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The tradition – Olive tree mother and her child olive oil

They say, olive tree is like mother; giving selflessly even if she is neglected for years.

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95% of all olive oil production in the world comes from the Mediterranean, and of course, even we are small, Croatia is one of those producers. And yes, you can be sure, olive oil from Croatia, is really from Croatia.

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There are two regions here producing most of our oil. Istria and Dalmatia. We are in Dalmatia, so that means, everything here is much harder than in Istria when we talk about harvesting.

In Dalmatia, olives are scattered all over the place, and mostly, in areas which are hard to reach. Which means what?

Well, join us, and we will show you, the best we can through this post. If you want to know what does the olive try symbolize, legends and mythology surrounded about this fruit from heaven, or liquid gold as Homer called it, check out our older post;

The olive tree – Symbol of Immortality

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So, it’s October, temperature is around 25 degrees, weather is pretty good. Wind up your watches ’cause we are getting up pretty early in the morning. Around 6 am. Drink your coffee, enjoy it, because later, well, you won’t have the chance ;).

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Pack your food, lots of water, tools, and let’s go :).

As I already said, here, in Dalmatia, olives are all around, and ours are up, on the hill. You have to be a pretty good driver to past all the traps in front of you.

In other countries, people harvest olives by using machines that shake the entire trees. Here, we do it with our hands.

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Dalmatia wildlife? :)
Dalmatia wildlife? 🙂

Please make sure you have suitable shoes, which are not slippery, because, there will be a lot of tree climbing. Also, no matter the temperature, you need to wear long sleeves, if you do not want to ‘cat scratch me’ look afterwards.

Girls, make sure your hair is secured as well.

Around noon, we will have 20 minutes off, for nice BBQ. Believe me, you will be hungry and you will enjoy it more than in a 5 star restaurant.

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Around 4 pm, we are packing our stuff and it’s time to go home.

But the work isn’t complete. We need to shake our olives a little bit and clean the leafs. One of us, of course, is preparing dinner.

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It’s 8 pm. You drink your Aspirin or any other pain killer and you go to bed. At 8 pm. Because tomorrow is Sunday, and yes, we are repeating this once again. And again. And again. We have around 500 olive trees. For our use mostly. Nothing professional. Yep, family thing. E-mail me if you want to buy it ;):

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Does it sounds frightening? Perhaps. But, no matter sore muscles, we are doing it with joy. Because, we are thankful each year for the yield. We are thankful that we can spend so much time in the nature, hanging out, talking, laughing, crying from tiredness, instead being in front of TV or computer. We are thankful that we can enjoy our own oil. We are thankful for that and much more.

After all, we enjoy using olive oil. So, this time, let’s make a cake ;).

Joining us next year? 😉

Source: Like Croatia
Source: Like Croatia
Source: Like Croatia
Source: Like Croatia
Featured

One day cruise – when friends meet and enjoy summer

Poljica, a small fisherman place located 15 minutes North from beautiful Trogir. Beautiful beaches, clean sea, and friends we enjoy spending time with.

Poljica beach
Poljica beach

Our friend Dino, a fisherman during winter and best tourist guide during summer, has a boat for daily cruises from Poljica to island Drvenik (Krknjaši). During your little cruise, you stop to
at least 3 beautiful places great for swimming, you can have delicious lunch with great view in old stone house, and you can even try fishing with Dino. Believe me, you will not regret,
as he is fishing since he was a little boy, and, he definitely can teach you something and provide you with great lunch you fished by yourself.
Isn’t that the best feeling?

Our captain Dino
Our captain Dino

So, Sunday 8:00 AM. Everybody on board!, Dino yells, as we throw our bags full of food, drinks and all kind of accessories for our kids. You can never have enough of those :).
Beautiful weather, clean and glass sea, fresh coffee served on board (and perhaps another 10 times during the day), and friends laughing and enjoying our little summer cruise.

On our way...
On our way…
Krknjaši - Blue Lagoon  Photosource: daytripsfromSplit.com
Krknjaši – Blue Lagoon
Photosource: daytripsfromSplit.com

First stop, Krknjaši – Blue Lagoon
Krknjaši cove on the Drvenik island, surrounded with Veli Krknjaš and Mali Krknjaš islets, is a real tropical lagoon from the picture postcards. It is not far away from land but a world away from mainstream tourism. Well known to yachtsmen and captains of megayachts who love to cruise these unspoiled waters and enjoy the secluded beaches, little known outsiders (www.trogir-sailing.com).

Little captain
Little captain
Beach, beach, beach Krknjaši
Beach, beach, beach Krknjaši

After we enjoyed beautiful morning for swimming, we got hungry! This beautiful bay has restaurant Krknjaši, but hey; with 5 big guys and full box of fresh meat, only choice was barbecue (gradele prepared meat).
Beautiful old stone house with great host, amazing view and a chance to prepare your own food. With friends you enjoy spending your time with, can life be any better than this?

Lunch time...
Lunch time…

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Anybody hungry?
Anybody hungry?
What a view :)
What a view 🙂

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Local wine from our vineyards, vegetables from our gardens, our olive oil, and delicious barbecue in combination with summer breeze and beautiful view can be described as true hedonism.

After another swimming, another coffee, we anchored in two more beautiful bays, enjoying deep blue sea.

Little boat :)
Little boat 🙂
On the way....
On the way….
You never know when you will need it :)
You never know when you will need it 🙂

On our way home, with sunset in front of us, we could only wish for one thing: To repeat this as often as possible!

Argh!
Argh!

We have only one thing to say to you! Join us… 🙂

Featured

Too cold to swim, but not to cold to stay away – Adriatic Sea

I must be a mermaid, Rango. I have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living.
― Anaïs Nin

<a href="”> Read More…

I must be a mermaid, Rango. I have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living.
― Anaïs Nin

Yesterday, we had windy, but sunny day, here in Split. So, what is the best way to spend a day like that, but take a seaside walk.
And we did!

Sunset
Sunset

I think, most of us, Dalmatians, feel certain tranquility being close to the sea. We do not have to swim in it, or sail,…we just need to see it, feel it, or here it
so we can be sure it is there. Near us.

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It felt once more how simple and frugal a thing is happiness: a glass of wine, a roast chestnut, a wretched little brazier, the sound of the sea. Nothing else.
― Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek

A glass of wine, and we will say, not chestnut but fish (cod fish for example) and the sound of sea. Nothing else.

Enjoy our walk together with us.

Blue as it can get
Blue as it can get
Secret view
Secret view
Fishing
Fishing

P.S. Recipe for Cod fish brodetto (Bakalar brodetto)

Cod fish brodetto
Cod fish brodetto

Cod fish Brodetto

2 lbs of cod fish
3 lbs of potatoes
3 large yellow onions
large can of whole tomatoes
10 garlic cloves
a bunch of parsley
2 cups of white vine
1 cup of extra virgin olive oil
Salt, Pepper

Cut the Cod fish into two to 3 inch long pieces and put them in a bowl with water and cover it. Change the water every 8 hours, three times.
Peel the potatoes and cut them into 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick slices, Slice the onions, mince the garlic and chop the parsley.

In a large pot start assembling your brodetto. On the bottom put a layer of onions, then a layer of potatoes, layer of fish and crush a little bit of tomatoes and tomato juice on top. Do this until you are all done and then on top of it put your garlic and parsley, salt and pepper and bouillons.
Pour the wine and olive oil on the top and then add some water to about and inch from the top of the food. Cook on medium until the potatoes are done, for about 30 to 45 minutes. Make sure to serve some great bread on the side because the broth is to die for!
This is even better the next day and it freezes well.

