February 24, 2009

somewhere between Sestanovac and Zagvozd

Do enlarge this picture (by clicking on it), its a nice one.

Was my previous item about Carnival in the Netherlands, this one brings you (and me) back to the silent beauty of a thousand spots in Croatia.

Driving from Sestanovac to Zagvozd at the nothern slopes of Biokovo National Park, this is the silent scenery you'll see in wintertime.
(From Omis to Makarska, between the two up the mountains at the left, heading for Zadvarje; you can't miss it).

With a couple of evergreen trees and the rest in wintercolours, a little rock apeared on my left with on top of it a little white churchtower between the permanent green of cipres trees.

And with those gentle clouds against a blue sky, this my favourite picture at the moment (screen on my Dutch pc).

With all the noise around me during carnival (see item below), this brings me into a relaxed state of mind.
In a couple of weeks I am (we are) back in Croatia, and although its still winter overthere too, I am sure that spring comes sooner there than it does in our northern hemisphere.
And spring in Croatia is abolutely THE most beautifull season to visit Croatia.

Everywhere you will discover exiting flowers, and not one of them at a time, but thousands, covering meadows and slopes, at the banks of rivers and ponds, between rocks and bolders, sending their message to you.
Colourfull and full of those typical mediterranean smells of thyme, sage and all those others.

Sit back, its still a bit early, but if you can efford, go for The Croatian Spring !!!
(cheaper than cheap flights: http://www.germanwings.com/).

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carnival in holland

OK, shoot me for not writing about Svinisce this time.
On the other hand, why ignore the fact that I am a Dutchman, even worse, a Brabander, known for their Bourgondic way of life.

And hey, being in Holland (The Netherlands) till our next trip to Croatia (soon to happen), I might as well show you a tiny bit of one of the most famous regional carnivalparades in this part of the world.

Most of them during daylight, our tiny hometown does it different since 22 years, having that parade in the evening.
Go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aezCF_jdBJM to see it all in part I.
At: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXV1FoOltI8&feature=related, you can see part II.
(With very special thanks to Matty Machielse putting it on YouTube).

Not being the biggest town in the southwest of the Netherlands with about 2500 inhabitants, it has every reason to be damned proud of such a giant parade.
With about 22 huge and large vehicles, all with loads of lights over giant crazy sculptures in flaming colours, its better than "those" parades in Disneyland.
On this special night a crowd of at least 20.000 people from all around enter our little village, to enjoy this magnificant show.

I could not keep you uninformed about this, but its a promise next item will be about Svinisce and its surroundings again.
Do'nt want to boost visits or tourism to Standdaarbuiten, which for the other days of the year is nothing compared to Svinisce and less than a hole in the clay, happening to be our hometown (just kidding).
Sorry Zwammegat, as your name is during "Carnaval", but Svinisce has it day after day, and you are just a "one night stand".
But what a night it was again !!!

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February 22, 2009

looking from Croatia into Bosnia

Click on the picture to enlarge, or read on below.
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the story to the picture above

Sorry, but this aint my sharpest picture.

Using a Canon Powershot G3, which I am happy with in general, this is just a bit to much for that little digital camera.

One of those days I was driving round a bit, and found a small but excellent road heading up the mountainside from Slime, between us and the sea.

Told it before, between us and the Adriatic is a mountainridge, called Omiska Dinara, which is about 600 meters high.
(And that's the perfect barrier between our supersilent valley and the crowded coast in summer).

Driving up, direction Konoba Tadici, I reached a marvelous panoramic view at about 400 meters high, overlooking Croatia till the Bosnian border, and as you can see deep into Bosnia's snowy mountains.

Surrounded by impressive rocky slopes from higher above, deep down at my feet I had a marvelous view over it all, with several snowcovered big mountains, among which "my" Blidinje National Park in Bosnia.
Like I said before, where in close reach (max. two hours drives) of everything I like, with our own Biokovo, Mosor, the Adriatic, the Cetina-river and so much more.

Back to the story behind the view:
Here, at this Konoba Tadici, newly built with lots of space for larger groups of visiting tourists and a wide terrace to sit down in amazement, there are a couple of things that make a visit worth a lot more than "just" this view.

Mr. Tadic is the owner of a lot of traditional old stone houses, one filled with hundreds of those airdried "prsut" the superior tasty "prosiutto" the Croats are famous for.
Next stone house is filled with another couple of hundred "pig bottoms", hanging from the ceiling another year till they are perfect.
In another house (and there are many more) a large fireplace waits for peka dishes to be stuffed and roasted under hot burning coal, and to safe you from death by distant delight, I will only tell there is still another house, with a line up of grills, ready for a group of lambs to be grilled for the hungry.
Not to mention there's a lot more, with more stone houses, terraces filled with grapes, small meadows, and to much to tell in this little blog of mine.

Believe me, this is another "hotspot" for lazy moments, overlooking it all at a late afternoon, when the sun coloures all that beauty.
And before that moment, I am absolutely gonna walk all hikes going up, between and down all slopes, cliffs and forest hidden secrets.
What a beauty, and how happy the man (me), sitting there with wife and friends, enjoying a meal at that place, till late in the evening.
Can't wait to make it happen, do you ?
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February 21, 2009

safe sealife

No words this time, or just a few.

