October 17, 2014

croatia 365 (days)

(click to enlarge)

Most tourists come to Croatia in mid summer,
which is pretty understandable.
Great sunny weather, a delicious seawater temperature, and more interesting places, islands, breathtaking nature and an almost impossible amount of excursions.

Impossible to make a choice during those two or three weeks ?
Well, how about all those other days of the year than.

As you may have understood reading my blog,
Croatia is an all year round country, 365 days !!
Ok, we do have winter here, even harsh winters,
depending where you go.
The Adriatic coast however, may have cold days, but not many.

In Split for instance, people are delighted when some day some snow falls, but the palmtrees at the Riva (boulevard)
never stay white longer than a single day.
And also in Makarska, you can enjoy wintersun between the palm trees at the Adriatic boulevard. but a simple turn of your head shows lots of snow on Biokovo Mountain.
And not just a thin layer, but even meters thick snow heaps.
Driving up to Sveti Jure, the summit, like in summer, forget it !

No, Croatia, and certainly Dalmatia, is a 365 days a year destination.

Specially for nature lovers lovers (like me),
Dalmatia amazes ánd attracts évery day.
As goes for all in- or outdoor sports fanatics (not like me :-).
However, if you like skiing (yes, like me !!!) Croatia (ánd neighbouring) countries offer unique opportunities.
For climbing fanatics (like I used to be before I became fat and lazy), Dalmatia, and certainly Omis with its stunning Cetina Canyon,
is a 365 days a year destination.
Without freezing your hands or balls :-)

Many pages ago I already wrote about combining in óne single day a strong espresso, sipped in the sun at the Adriatic, followed by a not even that far trip into Bosnia, to spend a couple of hours skiing down well prepared pistes in various gradations.
Wow................... I rest my case.

However....I must add such a day gets a perfect finish, back in Dalmatia, sitting in a traditional konoba (cellar), enjoying a delicious peka (a dish baked on wood fire under a lid).
With a glass of new wine, to keep your throat from drying out :-).

Yes, Dalmatia (and entire Croatia for that matter) is absolutely
a 365 days a year destination.
Especially for people (like me) who like to avoid summer crowds.
So what are you waiting for, with so many carriers connecting Split (or Zagreb) with whatever part of the world you live in.
Also all year round !

However the mentioned website is absolutely worth visiting, 
I discovered one imperfection.
They forgot to mention one great all year round possibility:
www.Total Inland Dalmatia.com

And being voluntary ambassador :-) of Inland Dalmatia, it's my pride and joy to add it to the already lóóóóng list of  possibilities to get out of foggy London,  smoky Beijing or rainy Amsterdam.

October 15, 2014

wild Livno horses ánd the Adriatic, a unique combination !!!

(click to enlarge)

Most people visiting our part of Dalmatia,
come to relax and enjoy the climate, the sea and some pizza's.
Well, right they are, and I think I don't have to dig into details here.

Ok, quickly than :-).
The Adriatic, the Cetina, Biokovo, Split and Trogir, or even Dubrovnik, and yes, also Krka and/or Plitvice.

Of course a couple of excursions are a must.
All of them worth doing, even if it's one of those "fishpicknicks".
(Sorry folks, I am not a fish eater, I prefer a good peka with good meat.)

But, there is a NEW experience:

Already in 2009 I wrote about a stunning bunch of wild horses,
already more than two hundred !!!,
that live in the Livno area, hardly one hour away from Split.

Mind you, totally wild, noble animals, scrolling the pastures of Livno Polje (flatlands), or way up on the slopes of Dinara or Cincar mountains.
And mind you again, year round, in hot summers and freezing winters.
More than two hundred (and increasing), what a sight, what a beautiful encounter with nature at it's best.

For long I wondered why nobody organised some sort of trip, excursion, expedition or safari, but things have changed for the better,
ánd for you, as now there is such a possibility.

As for such an excursion you need someone with knowledge of the terrain, as it's not always simple to find the animals in their natural habitat, never at the same spot.
An experienced guide, a  strong 4x4,  and while it's Nature (with a large N), a pair of good hiking shoes are a necessity.
And you of course, with just a small group, interested in more than the average offer of excursions, as you want to get the véry bést from your stay in this amazing region.

Being the nature lover I am (one of the main reasons why we now live here) I highly recommend you to see:
wild horses safari

Either they or my good hiking companion Robert from malimlin can arrange your day trip to those fantastic animals, visiting a beautiful neighbour country at the same time.

