Category Archives: travel tales from faraway

I’m really proud of these little stories. One day there’ll be more :)

Stumbling upon Love Island and is Rab really the most beautiful medieval village in the world?

It’s a big call isn’t it – suggesting that a place is possibly the most beautiful medieval village in the world – but that’s what some well known travel writer had once said about Rab. After cruising past the town’s ramparts, we’d moored in a quiet cove (on a finger of land that creates a long inlet in front of Rab) and had an uninterrupted view of her four bell towers.

from our mooring ran

What we hadn’t realised was that, behind us, lay Love Island. And if that one line in the guide book describing Rab had piqued our interest, well, the sign for Love Island definitely warranted further investigation.

love island sign

No nudist beach or shady resort, it turned out to be a low slung restaurant capturing the last of the day’s rays and a surprisingly good excuse to have a break from cooking.

Love Island

The next morning we upped anchor and slid quietly into the main port to take a look behind those walls. For me, this slow early morning glide past Rab was one of the really special moments of our time on Enigma. Hard to describe. I think the reality of the experience just hit home at this moment. Man, we’re really here, we’re sailing in Croatia. And it’s been sublime. Steve and I looked at each other from across the bow and we didn’t need to say anything. Just smiled. Shaking our heads. Laughing. A bit teary (me). A little overwhelmed.

rab early morning

On that note I’ll step out of the way and let the pictures do the talking …

rab central square

roman ruins rab

view from the walkway ran

rooftops rab

high terrace in rab

rab foreshore

view form the terrace rab

rab garden

alley way rab

view from the tower rab

view across the towers rab

rab central

The most beautiful? As I said it’s a big call. How about one of …

Either way, it touched something very deep in me.



A stroll on Olib and a first glimpse of the grandeur that is Rab …

A couple of hours away from Ist is another quiet little gem called Olib.

Again, no cars. Just a few people walking about, most of the ones we chatted to, Croat-American expats, back for extended summer holidays.

lavender and butterfly olib

I don’t know whether I’ve lived in the country for too long but thesedays I feel most at home in places like this. Certainly more relaxed. You can let your guard down. Actually you can forget about your guard altogether.

olin early morning

coffee on olib at the port

We’d seen a big circular version of this on the hillside of Ist. They’re reservoirs.

water reservoir olin

Easy to imagine summer evenings with the old fellas out playing bocce.


Bright, clear light, so much like home but not as fierce.

could be a painting clothes line and buildings olin

hollyhocks olib

green on green

green shutter

Like the Italians, everywhere, every corner, filled with veggies.

tower and vegie garden

And simple, shady, unpretentious spots to put your legs under the table.


If you tucked Ist away last post, I’d add little Olib as well.

olib port

We were heading north, to Rab. In one of our books someone described it as the most beautiful medieval town in the world. A big call but it piqued our interest. That’s the tip of Pag on the right, the island of Rab behind and the Croatian mainland in the background. Sailing along, listening to Eva Cassidy, watching those low isles gradually find form.

the tip of pag

marg paintingsailing into ran

Rab, like so much of this area, has found itself under others’ rule. Greeks, Romans, Hungarian-Croats all had an influence here but its the Venetians, who ruled from 1409 to 1797, that really left their mark. You can see it immediately.

When friends head to Istanbul the one ‘must do’ I always suggest is to get a ferry across to the Asian side or out to the Princes Islands and then, when it’s dark, catch the ferry back. I did this way back in 1985 and have done it every visit since. The panoramic view of all those minarets lit up along the Istanbul skyline, the ferry being dwarfed by the shadow of a tanker on its way to Russia along the Bosphorus, if you’re lucky – a call to prayer – it’s a moment that’s stayed with me forever.

I’m adding Rab to the list.

sailing into Rab

Slowly gliding past, seeing the layers of history in those buildings.

sailing into Rab


Talk about a room with a view. Can’t wait to take you inside.


rab watercolour


Ist … tuck this little island away cause you never know …

We fell in love with little Ist.


From the moment we spied that tiny church high on the hill.

ist harbour

It’s out of the tourist river. No cars. Quiet. You can walk from one side to the other in minutes.

ist panorama

If, you don’t dawdle.

bbq area ist

But you know me, I’m a dawdler from way back.

flowers on its

Can you smell the wood smoke?

fish under the bell

blue rope ist

wharf ist

wharf at ist tiles

Just stop for a moment. Stop, don’t rush … and enjoy the golden hour …

ist old port

It’s all so fleeting …

ist foreshore

old port its

Magic is found in the most unexpected places.

Close to home or faraway…

In the tiniest of corners.


the church at its

We are a long time gone.


So grab this day.
And hug it and bend it and squeeze it and call it George.



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