Publishing this picture taken by a diving friend with excellent underwatercam, all I have to say is "be carefull out there".

As even sealife does it safely, why would'nt you.
Have lots of fun anyway, as life is to short to worry to much !

(this is NOT a sponsored message).
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no fire, just sun

view in the late afternoon over the landscape nearby.

Not the only moment we are delighted by what we see here, as from the early morning till late in the afternoon we have our lucky views.
Even on rainy days, which we had a "few", when clouds take away the peak of our mountain Mosor.
As even than "something" happens all the time, worth to enjoy sitting outside silently.
Unless its raining cats and dogs, but even than its enjoyable, from the inside looking out of course !

The change of light, colours and shades over our mountain, clearly in sight at one moment and masked with white clouds rising from the Cetina river gorge deep out of sight at another moment, its the best theatre to watch at any moment of the day and night.

The players in this never ending play (if we see them) are smaller and bigger birds, far away or a bit closer but never really close.
Some even do not even show, but prove their role in the whole by "singing" from a hidden spot behind the curtains of the night.
And if you say those big owls do not sing, right you are, but totally wrong at the same time, as to me its like sirenes calling me for a walk into their territory.

Not being totally stupid, I never follow sirenes voices, but sitting silently outside I do enjoy theire low "oehoeing" in the evening.
Hope however to see one in near future, which should be possible as those birds have a span of easily 1.25 meters wide.
But as they are such damned silent flying hunters I have to have a bit of luck.
So wish me luck, just as I share my luck with you.

What a view !
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timeless history

"Rocks, rocks, rocks", who wants some of these rocks ?

"Yes, for me please, I just LOVE them", I just recently discovered.

About twenty minutes by car from our place in Svinisce, there is a place called Gata, and passing that in N/E direction the road will pass a wide open country loaded with rocks.
(which is normal for Dalmatia, as it was created from rocks after God finished all other countries and dropped what he saw as left overs).

After you leave Omis, a nice road lifts you up high over the impressive canyon of the Cetina river, and from there it turns to the right.

Follow that road, its nice, and buy some mortadella, a softdrink and some good bread at the little Studenac store on the left (as its Inga, the wife of a good friend running it).
About five minutes further, STOP the car, take that little road to te right or just put it aside the road.

Here I started a walk into "no mens land" that showed like a rocky puzzle in advance.
What the hack, as all puzzles get into place after a while, so I jumped from one to another.
Stepping, stopping, jumping, it showed to have been (dis-)organised over centuries by people, taking care of tiny patches filled with a couple of grapes, a few cherrytrees, a small grassy spot for one, two or three sheep, maybe even a cow.

"Rocky Dreamland" I called it silently to myselve, as this was the feeling I had going from one spot to another, discovering small signs of cultivation all the time, created over timeless history passed.
A metal ring jammed into a huge rock, a small path between the piled rocks, and there, look there, a minimalistic stone house, smaller than a couple of square feet, the roof cracked, but clearly manmade to hide away during rain or at a tired moment after having lunch with a firm mouthfull of "domaci" (homemade) wine.

Within about ten minutes I totally forgot that I ever left the car, and the further I stepped and jumped, the more I loved it.
Each and every moment I chose myselve a next step or stop, looking further, seeing more in what looked like a never ending dreamscape.
Never was in Autralia (why should I), but for a moment felt like an aboriginee must feel in his most divine surroundings.

God was not making a mistake dropping all these rocks here.
He did it with a purpose and on purpose, and thank God, I got the message.
And if you're not totally blind, deaf and dumb, you've got te message too.

As when you want to feel totally free, step away from the road and start "humpjumping", the new tourist attraction I just invented.
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mix some snow and some palmtrees

Normally it would be a silly suggestion, in this situation however the mixing of snow and palmtrees allready seems to have been done.
So start looking for the clever way this picture has been photoshopped, as a combination like this looks very impossible (is it ?).

Snow, and not just a thin coat, but a thick layer, even on this sunny side of the mountains, no kidding.
As on Biokovo Mountains at twelvehundred meters (fourthousand feet), you'r in the middle of it, up to your knees if you like (or dislike).

OK, its middle of winter in Europe, so there should be at least some snow to give you the idea global warming is't as bad as it seems.
But this is not Switserland, France or Austria, skiingcountries for the millions.

Here in Makarska, at the coast of the Adriatic Sea, walking along or sitting between the palmtrees, sipping your espresso in the afternoon sun, regularly you can allmost touch the snow, as this is a normal picture overthere in this season.

And remember, as I am still trying to prove "Svinisce, the hidden treasure", this is only about thirty minutes away from our silent valley, and another fifteen minutes up over a nice mountainroad, till you really are in the middle of that snow, looking down on this palmtree shaded bay at a blue sea.

Sorry to say, for a nicer swim you'll have to wait till end of april or middle of may.
But who cares, as the espresso is excellent, as are the fantastic cakes with it, if you know the place to go for it. And I know !!!
Just ask me.
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