This morning we decided to have breakfast in the Discoveries Restaurant and ordered my favourite - Eggs Benedict. Did Azamara Quest pass the EB test? Well I'm pleased to say it did - two perfectly poached eggs on an English muffin with a slice of ham smothered in a rich hollandaise sauce! Yum! Today we are anchored off Hvar, and arrived at 11am. The Silver Wind was also in, but our captain sneaked a bit closer to port! Once the ship was clear we jumped on the tender and headed for shore.
Along Croatia's famed Dalmatian Coast, looking out over the clear blue waters of the Adriatic Sea, you will find the beautiful port of Hvar. The town has a population of around 5,000 and Hvar is the largest town on the island. The island of Hvar is long and slender (40x6 miles) and the coast is rugged with mountains dividing the north from the south. There are ancient vineyards and olive groves, pine forests and rolling hills covered with fields of lavender. Little has change in Hvar, and a citizen from the 16th or 17th centuries would easily recognise the island and the town. It is an appealing blend of Croatian charm and Venetian heritage. Motor yachts (often with celebrities onboard) and sailboats of all sizes are drawn to the "Lavender Isle" by its near-perfect climate and lively ambiance.
After our short tender ride we decided to head up to the Spanish Fort, high up on a hill overlooking the pretty town and harbour of Hvar. The fort was built by Venetians during the middle ages and is still pretty much intact. We made our way across the main square and up narrow, cobbled streets that twisted and turned as they went higher and higher. The town of Hvar is so very pretty; it's easy to see why it's such a popular spot for international and local tourists alike. Once at the top we paid 25 Kuna to gain entry to the fort. There's not a lot to see in the fort to be honest - but its well worth the hike and entrance fee to take in the spectacular views of the town, the harbour, the outlying islands and mountains in the distance. The sun was blazing down and the deep blue sea contrasted beautifully with the orange terracotta roof tiles of the town, whilst the greens of the lush vegetation really came to life. There is a small café here so we stopped for a half litre of the local beer and got chatting to another couple from the Azamara Quest who had the same idea!
After the fort trip, we made our way back down to the town and found a nice local restaurant for a bite to eat and of course, a few more beers! Then we walked around the perimeter path that leads to the hotels. The path borders the rocky coast - there is no beach here- however virtually every rock had a sun bed perched precariously on it and locals and tourist alike were sprawled all over the place, sunning themselves and working on the tan. It has to be said at this point that the Croatians are indeed a beautiful race! Hvar is a gorgeous town, filled with stone streets, narrow alleyways and traditional architecture, drenched in sun with a millionaire-playground yacht harbour too - you have to come here!
Returning to the Azamara Quest we showered and changed, as there was a Greek-themed buffet up on the pool deck. The food was delicious, and they had some excellent Baklava and Gyros, all washed down with the free flowing complimentary wine. Towards the end of the dinner service the cruise director and entertainment staff took to the stage for the "Quest" game show thing, where the cruise director calls out for an item and members of your team have to find it and take it to him - it's been done on Royal Caribbean for years now, however the Azamara Quest version was tamed down somewhat, thankfully! The house band then took to the stage for a Motown dance party that had everyone up on their feet dancing and enjoying themselves! Tomorrow is Split where we have booked a private tour - lets hope the weather is as good as it was today.