“What?” I can hear you all cry! You’ve been on holiday for the past 11 months, how can you possibly need a holiday?! But it turns out we did. You’ll have to forgive me here because this really is a first world problem and we really have nothing at along to complain about, but I think we were all suffering from fatigue. I don’t mean that we were tired, although the intense heat we have experienced over the last few weeks did sap our energy, but we were tired of all the decisions and choices that we have to make every day when travelling around as we have been doing.
This year we have simplified our lives in many ways. For a start off we have very few possessions; we don’t have a house to maintain; and we don’t have jobs or school to attend for set hours. We are free to make up our own schedule, to choose where we go and how long we spend there. We are free to choose how much time to devote to education, sightseeing and relaxing. And all of these things are wonderful, but they also come with a hidden price: decisions.
Decisions about where to go next. Decisions about which campsite to stay at. Decisions about which route to take to get there and whether the road will be suitable for caravans. Decisions about where to go to buy food and which visitor attraction, site or place we want to visit when we get there. And in order to make decisions, we need to do research. Reading up about possible campsites to stay at. Reading up about what there is to do in a particular city or region. Research into what time somewhere opens and closes, whether we need to book online in advance, how much it will cost and so on. And this is all in addition to the usual what to cook for tea, what do we need to buy at the supermarket etc etc. And then, since we are also teachers for the year, we have to decide what we are going to ‘teach’ the girls and how we are going to teach it, checking that they are making progress as they should for their age. And you know what? It is fun and stimulating and exciting. But at times it can also be completely exhausting! Sometimes making all those decisions can be draining to the point that you don’t think you can decide anything anymore, not even whether to have a ham or cheese in your sandwich for lunch.
I first came across the concept of decision fatigue on the blog ‘Ditching Suburbia’. Writer, Michael Boyink, talked about it as the hardest part of travelling full time and I now understand what he meant. And of course, every time we move to a new location, we have to start over. Every campsite is different, every supermarket, every town. Again, it is part of the fun and discovery of travelling, but it also has a flip side.
We wanted to go down to the Croatian islands to see the coastline for ourselves, but we didn’t want to haul the caravan all the way down there, so we decided to treat ourselves to an apartment and leave the caravan behind for a few days. We didn’t fully realise it until we were there, but we really needed this break – this holiday – from all our travelling. Of course, the irony is that in order to get ourselves there, we had to do more research to find somewhere to go and make decisions over what accommodation to book, but we are so glad that we did!
The Island of Krk
So this is how we came to find ourselves on the northern Croatian island of Krk, in a lovely apartment in the town of Baska in the south of the island, taking a break from travelling and having a proper holiday for a few days. It was lovely. All we did all day was go down to the beach and paddle or swim in the sea. No sightseeing. No culture. No education. Just chilling out.
Baska had such a great feel to it – for a tourist resort it was very low key and felt very relaxed and chilled out. Everyone was on holiday and we were all just out to have a good time. It was also very busy, far busier than we had expected this early in the year. I was amused by a sign at the beachfront that said booking a place on the beach by leaving a towel or other equipment there was forbidden. I have seen people going out early to reserve a pool-side lounger in a hotel or apartment complex, but never on a beach before. Simply the fact that they have to say this tells you just how busy it gets in the summer!
Many people had told us that the beaches in Croatia were lovely. The area has a reputation for crystal clear water and stunning coastline and it is justly deserved. What I didn’t realise until we went there was that it has no sand. Virtually all of the beaches are made up of stones. So if you’re not keen on sand but love swimming in the sea, this would be a perfect location for you.
However, you can’t walk on the stones for any distance without something on your feet as it actually hurts to walk on them. In fact you could see people gingerly making their way back to their towels after a swim, flinching at every step. You also had to beware of spiky sea urchins nestled in between the rocks, so some sort of beach shoes were definitely in order. We used our crocs but you could also buy rubber soled beach shoes everywhere here, together with padded beach mats to make it a little more comfortable to lie out. We also had a giant inflatable ring that was perfect for bobbing around in the water (thank you Stuart and Rebecca!)
As I am sure you will have heard, it has been extremely hot across Europe recently and I know that the UK too has been in the midst of a heatwave. During our stay in Baska it was about 30 degrees Celsius and so it was lovely to be able to cool off in the water during the day. And it was the clearest water I have ever seen, with no floating debris or seaweed in sight!
In the evenings, we wandered along the shoreline and through the old town, admiring the views and listening to some of the music being played as part of an international music festival. We shopped in the one small supermarket just down the road from our apartment and the biggest decision we had to make was where to eat out for dinner. It was wonderful! Everyone needs a proper holiday every now and then!
On our way back towards the mainland, we stopped briefly at the quaint little town of Vrbnik. It was Sunday morning and it was already baking hot. It was interesting to see the local people flooding into the little church there, all dressed in their Sunday best. Out of the sun, its narrow cobbled streets were lovely and cool.
We even came across a rather quirky claim to fame – the town claims that one of its alleyways, called Klančić, is in actual fact the Narrowest Street in the World. At its narrowest point it is only 43cm wide, which meant that Andy and I had to pass along it sideways. I’m not sure how the town verifies their claim, but it was a bit of fun anyway.
Our few days on the island of Krk had been just what we needed, but now it was time to head back to the campsite to make some decisions about where to go next!