I met a couple of people in Split, and we decided to check out one of the many islands off the coast of Croatia. Hvar is the foremost destination for visitors, but we preferred something a bit closer and with fewer tourists, so with the advice of our ever-gracious host Al, we headed to Brač on the ferry.
Alighting at the small town of Supetar, we found a man touting for a hostel, and (wearily) decided to check it out. The hostel was empty, but well equipped and we managed to knock the price down to 80 kuna a night (just over €10) and decided to take it.
Toni, the man who we met at the ferry port, was new to the job, and needed to sharpen his English skills, so I ended up playing teacher for a couple of days, which I was happy to do. I met quite a few locals, and learnt a bit about the local economy. Croatia, like many east Europe countries, suffers from high unemployment and a weak economy. I learnt that a reasonable wage here is about €1000 a month, and that’s if you actually have a job.
Supetar’s economy relies heavily on tourism, and in the high season, foreigners outnumber locals. However, these days most of the visitors stay in all-inclusive hotels, with all-you-can-eat buffets and as much alcohol and ice cream you need. The end result of this is that less money is spent on local businesses, and the town doesn’t get all the benefits of the tourist trade.
After a miserable day of rain and wind, the skies cleared up and I took to the roads on a hired bike, touring along the coast facing the mainland. The coastline looks, if anything, more impressive from this side. I visited the tiny towns of Splitska and Postira, before running out of road. There were many small beaches here, abandoned until the summer.