A diamond in the rough
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  Posted August 30th, 2016 by Zdenko  in Family, Travel | 2 comments

Travel Croatia

By Zdenko Kahlina

Off The Beaten Path in Croatia – Island of Brac (Croatia).
The diamond is on your finger. It’s a beautiful ring, just as meaningful as the ceremony at which you got it. You’ll never forget that day.

Osibova Bay – near Milna 

The same can be said about island of Brac. On this island man and stone have lived and fought each other from time immemorial. Who knows where a small town of Milna is? Than I’m sure nobody ever heard about Osibova village, which is even smaller! The real diamond in the rough. Vera and I just returned from a glorious week in Osibova Bay on the island of Brac in Croatia. Here you will find unspoiled nature, calmness and crystal clear water.

Island of Brac, Croatia 

This summer our group of friends decided to replace usual vacationing spot in Losinj for something new and different. They picked island of Brac and small village of Milna. This was good decision, as we all had a great time there at a much lower cost. This is a story about our time spent there.

Osibova Bay – near Milna
The Osibova Bay is located about 2 km from the small town of Milna. This is only a 10 minute drive or 30 minute walk. Milna is full of great food, fresh fish to buy and small but adequate supermarkets to get all you need. A hire car is a must if you’re staying in this area because you don’t want to walk 2 km in the summer heat. We had a small Chevy Cruze, but it served us well. If you want to explore the island, which is highly recommended, you’ll need a car. All roads on the island are in good shape, just be careful if it rains. The roads than become very treacherous. In Milna you can also hire a boat to explore Brac or neighboring islands. 

Milna village and Osibova Bay 

The road from Milna is narrow, but pawed all the way to the village of Osibova, however last couple of hundred meters is a gravel road before you reach the villa. Our Šimić villa had parking for several cars and the owners offered additional parking in their garage. Here you will find unspoiled nature, calmness and crystal clear water, stone and secluded beaches or those gravel beaches, appropriate for children, are ideal for the perfect summer vacation.

Osibova Bay – crystal clear water 

We stayed there as a large group of 12 in the Šimić Villa, where we booked all four apartments. This was the best thing we ever did, because it was a great value compared to the other very large villas in the same village.

Osibova bay with villa Šimić

The small Gothic church of St. John (crkva svetog Ivana)
is on the other side of the bay. It can be reached by a walkway.
  

Apartmani Šimić, Osibova
The house consists of three floors, with 4 apartments situated on the second and third floor. Single apartments can accommodate maximum 4 persons. The villa had all we needed with great outdoor seating on the patio and cooking facilities (grill) for such a large party. The bay is really stunning, only 50m away and loads of jetty’s to swim and snorkel off and the sea is crystal clear. There is a beautiful view of the bay from each balcony in villa.

villa Šimić in Osibova bay 

Access road to villa Šimić

We met the owners as soon as we arrived. Žarko and Dragica ŠIMIĆ really went out of their way to please their gests. Žarko likes to go fishing with his boat and he provided fresh fish or some other kind of seafood almost every day. One day Žarko caught big octopus and we all had octopus stew for dinner. Just several months ago, he caught big Tuna fish of 301 kg from his 5 meter boat! Sensational!!

Žarko  Šimić with his catch of the year!

Žarko  Šimić and his boat

My friend Mladen was an expert with the grill and we had a great grilled fish daily. The hosts also provided (for free) their own home made wine, both: red and white. What else did we need!? Oh, yes… I forgot about the beer. The nearest shop, restaurant, post office, and bank is about 2 km away in Milna. We brought beer (daily!) from Milna. Since every apartment had a fridge, we always had enough cold beer.

Spacious balconies overlooking the bay

Trail to the beach from villa

Spacious balconies on every level of the house guaranteed a wonderful view of the sea. The beach is very short distance from the house, and it is possible to swim at all sides of the bay. The weather was fantastic: sunny days, warm water and we had plenty of free time.

View from our balcony on Osibova Bay (east)

Grilled fish is almost ready and hungry group is waiting for food

Built in grill on the terrace and Mladen with his family at work

Grilled fish – Croatian way 

Cheers!! Živeli!

I have to say this Villa is not the Ritz, but it has got everything we needed. It is located on great location close to the sea and I would thoroughly recommend Apartments Šimić, in Osibova Bay to anyone. If you want a peaceful holiday, in an idyllic location, (and don’t mind a 10 minute drive along narrow road to get to a closest town with restaurants and shops) then the Osibova Bay is perfect! 

Aerobic on our private beach 

Cycling boys
The “boys” from our group went biking every single day. We were in good shape having just returned from visiting Tour de France and climbing one of the most known mountains in cycling world: Alpe d’Huez and Galibier. The only problem was heat and the 3 km hill right from Milna, which seems to be harder than Alpe d’Huez. Was it the wine or the heat? Once we got ourselves over the top of that hill, it was easer. The roads on the island of Brac are very interesting, with lots of ups and downs, narrow in the villages, but than wide open through the olive plantations. Recent major forest fire in this area has ravaged more than 9,000 acres of pine forest, olive trees and other plants. The firefighters worked hard and they saved all the houses and villages. The smell of burned trees and grass is still in the air, especially when you are on the bike like we were.

