Friday, October 23, 2015

Under the Bell

For our last ventures on Vis Island there was to be a medley of renting ATV’s, visiting every beach in existence, and dining in the middle of the island at a restaurant that was every bit “off the beaten path” as it was authentic and highly rated. I was excited for only all of it.

We made our way over to the only place in Komiza that rented exactly one ATV out.  We figured that would be the more stable way to go, rather than a scooter. The lady at the desk was less than thrilled by us, and our bubbling excitement.

“You drive ATV before?”

“Yes, many times (aka once in Greece)” answered KJ.

“You need experience.”

“I have it.” KJ said convincingly.


So we walked all the way back to the studio to get our passports and returned to the Witchlady.

“Here you go!” we said handing over our passports as requested.


“Sorry, what?”

“No, I don’t rent to you.” 

“But. But you just told us to go get our passports?” I stated quite matter of factly, seeing as it was in fact, a fact.

“I said no.” spat the Witchlady.

Her attitude problem had clearly grown exponentially while we went to retrieve our passports.

“Why not?” I asked stupidly.

“You will go over cliff.” She said nonchalantly whilst demonstrating charades style: us going over said cliff.

And with that our dreams for the day were crushed and Witchlady was responsible. She all but shooed us out and we felt like two school children being scolded.

We left feeling defeated and angered.

“What just happened?”

“She didn’t have to be so MEAN.”

“She was a real witch and you know what that rhymes with? BITCH.”

“What are we going to do now?”

Is pretty much how our conversation went.

We had most of the day until we were to be picked up for our dinner in the middle of the island, and I was itching to do something. 

And that’s how we ended up on Tittie beach. Just a short trek from our studio, we climbed down the hill to the beach that donned a nightclub called ‘Lunatic’ advertising itself as the spot to be. I thought it probably wasn’t, but it was a fine place to lay out on some uncomfortable rocks for a while. 

Glancing around, KJ and I realized we were the minority here seeing as we had bathing suit tops on and everyone else was free flowing. Titties were abundant. Even the rocks resembled boobs.

After averting my eyes from a particularly detailed sunscreen lathering session, I was getting antsy.  The couple on the beach made sure they got every square inch, and a good stretch while they were at it too.

I had to get out of there so I made my way over some rocks to photograph the little secluded cove I had seen when we were walking down. Just as I lumbered over a particularly large slippery rock whilst holding my big camera, two rather naked people come into view. And I was crashing their nude beach party. With my camera. YIKES. I did an abrupt pivot as they began their midday skinny dipping session and got the hell outta dodge.

I was really looking forward to dinner, and Petar had been so kind as to make the reservations for us, as well as arrange our ride. Roki’s was a traditional Croatian restaurant that cooked employing the “under the bell” technique and we had ordered the fish. 

All we knew was that we would be picked up around 7:00 on the corner. So we waited. And waited. And then a crunchy looking car pulled up with an even rustier driver and KJ looked at me as if to ask, "is this meant to be our ride?"

“HA!” I barked nervously. "He’s wearing a wife beater for God’s sake!” But was he our driver?

Thankfully Wifebeater drove away without kidnapping us and we were left waiting another 15 minutes on the side of the road. Just then a proper looking shuttle van rounded the corner and went swiftly by us as we waved our arms frantically.

“Wait! WE are supposed to eat with you!” I yelled. As if an answer to my hangry prayers, a second shuttle van pulled up and actually stopped.


“Yes, sorry we’re late!” 

“Whatever, just take us to your mid island eatery!” 

And that’s how we found ourselves in the better of the two shuttles since it was just KJ, me, Oliver the driver, and my soon to be new best friend, Pico. Pico refused to sit on my lap, but I was determined. 

Pico was a small, eager, and seriously serious dog.  He kept poised in the front passenger seat, his front paws leaning on the dash, ready for action and on the constant lookout as co-pilot. I tried various tactics to lure him to be petted by yours truly. Pico wasn’t having it.

The drive to Roki’s was breathtaking. No seriously though, we wound our way up and around the cliffs and mountains as the sun set.

I all but jumped out of the van, hot on the heels of Pico, who continually gave me the cold shoulder.  I’d pet him if it was the last thing I did! But first Oliver took us over to the bell cooking station, where we met the chefs, and saw important cooking things in motion.

Minutes later we were doing shots of grappa with the waiter; our new buddy Mario. 

"If you need anything just say Mario, Mario, Mario." he instructed.

Three times a charm.

Pico roamed around the property, bobbing and weaving around guests' chairs and I failed to keep his attention for more than a glance. It was starting to really bother me.

'Twas like eating in someone's a good way. A gloriously great way, actually. Chatter drifted around the yard; as did Pico. He was constantly always just within reach, yet managed to tuck away before I could sneak in a pat. 

We tore at bread as the yard got dark, and Mario joked that we did not order enough wine. 

"Is there ever enough wine?" I countered.

Then the fish came.

Whatever the bell was, and however it cooked this fish- PROPS TO YOU, BELL. PROPS TO YOU.

It was, without a doubt, some of the best fish I've ever had. Oh, and potatoes and rice, and anything else that was thrown in there. Pretty sure this fish right there sealed the deal for KJ.

Turns out Mario was right, it wasn't enough wine. Easily fixed with another carafe. But we didn't just get wine, Mario also took it upon himself to cultivate friendships between neighboring tables. And that's how we ended up sitting at a couple living in Norway's table and doing more shots of grappa at Mario's insistence. So we'd be leaving with tips for our Norway travels, and a serious hangover. 

When the party was over our chariot awaited us; Oliver and Pico as our guides home. We rode home amongst our new friends, the wine warming the shuttle van. I found victory in the front seat in the form of Pico in my lap. I petted him as he fulfilled his serious co-pilot position, his nails digging into my legs. But I didn't care, we were buddies now.

The next morning it was time to ship out, literally. Our ferry left early afternoon and we would have to say goodbye to Petar and Donka. But first, a departing gift. Petar presented pieces of the grappa plant claiming it was "good for the stomach." 

"Well then I best take it." I declared. I might need some on our next stop, Hvar Island...we had some birthday celebrating to do...

Komiza at dawn

**If you would like to dine under the bell at Roki's:

Want to stay at Petar and Donka's studio? apartmentskastelani

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