night outdoors, it was a perfectly quiet evening. The only thing I didn't account for was the lower temperatures thanks to the higher elevation, but I just layered up and everything was fine. I woke up naturally at 6:00 am the following morning and took the long way around to Bol by hiking up the nearby Mount St. Vid. Standing at 778 meters (~2,500 feet), the peak, Vidova Gora, is not only the highest peak on Brač, but also highest island point in the entire Adriatic. The trek was exhausting especially considering I spent over five hours hiking uphill the day before, but it was completely worth it.
The song of Bol:
I eventually made it to the top around 11:00 am and was rewarded with a sublime morning vista of the Croatian islands. Unlike the deep forest I made my way through earlier in the morning, the summit of Vidova Gora is barren, dry, and unforgiving. A few hills sparsely covered in olive trees separated me from the town of Bol and it was going to be a long hike to get back down the mountain. Down below, I could see the tiny city of Bol and the famous phallic shaped beach, Zlatni Rat, protruding from the mainland. Off in the distance, dozens of tiny sailboats were scattered around in the water and from this high up they look like insignificant little toys in the massive sea.
The mesmerizing scene that morning was entirely colored in blue and white and looked like a painting I'd in the Louvre. From my vantage point, I could see the islands of Brač, Hvar, Korčula, and if I positioned myself just so even Split! Each one of the innumerable peaks formed a dark blue, jagged horizon that stood in sharp contrast to the bright blue sky above. A light mist formed around the base of these towering landmasses giving them the appearance as if they were floating effortlessly over the water. As I slowly panned my eyes down from the top of the jagged horizon, the mountains simply evaporated behind a white haze before the sea became visible. In the areas where there were no mountains, the deep blue water slowly turned bleach white up to the horizon before returning to a bright blue sky that reflected the color of the water down below.
The downhill hike was comparatively easier, but by the time I started my trek it was already 12:30 pm, the sun was out in full force, and my legs were in significant pain. I could tell how embarrassingly out of shape I was (and still am) after just hauling my backpack all day. There wasn’t much shade during my decent and about three quarters of the way down the mountain, I began tripping more frequently as my legs started to fail me due to exhaustion. After a few pit stops, I finally made it down the rocky cliffs and reached the city of Bol!
I can’t tell you how happy I was to walk on asphalt again!
Much like Supetar, Bol was deserted. Every morning a few boats docked at the port laden with older tourists, but the town was a remarkably quiet and tranquil place. Once again, I was the only person in my six-bed hostel dorm room, but this time around I was actually the only person in the entire hostel! There wasn't another living soul in the building other than the receptionist and me. On the upside though, I had my own kitchen and bathroom and, funnily enough, the entire place larger than my apartment back in NY.
But this place only cost $14 a night!
The entire coastline of Bol is littered with one mesmerizing beach after another and the shaded promenade down to Zlatni Rat makes for a pleasant stroll past the various local vendors selling every souvenir imaginable. The old port in the city center is lined with little cafes full of locals gathered around tables telling jokes and shooting the breeze. Nobody seems to be even remotely stressed in this little town. There are a few humble, old buildings scattered throughout town, but combined with the awe-inspiriting Adriatic water, Bol is unbelievably picturesque. It is impossible to take a bad picture of Bol and even the most ordinary streets are a joy to walk through. At the end of the day, if you come to Bol like I did, you’re not here for the city - you’re looking for the beaches.
From the center of town you can honestly walk either direction along the coast and find beaches that make you seriously question reality. Just like it is impossible to take a bad picture of Bol, it is impossible to find a bad beach in this part of Brač. Two kilometers west of the city center is the famous Zlatni Rat beach offering 300 degrees of incredible views of the sea. A short, fifteen minute walk east, past the picturesque Dominican monastery, is another lesser known beach that is every bit as wonderful as Zlatni Rat, but with far less people (even in the off season). The beach came highly recommended by the owner of my hostel and is definitely worth the trip. Even if I was feeling particularly lazy and didn't want to walk that far, there are easily half a dozen smaller beaches linking the coast in between the above-mentioned beaches. I can't stress how dream-like the city of Bol is, but I can guarantee you no matter how many glorious reviews I give this city, there is no way I can possibly oversell you on now amazing this place is.
The water in Croatia is crystal clear beyond anything I have ever seen in my life. Standing on the shoreline and looking down at the rocks, the only way I could tell there was water below me was by the way sunlight refracted off the water's surface. I've never seen water this clear in my life. Further out from the shoreline the water takes on a beautiful light emerald-green hue, resembling an incredibly well-polished gemstone as the waves shimmer under the sunlight. Slowly the water transitions into a beautiful deep, radiant blue that I haven’t seen since my hiking trip in the Calanques of Southern France. The rhythm of the water and the sheer beauty of the whole scene is simply entrancing, it doesn’t matter how long I sat at the edge of the water, I never once became bored. Just like in Lagos, there is only one way to describe this paradise:
I'm sad to leave this great island, but I know my next destination is going to be just as amazing, so I don't feel much remorse - I'm simply moving from one paradise to another (I live such a hard life these days). This time around I have to take a ferry to my next destination since there is no way I can swim across to Hvar Island with my backpack (don't think that thought hasn't crossed my mind). When all is said and done though, I'm not too sad about leaving Bol because I have a feeling I will be back later in my life. While the future is unknown, if I ever have the opportunity, I will return. This place is just too incredible.
Farewell Brač, you are absolutely gorgeous.