Our artists have been on Hvar for 5 days already, and we still haven’t been into the town everyone thinks is actually the complete island itself. So for our Saturday evening we’ll hit the big city, but first, a bit of painting at the beach. One of my favourite subjects is rocks and water, and there’s a wonderfully varied collection to be seen out at the Glavice headland.
From Vrboska, it’s an easy walk to the beach at Soline. On this lovely warm sunny morning, we set out along the trail with painting kits and swimming gear. This late in the season, it’s not as busy, but the cafe’s still open for business, which is handy.
We settle into a shady area under the pines. The sea is warm and beautifully clear, lovely for a swim. Some of us take our sketch books and head over to the northern shore for the more rugged views, while others enjoy the pebble beach and the view across the inlet. It’s an absolutely delightful way to spend a morning.
Around midday we get our lunch from the cafe, and the pizza sandwich is voted particularly yummy! I really must try that sometime.
Sitting there by the water with a glass of wine in hand feels really peaceful – what a relaxing way to finish up the week! After another leisurely swim, it’s time to head back and prepare ourselves for the excursion into Hvar.
As we emerge from the tunnel on the south side of the island, there’s a complete change of scenery. After the relatively flat northern shore, the sharp drop into the sea below us is spectacular. On this clear day, we can see the islands of Vis and Korčula floating out there, and further round, the Pakleni islands.
Hvar is the largest town on the island, and very popular with visitors of all types. You hear snatches of just about every foreign language as people stroll past, either still in beachwear or all ready to party tonight! After a saunter along the waterfront, our group heads up to Fortica, Hvar’s defensive Spanish Fortress, to get the absolute best views of the town and its stunning location.
The streets of Hvar in this direction are, of course, steps. And plenty of them. As we go up, we meet a wedding party on their way down, all dressed to the nines, the guys wearing ties to match the girls dresses. What a great place to get married – just think of the photo album!
At the top of the steps, we enter the park and continue uphill in wide zig-zags. We’re still meeting the stragglers of the wedding party, the older folks, and those with pushchairs and young children. Our views back over the harbour are tantalizing glimpses through the pine trees. Onwards and upwards to the fort!
The entrance to Fortica is round the back, a small door set at an angle in the thick wall. The fortress is an interesting place, including dungeons and displays of a Roman shipwreck. For this trip, we’re set on the view, and for that we climb to the highest tower.
Looking down over the town and its harbour, and out to sea towards the islands is an absolutely stunning vista. Red roofs glowing in the late afternoon sun. Shimmering blue water and boats moving in and out. A couple of us get out our sketch books and try to capture the panorama. It’s not likely we’ll get anywhere close to the detail, but it’s a great way to imprint things on your brain for later review.
Meanwhile, the rest of the group has found the cafe on the main terrace, and have ordered a round of drinks. An orangina goes down very well in this heat! As time is moving on, so must we.
The Benedictine Convent is open from 5-7pm, and several of our artists are interested in seeing the agave lace created by the nuns here, and apparently nowhere else. It’s very delicate and intricate, quite amazing to see the individual styles of the sisters coming through in the patterns.
After a bit of sightseeing, it’s dinner time, and we gradually make our way along to the Dva Ribara restaurant, from where we get a lovely view of the lights of Hvar dancing in the waters of the harbour.
I love to watch boats coming and going, and this harbour is in constant motion with water taxis, catamarans, yachts, booze cruisers, fishing boats, inflatables, and a host of small craft. On shore, a parade of smartly-dressed folks pass us on their way to the bars and restaurants.
After dinner, we explore some of the art galleries and souvenir shops in the back streets. It’s a fun way to end the evening!
Here are a couple of my sketches for the day. Firstly, my painting done at the beach:
And this is my sketch of that beautiful panorama from the top of Fortica – and I should note that I was using a magenta pen, not painting with wine!