March 29, 2013

if you don't like this view, check some other blog !

One of the many views from our valley.

Previous blogpost, with the "erotic" figs showed a close up, this one shows an immense panorama.
Whatever you like or choose, it's all here !
And "here" is in and around our valley, in the Dalmatinska Zagora.
And NO, before you ask, a trip of let's say 1 hour already opens your eyes and heart.
(Within a circle of 2 hours there is more than for just one holiday).

All people love our coast, thousands come for a splendid holiday.
Most of them enjoy themselves in and at the Adriatic, which is fine of course.
Lot's of them go to see antique cities like Split or Trogir (my favorite by the way).
And many go for some excursion, a couple of hours rafting on the Cetina, a visit of Biokovo.
All of it great, all of it perfect.
(When going for a rafting sensation, choose the better ones, as penny wise is still pound foolish".

You need either have the right "expedition spirit" or a well informed local guide (like me:-).
Ho, before you think I look for a job, I don't !!!!

Should you however insist, I am sometimes in a good mood, and if I like you, I might consider to take you to some fantastic, hardly known, superb spots.

As living here, I regularly get into my car and drive a bit around, chasing beauties.
For instance, in case you want to go on your own, check this one:

Drive from Svinisce to Kucice, than on (and on) along the Cetina deep left of you, till you see a sign Slime.
Turn right, away from the Cetina, up the mountain road, till you are actually in Slime.
There you'll see a sign, right again, at a next road up, heading for Konoba Tadic.
Up you drive, narrow but all of them good roads, till you reach that konoba (restaurant in Croatian).

The view from their terrace is truly amazing, far, really far over the land deep below, deep into Bosnia.
Sit down, ask for a drink, perhaps even a lunch, and enjoy the panorama.

And ask the owner if you can see his old stone houses, as they are truly beautiful  with loads of prsut (the famous Dalmatian dried smoked aged ham.

There, dear reader, you will discover what this blog is all about.
And that is only one of the many secrets, most tourists never get to see, which is a pity and a shame.
Why ?

Because the Dalmatinska Zagora hides thousands of beauties, and promotion of the Dalmatinska Zagora should be done by people who love to share it's beauty, not necessarily grabbing for your money in the first place.

Sorry to say, many "excursions" are only meant to sell you some surrogate, like a thin soup made of much water and a tiny peace of meat.
I know, I know, people have to earn a living, but do you come to Dalmatia to sponsor it's economy or do you come for a unique experience, making you fall in love, making you come back !!!
And again and again and again.

Perhaps ending in living here, like we did.
Guess you understand now why we left Holland :-).

Feel free to mail me, the address is in the header of this blog.
Also you can check my pages on Virtual Tourist ( VT ), also with a contact address.
I am always open to relevant questions, and because I protect my freedom, I can always connect you to some truly good people, who give you value for money !

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March 28, 2013

erotic fruits

Erotic fruits, that's what figs are !
Couldn't resist (re-)publishing this picture, like I did once before.

As spring has not yet arrived here, the cats have their kittens, birds are returning and nature is changing to green again day by day, so it will be spring soon (as always).

However summer is still far away, the moment will come the figs ripen at the trees again, waiting to be picked, one by one, sipping the sweet juice leaking on my hand.

Fresh they are the very best, dried still a fantastic nutritious addition to winter tables.
As you know what they say: "a fig a day keeps the apples away".
(And the doctor :-).

Should you want to dry figs yourself, here are some tasty tips:
-dry them in open sunlight.
-dip them twice in seawater (preserving and adding taste).
-wrap them in a paper bag, with dried leaves of laurel between them.
Like this you can store them for months and months.

The milky juice from branches and stems of fig trees may cause some allergic reaction to some people.
So better avoid contact with it, and enjoy it's flesh.
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March 21, 2013

one step always leads to the next

As usual, opening a box (not Pandora's :-) surprises come out.
From a request about family roots of Croats from Svinisce, living in Chili for many years, came a next item.
A friend who writes a lot about the Balkan, sent me the above picture of a grave.

However my Spanish is zero, I understand a bit.
First of all, this is the resting place of Pedro (Pero in Croatian) Kusanovic-Salamunic.
Born in 1899, died in 1981.

Many of the Croats (former Yugoslavs) left for a better future  young as they were, settling in many parts of the world.

From both my correspondents and some search with Google, I slowly get an idea of how many connections there are between Chili (Terra del Fuego) and Croatia.

I feel very privileged to be able to unfold some of those almost forgotten connections.
We (a retired Dutch couple) now living in one of those small Croatian villages, we left Holland because we wanted to.
And with internet, highways and frequent flying connections, it takes less than nothing to stay in touch or visit family or friends.

Not in those days, not for those many brave young people !
They left what was common to them, their country, their families, friends, habits and certainty.
Of they went, with hardly anything, not speaking the language, into the unknown !

Many times, when driving through our surroundings I watch all those stone walls, those little fields, high up the mountain slope, to be able to grow some food, olives and grapes.
They all did so bare handed, no cars, simple tools and very hard labor.
Those were already brave people, those who left were even much braver.

Think about it for a moment, and when visiting Dalmatia, don't think "oh well, just a simple wall", as those walls were built by a special breed of men, and when you think about that, also remember those many men and women, who left to settle in a completely unknown part of the globe.

Forgetting ones history is forgetting who you are.
Our history lies in Holland, but day by day we get more involved in our today's history in Dalmatia.
People here have a common wish to each other: "hope you live another hundred years".
Being over my sixties, I hope I live those extra hundred years, cause I opened a new box, but still have to unpack many other.
(Roman history, wild flowers and herbs, animal life, geology, oh dear, I need those hundred years).