Recipe find and adjusted a little bit here: http://www.mogwaisoup.com/2014/12/baccala-brodetto.html

Featured

Dalmatian fisherman – one day, one night, big adventure

Noćas ću pod sviću bacit peškafondo
zapalit španjulet i odmorit dušu.
Pridat ću se moru miru i tišini
zaboravit sve ću stvari ča me gušu.

Waking up  early, with the moon still there
Waking up early, with the moon still there
And here we go...
And here we go…

It is difficult to translate above lyrics, as you would have to be a Dalmatian just for a day, and spend one night at the sea, under the sky, just to have a small sensation what sea, sky, boat, and fish means to people living in Croatia.

Looking at the fishing boat passing by while drinking coffee. But, this time, we were on the boat :)
Looking at the fishing boat passing by while drinking coffee. But, this time, we were on the boat 🙂

In short words, when fisherman sail from shore to the sea, he forgets about all the problems that smuggles him in life. It’s just him and the silence he feels while away from the land.

Fishing tradition on the Adriatic is long. In Croatian Maritime Museum in Split you can see fishing boat ‘Perina’, at the museum courtyard, a traditional Dalmatian ‘gajeta’, one of the oldest surviving vessels on the east Adriatic coast. It is little to say that this gajeta represents centuries of local sailing knowledge and tradition.

Our friends, seagulls...
Our friends, seagulls…
No matter what you think, at sea, you are never alone.
No matter what you think, at sea, you are never alone.

Oldest document about fisheries in Croatia is dated around the year 995. and its been kept in historical archives in Zadar.

Oldest Croatian document about fisheries  Source: www.sali-dugiotok.com
Oldest Croatian document about fisheries
Source: http://www.sali-dugiotok.com

The everyday life of Croatian fishermen did not change a lot from previous centuries. Yes, we have motor fishing boats now, strict laws, and less fish then before, but conditions modern fishermen is facing out at the open, are the same. Early start, all night work, coldness, bad weather, wet clothes, tiredness, and modest food is something that bond fishermen throughout the history.

Uh, hard work indeed, but each fish we had catch made us smile.
Uh, hard work indeed, but each fish we caught made us smile.

BUT, that did not stopped us, as yes, we did; we were brave enough to experience one night at the sea. It was difficult, it was hard. Oh yes! Every five minutes we wanted to give up and swim back home just to feel warm bed. We stayed. We fished. And we were most glad we did.

Going back home...Long way in head of us.
Going back home…Long way in head of us.
Part of our catch :).
Part of our catch :).
Sailing with the sunrise...Coming with the sunset...
Sailing away with the sunrise…Coming home with the sunset…

Our reward was octopus under the bell (lid). It tasted so good. Yep, you do not want to miss an adventure like this! 🙂

Octopus under the bell...
Octopus under the bell…
Featured

In search of simplicity – Dalmatia

One day, I will find right words, and they will be simple.

cvit u kamenu

beauty

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Dalmatia…Right word, simple word.
Simplicity is the essence of this region. Simple but most delicious food, slow life mood, beauty seen in everyday life, especially during summer time.
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lipo li je lipo li je

Summer … Mid-August … We finally have enough sun to steal a little gold… It is time for picking figs, we are preparing for the the new school year, doing our best to brighten holidays for our visitors…

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We are enjoying singing crickets, cold watermelon, morning and afternoon coffee …

Grilled fish, tomatoes and cucumbers salad and glass of good wine or a cold beer. Can life be more beautiful?
Simplicity …

 

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Each day should be spent finding beauty in little things.

From ancient times, life in Dalmatia was sustained by fishing, olive oil and wine. Life on the Dalmatian islands and coast today has not changed much in that regard. Perhaps today, we appreciate this life even more by giving more love and time. The coast and the islands are carved with thousands of small bays and pebbled beaches.
blue sky

vineyards

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We are giving our precious time and love entirely to summer and Dalmatia and we do enjoy in simple life this region is offering to us :).

Featured

Adriatic Sea Adventure – where the blue begins

In the southern Adriatic, in the wind-blown spray.
In the bluest water, just where it begins,
We came to play awhile, came to rest
On rocky shores of barren coves,
As the swells arrived and water splashed
And reflected sunlight jumped and shimmered
Among the cliffs and overhangs and grottoes,
In the Adriatic, where that sort of thing begins.
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blog5Blue, clear, warm and friendly sea… That is best description for our small sea adventure yesterday… We visited our friends who were staying on island Veli Drvenik. Tweenty minutes speed boat ride was

full of warm wind, beautiful surrounding and waves splashing sound. Seagulls enjoyed as well, with many other sea lovers sailing and cruising around. Working week started today, but our batteries are full 🙂

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Adriatic Sea Name

Originally, Adriatic sea was known in Latin as Mare Superum. Later, it was replaced by Mare (H)Adriaticum. The name, derived from the Etruscan colony of Adria (or Hadria), originally designated only the upper portion of the sea (Herodotus vi. 127, vii. 20, ix. 92; Euripides, Hippolytus, 736), but was gradually extended as the Syracusan colonies gained in importance. The name Adria is derived from the Illyrian word adur meaning “water” or “sea”.

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Legends and fables of the Adriatic sea

…Legend has that Scirocco, Bora (winds) and their children lived in a far away land: Illiria. Velebit had dark curly hair and the beautiful Adria was slim and had beautiful blue eyes and golden hair. Once Scirocco, longing for knowing new worlds, decided to leave to come back only after seven long years. While he was approaching his land again he was imprisoned by a wicked wizard. He wanted to kidnap the beautiful Adria because he was madly in love with her. So one night the wizard went to submit the inhabitants of Illiria. Velebit didn’t want to surrender though. So he prayed the Gods to turn him into a stone. So the mountains that protect North Dalmatia originated. The sweet and lovely Adria was turned into sea… the Adriatic sea.

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Featured

Country of coffee drinkers- Croatia

How about a cup of coffee?

“Coffee is far more than a beverage. It is an invitation to life, disguised as a cup of warm liquid. It’s a trumpet wake-up call or a gentle rousing hand on your shoulder … Coffee is an experience, an offer, a rite of passage, a good excuse to get together.” ― Nichole Johnson

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Morning coffee, lunch coffee, afternoon coffee, sometimes even evening coffee…There is no bad time for drinking coffee, there is only bad coffee and bad coffee friends. Locals have perfected the art of “taking a coffee”, as it is called, often making a single coffee last for hours. This is mostly because the experience is not really about drinking coffee, but more about socializing.
Tourists descending upon Croatia, especially the coast, are quite often surprised when they see how relaxed the atmosphere is and how eagerly the citizens of Split for example, hog chairs and tables on café terraces in the squares and streets of this city.

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So all of you out there planning to blend with locals on your vacation and immerse yourself in Croatia’s habits and tradition, these are two basic goals you might want to aspire to:

– once in a coffee shop, sit back, relax and forget the notion of time ever existed
– make a single coffee last for hours (closely related to the first goal)

coffee time

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The earliest evidence of coffee drinking comes from 15th-century Yemen. By the late 15th century and early 16th century, coffee had spread to Cairo and Mecca.In the 1640s, the Ottoman chronicler İbrahim Pecevi reported the opening of the first coffeehouse in Constantinople.
In more recent times, the traditional drinking of Turkish coffee has been diminished by the growing availability of other hot beverages such as tea (grown locally and bought without hard currency), instant coffee, and other modern styles of coffee.

