It was so nice of you to meet with us in Split. We thoroughly enjoyed our trip through Croatia and into Italy. My expectations were exceeded and I have heard the same from others in the group. I have done many of these trips with small groups and this was by far the best. The people of Croatia were delightful, warm, friendly, open and spoke English well. I am touched by how tradition is still so strong and passed on to the younger generations. The country is amazingly beautiful and I only want to return to explore it more and maybe move there for a while as a base to explore other destinations in Europe.
Nives was the most amazing guide. We all cannot say enough, how much we loved her. She felt like family by the time we had to say goodbye. You are very lucky to have her guide for you. We understand she has had some very recent personal loss and I hope that we were able to distract her yet provide warm and comforting companionship for her.
All of our lodging was very comfortable and nicely located for exploring during free time.
The only slightly disappointment was on the island of Hvar. I would have enjoyed staying in Hvar town which was fabulous and lively but Stari Grad was very sleepy with very little open for business. I’m sure in a few weeks, things would be different but we saw much construction getting ready for the opening of the season and closed stores and restaurants. I chose not to go to Sibenik because we were enjoying Split so much and had not had time to explore on our own with shops open. It seemed a few hours there would not be worth it. Now, after doing more research on what we missed and seeing photos, I cannot wait to get there next time, spending a few days at least. Not to mention, it is where my grandparents are from.
By far our favorite wines and wine experience was at Bibich. The food pairings were amazing and beautifully presented, a caliber of culinary execution we had not experienced elsewhere in Croatia. In general, the food was rustic and delicious. I felt we ate like the locals not tourists. The meals were filling and memorable as well as those doing the cooking, welcoming us into their homes. My favorite food experience is hard to pick but i am an oyster lover and they were fabulous as well as the mussels. I don’t know if you are aware but because we had some people that did not want oysters we expected fish, but they cooked chicken. Tom was really looking forward to fish and sitting a the table without the chicken eaters so our host just caught a few fish off his dock and cooked them up. We were impressed! The water is so clean I only wish it was warm enough to get in at least once. We also all loved the spit roasted lamb and everything cooked in the peka.
As for Italy, our hotel was in a wonderful location away from the tourists and easy to get around and enjoy the back alleys and canals. Francesca did a great job setting up our transportation for our day touring Valpolicella and it was very enjoyable.
Our driver Ivan was great and most transportation connections were perfect except for the ferry to Hvar that was full and we had to wait for the next one. It is understandable with ferry schedules and so many people to move.
A lot of people that visit our wine tasting room, once they heard about our plan to go to Croatia expressed interest in visiting and those who have gone, rave about it. We can all be added to those that will rave about it!
I understand we were a larger group the you are used to accommodating.
Thank you for making the trip so successful and feel free to use me as a reference.
Terra Vina Wines – Respecting the Earth, Creating Great Wine.