February 24, 2014

"A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!"

And I, simple nature lover, who thought Sinj was only and all about the famous Alka tournament.
How ignorant could I be !

Thanks to the website 
I discovered the ever active people of Sinj's tourist organisation were inviting people to join in a guided tour through town.
For free, mind you, for free, and being a Dutchman living in Dalmatia, for free means "go man go".

So off went, I, together with my travel companion Robert (of www.MaliMlin.com), as both of us are originally from Holland.

And no, we didn't see any Alka horses, nor their heroic horsemen, as for the world famous Alka tournament you'll have to come in summer.

Than what makes Sinj so special, all year round ?
Well, first of all Jelena, the charming and very pro active lady of the tourist board.
We were warmly welcomed on the main square, introduced to our splendid guide for the tour, and at 11.00 sharp of we went.

Now before I start to reveal the whole tour, I might say "sorry, but it's your turn".
So get of your lazy sun burned beach (not yet), and go to discover Sinj yourself.
Of course you come to Dalmatia for sun and sea in the first place, however,
before you do so, as we're still in winter, allow yourself the pleasure of discovering Sinj through the internet.
To make things easy, see:

There's plenty of high quality info available, and if interested in history, archaeology, culture, nature, a bit of action and/or adventure, and TRUE Dalmatian life, prepare yourself for a visit to this town, right in the heart of Dalmatia.
As it's a great starting point, absolutely worth a visit or a stay.

Should you need help, info, details, anything, do contact the tourist board of Sinj, as they know it all, and share it all with great hospitality and charm.

And I, humble walking nature lover, I will definitely go back to Sinj.
As to get to understand Dalmatian nature even better, sometimes it even makes sense to enter a town.

And I might just consider to get into nature again, this time on horseback, as that's one of the many offers, an entire week on a horse, instead of walking.
(Sorry horsie, sometimes I like to be lazy).

But no, I won't join the Alka Tournament, as that's for true noblemen.
And besides, I never sat on a horse, yet !

Thank you Sinj, for inviting me.

February 10, 2014

Kravice Waterfalls (in a couple of months again)

Currently this is the screenshot we see,
 when we start up our computer.
It's taken by Robert, my good friend of malimlin.

I haven't been there yet, but be sure it's on my list, even asap, 
as now that it's winter, the amount of falling water down might even be a lot more than in mid summer.

When Robert drives guests to Mostar and back, this place is a perfect refreshing stop on the way home.
He and I often get going together to discover new places, 
or we share the details after having found one.
Currently I discovered that beautiful monastery (see previous posts), 
Kravice waterfalls however are his discovery.

With lóts (!!) of rain and stormy winds at the moment it's typical Dalmatian winter weather overhere.
Not really very inviting to get out, but the forecast promises in a couple of days I can exchange this picture for the réal thing.

I the meantime this picture showing between emails, blogging and administration keeps us dreaming,
 of another spring followed by another summer and another autumn.
So the price, three months of Dalmatian "winter", we gladly pay.

(And besides, still plenty to do inside house and gardenhouse :-).

February 08, 2014

Monastery Dragovic, now and before

First of all, I am a non believer !
Or to say it better, not a church going person.
So if you search for me, don't try those buildings, 
as you won't find me there.

However believing is essential for so many people in so many religions, I prefer to follow my own rules, 
and simply hate (!!!) dogma's.
And if only church fathers would use their many words to teach people to peacefully live together, it would be a different world.
All I would like to ask you is to respect your neighbours, 
whatever their religion.

Recently I drove some good friends from the end in Omis to the beginning of the Cetina, that stunningly beautiful river that dominates Inland Dalmatia.
As usual I follow the right side upstream, 
between Dinara Mountains and the Cetina, 
as that offers a never ending variety of panorama's and discoveries.
(Drive to Trilj, and follow the right side of the Cetina).

Somewhere half way of Perusko Jezero, near a cove called Dabar, 
we entered a small road to the left, 
not having a clue what we would discover this time.
It lead us to Monastar (Monastery) Dragovic, 
a Serbian Orthodox Monastery, inhabited by (only) two hard working friendly monks.

First we just stood at the gate, 
but soon one of them friendly invited us to come in, 
and what a magnificent place it is !

Specially their church is a MUST experience, 
painted with fresco's all around, even on the ceiling.
As you can see on the picture the interior is divine.
Once again, being an atheist, I was truly impressed.

With my limited knowledge of Croatian language I understood only a bit of all that was told, 
so I checked good old internet for details.

Which lead me to the history of this monastery, 
dating back many centuries, 
surviving so many bad (and hopefully good) moments.

One of those moments was when this part of the Cetina was turned into Perusko Jezero.
As you can see on the second picture, the old monastery had to be abandoned as the water in this artificial lake was rising.
The remains of it can still be seen when water in the lake in summer is extremely low, the main chapel however, 
dating back to the very first settlement of the monastery was moved to be rebuilt at where it is now.

An absolutely breath taking experience, and a fine encounter with two brave monks.
I wish them well, and hope old wounds someday will heal, 
as this is a most wonderful part of Inland Dalmatia.

For anybody with good intentions, and a fair portion of self supporting skills, this is the land of milk and honey.
With plenty of opportunities to feed one and ones relatives,
all year round.
(Fish, meat, game, fruits and vegetables, simply anything).

And with enough space for any honest religion.

Sailing, the last freedom

(do click to enlarge)

Sailing used to be the last freedom, and still is
in Dalmatia !!!!

Having sailed all my life, from dingies to 420, 470, Hobiecat, ending in a 30 ft. seaworthy yacht 
(called a Pion, built by v.d.Stadt).
On top of that I sailed many trips with a crew of friends 
on 40 to 46 ft. yachts.
With them I had many fantastic trips, in pleasant 
and also véry unpleasant weather.
(The English/French Channel remains to be horrible water).

Dutch waters and North Sea were our territory, Belgium and England our goals.
And for many years, all year round, you could find us/me on those waters.
Even in winter, a bit cold, but total freedom.

Things changed, more yachts, less space, crowded harbours, business and (to many) restrictions took over.
Did I/we have a great time, hell yes, but only at sea freedom could be found.
I lost a feeling, nót for sailing (!!!), but for that freedom.

And to tell you the truth, after we discovered Dalmatia, we also discovered sailing did not have to be that cold, miserable, rainy, stormy, foggy fanatic's thing.

Of course, also in Dalmatia one can be (I can) that fanatic, adjusting every single rope on board to get the maximum boatspeed.
But you don't have to !

As.....here in Dalmatia's waters, you can still enjoy total freedom, in endless clear blue waters, sailing from one island to the next, anchoring in secluded coves, or charming little harbours. 

Only one thing I'll be missing here :-)
Stepping ashore in England, we always found the way to the nearest pub, to enjoy a typical pint of beer.
Sorry for Kaltenberg, Heineken or Karlovacko, but those British pints are a different thing :-)
(Or was it because the atmosphere in those typical British pubs.)

Anyway, if looking for absolute sailing conditions in open sea or between thousands of islands, 
forget about those Northern European waters.
Dalmatia is the true sailors paradise !
A naked paradise, if you prefer a total suntan.

Believe me, as I knów what I am talking about !!