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At a time when most European cities gets first cafe, the first coffee house is being opened in Croatia, as well. It was opened by a trader in Zagreb,Leopold Dun in the 1748th year. Guests at the Duna, except for coffee, could drink tea and chocolate. Coffee is purchased in the Netherlands, which was at that time the forefront of the coffee market. Old documents from 1756, mention Valentiusa Horu, yet one of the first Zagreb “caffeariusa.”

By the end of the 18th Century, a large number of lavishly decorated cafe is being opened. In the second half of the 19 century café culture is becoming very popular, which was good for opening a coffee house in other Croatian cities. It was place for social elite, where you could hear turbulent philosophical discussions on various topics, especially on culture and politics. Coffeehouses for good reason are called “Platonic Academy”. Leading European newspapers were available in these coffe shops, and guests had free usage of phone as well.

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Called the ‘Satan’s drink’ in the Western world, it gained popularity, thanks to high prices commanded by tea, only after the 18th century.

Well, no matter the name, we can’t wait for our lunch brake and get a cup of coffee…

You’re welcome to join us.

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Summer in the city :)

 

Sweet corner
Sweet corner

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The Legend of Diocletian
The legend surrounding the rise of Diocletian is as follows: A Dalmatian soldier named Diocles had been told by a witch that he should become Emperor by the slaughter of a boar. He became a great hunter, but no wild boar that he killed seemed to bring him nearer to the purple, till, when the army was fighting on the Tigris, the Emperor Numerianus died, and an officer named Aper offered himself as his successor. Aper is the Latin for a boar, and Diocles, perceiving the scope of the prophecy, thrust his sword into his rival’s breast, and was hailed Emperor by the legions. He lengthened his name out to Diocletianus (later shortened to Diocletian), to sound more imperial.

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Walk through the palace, is a must do…This is our daily routine as we are living in Split and also working in the city (we can’t wait for the coffee break). But if you have doubts about spending your summer in the city, and we are talking about Diocletian ‘cottage’ as he called his palace, I hope these pictures will make you think otherwise…

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Walk through the palace, especially in the summer, is a challenge. So many people, so many hidden streets, coffee bars, restaurants…You just have to explore all the little narrow streets and alleyways and find all the hidden bits of the palace that so many people must have missed unless they were were on a guided tour. A camera, either a smartphone or a professional one is a must have, as you will not be able to take your finger from it…

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These are photos from today’s coffee break. And please note, this morning we had serious rain over here… Now, we can’t wait to jump in the sea. Enjoy!

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Featured

The wonderful world of magic – garlic (stinking rose)

“The ancient Greek name for garlic was scorodon. According to Fulder and Blackwood, French physician Henri Leclerc derived this from skaion rodon which he translated as rose puante, or “stinking rose”.”

češnjak fitness.com.hr

For over 5,000 years garlic has been used as food, medicine, an aphrodisiac and magic potions. Garlic warded off the evil eye, was hung over doors to protect medieval occupants from evil, gave strength and courage to Greek athletes and warriors, protected maidens and pregnant ladies from evil nymphs, and was rubbed on door frames to keep out blood thirsty Grey Duck Garlic, Lorez Italian garlic bulbs by barn door handlevampires. Garlic clove pendants hung around the neck protected you from the sharp horns of a bull, warded off local witches, kept away the black plague, and even prevented others from passing you (or your horse) in a race.

Garlic Source: Taste of Croatia
Garlic
Source: Taste of Croatia

Garlic is only found in cultivation, but researchers consider Central Asia to be its place of origin which is also home to Allium longicuspis. Some believe this plant to be a wild ancestor while others believe it to be the same species. It was probably used in Central Asia since Neolithic times as a food flavouring and seasoning. Although many of the about 700 species of genus Allium are native to Central Asia, the diversity of the forms spread from the Himalayas to Turkestan. It is believed that the ancient Chinese were the first to cultivate it. Garlic spread across the world more than 5000 years ago; before recorded history.

We can not talk about garlic, and forget to mention vampires; croatian most famous vampire, also known as first european vampire….

Jure Grando, the Vampire from Kringa (Istria)

The first document on Grando, dating back to the 17th century, was written by his contemporary Janez Vajkard Valvasor, a Slovenian travel writer and historian. In his 15-tome work, The Glory of the Duchy of Carniola, which was published in 1689 in Germany, Valvasor tells the story heard when he visited Kringa.

Jure Grando
Jure Grando

According to the legend, for 16 years after his death and burial Grando terrorised his former fellow-villagers, notably his widow. At night he wandered the area knocking on the doors of houses, many of whose inhabitants later died, it said. The lustful demon paid regular visits to his widow, forcing her to continue fulfilling her marital duties.

Eventually, in 1672, a group of nine local men decided that they had to put an end to the menace. Upon opening his grave they saw Grando, his body intact, smiling at them.

Istria
Istria

After the first attempt to drive a hawthorn stake through his corpse failed because the wood rebounded, the bravest of the nine eventually managed to decapitate the body, bringing to an end Grando’s reign of terror, the legend said.

“Grando already has all the characteristics of future literary vampires — who appear some 150 years later — he is a cynic, challenges both civil and church authorities and is sexually active,” explains Boris Peric, a writer who investigated the issue.

“The story was later taken and quoted by various authors from theologians to historians,” he said, adding that German writer Herman Hesse published an account of Grando in an anthology early in the 20th century.

Peric says he believes Grando served as one of the models for his future literary counterparts, possibly even for Irish writer Bram Stoker’s Dracula, which is said to be inspired by cruel Romanian Prince Vlad Tepes the Impaler.

Stinking rose :)
Stinking rose 🙂

LJUBITOVICA – GARLIC ŠARAC

Ljubitovica, a village a few kilometers from Trogir where life seems to have stood still for centuries, a variety of garlic famed throughout the region is grown. Called Luk in Croatian and Cesnjak in Dalmatian, this Allium sativum is a preservable, full-flavored and fragrant variety that is often streaked with reddish veins. Grown by local families to augment their incomes, it is gathered into strings and sold mainly by women at markets in Split, Trogir and Sibenik, or to tourists traveling the coastal roads in summer. The women of Ljubitovica gather along the sides of these markets, displaying their strings of garlic, dried officinal herbs and, occasionally, some alcoholic distillates (such as travarica herb grappa) on wooden crates. They proudly gesture, repeating that the garlic was grown and prepared in Ljubitovica, where the product is better and keeps longer than the regular garlic sold on the market stalls. (source: Slow food)

Garlic festivities - Ljubitovica Source: Slobodna Dalmacija
Garlic festivities – Ljubitovica
Source: Slobodna Dalmacija

Numerous studies conducted on garlic (Allium sativum L.), have proved the presence of antioxidants, phenolic compounds, sulfur compounds and several vitamins.Used liberally in many dishes, garlic adds flavour to everything from soups to homemade sausages. One passionate Croatian cook says it’s hard to imagine a single household in all Croatia without garlic.

roasted garlic
Roasted garlic Source: coolinarika.com

Mussels recipe known as Dagnje na buzaru

This easy Croatian mussels recipe is popular along the Dalmatian coast where there is a wealth of seafood and a strong Italian influence. This is known as dagnje na buzaru, or školjke na buzaru. Compare this with Croatian Shrimp Buzara. “Buzara” in Croatian literally means “stew,” but buzara-style cooking simply means that some type of shellfish or crustacean is cooked with olive oil, wine, garlic, breadcrumbs and fresh herbs.

