August 24, 2013

RAIN............delicious rain !!!!

Next Monday, you might hear me singing in the rain.
Perhaps you may say I am going totally nuts, but no, I am not !

After at least two months without a single drop of rain, the weather forecast says there will be rain the next couple of days.
Two months of dripping, dropping, pouring, splashing water on each and every plant and vegetable just might stop for a little while.
(Lucky village, having both a source and a regular water system).

Summer in Dalmatia lasts from let's say beginning of May till mid October, while July and August are the hottest.
Up north in Istria and East of Zagreb and beyond, they see more rain, but here, in Dalmatia, rain is hardly falling during summer season.

Anyone planning to visit Dalmatia, I highly recommend to visit
in May/June, the very best season !

If you plan to come áfter summer, right you are again,
as September/October still give you a lot of splendid sunny weather.

And all you others, who prefer truly HOT summers, take July/August, as than you'll "enjoy" the hottest days of the year, but you'll have to accept you have to share it with the biggest crowds.

Being a Dutchman, however living in Dalmatia, (once a Dutchman always a Dutchman), I prefer temperatures to be near let's say 28 degrees Celsius, and some rain once in a while makes me feel happy.
Any higher temperature I do accept, but not with a smile on my face,
and 34 degrees Celsius to me is a bit to much.
(And there were many days like that this summer, oh boy).

So these next days you'll hear me singing my lungs out !
Rain, delicious rain.
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August 19, 2013

driving on Ciovo (forget it !)

Option ONE: get yourself a Dinky Toy.

Option TWO: wash your car in boiling hot water.

Any other option to drive a car on Ciovo, the island next to Trogir,
If you still want to give it a try, don't tell your insurance you tried, and take a hammer to first get rid of them mirrors, as you're gonna loose them anyway in those impossible narrow dead end roads.

Yesterday evening I tried (oh God, did I try), to make an unexpected visit to some internet friends who have a charming cottage there.

Mission impossible, as those roads are not built for modern cars.
Nor even for old cars, however than the trip is less stressful, as one more scratch does not matter.

No, these roads are built for donkeys, and if you think a horse would work as well than, well....forget it, as even the donkey should be a small one.

The horror already starts in Trogir, because to get to an island you have to cross a bridge.
No big deal you may say, well, than you have never visited Trogir and it's bridge.

If (and I do mean ...IF...) you are a dare devil, looking for a rush of adrenaline, go for that bridge !!!!
Not to do some bungee jumping (the water is only two meters below the bridge), but to experience how scooters and motorbikes crisscross between the traffic jam you're in.

And if (and I do mean ...IF...) you manage to get to the other side, still by car, and dare to turn right, you better visit your cardiologist before you continue.
As than the real "fun" starts, hiiiiiii haaaaaaa.

Already in the first section you'll go nuts, crying for your mother, as them turns are truly worse than in the most crazy Luna park ride.
Not the G-forces, no way, but you'll experience "some" opposite cars, loaded with pale faces, covered in tears, and they are the lucky ones, as they are almost out of the madhouse.

Thought it couldn't get worse, ha haaa haaaaaaa.
Every split second your heart stops when another group of lost pedestrians show up in the dark (it's evening).

Reanimated you continue your trip through hell, your car still with three mirrors I hope.
"Lucky you", as that inside mirror will stay connected to your vehicle, giving you an idea how frightened you look when driving on Ciovo.

Shall I continue this horror story, or simply let you decide yourself to either go for an easy trip in the country or dump your car in a deep Dalmatian ravine (on them many other dumped cars).

Whatever you like to increase your adrenaline level, there are a lot of options in Dalmatia.
Mountain biking, diving, bungee jumping, rafting, riding on one of them silly bananas *), it's all child's play compared to driving a car on them crazy roads on Ciovo.

Still I do not understand people who plan a holiday in Dalmatia, having the time of there life, and go for a ride on a banana :-)
Mind you, a banana !!!!, as that's what you'll have to tell your family when returning home again.
"And, how was your holiday in Dalmatia ?"
"Ahhhh, perfect, and you know, I was riding a banana".
"A whatttttttttt ?"
"Oh well, I must confess I got totally drunk after a trip to Ciovo, and decided to do something normal the other day, after getting sober".
"Right, so now we understand".
"A banana still is far more normal than a car on Ciovo".
"Even when it's a small one ?"
"Yes, even a tiny, mini, dinky one !"