Ivan and Mladen described the hills on the island as tough

Road through village of Ložišća is very narrow 

In fact this would be true, if Ivan Čolig wouldn’t dictate a strong pace on the hills, so both of us could hardly endure his speed. When we were left behind him on the hill, he would latter wait for us at the top of the hill, and we would continue to ride together again and enjoy the beautiful landscapes of the island. 

All roads around the island of Brac are very interesting, with lots of curves, climbs and descents. Road through the village of Ložišća is so narrow, only one way traffic is allowed and it is regulated by traffic lights. Outside the village road again becomes broad and beautiful. Recent major forest fire in the area, which has ravaged over 9,000 hectares of pine forests, olive trees and other plants, left a large footprint. Still visible is the efforts of firefighters, who worked hard and managed to save all houses. We did not see any house that was destroyed in the fire. The smell of burnt trees and the grass is still in the air, especially when riding a bicycle through the fire affected area as we did. 

Zdenko going through village Ložišća. Here he enjoyed the view of the famous church tower.

Recent major forest fire in the area left a large footprint

Going through the villages

We bike toured the western part of the island. On the path from Milna we passed through villages Bobovišća, Ložišća, Bol, Mirca, Supetar. In Supetar we turned up the hill (the hill again!), And drove all the way to Nerežišća, where we turned right for the Lower Humac, Dračevica and descended again into the village Ložišća. Here we enjoyed the view of the famous church tower which dominates the village. The tower was designed by sculptor Ivan Rendić, and belongs to the parish church which dates back to 1820 years. Ložišća has chosen its site in a very steep stone glade. The stone houses are strung one upon the other along the sloping lanes that stretch from the rather deep valley and reach to the top of the village. The stone, southern fronts are turned to the sun. They are filled with rows of little windows above the large cellar door….

Old stone houses are virtually on the road

These stone houses were recently restored

Oncewe passed through Ložišće and through Bobovišća we returned to Milna. The trail on the way back was much easier because it was mostly all downhill (except for the climb out from Supetar). The round was long somewhere around 60 km, which we covered in approximately 2 hours. I can’t even describe how we enjoyed our cold beer after such a ride. Who was once a cyclist, will know for sure…

In the evenings we usually went with the cars to Milna for a walk and ice cream treat. Milna harbor was full of beautiful foreign yachts, at which all the people from the shore cast envious glances. There were not too many tourists in Milna, but enough to get a sense that it was a full season.

Spend the day in Bol on Zlatni Rat

We reserved one day in a week for a drive to visit town of Bol, the most famous place  on the island, because of its beautiful beach Zlatni Rat. On the way to Bol we turned off the main road into a small forest road that leads to the top of Vidova Gora, the highest peak on the island of Brac. Its beauty is sure to attract your attention and you will be excited about coming to such a beautiful place on this island.

View of town Bol, from Vidova Gora

The only way to really see the ‘Golden Horn’ in Bol is from above – and one of the highest vantage points on the Adriatic islands is from Vidova Gora. There are two ways to get here – by road or by hiking. There is a konoba located at the summit. (Trivia – Winston Churchill’s son was killed on this mountain, while helping local soldiers).

‘Golden Horn’ in Bol viewed from Vidova Gora

Vidova Gora, which is also known as Mountain Vitus, is about 778 meters high. It is also the highest peak of all Croatian islands. It is built of several kinds of rocks and is an ideal place for adventure lovers. One side of the Vidova Gora is covered limestone, which is also very rocky and steep, and the other parts are low and covered with sand. 

Although it was preparing to rain when we reached the top, the clouds just opened for a few minutes for our group. The view from the top made us loose our breath and the view from the top of Vidova Gore was memorable; southern slopes of the mountains are incredible. I will remember this forever. Town of Bol and the most popular beach on Brac “Zlatni Rat” were below us as the images. From here we could even see the islands of central Dalmatia. We were able to enjoy the many landscapes and views of the island Hvar, Vis, and other surrounding islands. Vidova Gora can also be reached by hiking trails from Bol.

Our group on top of the mountain Vidova Gora 

After about half an hour enjoying the beautiful views from the top of the mountain, we went back to our cars are returned to the main road, so we continued driving towards Bol, still some twenty kilometers further away.

The walk along the water’s edge underneath pine trees

How to describe a place where because of the beauty of nature, place has a lot of tourists, everything is expensive and crowded. The walk from Bol meanders along the water’s edge underneath pine trees and takes about 30 minutes. The whole time we were surrounded by groups of people who were moving in the same direction.

The Horn is a triangular shaped, smooth pebble beach that juts out perpendicular from the coast (the only one in the world). You can either just sun-swim-sleep or partake in numerous water sports. The sound of the wind, the waves on the pebbles and the warm Adriatic sun lulled my friends and the two of us to sleep.

‘Golden Horn’ beach in Bol 

We posed for several pictures, rested on the beach a little from walking, and went back to our cars all the time thinking how lucky we are that we are located in Osibova bay, and not here.

The girls in our group (Đurđa, Sanja, Ljiljana, Dragica, Vera, Vikica, Evica, Petra, Blaženka and little Nika) 

Time to leave
A week on the island has quickly passed and it was time parting with the islands, but also with our friends, who extended their holidays for another week in Osibova bay. The conclusion was that everything nice, doesn’t last for long. I hope that we will be back in a few years… back in Osibova bay. 

Zdenko (Edmonton), Mladen (Zagreb) i Ivan (Sydney)

Cheers! Until next time!

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2 comments to “A diamond in the rough”

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