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Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 4 servings Croatian Mussels

Ingredients:

4 pounds mussels (1 pound per person)
3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
8 cloves chopped garlic (or to taste)
1 1/4 cups dry white wine
Coarse sea salt
Black pepper
1/2 to 3/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs
Preparation:

Scrub and debeard the mussels. The “beard” is the hairy thing hanging from one side of the shell. Pull it off with a side-to-side motion.

In hot pan, add mussels, olive oil, parsley, and garlic. Let this simmer until mussels just begin to open. Stir, lower heat and add 1 1/4 cups white wine, coarse sea salt, and black pepper. Be careful not to oversalt because mussels from the sea are naturally salty.

Let all the shells open, stirring occasionally. If, by the end of cooking, any shells do not open, discard them. Turn the heat back to high to finish the cooking quickly without toughening the mussel meat. Mix 1/2 to 3/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs into the broth, but you want to leave some liquid present. Serve with crusty bread to soak up the broth.

Mussels - dagnje na buzaru
Mussels – dagnje na buzaru

We do hope that you love garlic as we do, especially roasted one, but please remember. Your breath will not be attractive, so only solution is to feed all around you with this beautiful food.

Featured

Dalmatian Tales of Long Ago

ruins
ruins

When the village dies, or when people leave, it is like stone receptacle come alive, in order to save the village, or at least the memory of it. As if they become alive, to move through the village, to replace people once lived there … When the village dies its soul stays in stone receptacles. They are last to die.

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Rural heritage…Yes, I love these words.  But, walking through this, almost, completly abandoned village, I felt like I am walking through a village of ghosts. So many empty houses,so many memories written in stone. No matter my feelings, rural heritage in Croatia in recent years is recognized as one of leading ideas of tourism development. Which I most welcome. Rural tourism in Croatia today has the special importance, because one of its key roles are to preserve tradition on the way to use rural heritage creatively. It is equally valuable part of its cultural heritage and in recent years in Croatia is visible increased concern and care for its restoration (source:http://hrcak.srce.hr/file/157989)

Dalmatia, as it was
Dalmatia, as it was
Old stone house
Old stone house “Blagoslovljene nek su sve boli naših pređa I krv, i znoj, i suze, i strah, i glad, i žeđa; I tuge i gorčine!” Vladimir Nazor

As famous croatian writer Vladimir Nazor wrote, I can imagine all the pains of our ancestors, their blood, sweat, tears, the fear, hunger and thirst. Sorrow and bitterness. That is how their life was. Seeing these ruins, everything comes alive again, and I hope that this rural heritage will not be forgotten, nor the people who lived here, and that new people will cherish a new life remembering the old one.

Čiope lete visoko nad tornjevima zvonika. U suton: uvlače se u svoja kamena gnijezda (ponajčešće među pragove starinskih trošnih kuća).  Ante Cettineo
Čiope lete visoko nad tornjevima
zvonika.
U suton: uvlače se u svoja kamena gnijezda
(ponajčešće među pragove starinskih trošnih kuća).
Ante Cettineo

old window

 

stara vrata

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vrata

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From city of dragons to Emperor Palace

Dragon's eye Rogoznica
Dragon’s eye Rogoznica

Legend about Dragon Eye Lake in Rogoznica is telling the story of two brother, one of whom was blind. The sighted brother, in dividing their land, tricked the blind brother, and in retaliation the blind brother conjured a curse: “If you have not shared the land fairly, let it all turn into a lake.” And it did. But in this lake that sometimes churns and boils lived a dragon. The dragon, says local tradition, was merciless–each year he charged a bloody fee of the most beautiful girl and the fattest sheep.

Rogoznica
Rogoznica

We started our sailing route from Rogoznica to Split. And we have seen and enjoyed so many legends, beautiful sights and neverending stories about our Adriatic coast.

Another story tells of the dragon Murin, the illegitimate son of Hera and Poseidon, who ruled the polis of Heraclea from his palace on the island of Velika Smokvica. He protected the inhabitants from invaders and marauders, and in return every year, on the longest day of the year, the people had to give him the most beautiful girl for a wife. Unfortunately, no one survived the first wedding night. Legend says that on June 20th, on the winged horse Pegasus, a hero descended called Aristoles, great-grandson of the Argonauts’ Jason. He fell in love with a girl who was supposed to wed the cruel dragon the next day. The young hero challenged the dragon to a duel, and mortally wounded the beast with a spear made by the powerful goddess Athena with lunar dust and the help of Hephaestus. As he lay dying, Murin dug out his own eyes with his claws. One of them he threw far beyond the island of Mljet, and the other slipped under his feet and melted the rock. Water filled the pit and formed a lake, which came to be called Dragon’s Eye.

Lady of the Chapel
Lady of the Chapel
Fisherman
Fisherman

At the entrance to Rogoznica port on the peninsula Gradina, a votive shrine of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the people known as the Lady of the Chapel.

Intercity 1722nd year, fisherman George Bogavčić called Tuburko, attracted by a strange light panel finds a picture that showed the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, her cousin Elizabeth. Bring it home and put it in the freezer. The next day, at the same place again saw the same opportunity. He would not compare to the one in the chest but was not found. Decide to entrust all parish priest, who was put into the treasury. Ali and from Our Lady’s Opportunity returned to the place of the apparitions.

And so, at the urging of bogoljubnog people, 1776th decided to build a small chapel.

Mulo lighthouse
Mulo lighthouse
Stone and sea 2
Stone and sea 2
Sea and stone
Sea and stone

 

We wrote before about Punta Planka or Cape of Diomedes. But let us remember few things :).

Punta Planka
Punta Planka
St.John Church
St.John Church
Kissing the shore
Kissing the shore

 

In the first century BC, it was impossible to sail around Cape Planka or Cape Diomedes during a huge storm. This is the region of the jugo and bura, local winds that are linked to the myth of the Argonauts, and that conspire to produce one of the most deadly navigable points on the eastern coast of the Adriatic. A Roman ship transporting 150 amphorae full of wine from northern Italy to Greece anchored for the last time in the Bay of Gornji Muli in Rogoznica. For a medium-sized boat overloaded with amphorae, even a closed bay was not safe. She capsized and sank to a depth of 20 meters, hitting the underwater rocks, and her wreckage is scattered across a field 13x10m in size. The site was excavated and preserved in 1998.

Fisherman 2
Fisherman 2
Sailing
Sailing
Serenity
Serenity

 

The waters around Rogoznica contain many shipwrecks from different historical periods, so we might say there is a museum in the deep blue sea, a trove of historical material intriguing to scholars and tourists alike.

On our small journey we have met these amazing places, but also, little friends, the dolphins.

Dolphins
Dolphins
Red rocks
Red Rocks
Klude1
Klude
Klude
Klude
Velike Klude
Velike Klude

 

On the south side of Ciovo Island, in Prizidnica, among the steep cliffs above the sea, nearly five centuries ago the church of Our Lady of Prizdinica was built. Above the door of the church in the wall are two stone tablets, and the older one witnesses about the history of the sanctuary.
“The priest Juraj Stoidražić came into this wilderness, and built this temple in honor of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, 1546 god.”
Next to the church, in the humble dwellings, “the wall”, withdrawn from the world, have settled priests hermits, spending a life of prayer and penance.