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August 17, 2013

Winnetou and Old Shatterhand were here

In my younger days (long, long, long ago), the films with Winnetou and Old Shatterhand were famous.

Never would have thought that later (much, much later) I would live so near to a couple of the locations used in those many films.

Most locations were up north, in Paklenica, but a bit of the history lies here, less than ten minutes from Omis.
Older people here remember those days, as some of them played a role in the background of it.
The main players of course were pro's, in the background however there are always locals to fill the scene, speaking English or not.

Still there are a few requisites (a totem for instance) that are nearby, on a secluded patch of nature.
For those who want to see it, book a boat trip to Radmanova Mlinice (R.M.), the large terrace/restaurant area at the Cetina.
Worth the trip anyway, as it takes you through a beautiful peace of Cetina Canyon.

Keep looking to your left and right, and you'll understand why this area was the perfect background for many shots.
Closer to R.M. look to the left more than to the right,
as there it stands, the totem.

The area itself is located at a side stream of the Cetina, a perfect place for a pick nick, lunch, barbecue in true nature.
Two friends here, Rokko and Nikola (speaking English), created a natural location under the canopy of trees.
They receive visitors on their private domain, an having been there a couple of times, I know it's a perfect place to relax, eat, swim in pristine nature.

My good friend Robert of Malimlin (click here) can help you to go there if you are with a group of people.
The place is very clean and friendly organised in a basic way, and anything you want to drink or eat, is arranged by Robert, so for once you do not have to shop or cook.
Just relax, and enjoy a fantastic day in Dalmatia's pure nature.
You'll love it !

Wanna spend a day following the footsteps of Winnetou and Old Shatterhand, or even feel like an Indian, than contact Robert,
as he knows how to you get there in a very special way.

He might even bring you to some other locations where scenes from those films were shot, in case you want to get an idea of it all.

When scrolling through our surroundings, I sometimes even think I see an Indian between some rocks, but that may be because this is such a stunning area.

Them Winnetou films were all shot in former Yugoslavia' s Croatian part, in a joint venture with Germany.
And having been to the USA a couple of times, I understand why they chose to film here.
Only them buffaloes are missing (until now ?).

Many details on those films can be found on the internet, 
even complete films.
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August 16, 2013

squeezing lemons increases turnover by 700 %

Pretty funny, but a proven fact, 
fiscal systems in Croatia boosted turnover :-)
How weird can things be !

Starting the beginning of 2013, the Croatian taxman ordered each and every shopkeeper, cafe, restaurant and any small seasonal business to connect to internet, printing legal bills for each and every thing sold.
Even the ice cream vendor had to get himself a small digital device connected to a tiny printer, and.......
connected to the tax office in Zagreb.

It had nothing to do with becoming a member of the EU, however people shouted out loud that was the reason.
Nope, once again, it had nothing to do with Europe, but all with eliminating the giant black circuit.

With about 25% VAT/BTW/PDV it's understandable people like to keep that money in their pocket (so do I), but let's face it, Croatia's budget is in a bit of a problem (check the IMF for details).

So starting 2013-1-1 everyone had to become decent, and the tax inspectors where everywhere, checking on still illegal activities.
Some difference in the cash register...WHAM, BAM, ticket, penalty, and pretty usual, closure of the premises for at least five days.
No bread, no coffee, no ice cream, go for a walk and think about it.
And they all did think about it, thoroughly !

All of a sudden sales (officially now) increased with 700% 
(and even more !!!), compared to previous years.
Conclusion, evidence based,
the more one's getting squeezed, the more one earns :-)

I know still a couple of countries where the same principle might just get the states budget out of the mud, even in Greece and Cyprus.

Tip to foreign visitors:
if you don't get a bill, better ask for it, as you're prone to meet a tax inspector who asks for it, and if you can't prove your tomatoes weren't black, you've got a problem.

I hate (like everybody) to pay to much, but let's face it,
they've got to keep a system going.
So, fine, I'll pay the official price, still a bargain compared to many other EU countries.

So the old song still is valid: "money makes the world go around".
(Or if you prefer Pink Floyd more, click on this one:
money and turn up the sound)

(Thank God I grow my own tomatoes).

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August 15, 2013

Svinisce, some facts and statistics.

