Friday, June 18, 2010

Brač: Island of Meat.

It might seem strange to sail out to a Dalmatian island in search of... meat... surrounded as you are by fresh fish and seafood. Squids, molluscs, all manner of tasty creepy-crawlies unavailable in landlocked Hungary. But strange is my middle name (or at least, my middle name is kind of strange...) so it was on Dejan's advice that we rented a car in Split and took a ferry to Brač, the largest and closest Island to the mainland, a mere hour away. The goal was a nice beach and a visit to the highest island mountain at Vidova Gora, located above Bol on the southern coast. Dejan's convincing advice, spoken in his fluent local English (British vocabulary with Croatian syntax) told of a land populated by delicious meat. "You go to Vidova Gora. It is in National Park, highest place on island. In forest there are lambs. Hundreds of lambs. Everywhere there are lambs. It is scary. So many lambs. And they are killing them! Killing lambs every day. And roasting them. They are roasting lambs there for you to eat." It sounded horrifying... I imagined meat maddened Croats driving up the mountain to the music of Ustasha-rocker Marko Perković "Thompson", getting out of their air conditioned cars, and blasting away point black at the defenseless baby sheep. The truth was a bit more prosaic. We drove through olive groves and up a stunted alpine pine forest and treached the top, where a stunning view of the Adriatic awaited. And then to the spare Konoba Vidova Gora - the charnal house of the lambs that Dejan had described in such horrifying detail.
The islands are dry and rocky, perfect for olive growing. the oil here was excellent, and on sale in three liter flasks for KUNA 180 (about US$10 a liter) but everybody tells us to wait until we can find some olive oil from the island of Solta at the Split market.
The spit roasted lamb wasn't available - it was mid week lunch, after all - so we had grilled lamb. And yes, it was worth the drive. Simple, fresh, local lamb piled on a plate and eaten with salad, good bread, and olive oil. You could taste the pine and ropsemary that the sheep had fed on in the high mountain pastures. I could only agree with the local sentiment: Kill the lambs! Kill them all! They are roasting them... and eating them!
Having eaten our fill of innocent fluffy baby sheep, it was time for a swim. Igor drove through the twisting mountain roads with confidence - he has driven off more mountain roads in Italy than I can count, so I can trust him completely to know what he is doing. Just north of the costal village of Bol we found the Zlatni Rat beach. Perhaps the most perfect beach near Split, Zlatini rat is divided in to Nudist and Somewhat Nudist beaches, so we split up, with Fumie and I going to the Ugly peoples' clothed beach while Igor and Camille went to the "Look-At-My-Genitals!-Is-This-Not-Completely-Natural-and-Normal?" beach.
We stopped for a coffee in the small village of Nerežišća, once the capital of the island, where we found this old stone church jauntily sporting a pine tree. Although a lot of people keep homes here, and summer visitors fill up the islands' homes, many of the villages have a low population due to emigration in the past. Go to Argentina, Chile, or Australia and you can meet lots of people from Brač. Go to Brač and you can meet the lambs they dream about.

1 comment:

native said...

Draga, I am a Jewish girl marrying a Gypsy boy this summer in Romania and I am looking for some good klezmer music for our wedding.  Are you and friends available and if so, how much would u require?

Kismet :)