Our Lady of Prizdinica
Our Lady of Prizdinica
cliffs2
Cliffs
Fisherman3
Fisherman3
cliffs
Cliffs
peekaboo
Peekaboo


Until the mid 19th century, continuous or intermittent short lived Glagolitic monks, and priests of the Latin ritual language.

On our way to Split (Spalato) we have seen just one small part of history integrated in our heritage. I could write a story, or legend, almost about each rock, cliff, or sea path I passed. But then, you wouldn’t read me at all :).

Hopefully you enjoyed our little sailing, and legends which goes with it.

Sailing
Sailing
Featured

Omiš (Almissa) – the city of contrasts and the pirates

Republic of Poljica
Republic of Poljica

1st of May, or May Day, or International Workers Day, whatever you would like to call it, for some of us is a reason to escape from the ‘big’ town.

cetina
River Cetina
cetinakayak
Cetina kayaking
climbers
Rock climbers

And we did. Going to Republic of Poljica (known in history as an autonomous community which existed in the late Middle ages and the early modern period in central Dalmatia, near modern-day Omiš). Omiš, in ancient times, was known as Oneum. In the Middle age, Italians called it Almissa. Omiš center was located on the east bank of the River Cetina, probably in the village Baucici, where was found many archeological sites with numerous rock fragments from the time of the Romans, as well as tombstones, monuments and Roman coins.

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Car fieldtrip
old boat
Old Boat Omiš
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Omiš cliffs
fortress
Fortress
Omiš street
Omiš city street
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Omiš

It is truly city of contrasts. From one side, river Cetina and beautiful cliffs, and on the other side, crystal clear sea and sand beaches. It is no wonder, that, as a town connected with the sea and river, was famous also as a pirate town. Glorious and turbulent history of the town of Omis and Omis pirates dating back to Greek and Roman times. Omis, hides many memories and evidence of strength and power of Omis Pirates. In the Middle Ages, Omis became notorious because of Omis pirates, and their specially built boats called Omis arrows (Sagittae). Iwrote about Omiš pirates in my post about Adriatic Pirates  http://bit.ly/13MxVg9.

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Omiš street
OMIŠ4
City of flowers
flowers in rock
Rock garden
Omiš door
History
rose
Rose bush
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Omiš

During our visit to ancient city, we climbed to fortress Mirabella. It was very hot outside, but we did it J. This fortress is also connected to pirates (which is no wonder at all). Fortress Mirabella was a reliable hideout for the Omis pirates, who used to retreat into the safety of the Cetina gorge. Old legend says that in 1537., during an attack by the Turks, the defenders of Omis confused the attackers with their shouting and shots so much that the Turks overestimated the number of defenders and fled.Fortress Mirabella has four floors and exit at the top that offers an unforgettable sight. Beautiful field trip with lots of history, amazing landscapes, truly something you have to experience.

Omiš5
History in stone
Fortress_Mirabella
Fortress Mirabella
OMIŠ2
Omiš River Cetina
OMIŠ
Omiš sea view

The Legend of Mila Gojsalić begins in a small Dalmatian village Kostanje in the Omis hinterland, where she was born. She lived in a time when the whole Dalmatia and the Republic of Poljica was threatened from the Ottomans. In year 1530., Turkish Ahmed Pasha gathered an army of ten thousand soldiers to defeat Republic of Poljica and Dalmatia. Turkish army camped and set up tents in the village of Gata in the Omis hinterland, where today stands a monument of Mila Gojsalic, made by the famous Croatian sculptor Ivan Meštrović. Mila Gojsalic was the prettiest girl in the region, and when Ahmed Pasha saw Mila Gojsalic, fascinated by her beauty, he ordered the soldiers to bring the girl into his tent. Mila was taken that night in a bedchamber of Ahmed Pasha, and there against her will, she had lost her virginity. Then she chose, between eternal slavery in the harem, and life in disgrace, divine innocence and martyr’s death, and becomes a warrior of Christ. When Ahmed Pasha fell asleep, Mila sneaks out of the tent and takes a torch with which she lights the fire in the warehouse of weapons and gunpowder. The mighty explosion destroyed the entire Turkish army together with Ahmed Pasha. In her suicidal course, Mila Gojsalic died. The remaining part of the Turkish army flees in fear, then they were attacked and defeated by soldiers of Poljica.

Mila Gojsalić watching over Omiš
Mila Gojsalić watching over Omiš
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Green and blue Croatia

Split
Split

I live in Split. Beautiful city, but, I grew up in a small village, so, weekends are usually booked for family visits.

kozjak
Kozjak
uvala marina
Marina bay

marina
Marina (Bossoglina)

It is such a thrill when you can experience so many different landscapes in such a small area. In just an hour away from Split, starting from Split, you can feel the city rush, admire to massive mountain Kozjak, rest your eyes in endless green, and meditate with sense of blue.

stara kuća
House in green
old window
Old house

There is no need for further writing, photos speak for themselves.

playground
Playground
beach
Fisherman place Poljica
Couple enjoying Sunday afternoon at the beach
Couple enjoying Sunday afternoon at the beach
naslovna 2
Poljica beach
brodic
Fisherman boat

Thus, often, I spend weekends and indeed, hedonistically, I love it.

cvijet
Spring
flower
Garden in the spring

Featured

Food for the Gods – Ficus Carica

Ficus Carica - Fig
Ficus Carica – Fig

Once  fruit for poor people, today, delicacy for selected ones. Figs.

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I can’t remember better job when you are a kid, than figs picking. Climbing up that delicious tree, picking that sweet fruit, selecting green ones which are not dry yet, and enjoying the sweetness. And I still do. Just close to my motherhouse, stands wide fig tree with one of the best figs I have ever eaten. Owners lived very far away, so, they wanted to sell that tree to someone. When I was 18 years old, my first income was spent on that tree. My first possession was that tree.

Dried figs
Dried figs
Photo source: http://bit.ly/12vb5uz
Fig cake / Photo source: http://bit.ly/12vb5uz

How important is that fruit, Veljko Barbieri, Croatian gastronome describes it the best. The Greeks were the first to introduce into kitchen the figs leaves, wrapping up the vegetables, meat and fish so they can remain fresh and preserved for a longer time. This culinary tradition has been passed on in their Dalmatian island colony, so it is no surprise, that famous Vis Hibs or figs cake, old pastries with ancient origin, are wrapped in a fig leaf.

viski-hib1-300
HIB-fig cake from the island of Vis,has been traditional prepared by diligent peasant women of island Vis.This traditional hand made cake,its harmonious mixture taste of figs, aromatic herbal, brandy and fennal , smell of bay leaves and rosemary, has the charm of ancient times. A small piece of HIB restored quickly the strenght of hard working vineyard farmers. In evrey house a few HIBs were saed for Christmas days and other festivities. Stored until then in laurel and rosemary leaves it was taken out, cut in thinly slices and served to friends and guestes with a small glass of aromatic herbal brandy.
Photo source: http://bit.ly/17NPf7S
Photo source: http://bit.ly/17NPf7S

Native to the Mediterranean region, the fig tree appears in some images of the Garden of Eden. After eating the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve covered their nakedness with leaves that are usually said to be from the fig tree, and Islamic tradition mentions two forbidden trees in Eden—a fig tree and an olive tree. In Greek and Roman mythology, figs are sometimes associated with Dionysus (Bacchus to the Romans), god of wine and drunkenness, and with Priapus, a satyr who symbolized sexual desire.