(Rest in peace Pedro, tamo daleko, you're not forgotten).
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March 20, 2013

do we have glaciers in Svinisce ?

No, if you like glaciers, this is not the place to be.
Than why do I publish this picture ?

Well than, here comes an almost unbelievable story:
I received an email from Terra del Fuego, in the deepest south of Chile.
It came from the grandson of a man who decided to move away from Svinisce, still very young, and out of all places settling at what I call the very border or civilisation.
Next stop would have been Antarctica, where all doors of freezers stay open all year :-)

For sure he's gonna read this item, so welcome Brzovic family !
And like I already replied to your email, I am gonna search and look and talk to each and everyone here to inform you about your relatives still alive and kicking in Svinisce.

Guess it's no surprise when I tell you many people from this valley in Croatia left their homeland, looking for a better future far away from the Adriatic, the olives, the wine, ánd relatives.
Those people are the bravest you can imagine, as they left behind all that was so very common to them.

All around the world you'll find people from Croatia (and former Yugoslavia), and most of them made a success of it !

As soon as I have more details worth sharing with you readers of this blog, I will publish them, if possible with pictures.
Interesting to you in general, highly interesting to those brave Dalmatians around the globe, who still think back to the days they lived in and around Svinisce.

And if you are connected to Svinisce, but living in Canada, America, Australia , or anywhere else, please write me an email, as any new info is highly welcome.

My email address is in the header of this blog (slightly hidden from spambots).

Pozdravi iz Hrvatska, pozdravi iz Svinisce !!!
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March 19, 2013

what a night (in Omis).

Omis by night.
Just one of the many fantastic places to enjoy in Dalmatia.

You readers know I like to share dalmatian highlights with you, places I like, things we enjoy living here.
But I wanted to extend my audience to a larger scale than the limits of my blog.

Having written a couple of items on Virtual Tourist's website, I decided to share this link with you, as on VT there is a lot more info, as I am not the only "idiot" loving Dalmatia and sharing info with the world.

So here it is: click on the link: at VT there's a lot more and you'll find a lot more.
The good thing is that many others publish there.
Don't be afraid, I will of course continue to add special details to my blog, but if interested, Virtual Tourist is a great place to look around, ask questions and find answers.

I just hope you keep following this blog, and even more, I hope you don't decide to fly to China, Argentina or Holland now I told you where to look or to enjoy superior nature or historic towns in those countries.
VT is sharing the whole world with the whole world, with thousands of local specialists.

I prefer to stay your local "specialist" for our surroundings, and believe me, I've seen many countries,
but nothing beats Dalmatia !!!

So yes, I'll add some interesting spots to my VT-pages too, but no, I will not fly to any other country anymore, as having seen a lot, this country still is so damned nice, with such a load of interesting, beautiful  special places, I truly would be an idiot if I hopped over oceans, while having it all here !!!!
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March 02, 2013

what a view (on Biokovo Mountain)

See previous page.
And for sure follow this blog, as there is more to come !

The picture shows Biokovo Mountain like a Swiss alp, taken from the SW side, close to a little village called Slime.

For details on the park, click here: BIOKOVO
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enlarge and look !!!

Do click to enlarge this picture !
Than think back to when people used to survive here ages ago.
Picture taken in Biokovo Mountain Park.

Yesterday, me, my wife and two local friends went to Biokovo once more to enjoy the snow on the higher parts of the mountain.
The lower parts (up to 700 meters.) are hardly ever seeing snow, the higher parts however (up to 1800 meters) are packed with snow, lots of it (even up to 3 meters thick).
Currently snow conditions are less, next week however there might be another load coming, as the winter ain't over yet.
(If interested in weather conditions, click here: Biokovo weather).

We took a lot of pictures, this one however is special, as it shows an old "forgotten" little village.
Houses in those days, hundreds of years ago, where built from whatever available, and as you can see rock is the number one material here.
Thick walls were piled up, some wood to construct a roof, then covered with more rock.
Hot during the day, especially in summer, cold during winter, both night and day.
(Stone cold indeed :-).

Life on the mountain was harsh in those days, with tiny minimal patches of land to grow a very basic amount of food ( some potatoes, some cabbage, a tiny apple tree or plum, and if possible some grapes and olives).
Goats always survive, sheep sometimes, and if lucky a cow and a donkey.
(So milk they had, to make some cheese to store for a while).

If lucky !!!, as this was, is and will always be true nature.
With wolves, boars, chamois, rabbits and snakes, and.......a lack of water as this is karst, where water easily disappears into caves (which there are a lot of).

What made people decide to live here, were the uncertain conditions along the Adriatic coast and inland, where occupation was as usual as the sun coming up.
Romans, Venetians, Turks, Austrians, Russians, Italians and Germans (no hard feeling folks, times have changed), and a lot more, including pirates.
Not the best conditions indeed to spread a towel and enjoy the sun at the Adriatic.

So people fled up into the mountains, and survived the conditions there, creating a minimal life with whatever possible or available.

After WW2, under the rule of Tito, living conditions at the coast increased, and the industrial revolution brought jobs and good housing to many inhabitants.
A good moment therefor to come down to the coast, and leave those damned slopes.

What stayed are these remarkable forgotten villages and single houses, melting into the rocky landscape.
You'll see many of them on Biokovo, but also in many other parts of Dalmatia's hinterland.

On many locations you'll witness how tough these people were, cleaning little patches of good soil from rocks, piling them up in numerous walls, fixing the soil against sliding away under heavy rains.
An amazing people in an amazing land.
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