Picture crystal clear blue waters. Picture old stone buildings. Picture a hot, sunny, sweaty, summer, and even after cool glasses of local Pelješac wines, the only thing that could remedy it would be a splash in whatever cold body of salty water you could find near you.
Enter Croatia. A young country riddled with wars, but equally glittered with colourful history, was unfortunately, but only a page in my Western Civilisation history book. The scars were too fresh and many facts were argued on... it was too early for them to teach it to us in class. Having gone to school in Milan, and provided with endless opportunities to experience different types of culture, I have to admit I have been quite ignorant in any European countries outside of Italy.
PS: we had our photoshoot on the bottom left pier in the photo
One day, I get a random email from a travel company I subscribed to. All the words were a blur- I never read any of these emails anyway; but, scrolling down, I see pictures after pictures of this destination, with its beautiful terracotta roofs, and blue waters that reflected the sky, endless vineyards, and sunsets out of this world.
Obsessed, I read everything I had to read about this country, whose name played only a small role in the back of my head. After weeks of reading about its history, I decided it had to be on my bucket list, and it had to be soon. I needed to get my fins wet there.
View from the top of the city walls
Upon landing, we were greeted by cypresses and a beautiful sunset. Coming into Dubrovnik, and welcomed by an overview of Old Town, I nearly forgot to catch my breath. We spent the first few days walking around inside the city walls, visited Game of Thrones filming locations, drank a lot of wine, and sweated our hairs out. It was smack-back in the middle of the summer, and tourists were at their most aggressive numbers.
A quieter, shaded alley in Old Town
We had a few days building up to hit the water, but to be honest it was because we weren't sure which beach to go to. I've seen pictures of the famous Banje beach, (pronounced Bahn-ye) and although the fine sands and umbrella-lined beach offered a bottomless access to food and drink, it just won't do. Having visited hidden beaches all around the world, I had to find the best.
Game of Thrones, Myrcella sails to Dorne
Seeing as we were literally in King's Landing, it wasn't hard to find the little harbour where we see the scene of Cersei sending Myrcella off to Dorne.
From the public terrace in the main square outside of the wall, you get an overhead view of it- the pier, the water, the rocks, and about a gazillion kayaks parked in a lagoon on the left. Not so hidden, but this would have to do. If I had to be the laughing stock of everyone in Dubrovnik, so be it. Mermaids had to materialise in King's Landing, no matter what.
My husband had downright refused the role of being Instagram husband for this particular shoot. He loves our tails, but he didn't want the attention that was obviously going to be vocal from the crowds. So, I got in touch with Sweet Escapes. Sweet Escapes is a company that has arms and legs all over the world- from Tokyo to Toronto, and from Sydney to Dubrovnik. I had only a few days left in Dubrovnik before we moved to Trsteno (another major GOT location by the way), and I was hoping to get a photographer fast.
Sweet Escapes linked me within 24 hours to the talented wedding photographer Zeljka, who warmed up almost immediately after I put on our newest Saturnalia SeaQueen tail, quite shamelessly.
Behind-the-scenes with Zeljka
Having a mom-bod is one thing, but having a mermom-bod is another; nevertheless, she made me feel so comfortable that the magic of the location took over, and I was a mermaid goddess. Even after all the crowds from everywhere started to crowd the bay, I was in my element. The water was really salty, so it made it easier for me to float.
With a fan from Germany :D
Croatia is dotted with many rocky and pebbly beaches, which made the water carry less sandy particles and made it so clear. After I had lifted myself up on the stoney pier and Zeljka and I sat down for a coffee, a young lad came around with his drone, and immediately I had to ask for a huge favour.
Drone footage by @lallio
That huge favour turned out to be a marvellous masterpiece that captured the beautiful Dalmatian sea. We spent another two weeks in Croatia, and spent every single day exploring beaches, caves, and more. When I got back home, my heart ached and longed to be back to Ragusa, and its white stone buildings. Within days of landing, I got a notification of all the results of the photoshoot on my Sweet Escapes app. After downloading it, I poured myself a cool glass of wine, took out the candied lemons from the fridge, and flicked through all hundreds of photos. It immediately it took me back.
Zeljka told me this was her first time seeing mermaids in Dubrovnik, and maybe even Croatia! If there are any entrepreneurs or mermaid enthusiasts who are interested to retail our mermaid tails, please don't be afraid to get in touch with us.