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The fig tree has a sacred meaning for Buddhists. According to Buddhist legend, the founder of the religion, Siddhartha Gautama or the Buddha, achieved enlightenment one day in 528 B. C. while sitting under a bo tree, a kind of fig tree. The bo or bodhi tree remains a symbol of enlightenment.

In legends, as fruit or in delicious recipes, we can say that fig is a queen indeed. Who knows, perhaps my next investment will be another fig tree.

Photo source: http://bit.ly/ZbvIuY
Photo source: http://bit.ly/ZbvIuY
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Amazing photos and weekend winter journey of my dear friend Dalmatian Hedonist…Divine colors, senses…What else to add?

Dalmatian hedonism

What can treat my body and soul better than escape from crowded grey and spending some time in the nature

 While divine colours and smells act  on all my senses; watching spectacular sunsets, hearing  waves and seagulls …

winter coilours1

view

winter

winter colours in dalmatia

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brod

sunce sjaj

klupa

stina

vez

more1

agaca

Did you know that from agave on island of Hvar lace is made, isn`t that amazing!

sunset

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The sound of silence – sailing

A strong north-wester is blowing, Bill!

Hark! Don’t ye hear it roar now?

Lord help ‘em, how I pities them

Unhappy folks on shore now!

sailing 2

sailing 1

It brings us freedom, adventure, and calmness. We laugh, we cry, we fear, we admire. Underneath the blue sky, sailing is alliance with nature. Nature is more powerful than us. We harness its forces to our best ability and it can be a wild exhilarating ride. Then there are quiet moments that etch themselves into our memory, where seas and skies provide moments of pure beauty.

Stepping away from the land is like stepping away from the world you know. A sailor’s joys are as simple as a child’s, Bernard Moitessier said. And what is better than return to your childhood and be a child again.

sailing 3

sailing 6

Croatians were and are sailors since long ago. We are mentioned as fearless pirates back in 642. We were known also as successful shipbuilders.  Already at the time of Prince Vladislav (821-835), the sources mention a strong navy. Thanks to the maritime power of Croatia, prince Mislav of Croatia (835-845) enabled Venice to establish control on the Eastern Adriatic. The King of Croatia and Dalmatia Petar Krešimir IV (1058–1074) expanded its kingdom “on land and on sea”. In his deed of donation to the convent of Saint Krševan in Zadar in 1069, it is stated that he donates the island of Maun situated “in our Dalmatian sea” (in nostro dalmatico mari). The Duke of the Croatian Royal Navy Rusin is mentioned at the time and the fact that the very title of Duke could be borne only by governmental dignitaries is proof of the navy importance.

sailing 4

sailing 7

sailing 8

During the period of personal union with Kingdom of Hungary, the Croatian coast fell under Venice and its naval power deteriorated. But this is the time when the fleet of the Republic of Dubrovnik, which kept its independence, started to rise. The size of the Fleet of Dubrovnik in 1800, together with fishing ships, was 673 clippers. 255 of them were bigger ships that sailed outside the territorial waters of Dubrovnik. The total number of transatlantic clippers was 230 ships. The Republic had its consulates in over 80 cities. At that time Dubrovnik had about 7,000 seamen, shipbuilders, shipowners and members of other maritime professions.

sailing 10

stone

It is obvious that sea and ships are part of our history, but also our present. Sailing in Croatia is a trend, which is no wonder considering that you can experienceover a thousand islands, innumerable coves, bays and beaches. The old-towns will have you feeling as though you have stepped back in history, and the quaint fishing villages will make you forget about the crazy pace of the outside world. But, what is most important, sailing, no matter is it in Croatia, or somewhere else, will give you that special feeling that you are becoming a friend with nature, wild nature. The best sound ever. The sound of silence under the sky and above deep, deep sea.

“hark, now hear the sailors cry,

smell the sea, and feel the sky

let your soul & spirit fly, into the mystic…”

 

― Van Morrison

sailing 11

sailing 15

Featured

Trogir; Carved out of History and Stone

Trogir
Trogir
Trogir 20
ACI marina Trogir

I love people and the summer rush.  Like a river they are floating through the narrow streets of Trogir during summer season. City, so small, but full of life. Beautiful!

But, how lucky I am to experience history of this ancient city, almost alone? Winter Sunday walk through town carved out of history and stone. Almost, like a ghost town.

Amazing senses given on a plate only for me. What a delightful feeling!

Trogir 1
Čiovo bridge

Trogir 3

Trogir 6

Trogir 12
Pasike

The museum-town of Trogir is located on Croatia’s Dalmatian coast. Surrounded by a sparkling sea and 2300 years of history, this little town counts itself among the best preserved Romanesque-Gothic towns in Central Europe. Also known as the Stone Beauty, Trogir is situated a mere 20 km from the city of  Split, making it a very popular tourist stop.

Trogir 7

Trogir 8
Tower Kamerlengo
Trogir 10
Kamerlengo cracks
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Street

Trogir’s medieval core, surrounded by walls, comprises a preserved castle and tower and a series of dwellings and palaces from the Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque periods.

Trogir has a fascinating 2300 years of continuous urban tradition. Its rich culture was created under the influence of old Greeks, Romans, and Venetians.

Trogir 14

trogir 18

Trogir 15
The city gate

Trogir has a high concentration of palaces, churches, and towers, as well as a fortress on a small island, and in 1997 was inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

“The orthogonal street plan of this island settlement dates back to the Hellenistic period and it was embellished by successive rulers with many fine public and domestic buildings and fortifications. Its beautiful Romanesque churches are complemented by the outstanding Renaissance and Baroque buildings from the Venetian period”, says UNESCO report.

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St.Lawrence
trogir 25
Radovan Portal

trogir 24

Trogir’s grandest building is the church of St. Lawrence, whose main west portal is a masterpiece by Radovan, and the most significant work of the Romanesque-Gothic style in Croatia.

trogir 28
Palace Cipiko

The most important sites:

– Historical city core, with about 10 churches and numerous buildings from 13th century
– The city gate (17th cent.) and city walls (15th cent.)
– The Fortress Kamerlengo (15th century)
– The Duke’s Palace (13th century)
– The cathedral of St. Lawrence from the 13th century with the Portal of Master Radovan, the unique work of this great Croatian artist
– The big and small palaces Cipiko from the 15th century
– The city loggia from 15th century

trogir 23

KAIROS STORY

Outstanding Greek bas-relief from the beginning of the3rd century B.C. – The figure of the naked young man personifies KAIROS – according to ancient Greek’s comprehension the God of the “fleeting moment”, a favorable opportunity opposing the fate of man. This favorable moment must be grasped (i. e. the winged, permanent running Kairos by his tuft of hair), otherwise the moment flies away without return and cannot be caught any more …The bronze Kairos statue known in literature and made by the famous Greek sculptor Lysippos from Sikyon, was probably the model for the relief from Trogir.
kairos
Kairos
KAIROS relief is kept in the Benedictine nunnery with the church of St. Nicolas. It is discovered in Spring 1928 in a abandoned house of Stanosevic family. 

trogir 27

Trogir 9

Trogir 16

Trogir 17

Featured

Dalmatian Village

landscape

All through the village, bodies have banished light. They have driven it downhill

Like hostages to piratical Adriatic galley Come to enslave them.