A couple of the reasons to live in Svinisce this time,
and some official statistics I found.

First of all, we love it here, but that's a feeling I can't explain.
("Falling in love" is easier explained, as that's a biological process).

If silence is golden, we've got a load of gold here,
so that's reason number one.
Reason number two is having both of best worlds, having both Cetina River and Adriatic Sea.
Number three, see them statistics, it's a tiny community, with only 100 people, many of them good friends,
or at least good neighbors.

And than there is nature, lots of nature, true nature, mountains and a magnificent panorama.
Not being fools on a hill, we also have every usual thing, as electricity, tap water, internet and such.
And of course a couple of good but narrow roads to "let the car" out once or twice a day.

Not enough for you, ok, here's some more:
Omis is only ten minutes down the hill, Split only takes 25 minutes, and any other nice, useful city or village is in close reach.

To finish, we've got lot's of space, tons of it, with small gardens to grow and harvest anything one needs, including wine and olive oil.

Drawbacks, any drawbacks ?
Yes, having young children going to school maybe a bit of a problem, as only a small primary school is near.

Anything else than ?
Yep, in winter (if it snows) there may be a couple (just a couple) of days it's less easy to drive down to Omis, but most of the time our road is ok, and still there is the second (main) road, where the small bus from Kucice to Omis (and back) drives a couple of times a day.
So that road is kept clean and safe all year round.

Nothing else than ?
Yes, you have to fall in love, but we did already.

Some houses are abandoned, most of them truly old stone houses, so if looking for a restoring project, there are a couple of options.

If you decide to fall in love (not a hormonal thing this time), first of all take care of a decent adviser, so you don't get trapped in numerous details you did not even know existed.

Croatian language ain't easy, however many people speak English or German, and things are differently organised here.
(If you prefer to live like you're used to, sit, stay and don't move).

(Take that as a well meant warning, not to frighten you of,
but to keep both your feet on the ground).

Conclusion, another blogpage filled, and some details shared.

So see you some day in Svinisce, "the hidden treasure".

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August 13, 2013

from 1 to 250: IT'S PARTY TIME !!!

!!! 250 BLOG PAGES !!!

What started a couple of years ago with the simple intention to amuse myself with all the pictures I already had of Svinisce and surroundings, turned to be a fantastic way to show how great life is in Dalmacija to all you visitors.

Started in Dutch, I rapidly changed to English, however not my native language, the better way to communicate with the world.

Sorry for all them Dutch and Croatian visitors who do not understand English, but there still is Google Translate to get an idea of what it's all about.
(And if that does not work for you, you can still enjoy the pictures I made and make on many occasions and many splendid locations).

Will I stop at
250, be sure I won't, I've just started !

I just started to discover the so many splendid locations in Dalmatia, and gonna need them "another hundred years" (jos sto godine) people wish one here on birthdays and such.

So don't worry, I love our life here, and for SURE gonna stay here in Svinisce, together with my wife Nives.

And for once I am gonna give my mail address here, however it's always in the top right side of the main page of this blog about our hidden secret.

If you feel like write, comment, ask, congratulate, here it is:
Of course O=@, you dummy spambots !

One for the road:
Life is great, even greater in Croatia, and the very greatest in magnificent Dalmacija !
Go to Split, than Omis, than along the Cetina towards Kucice, first road on your right up the mountain, turn right at blue sign Modris, drive on and stop when seeing a gardenhouse down at the left.
There you walk down and turn your face south and you'll understand why we live here !

Sit down on one of our chairs, breath in the smell of herbs and fresh air, listen to the silence, the crickets and the birds, 

and ask for a drink.

Be sure I'll accompany you (as any visitor here is a friend), and I'll enjoy our view together with you, as it's the VERY BEST, 

every moment of the day and even the night.

Hope to see you some day in Dalmacija.

My wish to all of you: Enjoy Life, JOS STO GODINE !

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vibra..... WHAT ????

A whát ?

No, this picture has nothing to do with Dalmacija, Omis or Svinisce, or good life under the Adriatic sun.
However, digging deep in Google I found this (slightly) mistaken advertisement from the Loctite people.

Don´t yet ask me what I was looking for, I will let you know in a blog page soon to follow.
I can make the mystery even a bit bigger, telling you I was searching under:

``Beautiful Elix soon to come``.

