November 27, 2013

David Bowie lives here !!!

Having a couple of cats around (not ín) the house.
Well taken care of, and extremely social, a typical habit of people like us is to give them names.
One is called Feet, because he all the time tries
to make you stumble over your own.
The next one is called Little Feet, just to know who's who.
Than there is Monster, a cat with icecold blue eyes, extremely quick, a perfect hunter, and quicker on your lap than you sitting down.

And than, ladies and gentlemen, there he is:
the one and only

David Bowie.

Still in his Ziggy Stardust age when this picture was taken,
but already and clearly Bowie.

The two different eye colours made us call him Bowie,
and I think he understands his name,
as all the time he is singing to the ladies in the village "Let's dance".

Never in my life I would have thought I would like cats, but I do now.

Yes, Dalmatia does change a person.

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November 25, 2013

early morning mosor mountain

Our view.

No need to add many words.
Mosor Mountain pictured early this morning, when the sun was rising.
(Had to run for my camera, as it lasted just some minutes).

Click on the picture to enlarge.
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November 24, 2013

Croatian wines and grapes, to much and to many

If you are a wine lover,
than Croatia is a perfect reason to plan a visit.
The unbelievable variety of grapes and wines is simply exceptional,
no more, no less.

Already the good old Romans like Diocletian, knew this is one of the very best wine countries.
Perhaps that even was the true reason they came here and built their towns and palaces in Dalmatia.

Even today, each and everyone here grows olives and grapes,
making private wines and olive oil.
And more, but this page is about wine, so forget about them fruits.
(Oranges, lemons, kumquats, mandarins, figs and many more).

No doubt, everybody visiting Croatia and Dalmatia, once in a while drinks a wine, in summer I suppose more white ones, but to accompany some grilled meat a glass (or more) of red wine.

Most of the white wines served here are called Grasevina, a wine that comes from the North-Eastern part of Croatia, called Slavonia.

The red wines however, served in Dalmatia are most of the time called Plavac Mali, as that is the main grape that grows here,
on each and every patch of land.
(And: is evidence based the mother of the famous Zirfandel).

But that is much to simple, as there is a giant amount of different grapes here, both red and white, and each and every location has a different character, due to local conditions and soil.

Not being a specialist (at all) on wines, I like a good one, being local, bought by the liter, or a more sophisticated bottle from one of the better wine makers.

Much of my slowly growing knowledge I get from a gentleman called Cliff Rames.
Originally from Croatia, he lives and works as a sommelier in New York, and writes a splendid blog on Croatian wines.
If looking for an expert, he is, and no doubt the very best !!!!
do please click here:

 wines of croatia 

Once in a while I get his newsletter, and each of them is both very charming and informative.
I highly recommend you to see his blog, called "Wines of Croatia".

I hope one day he finds the time to put it all in a fine book,
which takes you to all those areas, grapes and wines.

As for sure, his blog already is an attractive trip through wine wonderland Croatia, putting it all in a book would provide every visitor with a tour guide leading from one beautiful region to another.

As Croatia is both beautiful and tasty,
certainly if you like a glass a day to dream away !
Still thinking if or when, I would say:

"Stop Thinking"

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November 22, 2013

scotchmen, dutchmen, and seven straws.

Life is expensive, right :-)
People from Scotland or Holland (we), know how to keep things cheap.

No, not by ordering one Coca Cola with seven straws,
but using a cheap phone connection.
Using Localphone for instance makes it possible to order seven Cola's ánd seven straws.

If you are living far from your homeland, like we do, originally from Holland, once in a while some contact with relatives or friends there can be pretty expensive.
Not anymore, if you use this service:

Don't ask me how they do it, to me all them tricks are rocketscience,
my wife however is extremely clever with such things.
Only when she goes shopping, as than she always comes home
with some bargain, to which I (always) reply:
"it may be cheaper honey, but you still had to pay for it" :-)

Anyway, if you want to stay connected to the country you left to live in paradise (Dalmatia !), or doing business abroad, try Localphone.

The only thing cheaper is getting a piece of Swiss Emmental cheese,
asking why you have to pay for them holes too.

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"sunny" dalmatia (most of the year)

For those of you who believe Dalmatian weather is all year round sunny and warm, forget it.
Sunny, nice and warm it's "only" from April till October, sometimes a bit earlier and/or later.
Between October and April our weather here is typical for Mediterranean winter season,
but also influenced by continental weather from Bosnia and beyond.