kopriva

In the first one hundred years Dalmatian village went through three crucial periods. The first, at the end of the 19th century, was characterised by a rapid growth of viticulture followed by a great decline at the beginning of the 20th century which caused a large economic crisis, poverty and mass emigration. The second period stretches throughout the second half of the 20th century and is marked by the country’s industrialisation, the socialist concept of agricultural development and a sharp fall of agricultural population and exodus from rural areas. The characteristic of the third period is the adoption of the liberal concept of development in which family farming is predominant.

village

Renewal of olive cultivation has advanced considerably since the eighties initiated by the UNDP project and new vineyards are being planted. This creative boost is still present today. Each of these periods had a special influence on the development of the rural villages.

maslačak

From ancient times, life in Dalmatia was sustained by fishing, olive oil production and wine making, and the sea pathways allowed for easy distribution of these products throughout Europe. Life on the Dalmatian islands today has not changed much in that regard, except for the recent boom in the tourism industry. The sea is rich in fish, and no modern technology can compare to the efficiency of classic, old-fashioned fishing methods on small wooden boats that have served the local fishermen for centuries.

kamenje

The entire length of Croatia’s Adriatic coast is delineated by steep, rocky mountains that plunge into the sparkling, crystal-clear sea. The coast and the islands are carved with thousands of small bays and pebbled beaches. Small villages and towns made entirely of stone are nestled among the bays, skillfully built by stonemasons and artists.

cvijece

Even poor, without modern technology, people in Dalmatian village were always blessed by joy and song.

hrast

The 18th chapter of the manuscript titled “Poverta delle Parochie Illiriche” ([The Poverty of the Illyrian/Croatian Parishes) contains a description which reads as follows, in translation:

“Although the villages are small, they have their parish priest and his subordinates, the curates and ordinary priests. On Sundays and holy days they solemnly sing the mass and the canonic hours (le ore canoniche), and on ordinary days they sing the mass on anniversaries (of deaths of members of the parish) and the requiem masses. Their singing is not accompanied by musical instruments, they do not require special training. It is comprised of certain unembellished, moving melodies which arouse religious feeling. The choir has quite a number of members as it is made up of priests, clerics, students and many other laymen for whom learning the prayers which are sung is no problem, being in their own language, nor is it difficult for them to adapt their voices to the singing which requires more piety than skill”

mahovina

(Bezic 1973:182-185).

Perhaps, D.M.Thomas, a Cornish novelist, poet and translator gave the best description of dalmatian village in his poem describing hard life of a woman surrounded by beauty of this amazing pearl called Dalmatia.

kopriva 2

All along the beach, bodies have banished shadows.

Mid-afternoon sun broils and burnishes

Unction of suntan lotion on sleek nude bodies

Isolated by solar worship, their hatred of darkenss.

Lazy arms of frauleins break their torpor

To unfasten a strap: God heals the thin white back-wounds

Hungrily with gold. The is is an azure-gold basilica

Mosaic. Bodies have banished shadows;

Under the devaginating sun

All is gold, gold,

Leaving only the round blacks of sunglasses

As an instalment of evening,

They have left,

Have swarmed up the crumbling steps to the fortress-village,

Like Gadarene swine,

Through cobbled streets piled with grey houses,

Where old women swollen with olives sit

Silent on doorsteps, bluck muffled from head to toe,

As they must have sat when the frauleins’ fathers

Jackbooted through,

Their eyes as subtly downcast

As their house-shutters’ lattices

They keep out heat and light, harves the sparse coolness

Subtly as oriental women.

The ox roosts in coolness.

The donkey reeks out from a dark stall.

The passions of the old women are darkly, cooly-lidded.

The photos on their graves

In the cypress-secluded cemetery

Will be slender brides.

 

All through the village, bodies have banished light.

They have driven it downhill

Like hostages to piratical Adriatic galley

Come to enslave them.

D.M.Thomas

Featured

No words needed….

“I must be a mermaid, Rango. I have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living.”

Winter Sun
Cast me upon a certain Island and let me have my liberty!
For i am drifting in the Adriatic Sea like the muse of my lover,
And like the distance of twenty fathoms away.
Edward Kofi Louis
Fantasy
In the southern Adriatic, where the blue begins,
We came to rest awhile and play
On sun-drenched islands known as Tremiti,
Where the breeze blows fresh
And pine trees shiver and the salt sea
Washes the likes of you and me,
In the southern Adriatic, in the wind-blown spray.
Love
Dare to dream of true love for the sea.
Follow the winds, follow the fish
Talk to the old olive tree by the sea.
Dancing on the waves
High crests of azure, true aquamarine.
Immerse yourself in jewel
Of pristine Adriatic sea
A poem appearing
From the fragrance of sea
On the palm of your hands
Ive Barošević Barkos
so simple
In the bluest water, just where it begins,
We came to play awhile, came to rest
On rocky shores of barren coves,
As the swells arrived and water splashed
And reflected sunlight jumped and shimmered
Among the cliffs and overhangs and grottoes,
In the Adriatic, where that sort of thing begins.
sky
O wise man! Give your wealth only to the worthy and never to others. The water of the sea received by the clouds is always sweet.
Chanakya
Window to Immortality
The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.
Jacques Yves Cousteau
colour up your life
Color your life….

Featured

Pirates of the Adriatic Sea

Adriatic Sea – Pirates area

“There was a single blue line of crayon drawn across every wall in the house. What does it mean? I asked. A pirate needs the sight of the sea, he said and then he pulled his eye patch down and turned and sailed away.”

Hear the word “pirates,” and you probably think of the Pirates of the Caribbean in the 17th century’s Golden Age of Piracy. Swashbuckling freebooters plundering the Spanish Main, swinging on ropes and burying chests of doubloons.

While Hollywood and adventure novels have given these buccaneers most of the press, they were hardly the only pirates to ravage the seas. One of the stranger, and most dangerous, bands of pirates were the Uskoks who terrorized the Adriatic Sea in the 16th and early 17th centuries.

Nautical chart…

The northeast coastline of the Adriatic Sea had been inhabited by several peoples engaging in piracy from the earliest time. These groups varied in size and ferocity depending on the age and the economic situation. The pirates of Adriatic mainly seized goods from the merchant vessels passing their settlements, though they also made some rare incursionos inland, to pillage settlements and grab inhabitants to turn into slaves fro ransom. Pirates activities were first documented in the early 1 st Century ad and continued until the mid 17th Century.  Regular sea traffic (Dalmatian coast was obligatory route for the rich merchant ships sailing between the Levant and the vast lands of Europe), morphology of the land (easy to escape and hide due to many islands and narrow channels), easy ambushes and support of local population made piracy a profitable business for Dalmatians.

poparic2A
Bare Poparić – notes about Adriatic Pirates

Pirates of Adriatic Sea preffered more than anything Venetian Ships. South of Istria, along the Dalmatia coast, Slavic invaders had seized control of the area where the Narenta (Neretva) River enters the Adriatic. From the stronghold the Slavs launched incessant pirate raids on Venetian merchant ships that attempted to run their gauntlet and reach the Mediterranean. Sometimes the Slavs were joined by marauding vessels from cities of the upper Dalmatia coast, such as Zara (Zadar) and Spalato (Split); at other times the Narenta Pirates (Neretljanski gusari hrv.) preyed on those other Dalmatians as well.

