Saturday, 13 August 2011

Beach Hopping

We went to Lake Mir. Mir means peace in Croatian and you really feel like you’re in a peaceful area.
This place is famous for its salt-water lake. It is mainly rocky.
The main reason tourists visit here is to take part in the tradition to build a chimney with stones. It symbolizes luck. I collected some stones and this is the result:
We kept on travelling. Next stop: Zman. Here we ate delicious Gavuni fish, very popular on the island. It is a must to eat fish if you are in Long Island. After lunch we headed to Sali which is the largest village on the island. We walked along the bay and had a swim in the clear sea.

The last stop of my journey in Croatia was Bibinje where we stayed at a very lovely Croatian family, at Ana Dumančić's house. We headed back to the airport in Zagreb. It was a short, but very impressive and fascinating journey. I had the chance to see lots of places in a short period of time, many thanks as well to the Croatian TV-Star Tomislav. I can recommend Croatia as a great holiday destination for the amazing nature, food and hospitable Croatians.

Nature’s Paradise

After 1.5 hours by ferry we reached the seventh largest island, Dugi Otok, which is well known for its beautiful nature and cliffs. Sali is the largest town on the east side, next to Božava, Dragove, Soline, Brbinj, Luka, Polje, Verona, Savar, Veli Rat, Zaglav, and Žman.
We tried to see as much as possible in the few days we had. So we started with the port village Zaglav, next to Luka. The restaurant Roko is a very good place for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We were travelling by scooter, so we could move easily between locations.

One of the beaches I liked was the Brbinjscica beach which is a rocky beach with stone terraces and cliffs; the other was the Saharun beach, a beach with sand and beautiful turquoise sea water, which is very rare in Croatia. It is a very calm place surrounded by pine woods. Dugi Otok is the perfect place for any outdoor sport.
For cliff diving fans it is one the best places to jump from very high cliffs into the sea. The lighthouse “Punta Bjanka” in Veli rat has one of the biggest lanterns and placed in a wonderful quiet location, close to a church.
Next we went to the nature park in Telašćica which is full of wildlife and sea creatures. A perfect place for diving. This location is calm and surrounded by a forest of pine, olive and fig trees. I didn’t see any exotic animals, except the sea cucumber!
I saw a sea cucumber for the first time. It is a rare water animal, but we were lucky enough to have found one. They resemble the shape of a cucumber, and feel very slippery. A Croatian told me that they clean the sea bed by eating the dirt off the stones. Croatians don't eat these animals, but in Asia they do.

Cliff Diving At Dragon’s Eye In Rogoznica

Next we went to one of the popular summer holiday destinations, Rogoznica which is between Split and Šibenik. The most visited part is the Dragon’s Eye, Zmajevo oko.
The colour of the lake is azure. A lot of youngsters come to this place to dive from very high rocks into the saltwater. Nearby are a lot of areas to swim in the sea.

Friday, 12 August 2011

The Sea Organ Allures People

The next morning we went to the seaport Zadar.
At the bay there are two attractions; the sea organ, a stone wall that produces a sound when the sea waves hit it. The device was created by the architect Nikola Bašić. Another is the monument to the Sun. The solar plates absorb solar energy in daytime and transform it into light effects during the night. We went on the ferry to Dugi Otok (Long Island).
After 1.5 hours by ferry we reached the seventh largest island, Dugi Otok. Sali is the largest town on the east side, next to Božava, Dragove, Soline, Brbinj, Luka, Polje, Verona, Savar, Veli Rat, Zaglav, and Žman.

Feel The Power Of The Seven Waterfalls

The next stop was at the National parc in Slapovi Krke.
You can reach the attraction via bus, which are scheduled frequently. A lot of tourists come to see the seven waterfalls of the Krka river surrounded by beautiful landscape and wildlife.
There is more than one path to reach the big waterfalls and you can jump into the river to cool down, but it’s forbidden to swim very close to the waterfalls.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Faithless Concert In Split

After having had a nice swim we headed to the second biggest city, Split. The Diocletian's Palace, Dioklecijanova palača, in the heart of Split tells the history of the area and is a place to meet and sit and look up at the stars. The Cathedral of St. Duje is beautiful.