The original text was in Dutch, in large expensive advertisements in Dutch newspapers in the sixties.
To me (and many others) that campain was brilliant, as it made one wonder what Elix stood for.
For days and days new advertisements showed up,
ever increasing the mystery.

So have fun with this magnificant mistake, and follow this blog for the next couple of days, as than I will reveal the secret.

In the meantime, enjoy Dalmacija, Dalmatia, Dalmatië.

August 11, 2013

beautiful dirt

Simply have to share this picture, because I think it's a beauty.

Once in a while, when scrolling around, I see waste dumps, most of them illegal.
A bad habit of people still is to dump at any place, as far it's not their place.
How stupid can you be, as in the end it all returns in our food chain !

Sometimes however, these dumps offer me unique pictures like this one, in my opinion a true beauty.
Long ago, when doing art school (not finished :-), we students had a discussion with a teacher, in which he argued photography wasn't a true art.

However I not did become an artist nor a photographer (lack of talent), I still can't disagree more.

Things of beauty are in the eye of the artist, being a painter or a photographer.
And sometimes, even in my eye.
Not the common tourist attraction, but still .... Dalmacija.

(Feel like mailing me, the address is in the header of this blog).
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August 10, 2013

the RED KING of Dalmatian summer !

Should you be in, or planning to go to Dalmatia, try to get some locally grown tomatoes (like mine).
Not from the shop, perhaps not even from the market,
but absolutely and 100 % home grown (domaci),
as they are the true RED KINGS of Dalmatian summer.

Many times I sit behind my pc and think, now what else to convince people to come to Dalmatia.
Well, our tomatoes could be the perfect reason.

Won't bother you with a load of recipes, I can cook and so can you, and if you're searching for inspiration, on the internet there are trillions of sites and blogs about cooking.

Inspiration to write this little "no good for nothing" is that I ran around in our garden today to pick the best (and second best)
Kings of Croatian summer.
Picked ten kilos today, of various sorts I planted, and they are slowly cooking to prepare the very best sauce for either pizza's, soups, or whatever recipe I think of during the less sunny days of winter.
(Reduced to thick sauce, into the freezer, waiting to be used).

Reason to pick now is that also tomatoes show a risk of sunburn.
Those that are hanging out in the open, not hidden by some leaves, get an overload of sun, making them look like British who get of the beach on their first day in sunshine.
Burned and blistered.

I don't spray anything, add nothing, just give them sufficient water and a bit of t.l.c. and wham, there they hang, as simple as.......... one plus one is.........a lot.
And with a lot I mean a whole lot.

So picking ten kilos is nothing, and tomorrow I am afraid, I have to make the same trip along them plants.

I grow them from Dutch seeds, planting different types like little cherries (the sweetest), roma (the nicest for salads) and a thick fat heavy type for cooking purposes.
To get the nicest taste I mix them when I start cooking, and if some little bug built a little house in it, no problem, my nife brings them to another place (to the compost my little digging friends).

So if you think what inspires me to blog, well, here it is, tomatoes.
Tomatoes, the RED KINGS of summer in Dalmacija.

If coming to Dalmacija the first time, be aware, sun is HOT here !

Scientists in America are researching the taste of tomatoes.
Stop it guys, research malaria, or better tasting Heineken beer. 
As I and my fellow Dalmatians solved the tomato problem already.
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August 06, 2013

what to do if life sucks.................

Life sucks.

All of us know life can be hard, not always, but shit happens.
Your boss is pushing you for even better results, your wife is nagging about you coming home late and still running for that computer to do some more work.
And rain keeps pouring down.
Recognize the picture (no, not the above one) ?

Well, to be honest, I do.
Worked very happily for let's say 30 years as a dental representative, for a fantastic Dutch company (NDO Leeflang in Amsterdam), making good money telling dentists to trust me and make a couple of changes for the better.
Some of them as stubborn as a donkey, many of them after learning to trust me, happy with the tips and tricks I gave them.

Than, I told you, shit happens, our excellent company was sold to a German investment vehicle called Demedis with a couple of "clever" guys, a worst case scenario coming true.
Holy shit, they started to kill the chicken with the GOLDEN EGGS, changing whatever they thought beneficial.
Horrible times, till the giant multinational Henry Schein took over.

