Hotel Bellevue has four pools; a large one with an infinity ledge which pours down as a waterfall into a lower one. In the corner there’s a baby pool which is warmer, often in shade, and has water jets like a giant jacuzzi. There’s a large indoor pool too, which is very warm and perfect for Conway. They’re all saltwater.
We dressed our son in his regular swimming outfit, a red swimming nappy and blue whale shorts, and the family went swimming together. We did the things from his Little Dippers swimming lessons – floating, kicking, singing, and Conway enjoyed it all, though he had to get used to the water being salty, and he wasn’t happy about saltwater in your eyes, but then who is.
Post-swimming and lunch, Conway was tired, I enjoyed some cuddles with him in the bar, lounging on a great brown sofa, Conway straddled across me fast asleep. Samantha had some time to herself by the pool. Each guest that passed me showed their own expression of “Awww, so cute”.
After swimming and family nap time we took a stroll along the sea front, and onwards down a little path into town where we sought out Lidl for supplies.
From the hill the view of Mali Lošinj was picturesque – its prominent church spire sat against distant thunderclouds, all bathed in beautiful red light from the low sun. One of those images that’s ingrained in our minds, for we didn’t bring the camera to the supermarket.
With a 7l bottle of water (the hotel water is expensive), Camembert, fresh meat, and some cheap bubbly, we returned to our room and set about having a picnic on our balcony.
In low light, with the sea out beyond the pine trees, and with the muted noise of guests enjoying the night time, we enjoyed our cheap dinner without needing to worry too much about Conway and table service.
We discovered too that there are mosquitoes here, Conway evaded them all for the entirety of our trip, but by the end Samantha and I were a bit bitten and itchy all over. We were happy to pay this price for some twilight tranquility.
The skies around Mali Lošinj are largely free from light pollution, and with clear skies, I had a rare opportunity to try out my astrophotography gear. I needed to practice with my gear and prepare for an astrophotography workshop I’d be running in August; what better place to do it.
At the water’s edge, on a concrete platform I set up the polar aligned sky tracker, tripod and camera, and aimed it at the sky.
The night was alive with the flashes of distant lightning while I struggled to find targets for my composition. When the wind picked up and it looked like storms might be headed our way, I called it a night.
As at home, Conway woke early, at 6am his smiles and giggles said he was ready for the day and would not be going back to sleep any time soon. Samantha, who’d been feeding him in the night was the distinct opposite.
I took Conway out for a morning stroll in the already warm morning sunshine. Around the hotel an army of cleaners prepared the rooms for the day; outside men with leaf blowers cleared the paths of fallen pine needles.
Birds sang their morning songs; the pine trees were alive with the sound of blackbirds – Conway looked around to see if he could find the source of this twittering. In one tree a pied crow fought with an unidentified assailant, no doubt defending its nest, when all was settled it made a peculiar bubbly song, like an oriole perhaps.
By 8am the world was waking up, and we all had breakfast – Conway paid close attention to the blackbirds that visited us at our table, where they nibbled on the fallen breadsticks. He smiled at the other children too, enamoured by them and everything they did, cream cheese spread across his face – and somehow, up over his eyebrow and behind his ear.
We avoided setting ourselves any hard to attain daily aims; most days we found that we’d only just finished breakfast by lunch time, and that we still needed some sort of nap.
Today we tried for an afternoon in the town, namesake of the island. There’s a path from the hotel, through the pine forest, over a hill to the other side of the bay where you can walk or cycle along to town. From the top of the hill and down, we felt the strong northernly wind. If we weren’t from England you could say that it was chilly in the wind in the shade.
The paths look like they’re pedestrianised, but every now and then, and always by surprise, a moped or car drives by.
Today was the first day of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, and the town was alive with the sound of live football on big TVs, cheering fans and beer bottles. Russia were playing their opening game against Saudi Arabia while we perused the shops and restaurants. Butterflies and moths alike clambered amongst the live sport, sunshine, and salty breeze.
We settled on pizza and beer at Bocca Vera, where we watched the boats bob in the harbour. When Conway wasn’t asleep he made eyes at the nearby family, an unbroken gaze directed towards their child, and a wide smile when they cooed back.
Back at the hotel we enjoyed an evening on the sofas in the bar. We were brought Hugo and Caipirinha cocktails – the former – a light and sparkling mix of wine, elderflower and mint, the latter a perfect classic with a kick.
Besides us some local entertainment played their repertoire. Live lounge music, guitar, occasional and moderated accordion, and french lyrics. Conway watched on in delight, mouth agape, his first experience of live music. When the chorus returned he raised his arms in sheer joy.