This picture shows the bridge where people do bungee jump.

The actual reason for coming was to see the Faithless concert. So many people from all over the world came just to enjoy the rhythm and dance to the beat. We had the pleasure to get on the Heineken booth and had a perfect view of the whole crowd. At midnight we could admire a wonderful fireworks display in all its glory.

Summer Festival, Terraneo, Under A Clear Night Sky

Thursday evening we headed from Zagreb to Tribunj, had a Croatian mocha and went to Šibenik, to get to the Terraneo Festival. Croatia is a coffee country, and mocha is very well known as an influence from the Ottoman Empire. The little village was very quiet and the summer houses seemed large from the outside, but were very small on the inside. In front of many of the houses were fig trees. Most Croatians trust their neighbours and don’t need to worry about crime. We actually experimented by leaving a bag in front of a house and after 30 minutes it was still there. One of the most exciting bands at the open-air festival was Nouvelle Vague, they were fascinating with their charming performance.

The Croatian Appetite

Next we went to the Lotrščak Tower from where we had a perfect view of the whole of Zagreb. We could see the mountain of Medvednica and the Sava river. On top of the tower is a canon which is fired to mark midday. We continued walking and there was a booth with “Licitar” which is a heart-shaped gingerbread cookie with the symbol of love and affection and is mostly bought as a souvenir by tourists.

We then passed a statue on the Strossmayer Promenade illustrating the poet Antun Gustav Matos and we had a “schnapps” made of honey, a Medovaca. In Croatia people drink now and again all kinds of self-made schnapps: Sliwowitz (plum), Lozovaca (grape), Kruskovaca (pear), Jabukovaca (apple), Smokovaca (fig), Travarica (herb plants), Orahovaca (walnut) or Visnjevaca (cherry).

As a guest you’ll get offered it and it’s a sign of politeness to drink the whole glass of schnapps. What is a typical Croatian meal?

Cevapcici may come first into people’s mind, a meat balls dish. Some might say a dish with fried snails. I tried it, but I did not like it; I prefer the way the French cook it with garlic.

Roasted lamb on a spit with big onions and chips is a must for a tourist, as well as the grilled fish Bakalar or a tuna steak, the Dalmatian pot roast “pasticada” and the pancake served with ice cream, Palacinke.

Mercy Over Croatia

Croatia is a very religious country.
People frequently visit the Zagreb Cathedral. The St. Catherine’s Church, St Stephen’s Chapel, Franciscan Church, St Mary’s Church are all beautiful churches in the heart of Zagreb city close to the Green Horseshoe, a park in the shape of a letter “U” and contains a lot of the public culture. We crossed the Dolac Market, a food market where people buy fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and fish and figs, particularly in the summer.

We crossed the “Bloody bridge” which connects Gradec and Kaptol. “The Stone Gate” is a very precious place because under the arch of the gateway a painting of the Virgin Mary was saved from a fire in 1731.
Many people light a candle here and make a wish. Close by is the Oldest Pharmacy of Zagreb, Kamenita ulica. Another interesting shop is in the upper town, the Museum of Broken Relationship where anything can be donated, reminding people of their own broken relationships.

Bog Hrvatska!

The weather in Munich was awful for the month of August, which is why I decided to plan my next trip to a country where I can discover new culture, food and landscapes. I chose Croatia, or Hrvatska, as the locals call it.
I arrived in Zagreb around lunch time and my friend Sandra was waiting for me, holding a board with my name on, decorated with chocolate. The capital was very calm, as people spent most of their time at the coast. We went directly into the oldest part of the city, Gornji Grad where we passed the Ban Jelačić Square, which is the central square. In Croatia the tram was the most commonly used public transport in the cities.
One of the attractions is the Mandusevac Fountain which has an important historical story behind day a Croatian leader returned from battle and asked a girl for water from the fountain. The word for “scoop up water” is “zagrabiti” and hence the name Zagreb was used for the city.