A bit better, as those Americans know how to run a business, but still not my peace of cake.
To them only results matter, profit, profit, PROFIT, as they are on the stock market.

Again terrible, as I was a true, honest, evidence based quality freak.
My clients were both friend AND client.
THAT's what made us as a company succesfull, with me in it.

One day (I told you s.h.), my frustrations took me to the deepest depression I ever experienced,
and NEVER want to experience again !!!!

At that point I asked my wife if we were total idiots or still the clever, active dare devils.
The answer came in time, so we made a total change.

Through family ties we were connected to Croatia, and what we felt here could not be payed with all the money in the world.

Things don't always come easy, life even sucks once in a while, but if you're not afraid of a change,
than listen to those Nike shoe people: JUST DO IT !!!!!

We did, and we don't regret it for a single moment.
The rest of the story is in a recent interview Jutarnji List .
(You're gonna need some Google translate to understand it a bit).

For those who think "yes yes yes, bla bla bla, dream on", I can tell you we live our dream here !
You don't have to do like we did, moving from Holland to Dalmacija, but if you do, and are not afraid of some bureaucratic obstructions, you'll be as happy as we are.
And an increasing lot of other clever, active dare devils who hopped over to Dalmatia.

Does life still suck ? 
Well, as you may understand reading the other pages of this blog, not to us anymore !

(If you feel like it, mail me, the address is in the header top right, with X=@ of course :-)

If you need service/help/advice for a holiday or fulfilling your dreams,
contact Robert at
He's a Dutchman too, a good friend, and a well informed friendly guy.
(Don't ask me, I work for nobody anymore).
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August 04, 2013

Omis, the HOTTEST place "on earth"

(Picture from DHMZ, the Croatian National Weather Service).

Omis, the HOTTEST place "on earth"

Wanna see celebrities, or spend the night in a steaming disco, perhaps it's better to go to the island of Hvar or a big town like Split.

If however you're a lover of high temperatures, choose Omis.
As Omis has no discos (or does it ?), it's more the ultimate place for lazy sun lovers nowadays.

No disco, no big deal you may say, as (almost) everybody has some sort of private music machine, which enables you to fill your ears with disco music while you turn your body to get an equal suntan.

The large sandy beach is crowded (not to crowded however) with your kind of people,
some dreaming of those fantastic COOL snowy winter days at home :-).
I do anyway, as this is not my type of weather, even though I live here.

Only when I have to, I am outside, giving the various vegetables and flowers their necessary splash of cool clear water.

And you won't find me on the beach either, as in this type of weather I prefer to jump in the Cetina River.
With it's twenty degrees Celsius at most (and even cooler where water flushes out from under the mountains), that's my type of water.
Clear, cool, refreshing and the very best to live through hot summer days like these.

There are many fantastic spots at the Cetina, not only close to Omis.
If driving a car, head for Kucice, and after about ten kilometers you'll discover many locations, you just have to look a bit, as they are well hidden from direct view.

A bit further, at the renovated bridge you'll see on your left, you can either drive a bit further, to where the rafts start for a magnificent ride of about three hours, or turn left crossing the bridge and drive to Kostanje and Podgrade.

There it's less easy to explain how to drive, but ask any local and he will tell you how to reach what's called Studenci.
That to me is one of the finest locations, before the stunning rapids in slow friendly (and pleasant) water, or just behind them rapids, where the energy fills your lungs and brains (with cooler water).

And if you are the dare devil I think you are (as you left the Adriatic beach in Omis), climb a bit over them boulders (CAREFUL please !!!!) and you'll find the mouth of a cave where a curtain of cold spring water gushes down.

Dare to step inside (again CAREFUL please) and amaze yourself with this natural phenomena, with ferns, mosses, stalactites and -mites.
(Look, don't touch, as the next visitor also wants to enjoy what you enjoy in pristine condition).

Don't wear your Ipad there, it just might get ruined.
And HEY, why wear an Ipad on such fantastic places anyway ?

Sit down, listen, breath in, breath out, it's free and priceless.
And THAN dive in !

Should you prefer to run from the heat for a couple of hours, book*) or make a trip to Vranjaca Cave.
You won't regret it, as it's a magnificent huge and COOL cave, where temperature all year round is 15 degrees Celsius.
*) Ask at tourist office Malimlin in Omis, across the main road at the big Studenac super market.

Enjoy your stay !
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