Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Five Things - Croatia

More detailed posts about my trip to Croatia are forthcoming.  But in the meantime, this is what we talked about on the radio today Wednesday 10th July -- I'm on with Nicole Dyer at around 10am.

Please take the time to view this wonderful celebration of Croatia

Five things I liked about Croatia

View from b'fast terrace La Meridien, Split.

1.  Adriatic Sea - there is nothing in this world the same colour as the Adriatic Sea.  The Great Barrier Reef, Tahiti and Islands, Hawaii and Islands, South African beaches, Pacific islands -- none of them have that same turquoise colour.  And I love that the water is calm - seemingly no sharks and no dangerous undertows.  So you can swim forever.

2.  Medieval/Ancient Cities.  The building and fortresses of bygone days are just a delight to wander through.  A must is to walk the ramparts  a la Game of Thrones - no wonder some shoots are done in Dubrovnik. Below are pictures that demonstrate the clarity of the water and the wonderful ruins of Dubrovnik.

3.  Cafes/wine bars.  The perfect places to sit and watch the passing parades.  Nearly all of them have free wi-fi so you can log onto FB, make your friends jealous and drink the GREAT wine.  My favourite bar in Split is run by two Aussie women (yay) and the wait staff are very knowledgeable about local wines.  It's called Zinfandel.

Clearest Water--evah!
4.  The People.  Everyone in Croatia was friendly and most of them understood and spoke rudimentary English.  Everywhere people were kind and courteous.  Wait staff were patient and helpful and the women at our hotel in Split really helped make our stay enjoyable. 

5.  Cleanliness - every morning the streets were hosed down so the "soft" worn cobblestoned streets were clean and fresh.  One of my ritual past times is to get up at 4 am and to wonder the streets - this ritual is inspired by jetlag. 



5 Things I did not like about Croatia

1. The flight.  It took us 35 hours to get there.  We had to go through Singapore (8 hours)  and then  Vienna (14 hours) and then Split (1.5 hours).  
2.  The tourists.  Definitely try to avoid June/July/August - too many tourists.  We spent more time in the immigration line at Split airport than we did on the plane from Vienna.  They had only two "lanes" open and two large planes of holidaymakers.  There was scuffling and some swearing and lots of loud German talking.  All I did was sweat.
Seafood Platter for Two
3.  The food.  I know people won't believe me, but I was not impressed with the food.  We had hoped for some GREAT seafood but we found it was okay and rather expensive.  A fish platter for two was about AUD80 - while I like the .  I love sardines and tuna but each time I had them I was underwhelmed.  I guess we are very spoiled in Australia...I like my seafood slightly undercooked and my tuna RARE.  So that could be a cultural difference.  Also I attended a special "meat" night in our hotel;  they didn't have any steak, only some skewered meat that was way overcooked.  Did I mention I like my meat rare too?  Another thing that astounded me was the plethora of pizza "places".  I am not a pizza fan so my disappointment says more about my food tastes than the actual food.  However, there were two great meals we had: in Omis we had our best ever seafood platter for two - complete with two full crabs and enough prawns, scampi and mussels to satisfy the hungriest person and I fell in love with truffles - Istrian truffles and pasta only AUD20 a la carte at Le Meridien.  So ditch the buffet and order fr the menu.
4.  The heat. I come from the tropics so you'd think I would be acclimated, but I found the heat of the first couple of days oppressive and most places were NOT air conditioned. I slunk into restaurants asking if they had air-conditioning...and some spruikers knew how to sell their place but just whispering cold into my shell like.    The air conditioning in our hotel was adequate, just.  I am such a comfort junkie that I don't sleep well in the steamy heat -- so that makes for a grumpy Toni and a grumpy Toni is not a holiday happy Toni.
5.  Pebble beaches.  Be sure to take your reef creepers - the beaches are rough on your feet.  If you forgot yours then don't worry there are plenty to buy in the markets for under AUD10. 

5 Things I learned while in Croatia 

  1. Croatia loves nautical themed clothing
  2. Nobel Laureates dance to "Do You Think I'm Sexy" (I was at a Forensic Science conference)
  3. Croatian radio loves 1980s rock music especially Tears for Fears
  4. Croatia has the sexiest cellist (see award winning tourist adverts with Ana Rucner).
  5. It has a sorrowful and troubled political history

Unique Things to Do in Croatia

  1. Do a Game of Thrones tour in Dubrovnik
  2. Eat affordable Istrian truffles
  3. Hire a yacht  - it's not that expensive especially if there are 4 or more
  4. Visit the Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb
  5. Listen to the Sea Organ of Zadar

Another Nautical Shop

Cafe Relaxing

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