It's been almost two weeks since I came to Peljesac together with my two small kids: we always go to the same place, a charming little village, hidden beyond the meanders of a dangerously narrow local road. There are no restaurants. No shops. No crowds. And, most importantly, there is no Wi-Fi.
The accommodation is very basic, perhaps one category above a tent. No air-conditioning. No unnecessary kitchen equipment, such as colanders and frying pans (there are several high-quality bottle openers, though). No fuss about anything. Like my friend says: Whatever you don't have, you don't need. If anyone asked me to classify us as tourists, I'd say we are traditional low-season, static, apartment tourists.
There are many other types of tourists, though:
1. The said apartment tourists can be further divided into static (they like to stay in one place, only going to local Konzum once in two days) or nomadic (they constantly move around, making trips and trying to do as much sightseeing as humanly possible, sustaining queues and heat waves). They don't mind cooking their own meals, washing their dishes and making their beds (or handling to starve, look at a sink of dirty dishes and messy beds).
2. The hotel crowd: these guys split into the budget tourists and the all-inclusives. Both enjoy to completely chill out, forget about dishes and grocery shopping, and they usually spend ten days in a row on a sun bed by the hotel swimming pool with a drink in their hand (a minority of them actually do materialize their dreams of making a trip to Mostar or walking any further than the ice-cream stand. In high-season, they wake up early, rush to the swimming pool or the hotel beach, and spread their towels, as by 9 a.m., all sun beds are taken (after having towelled the best position by the pool, hotel tourists typically return to their beds and then rush to breakfast at 10:30 am, to later get their shoulders burnt while frying by the pool from 12 to 3pm)
3. The hippies: these guys are either motorized (driving fancy Harley-Davidsons or ancient colourful minivans featuring stickers from previous destinations and slogans Free Tibet or similar) or they hitch-hike. They would not exchange freedom for anything, so (in most cases) they voluntarily choose suffering. They look down to any type of organized mass tourism (but you do meet them in the Sub City shopping centre as they keenly integrate into mass consumerism).
4. Solo travellers: writers, most often, or PhD. candidates who got mistaken and meant to finish their thesis on a terrace by the Adriatic, with a bottomless glass of wine in their hand. They rent one-bed hotel rooms or small apartments, they try to integrate into Dalmatian culture, watching local men play boce, picking up ten most common Croatian words (and surprisingly succeeding to have a basic conversation with toothless old women on benches).
In extreme cases, solo travellers rent lighthouses, determined to change their lives, detoxify and finally read the Unbearable Lightness of Being, but then secretly missing their iPads, wifis, nutellas, cokes and the nasty habits that make their life bearable.
5. Sportsmen. These include cyclists (cruising Dalmatian coastal roads half naked and half dead in 40 degrees Celsius somewhere between self-denial, self pity and self destruction), hikers (climbing local peaks and sometimes ending up in hospital as bit by a viper), long-distance swimmers, who thought they could make it from Porporela to Lokrum or from Orebic to Korcula, and they miraculously survived.
6. Yachting groups: regardless of the luxury of their boat, there are just two types of yachting tourists - those who come once and never again (the marinas are ridiculously pricey, as are the restaurants, the whole place is crowded and the sea is not particularly warm) and those who come once and forever again (the marinas are ridiculously pricey, as are the restaurants, the whole place is crowded and the sea is not particularly warm, but we gladly ignore all that, as the passionate compound of the Adriatic coast and the Dalmatian culture grabbed our soul and has refused to release it).
7. Candidates for relocating to Dalmatia: summer residents, who own houses on the coast, and who feel sorry to leave even after five months of sitting on their terrace, staring at the sea and contemplating life (until they simply miss their plane and remain watching the sunset), tourists, who have fallen in love with a local and got married in Dubrovnik - and only later they realize that they married a local together with dozens of local inexplicable habits, that get on their nerves, local culture, local beauty and, well, local happiness of life, and before they can wink, they are seventy, sitting on a riva, drinking wine and fishing.
Blanka Pavlovic a.k.a. the Adriatic Bride is a Czech writer. She studied law (Prague) and creative writing (Oxford). As a lawyer, she specialized in international human rights law, first working for the European Court of Human Rights, then for a peacekeeping mission in Kosovo. She wrote five books, among them Total Balkans, The Handbook of the Adriatic Bride or The Return of the Adriatic Bride. She now lives with her family between Dubrovnik and Donji Brgat. More information and English translations of her work are available through www.blankacechova.com