My favorite spot during our charter was the harbor town of Komiza on Vis, the most far-flung of the islands of the Dalmatian archipelago. Vis was Tito's stronghold during World War II, and it remained closed to foreigners until 1968. A 17th-century Benedictine monastery, set amid vineyards and lavender fields, overlooks the town and its harbor.
As I drifted off to sleep that night in Komiza, an instrumental quartet played traditional Croatian music in a casual, elegant fashion, careful not to overpower any conversation. The happy, animated medley of Croatian, German, Italian, French, English, and who knows what else rose into the fragrant air, mixing like the smoke from so many hand-rolled cigarettes.