Check the various details on internet (google: wild livno horses) and you'll understand the reason I wrote this third page about it.
Oh.... and by the way, Livno has some interesting historic things to see, ánd a special river coming out of nowhere.
But that's another story, and another blog page :-)


Look here !

And also hére !!

And ábsólutely hére !!!

October 04, 2014

Hvar through Mara's eyes

(My usual advise, but certainly this time: dó click to enlarge ).
Than look, and look again,
and you'll be surprised, charmed and amazed at the same time.
As thát is how an true artist sees Hvar.

With véry little time, I móst highly recommend you to visit:
GoHvar , to discover the island Hvar.
You might even decide to not come back to thís blog,
but I dare to take that risk.

Why oh why ?
Extending our rather small living room, adding a more spacious sleeping room, a cellar (called podrum here) ánd a new terrace,
it soakes all our energy and time at the moment.

So for now and next couple of days/weeks I/we have hardly any time to do anything else than run from one thing to another,
for us there is only one shade of grey, namely CEMENT.

all of it for the sake of enjoying Christmas in our by than finished house.

Untill than, do enjoy GoHvar, where Mara introduces you to her island with her unbelievably beautiful pictures.

I'll be back blogging when everything is finished and clean.

September 25, 2014

Croatia, a Slavic country

(Picture from the Slavorum newsletter).

Spending some (certainly not all) time behind my computer,
I subscribed to the newsletter of www.slavorum.org .

The reason is simple, I love to learn more about Croatia/Dalmatia,
and the surrounding countries.
Much of their information is highly interesting, even when much of it is about Slavic countries far from ours (and many times much colder).

But Croatia being a Slavic country too, much of the information is interesting to me, telling about culture, history ánd............nature.

Recently the newsletter was telling about a magnificent artist, painter and photographer, called Vyacheslav Mishchenko.
His pictures made me feel very humble,
with my simple Canon Powershot and not blessed with his gifted way
of looking at nature's magic.

However, I am not totally blind, ánd living in a charming valley, surrounded by stunning nature.
I love to walk around, always discovering some nice flower, a snake or a lizard, and numerous signs of extremely hard working people.
Old stone walls, forgotten houses, even complete villages, an old fruit tree as the prove of better days, when people still lived in such now abandoned places, simple but honest and proud.
Not the most easy life, as everything had to be done by hand, stone after stone, creating tiny patches of workable land to grow whatever was needed to survive harsh conditions.

As however we are "blessed" with electricity, tap water, roads and a lot more today, all around us the country tells of those brave people who made it possible to us to be living here today.
Ok, we also did our bit of work to change the piece of "jungle" our land once was, but it were those ancestors who fought nature in the first place, and created what can be experienced today.
And you'll be amazed how very special our valley is today.

As today we are most happy people living in a most beautiful valley, with a couple of good neighbours around us, ánd...........
lots of pristine nature, silence, a pleasant climate and very fertile soil.
Thát's why I write these pages, so you know Dalmatia has so much more to offer than only a magnificent Adriatic Coast.

And, because our nature is similar to nature in parts of Ukraine, the country where Vyacheslav lives and works,
I highly recommend you to visit his website.

With Ukraine in the daily news in a different way, it's good to know it's not only a country in a dramatic state.

September 22, 2014

shit weather is also weather :-)

(Do click to enlarge those tiny symbols, written in Dutch).
(The orange line shows day temperatures, the blue one temperature during night, and yes there will be some rain, but on average things still look pretty nice, so why not plan a trip, as even in autumn Dalmatia is a pleasant alternative).

But let's face reality:
do not trust those copywriters making you believe Dalmatia álways has terrific weather, as they are paid to lie.
The picture above tells the truth, and I'll add a bit of truth to it.

Today for instance, it was raining here in Svinisce.
Ok, not all the time, but when it falls it's a lot.

In fact, the whole summer was slightly "different", and as a result the potatoes did great, but grapes, olives and figs, all of them sunlovers,
did bad this year, véry bad !

Is it all a result of the feared climate change, who knows, so better wait for next year than.
Fact is, there were more moments of heavy rain like last night and this morning, with thunderstorms and hail.
Not being dependent of the result of my home grown vegetables and herbs, to me this summer was good anyway, resulting in many great delicious dishes and a stuffed freezer.

To neighbours and friends around us however, good crops of necessary basics like olives and grapes for instance, are a múst.

