After a long working season all the members of the Meridien Ten team were ready to relax, to chill out next to the beach. After much deliberation, the choice has come to island Vis. Everyone agreed that visiting Vis would be a good choice for a team building spot. Having returned back to Split, we must admit that we had made the right choice. That is to put it mildly. To be more precise, it was a weekend from dreams. The weather was absolutely perfect. During three days we were blessed with sunny weather and temperatures ranging from 14 to 20 degrees, as it is visible from the attached pictures. These speak more than any words could, and they confirm that we had a wonderful time.
The team embarked on a ferry to Vis early on Friday morning. Meridien Ten van was full of sport equipment as any proper van of adventure travel agency should be: road bikes, mountain bikes, ebikes, stand up pedals… Actually, with all our equipment and luggage in the van, there were only three places left for the passengers in the car. Once in a ferry, we gathered around the table where Dina prepared oval plate full of typical Dalmatian specialties such as Dalmatian prosciutto, goat cheese, olives and other specialties, all of which contributed to good atmosphere. Actually, I cannot help but notice that everyone was becoming more and more relaxed with each passing hour just by being outside of the office, on a way to adventurous weekend. It was nice to run away from the office, and that fact was visible in everyone’s eyes. It was also nice to share stories about adventures undertaken by some of the members of our team, and about adventures about which we have been reading for years. Listening to these stories on the ferry deck in beautiful autumn weather was quite energizing, and actually just the right motivation we needed for a following bike ride around the island. Namely, pretty soon after we had arrived in Vis, we were already biking around the island, led by our local guide Kalambera „mlaaji“. After some 20 kilometres, a coffee in Komiza under the sun was a perfect break and a moment to remember in the months to come. It is incredible how easy is to envy lifestyle of the locals living on the Croatian islands once you try it….
A few hours later we were back in Vis waiting in a van for our local guide in order to attend a private wine tasting in Senjanović wine cellars. Given that we were expected to be at the wine cellars exactly at 5PM, we were quite angry at the moment when we have been already waiting 5 minutes for Kalambera. However, before nothing another 20 minutes were long gone in waiting, a time during which most probably I was not the only person in the van reflecting on the fact how time was relative for people living on the islands.
That this is true no matter what island is in question was confirmed in the evening when we were joined by our friend and collegue Andrej from Korčula. Another proponent of „take it easy“ lifestyle almost missed the delicious fish dinner in konoba „Pojoda“. The emphasis is on almost, as in the end he arrived just at the moment when the first plate was arriving on the table. It goes without saying that the fish was accompanied with local Lipanović red and white wines. Of course, the members of Meridien Ten team pretended to be the finest wine connoisseurs, able to differentiate the quality of vines we tried at konoba Pojoda and at Senjanović wine cellars. Namely, although we were a bit late for wine tasting two hours earlier, the owner of the cellars waited and greeted us with a smile. His speech about wine was inspiring, the sight/look on wine producing equipment interesting, but as it usually goes, the taste of four different wines even better for our senses, which we didn’t cease to compare with Tomić wines during the entire dinner at konoba. It was hard to tell whether it was wine or food that contributed to good vibe at the table, but most probably both played their part.
Saturday started with highly expected mountain bike downhill, highly expected because some members of our team were looking forward to taste their newly acquired MTB bikes. Instead an hour long as originally planned, the ride lasted more than 3 hours as Kalambera took us via beautiful old seaman’s villages of island Vis. It was definitely a ride worth retaining in memory, which, after we had rich breakfast in apartments Dioniz, continued on regular roads towards Komiza. There we stopped for another excellent coffee break, but this one enriched with tasty Komiza fish pie. With newly found energy, some of us continued cycling to Vis over curvy uphill, looking back only to enjoy stunning views on neighbouring island Bisevo, but also looking forward to let ourselves loose along 5 km long downhill leading to Vis.
The afternoon continued in konoba Roki’s where we were served domestic rakija, vine and two „peka“ with octopus and fish. Roki’s confirmed its reputation to be one of the best places to enjoy Croatian food during Meridien Ten tours, but also to be a place offering a door into the past. Namely, the konoba is situated next to the airport that was constructed during the Second World War in the wilderness of Vis, which served for Allied forces. Original photos and other items provided a glimpse into the lives of WWII fighters, as did walking in the same footsteps where they had walked 70 years ago on the airport.
Our next stop was Podašpilje. It happened that on Saturday evening a Sabatina public gathering was taking place with locals preparing fish and meat on various ways. When we heard klapa singing in a big local public auditorium, we had a feeling that past was meeting the present. It was nice to see so many locals in good mood meeting around the Swedish table and dancing on the podium, as well as it was nice a couple of hours later to watch the sky with clearly visible numerous stars from a cliff above Komiza…
On the last day we headed towards Stončica bay for a little bit of hiking/walking. Some of us walked to Stončica lighthouse where we were greeted by lighthouse keeper Mr. Ićo, who actually provided us with the personal tour of the lighthouse. It was not only a story about the lighthouse, it was the story about the sea, fisherman, simple and great life on the island…. We all loved it!
Some of us decided again to jump into bike saddles. Andro opted for stand up paddling in Stončica bay, given that the weather conditions were ideal. One could have easily see a long lasting smile on his face as he was fighting the waves, a smile literally saying: „What a perfect day this is“.
Given everything mentioned in this short overview of Meridien Ten teambuilding in Vis, it is obvious that he was not the only one to conclude that. Actually, in the end we all agreed that this was a perfect weekend. And we were all sad to leave the island of Vis and to return to our normal lives.
Text by: Tomislav Bagatin