It is a place worth visiting. Period! It is a nation that takes pride in their country and would do anything to make it better and make you feel welcome! (Again the contrast with Italy is screaming at me!)It is an amazingly clean and tidy country. Some of the remote shorelines have rubbish that apparently are washed ashore from the coast users of the eastern Italy coast.
Croatia used to be one of the cheaper destinations in Europe – well, not any more. But in saying that, it is not expensive either (if measured against Australian standards, food, transport, fuel, medication , services etc. is actually still cheap) but you do get good value for your money. It depends on how much you want to spend too I guess. You can still do Croatia on a shoe string if that is what you want, and you can certainly splash it out and have a very expensive trip too! The food portions for instance are huge (Croatians are tall people hence the portion sizes!) We’ve often shared a portion (which they did not mind at all!) which worked out just fine (with my slightly smaller appetite as Johann’s)
Croatia has a history that has blown me away! Because of the enormous amount of different regimes involved in governing Croatia over the thousands of years, it provides a variety of very interesting architecture over many periods as proof. Every building – no matter how old it is – is intensely taken care of and is well maintained. Tourism is major but subtle. We never had the mad rush of a Colosseum line-up. It was a pleasure even if we had to share it with massive cruising boats with hundreds of people on them. By the way – we have learned that if you get your timing right, you never need to share any space with the masses. The big cruising ship’s coming and going is very predictable. Public transport we found to be exceptional and cheap. The people are warm and friendly and you will often find the younger generations speaking a good enough English to help you and some of the older people would know a friend to help out if they could not speak the language.
Gastronomy: The food and wine were superb! (Even the house wine! That is what we really enjoy was the local house wine of each island! It was very enjoyable most of the time). They love out-door cooking on a BBQ. Almost every house would have one and certainly every restaurant too! We had the most amazing bread that was baked on an open fire! They do just about all their seafood and meat that way too.(That is in the konobas / smaller family owned restaurants).
Don’t miss the variety of fig products (dried fruit, jams with coconut combination, fig wine etc), their wonderful nuts and dried sugar coated orange peels, cheeses and cured ham, a whole BBQ Sea Bass, Ston oysters and muscles, their special black risotto, stuffed calamari, their ice-creams (oh my word!!), and their freshly peeled broad beans that you can buy on the fresh food markets! It makes a wonderful salad. Will include the recipe at the end.
The Croatians on top of all these wonderful qualities are also a very refined and cultured nation. They love their fine arts, classical theatre and music. We have been to a classical music performance on 3 occasions – their choice of venues makes it an absolute treat! It was so surreal to listen to such high quality music in a 600 year old monetary or in an ancient church in Dubrovnik’s Old City.
Nature around this country certainly add to its value in its very special and way of diversity. From the lovely fertile Dalmatian islands to the rocky limestone Kornati islands back to the fabulous Krka waterfalls on the main land …Steep cliffs and huge mountains as backdrop of every picture will vouch for it. The variety is endless and it is all so special in its own stunning way!
A note from my Captain: Sailing: It is certainly one of the top sailing destinations in the world. A place we would love to get back to as soon as we can! Absolutely worth another season or two!
Double Peeled Broad Bean Salad:
• fava/ broad beans (about 1.5 pounds)-double peeled
• 1 bunch fresh dill-finely chopped
• 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• sea salt
• juice of one large lemon
• Fetta cheese or freshly shaven parmesan cheese
Bring a pot of salted water to boil, add beans, bring to a boil for at most 1-2 minutes (you want them to stay green). Drain and rinse with cold water. Chop and add dill. Add, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. this is a perfect spring salad!Fetta cheese or freshly shaven parmesan cheese can then only lightly be scattered over the salad