Today's satellite image for instance, shows a giant depression
over Italy and Croatia.
That means rain, wind, more rain and more wind.
Two wind directions are dominant here, one called bura,
the other called jugo.
Bura (boeh-ra) means dry weather (cold in winter or hot in summer), Jugo (you-go) however often brings rain, both in summer and winter.

Having been a (hobby) sailor all my life, checking the weather was as normal as putting up or taking down sails, and fantastic internet today provides me with a stunning amount of details.

This picture for instance shows a satellite image from a website with both daylight and infrared images.
With this, and a couple other links,
I regularly check what the weather is, and/or will be.
In other words, I am our own local weatherman.

Snow or no snow on Biokovo Mountain (free entrance during winter),
a simple click tells me when it's time to get into the car and drive that half hour to hike in alpine conditions.
Faaaantaaaaastic !!!

Living here is great all year round, but especially great in winter.
The variety of micro climates makes it even greater.
Each and every valley has a slightly different climate,
the coast differs from the Zagora (hinterland).
And for instance, while summer nights at the coast are almost as hot as during the day, our evenings are much more pleasant, as here evening temperature drops about five degrees C. compared to the sun baked coastal area.

Waking up in our hidden valley, enjoying cats, coffee and a cigarette in a mild winter sun (when it's not raining),
driving ten minutes down the mountain to see Adriatic or Cetina, another half hour or so to Biokovo, walking around in winter wonderland, after which an espresso on Makarska's best terrace (Kavana Romana) is enjoyed, and returning home to either
grill or cook a nice dinner.

If you like to see how weather is or will be, send me an email
(see top right side of my blog),
and I most gladly send you a couple of links to check local weather.

Rain, sun or snow, bura or jugo:
Dalmatia is always great.

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November 21, 2013

BBQ & Grilling, but not the Croatian way :-)

Let's face it, Croatians like to grill, however...........
......Americans know how !

Now before my dear Croatian readers go mad, yes yes yes,
I like my grilled anything here in Dalmacija,
and yes, open air grilling or in the so called black kitchen
over pure wood or grape-tree clippings tastes great, but.......
there is always "non plus ultra" or "primus inter pares" if you like,
and that's the American way !
 Oprosti, oprosti, oprosti :-)

Hope you are still with me,
and did not click on the link below immediately,
but I simply have to share this item with you.
Cooking is one of my (to many) hobbies, and grilling is (just)
one of the many ways to create a delicious meal.

Occasionally I receive a smoke signal from Amazingribs,
and the things these people share with interested folks like me
is absolutely fantastic.

No, you do not have to get a green card,
and no, I would not recommend you to cross the ocean
(sorry USA, but this country is far more beautiful than yours).
But ignoring such rich tradition of BBQ-ing, grilling, smoking
would be a true cooking shame.

You don't have to follow every cooking step they take, but if you only use 1% of all the knowledge available on that site, you will have added a thousand new tricks to create delicious meals.

Get going, have a look, and if interested, put your name on the list, so you get those smoke signals too !
You won't be disappointed, and still can do some Dalmatian grilling, once in a while.
Which of course always begins with good quality food
(meat, fish, poultry, vegetables),
and boy do we have a lot of great (domaci) quality food in Dalmatia.

please do click here !

You can always mail me at the @ in the top right corner of this blog.

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November 19, 2013


Recently my attention was drawn (again) by Alan Mandic,
the guy behind Secret Dalmatia.
He wrote about a highly interesting location, on which fragments of very old primitive life were found.
Supposed to date back the very first presence of human activity.
(Presumably Neanderthals).

Stunning news that is, but not uncommon for this area.
A couple of years ago, excavations on the Cetina borders produced a rich find of ancient and well preserved historic material.
See: Cetina in Wikipedia or Cetina in World Archaeology .
But more than that, as all around here are fragments of ancient life, historic and prehistoric.
As this area was and is offering all the basics for human life.
Water, wood, fertile soil, relatively mild temperatures,
trade routes both on shore and sea.
And, plenty of locations to hide when things got rough.

And rough they were, those ancient and more recent times,
with more fights and wars than "normal".
Sad enough, many of those conflicts resulted in destroying a lot.
Salonae (Solin) for instance, first by Avars and later by Ottomans.
Today's Solin and it's impressive Roman remains is absolutely a "must visit" !!!

