Speedboats, soap making and stonemasonry!

I thought it would be fun to share a day of my holiday with you all, I am on a cruise that goes from Venice, around the coast to Croatia, Albania then onto Greece.

Yesterday I visited the island of Brac, pronounced Bratch, in Croatia. This is my first visit to this part of the world and it is quite stunningly beautiful and the people have been so friendly. The tour I chose for the day was much better suited to my crafty interests than the trip Richard chose – visiting Split. This part of Croatia is where they filmed the Game of Thrones and being a super fan, he was so excited to see it all and indeed came back to the boat with loads of pictures and tales to share.

Such stunning stone work… including an outfit! The sculptress who made the the two-piece outfit is Ida Jaksic while the statues were made by her son www.galerijajaksic.com

But back to my trip, first we went on a fabulous speed boat from Split over to the island of Brac… oh I do like fancy boats! Travelling at 30 knots is very exciting. Climbing onto the speedboat helped by two young, topless Mediterranean guys was a nice bonus too!

We travelled first to the home and studios of a family of stonemasons and artists. How wonderful that mother, father, son and daughter can all be so talented and live together too. This limestone outfit (see picture) was just amazing, shown at New York fashion week some years ago, they were also selling some gorgeous carved stone blocks for candles, but I thought it might be asking too much from my luggage allowance!

Onwards then to the highlight of the tour for me. Another family business. The father, Joseph, lost his job but had a family of four children to bring up and get through college, expensive in any country. So he and his wife experimented with traditional family soap recipes and now make over 550 bars of soap every day… wow! The key to the soap is that it is clear and uses only local herbs, oils etc and Joseph himself was oh so interesting. They still operate out of a little room with these pots, barely bigger than you would use in the kitchen. I have so much respect for a family that pulls together like this and the children have now graduated with really impressive degrees.

Quite amazing how they make so much soap in a tiny kitchen!

My fabulous gold soap on the left … and a few of my other soapy purchases! Brac Fini Sapuni www.bracfinisapuni.com

Did I buy anything? Come on, do you need to ask?! They have started manufacturing clear soap with 27 carat gold in it, which is apparently really good for anti-ageing… who cares, it smells gorgeous and is a fab souvenir! It sells for massive amounts all over the world but I managed to buy a bar for 6 euros rather than the 100 it sells for in Scandinavia ! I also got mint, basil, tangerine… oh ok, I bought a lot of soap but hey, it’s my holiday!

A fantastic local meal at Restaurant Ziza completed the day, with red wine, local seafood, fresh figs picked from the tree we sat under and local goat, sheep and ricotta cheeses. I think it was a truly fabulous day. I will try and write more later in the week…

The photo at the top of the page is our delicious lunch at Restaurant Ziza. You cannot beat fresh local produce!


15 replies
  1. Marlene Whitehead says:

    Went to Croatia in June loved it we stayed in Cavtat near Dubrovnik we want to visit other places in Croatia now as you say people are so friendly. Enjoy the rest of your holiday look forward to some more reports from you x

  2. denise stocks says:

    Hi Joanna, Sounds like a lovely trip. Always wanted to explore Croatia. Enjoy the rest of the holiday and more picks please.

  3. Rosemarie says:

    Green with envy Joanna. Always wanted to visit thus part of the world. Your trip sounds just up my street , what lovely memories you will have – and all that soap!!! Enjoy the rest of your trip X X

  4. Eileen Whitehead says:

    Your trip brings back memories of my late mum and dad and their trip to Dubrovnik. Sadly due to health problems holidays these days for me are out of the question. I have had my fair share in the past having travelled to many places in the UK, also over the channel and to Austria, Sweden, Germany and Poland. Thrilled that you are having a fabulous time – like me you like soap . . . .

  5. WheelyBad says:

    Hi Joanna

    Such a beautiful part of the world, one I dreamed of visiting but now I’m unable to travel. Lucky to live in an age where we can see anywhere in the world via a click of a mouse or a tap on a tablet so I can see the stunning scenery and architecture of many places. Your day out sounds amazing and yes, I’d have probably brought as much of that gorgeous sounding soap as you did! I would have happily done Richards trip too… All I can say is, I hope he set the recorder because series 7 may have only had 7 episodes of GoT but they were darn good!

    Enjoy the rest of your holidays, T x

  6. Cheryl Bingham says:

    Croatia is such a beautiful country and your day trip sounds too good to miss. Like all the other posts I would have bought just as much and doesn’t it make lovely gifts to take home. That meal made my mouth water too. Enjoy the rest of the cruise.

  7. Marion says:

    Glad you are enjoying your cruise, well deserved I expect. We have been to Croatia a couple of times, last year to Rabac on the Istrian peninsular, so pretty and the people so friendly. Also.. Venice is my favourite place to visit, Just to wander around all the back streets and sit and watch the world go by, we never tire of our visits there and oh so many lovely scarves purchased from the stalls on the Rialto Bridge.


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