“An Island Jewel’s Day in the Sun”
by Charly Wilder
The New York Times
page 8 TR
Sunday, July 7, 2013
Last night, my kids needed to work off the last of their manic energy before bed. So, we took them out in the backyard and let them run wild. While I swatted away mosquitoes, I took a look at the “Travel” piece from the Sunday New York Times. The article that I read focuses on a small Croatian island named Hvar (which, I learned, is pronounced “hwahr”).
The article opens with the lament of so much travel writing, Hvar has (sort of) been discovered. Recently, Croatia joined the European Union, and Havr now has a number of clubs catering to young people (“the easyJet set” in author Charly Wilder’s wry words). More ominously, Hvar has seen visits by celebrities such as Tom Cruise, Beyonce, and Prince Harry.
Still, Wilder makes clear that a lot of the island remains charming and “authentic.” Wilder recounts renting a motor boat (without any boating experience) and going up the coast to a secluded cove unreachable by car. Once there, the travelers swam and then were served a Crusoe’s pot, “….a garlicky white wine stew of fresh seafood… and potatoes.”
Better still is Wilder’s visit to Malo Grablje, a medieval village that was abandoned in the 1950s after a crop failure. Today, the village is accessible only by “off-roading through thick brush.” Wilder finds that one intrepid soul has recently moved back to his family’s old house and his “restaurant” serves people whatever he has on hand. The man serves Wilder and her friend “…a huge platter of lamb, steak and potatoes, sardines in homemade oil and vinegar, and a perfect salad of arugula, tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers – all picked fresh that day.” A long evening of wine drinking follows dinner, before the proprietor insists on driving them back to town.
The article is interesting and introduced me to a small part of the world that had been unknown to me. Like a lot of good travel writing, it made me want to hop on a plane, but also made me lament that there is so much world to see and so little time (and money).
Armchair travelers will enjoy this one. The link is here –