A Walk Through Hvar, Croatia

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Words & Photos by Ines Pandzic - inespandzic.com

 

Lifestyle, food and travel photographer based in Perth and South-West Australia. I am also in the process of obtaining my PhD in Psychology and in many ways this feeds into my sense of curiosity and how I see the world (and photograph it). 

I’ve always had this thoroughly experiential approach to life and have always been attracted to the idea of constantly moving and living in new cities. This I believe is likely a consequence from the context in which I grew up. My family relocated to the Midwest after the civil conflict in Bosnia. I remember feeling overwhelmed and a sense of over saturation, but at the same time I felt my journey would take me elsewhere. I stayed in Chicago for a little while, before moving to California. The wealth of experience and inspiration I gained while living on the West Coast was a major catalyst in deciding to seek, wander and be surrounded by beauty. When it came time for a new chapter, I moved to Western Australia. Although it can be tricky, and at times it seems impossible to be able to navigate the world this way, I have found a great sense of fulfillment from living as a drifter and documenting my journey and travels along the way.

When traveling during peak season it can be difficult to notice everyday landscape and truly get a sense of the town’s identity. Thankfully everything in Hvar runs at a much slower pace, albeit town’s buzzing nightlife activity goes into the early hours of the morning. The island occupies a middle ground between luxury and laid-back atmosphere. In the morning you notice florals and wild berries dripping from the balconies. Days are spent walking or lounging by the seaside tipping over baked rock, sea salt and pine needles. As the sun starts to set, you hear noise of crickets and little lizards scurrying around.

Travel has largely influenced my love of photography, and in a place like this I tend to walk through the cobble stone streets in search of the unusual. Little yellow mailboxes, garlic drying under the shade, old doors and windows that have lived through many of seasons. I look for random encounters with objects and local dwellers. It evokes a certain type of nostalgia and wanderlust. One dreams of traveling, seeing, experiencing and then you are finally there in that moment.

Hvar is relatively small, but is full of secluded bays and within close proximity to other smaller groups of islands known as the Pakleni Islands.  From the main St. Stephen’s square and Cathedral you can wander up and down winding stone streets with 13th century marble walls. The main strip is buzzing with activity into the early hours of the morning, but it’s down these winding narrow streets that you will find restaurant serving some of the best wine the region has to offer. You will also find yourself enjoying fresh produce grown directly on the island and olive oil that is second to none. This is because the region’s mild climate is a breeding ground for not only olives, but also lavender and grapes. The bustling cluster of restaurants, creameries and bakeries are located within close proximity.

A truly unforgettable trip, for me, always includes a trip to the local bakery. When you walk into a bakery you should feel a familiar warmth regardless of how bland the décor or how busy the counter. It doesn’t have to be sophisticated, but it should act as an extension of the local food scene still in the business of preparing traditional baked goods that satisfy both sweet and savory cravings. A must have is a krofna, an original doughnut, it is made fresh daily across all bakeries on the island.

The best way to experience Hvar is to try one of the day tours visiting the neighboring islands. The most memorable moments from the trip was experiencing the Blue Cave, having lunch on Palmizana Island and enjoying a freshly made pastry in the early hours of the morning. This is just a small peak into Hvar. Another must do activity would be wine tasting, which may be one of the best kept secrets of Hvar and visiting the lavender fields.

Travel inspires us to change our lifestyle and sometimes even expectations for the better. It provides us with experiences that improve our quality of life and can often be a catalyst for shifting our mindsets and engaging in moments that we remember for many years to come.  

 

For the dreamer - For the adventurer