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Food and travel captivate Janet Podolak, who chronicles both for The News-Herald. Get the back story of her three decades of stories here. Guest bloggers and fellow News-Herald staffers also periodically share details of their trips.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Come with me to Croatia

“Do you need someone to carry your bags?” is the most common version of the question I hear when friends and other readers learn I’m headed out on a trip to gather information, photos and video for The News-Herald. Usually that’s not an option since writers are invited on press trips by those hosting them and the trips are not open to the public.
Usually they’re so quick and busy that no one would really want to spend their vacation that way.
Exceptions don’t happen often, but my upcoming culinary voyage among Adriatic islands off Croatia is one of them.
And you’re invited.
This is not a traditional press trip.
ROW International has chartered the four-masted, 110-foot sailing yacht Romanca for the Sept. 15 to 26 voyage. We meet in Dubrovnik and end in Split with guided tours and hotel nights in each city. Overnights in between are on the yacht in shared accommodations. I don’t yet know who my roommate will be, but I’m assured she will be female.
Days will be spent visiting oyster beds and the people who tend them, seeing cheese, olive oil and wine being made and partaking of freshly harvested foods prepared as the folks on each island have made them for centuries. It's said to be some of the finest cuisine in the world, often flavored with the thyme, sage and capers growing in the dark red soil. We’ll hike among ancient ruins and lavender fields from our port to many of our destinations, enjoying the scenery and sights along the way with native guides. One of them will even give us Croatian lessons.

We’ll visit ancient villages, such as Korcula, which is shown here. It’s famous for being the birthplace of Marco Polo and is highly regarded both for its olive oil and a luscious white wine called Grk.
It’s prime time in September along the Dalmatian Coast, with sea temperatures in the 70s and daytime highs in the 80s. ROW founder Peter Grub, who has nurtured relationships on these islands since 1988, will be along this time to show us his favorite swimming spots.
These coastlines are across the sea from Italy and have experienced years of both Venetian and Ottoman occupation which has influenced everything from cuisine to dialects.
We’ll be following an itinerary, which you can see at, so we’ll be motoring much of the time. Those who sail know that it’s difficult to keep to a schedule when following the wind.

If you haven’t sailed before you need to know that the experience is more like luxury camping than any cruise. The packing list sent to those who book is telling. It recommends ear plugs, (which I always pack anyway) saying “helpful at night in cities or aboard yacht if your neighbor snores.”
If you’re aboard you’ll be a part of my stories, which will run in the November travel section. The website has details about prices and booking.
See you there!

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