Many times archaeologists have to reconstruct fragments, with tape and glue, in order to get the picture of what was going on in the area they are researching, so in the end they give us an idea of life before our's.

For that reason I do not dig or search for artefacts nor fragments,
and should I find something by occasion,
I will immediately register the exact coordinates with my little gps.
Next step is to inform the specialists,
as what may seem "nothing" to me/us,
can be that one and only missing link in a chain in restoring history.

Therefore I would like to ask you, walking or diving, to respect what you see or find, and leave it to the experts to do proper research,
so we can all learn from history, and enjoy it !!!

Those of you interested in Roman and other history, the whole Dalmatian area is blessed and sprinkled with hundreds of  interesting and beautiful locations.
The Imperial palace in Split, Trogir as a whole, the fortress of Klis, the remains of Salonae, and many many more.

Recently heard about visiting divers from Belgium, who took some truly interesting artifacts they discovered under water 
and took it (ILLEGALLY) home.
!! IDIOTS !!!
Shameless idiots, as it's stupid, highly illegal and without ány respect !
And.......: punished with severe penalties, up to imprisonment.

So if you see, find, discover something/anything, 
behave as a guest in the most beautiful part of Croatia, 
as that's what it is: 

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November 12, 2013

off season, hell no !

"Inspector cat" checking progress of a new path.
Pile of stones on our land changing into a pleasant footpath.

What used to be the top of the septictank near our house,
will change into a friendly terrace.

Not having a septic tank at our garden house yet,
we decided for a decent next one, solving, distance/level problems,
creating a nice new little terrace at the same time.
And nice it will be !

When finished with borders and flowers,
another great place to enjoy the view, sitting in the shade.
And relax !!!!

The Chinese may have their wall, soon ours will be ready too :-)
On the left side will be my three level botanic garden
(yes, another hobby).
The "Chinese Wall" will be finished with so called "benkovac kamen", hiding the concrete.

So if you think nothing happens during off season, now you know.
Two neighbors/friends are excellent workers,
so I do not have to do/think of everything on my own.
The finishing part, including planting and decorating,
will be my job again, as that's one of my (to) many hobbies.

Sometimes however, I am more than happy when we have a rain day.
With still much to do, crushing my old Dutch brains, translating my thoughts into understandable Croatian,
sometimes makes simple ideas into a twice as difficult job.

"Svaki dan malo vise" is my motto, and "polako" can wait !
Till the rain starts pouring again,
as than I have my needed rest, my "slobodan dan".
Ajmo Svinisce !

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November 02, 2013

building future's archaeology

Many times when driving/walking around this area, I see old walls.
Much crumbled, fallen apart and forgotten, many however also in good order, as they are still necessary,
preventing the ground from washing down when it's raining.
Yes indeed, we have a rain season too, 
and it can be pretty heavy.

Not being the flattest country in the world,
with plenty of stones and rocks, what do you do ?
Yes indeed, you build walls.
And that's what people did and do here.

Our private part of Dalmatia, our 2000 sq. meters, also has different levels, so also walls.
Some in good shape, some restored, a couple to be restored still.
And......some completely new ones.

The new ones on this picture are a cover up for concrete walls, and the floor beneath them wasn't built as a floor in the first place.
Being modern people, we don't hide in the woods to powder our noses, but retreat into the bathroom.
And where there is a toilet, there must be a sewer (not here)
or at least a septic tank.
So we built a septic tank, and a LARGE one it is !

Jokingly the title of this page is "building future's archaeology", as archaeologists like to put their scientific noses into old toilets first, searching them for delicious historic left overs.
Bad luck for future researchers, as they won't find anything in ours, as the system is self supporting, with a load of bacteria eating around the clock what we have digested already.
What remains is water, clear natural water,
dripping from one chamber to another and another,
as "dinner" needs at least three chambers.

The roof of the septic tank was just a concrete roof on what goes on beneath it when recycling is in progress.
No other use than being the roof of it, come on.
Than why not make it into another terrace I thought,
so another project was born.
With plenty of space one never has enough terraces to relax.

When completely finished, it will be a pretty terrace with borders stuffed with flowers and herbs, and perhaps even a large pergola covered with fine grapes for shade.
Do we have a septic tank ?
Yes, we had !

The guy on the picture is a pro, so if you have some walls to build,
not the modern concrete ones, but true Dalmatian stone walls.
mail me and I'll give him your address.
(My address, as always, is in the header of this blog).

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