I had been hearing stories all week. They were from Belgium, Norway, Holland.
A pack of 30 young and very attractive northern European ladies spending good money in Jelsa’s cafes, restaurants, cocktail bars and tourist agencies – with not a husband or boyfriend in sight. And all the reports confirmed the same thing – these ladies were having FUN! I even had a couple of phone calls asking me to find out who they were and to write a blog about it.
Just who were they?
It was only when their presence had a direct effect on my own life that I decided to find out more. I have various favourite blogging spots in Jelsa, in addition to The Office, and it is always nice to share a cold one with Amadeus at Me and mrs Jones before settling down to work, but my rhythm was somewhat disrupted after an hour, when I was asked to move tables, as mine would be going outside to prepare for a group of thirty ladies. It was their last night apparently, and they had really enjoyed their first Jelsa meal at Jones, so where better to come for the final one. I decided to hang around to find out more.
And suddenly they came into the warm, waterside evening at Jones, an invasion of beauty, laughter, happiness. But how could they not be happy – they had just emerged from one of the best things to do on Hvar, a wine tasting at Andro Tomic.
I was introduced to the lovely group organisers, Marjanneke (above, left) and Barbara, and I grabbed three cold ones to learn more about this positive burst of energy which has been pervading the town for the last week.
They are all bound by a sorority in Amsterdam called Dododinai from the student society D.E.R.M., an assocation of ladies bonded by their love of surfing and other water sports, and they were in Jelsa – all 30 of them, aged between 19 and 32 – to celebrate 10 years of Dododinai. And they were here to have fun…
As the lovely ladies explained, five years ago they had rented a big house somewhere out of town in Portugal and had a great time. So why Jelsa for the ten years? Was it a great blog from Total Hvar, some amazing marketing from the Jelsa Tourist Board?
The businesses which have benefited from the Dutch invasion this week should be buying coffees for the owners of Apartments Napoleon, just behind Me and mrs Jones, for this was the initial hook which got the girls to Jelsa, a destination chosen for its accommodation, beaches, gastronomy, water sports and lively town. Those were the rough criteria, and the girls had looked at many destinations in Europe before deciding on Jelsa.
Because they wanted to maximise the fun in Jelsa, and due to the fact that there were varying budgets in the group, it was decided to travel from Amsterdam to Split and back by bus, and if you are on the 11:30 ferry this morning to Split, you may well catch them, possibly looking a little tired after a final night’s partying.
For many, it was their first time in Croatia, but it seems it will not be their last, as Jelsa outperformed their expectations. Highlights, apart from the incredible weather, were the beaches, the local food, the pretty island, the water, the lack of queues for almost anything, but above all, the overwhelming friendliness of everyone they met, from the scooter rentals at Globus to the various restaurants and bars they came across. As a positive promotion of Jelsa about to hit the streets of Amsterdam when the ladies return, I cannot think of more enthusiastic ambassadors.
I was certainly uplifted from our brief chat, as I think were all who came in contact with them over the last few days. I declined to join the group photo above (not sure how that would have gone down back home… only joking), preferring to take it instead, a snapshot of Dutch happiness on their final evening, before settling down to another Me and mrs Jones special.
Thank you for your visit, ladies, and we wish you a safe trip back, and maybe see you back in Jelsa one day – with those boyfriends and husbands…