Let me explain this.
Wages in Croatia are low, véry low, while expenses are similar to any other country in Europe.
So what do people do here, they grow there own.
Not as a hobby like me, but because it takes the pressure of the daily budget for food, leaving some money for bills.
(Water, electricity, fuel for the necessary vehicle, it's all as expensive as in any other European country). 

For that reason, everything grown around us is a necessity to people living here,  yes, including grapes for wine and rakija,
including olives for delicious olive oil.
Socializing here means having a chat and a drink together, and since beer or coffee have to be bought, people grow and make their own drinks, juices and liquors.
Which makes sense, ánd....which tastes very well too !

Ok, back to the weather, and the current statistics,
as statistics hardly ever lie (do they ?).
In the picture above you can see the prediction for upcoming ten days.
Temperature still at a pleasant average of 20-23 degrees Celsius, and however not what we like most, some rain today and tomorrow.

And as a result of locally heavy (!!) rains, towns like Zadar, Makarska and Imotski suffered big problems, as the water came pouring down, flooding streets and creating unexpected waterfalls.
But like I said, "shit weather is also weather", and these couple of days of shit weather I use to organise my load of seeds,
ready for next growing season.

Let's hope for people around us, next year will be less uncertain, resulting in nice healthy crops of grapes and olives.

September 18, 2014

if visiting Split, than álso Solin !

(Picture and video found on TotalSplit)

Visiting Split, that's a must for most visitors of Dalmatia.
And right they are !

In fact, our part of Croatia is blessed with three historic places.
Of course the old Venetian town of Dubrovnik is numero uno, 
but Split (ánd Trogir) get their portion of visitors too.
And again, right they are.

I will not get into all the details and highlights, with ever increasing numbers of visitors it's pretty clear these towns are "must visit"
évery loooong Dalmatian summer.

But many people visiting Split forget to visit Salona (today's Solin)
and in my opinion that's a mistake.
Click on the link and you'll understand why.

Salona was highly important in Roman days, as the centre of the East Roman Empire, múch more important than Split.
It had all a big city needed for it's 50.000 + inhabitants.
The remains can be seen on each and every spot, so to understand it's importance ánd the very reason why Diocletian's Split was built, you simple cán't do Split without Solin.

In a recent page on TotalSplit was an item about a new video of Solin.
And apart from two aspects is worth seeing.
It's in Croatian, don't know why if they want to attract tourists from all over the globe, and nr.2 is the music in it.
But that, says the U2-fan, is my personal opinion.

Apart from those two flaws, the video is absolutely great !
So click on the blue link above, and prepare for next holidays.

And of course, copy the link of TotalSplit to your computer.
It is no doubt a great promotion of Split, initiated and maintainted by an Englishman living on the island of Hvar.
But that's typical british, they only feel happy on an island :-) 

We prefer our hidden valley behind Omis, quietly in the middle of nature, and close to either Adriatic Sea, Split ánd Salona, and all of it without having to wait for a ferry:

Svinisce-Cetina River: 5 minutes
Svinisce-Omis: 10 minutes
Svinisce-Adriatic Coast: 12 minutes
Svinisce-Split: 30 minutes
Svinisce-Solin: 33 minutes
Svinisce-Trogir: 45 minutes
Svinisce-Dubrovnik: 180 minutes.

Just kidding Paul (the Englishman on Hvar), 
but we do not have to wait for a ferry, nor fly, nor swim, but yeah, we're Dutch :-)

September 15, 2014

view on cloudy morning Mosor Mountains

(Do please click to enlarge)

A short post, to busy doing other things, but.....
how about such a view from our terrace in the morning.

Hope you can imagine how very nice it is to slowly wake up
with a cup of strong coffee, sitting on our terrace.
This is the true treasure of our hidden valley in Svinisce,
with only the sound of birds and crickets.

Yes, the Dalmatian hinterland (Dalmatinska Zagora) ís beautiful.
And we are extremely lucky to be living in it.

So next time you're planning your holidays in Dalmatia, 
and prefer a less crowded stay in the middle of nature,
we've got it, and móre than enough of it.

Beach and sea less than ten minutes by car from here, 
historic Split or Trogir within half an hour's drive, 
the Cetina Canyon, Biokovo and Mosor.

And.....PEACE, without any stress !!!!

Sorry to say, but we're not in the renting business.
If looking for some nice house or place, see the many agencies.
Try www.malimlin.com for instance.