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Uskok pirates ship

It is interesting that the last refuge for pirates in the ancient time period was in the Adriatic. Dalmatia’s coast made it difficult for pursuers to hunt down the pirates. When Rome annexed Dalmatia in CE 9, it ceased to be a heaven for pirates.

Mediterranean pirates sailed in galleys of various sizes with sleek, narrow hulls. (Although such a vessel often had a single sail, her primary means of propulsion came from oars. This meant men were needed to row, thus raids on villages provided slaves to do this job. Painted eyes adorned the prows so those aboard could “see” their prey.

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Our lady of the pirates church – Island Vis

USKOCI

The Uskoci were Croatian soldiers that inhabited the areas of the eastern Adriatic and the surrounding territories during the Ottoman wars in Europe.  Etymologically, the word uskok itself means “the ones who jumped in” (“the ones who ambushed”) in Croatian. Bands of Uskoks fought a fairly successful guerrilla war against the Ottomans, and they formed small units and rowed swift boat.

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Uskoks – Battle with Venetians

During the early years of the 16th century, the Ottoman conquest of Bosnia and Herzegovina drove large numbers of Croats from their homes. A body of these “uskoks” established itself in the fortress of Klis near Split, and from there waged war against the Ottomans. Klis, however, became untenable, and the uskoks withdrew to Senj, on the Croatian coast. Their new stronghold, screened by mountains and forests, was unassailable by cavalry or artillery. Large galleys could not anchor in the bay of Senj, which is shallow and exposed to sudden gales. So, the uskoks fitted out a fleet of swift boats, which were light enough to navigate the smallest creeks and inlets of the shores of Illyria.

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Woman and Man from Senj – Uskoci

Moreover, these boats were helpful in providing the uskoks a temporary landing on shore. With these they were able to attack numerous commercial areas on the Adriatic. Eventually, the uskoks saw their ranks swell as outlaws from all nations joined them. These outlaws also included people from areas such as Novi Vinodolski, Otočac and other towns in what is today Croatia. The uskoks would conduct such acts up until 1615 when their piracy went so far as creating an open war between Venice and Austria.

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Klis Fortress

Pirate battle Omiš

This unique event which reconstructs the original Pirate battle that occurred in the 13th century between the Venetians and Omis pirates, which were one of the most powerful maritime forces on Adriatic from 11th to 13th century. In this way town’s tradition and history are being relived again, and tourist offer is being broadened, giving Omis visitors something new and interesting. Stories of Omis pirate past, of pirates who were feared by many greater maritime forces, of battle fought against Venetians and crusaders, have always attracted large audience.

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Pirate Battle Omiš

 

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„Praise be to God the Father/Who sent us his Son.”

By accepting Christianity and Christian culture and civilization, Croatian rulers accepted European ideals as well, and established their own chancelleries by following in the footsteps of European rulers. That is why the dating of the oldest Croatian documents was deeply-rooted in the Christian era and Christian holidays dated from the birth and  incarnation of Jesus.

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King Petar Krešimir IV, for instance, granted a benefice to the Benedictine monastery of St. John the Baptist which exempted it from paying all taxes in “1059, in the Year of theIncarnation of Jesus Christ, our Lord.” Moreover, Dalmatian bishops and the bishops from northern Adriatic diocese held a synod in the presence of Petar Krešimir IV on Christmas 1066.

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On this occasion, the nun Cika from the Zadar Convent of St. Mary applied to Petar Krešimir IV to exempt her convent from the payment of local taxes, which he did. These privileges were confirmed to the monastery by Krešimir’s successor, the new Croatian King Dmitar Zvonimir, beginning with the words: “In the name of the Holy and Indivisible Trinity, in the year of our Lord 1075.” There are a number of other Croatian medieval charters which are dated according to Christ’s birth or resurrection.

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Julije Klović

The presence of Christmas is also shown by the many beautiful Christmas carols. It is interesting that the Croats have more than 500 (five hundred) Christmas carols. There are Christmas verses that can have a dozen of different melodies, varying considerably from region to region.

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Croatian Carol Narodi nam se

The number of Croatian Christmas carols is surprisingly large even in world’s proportions. The oldest preserved texts of Croatian Christmas carols are from 1380, kept in th Paris Song Book, within the Croatian Glagolitic book called the Paris Miscellany, kept in the Bibliotheque nationale in Paris, sign. Code slave 11.

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Radovan Portal

Scenes of the birth of Jesus Christ can be found in the oldest Croatian sculptures and paintings. Almost every cathedral in Croatia has them, and more than a few rural churches are decorated with such representations of Christ’s birth. Among the oldest and most valuable art works containing Christmas themes and messages is the portal of the cathedral in Trogir. On this thirteenth century masterpiece, Master Radovan succeeded in connecting scenes of Christ’s birth, the journey of the Three Kings and the adoration of the shepherds.

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Christmas Star

The richness of the Christmas table has always had a kind of magical meaning, since it was believed that plenty of food in the old year would ensure plenty during the entire following year.

Art of food
Art of food
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Mysterious Croatia

Christmas Eve is traditionally spent in vigil, symbolically accompanied by making light in various ways, with candles or by maintaining a fire in the fireplace where the Yule-log is burned. The name for the day before Christmas Day is derived from the archaic Croatian word bodar or bader which means to be awake; this word clearly indicates that it is a night when a vigil will be kept in the expectation of the birth of Christ. The joyous moment of the Nativity is awaited throughout Croatia at midnight masses called polnocka. The celebration of the most popular mass is marked with numerous Croatian Christmas carols that echo in homes under the decorated Christmas trees until the Epiphany, January 6.

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Merry Christmas
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Sage – Queen of Medicinal Herb

Ancient civilizations used sage as the cure for almost all diseases. It had the status of a sacred plant and it was the symbol of fertility, good health and long life. Its power is perhaps best described by axiom originated in Salerno:

Why should die the man in whose garden grows sage?

History

The ancient Greeks and Romans first used sage as a meat preservative. They also believe it could enhance memory. Its Latin name Salvia tell us much about its reputation and gratitude by the people at that time feel to it because the name Salvia comes from the Latin word “salvus” which mean saved, healthy. Pliny prescribed it for snakebite, epilepsy, intestinal worms, chest ailments, and menstruation promotion. Dioscorides considered it a diuretic and menstruation promoter and recommended sage leaves as bandages for wounds. Around the 10th century, Arab physicians believe sage extended life to the point of immortality. After the Crusades, this belief showed up in Europe where the saying : “Why should a man die who grows sage in his garden?” evolved. Charlemagne ordered sage grown in the medicinal herb gardens on his imperial farms and the French called the herb toute bonne, meaning all’s well.

Dalmatian Sage

Salvia officinalis

Every country’s herbals recommended sage: an Icelandic book from the year 1000, Hildegard of Bingen, Chinese physicians, Ayurvedic physicians and John Gerard and Nicholas Culpeper. Folk healers in America used sage to treat insomnia, epilepsy, measles, seasickness and intestinal worms. The Eclectics used it primarily to treat fever and also prescribed sage poultices for arthritis and the tea as a sexual depressant. As late as the 1920s, US medical texts recommended sage tea as a gargle for sore throat and sage leaf poultices for sprains and swellings. English herbalists believed that in the garden, this plant would prosper or wane as the owner’s business prospered or failed. It was also said that the plant grows vigorously in any garden where the wife rules the house. It was common, then, for the husband to prune the garden ruthlessly to destroy the evidence of his subservience. In France, it was displayed in cemeteries to mitigate grief.

Salvia Officinalis