Greetings from Croatia

by pimlouis / Dec 18, 2011 / 0 comments

As you may know we were born and lived our working days in Holland
(The Netherlands), but decided to move to Croatia, not yet to old to
make a switch in our life.

What once started with family visits, mother in law is Croatian,
slowly turned into "why not".

Holland is getting pretty crowded, to much concrete, to litle pure
nature, and most people are just running in a ratrace to make more of
the same, money.

Two burnouts in a busy job made me see there is more in life than just
that, and lucky us, the Croatian ties made it somewhat more easy to
take this step.

As all our belongings have now been shipped, still much of it
unpacked, we are now pemanently living in our hidden valley, located
half an hour from Split, the ancient Roman town, and less than ten
minutes from the Adriatic at the small town of Omis, and even less
than five minutes from the impressive Cetina river canyon.

Since this is wandering educators (which I am not in both meanings) I
think I have to add some education too.

A simple lesson than, is that there are no's, meaning you can do
everything once you start to try.

Some examples: I never did any welding, nor am I a carpenter, but just
by giving it some good thinking in advance, and some simple trials
(and errors) I can now weld, and already made two tables and a couple
of other things.  And that goes for growing our own vegetables as well.

Some steps seem scary, some even are, but never say I can't till you
at least tried.

Too many people are afraid for stepping out of their comfort zone, but
I can tell you from the deepest of my heart it feels great to dare.
The sunset on the picture, to end this little "hello there", is one of
the many we see every day, and funny enough, the sun here sets two
times a day.

(It first sets behind the mountainridge between us and the Adriatic
(called Omiska Dinara), later on it sets the normal way by going under
in the west.


Sunset Croatia



Nevertheless we're extremely happy living here now, where we are
living outside as much as possible.

Night temperature here just started to fall below zero (celcius) day
temperature in the sun is a mild 16 degrees plus (celcius again).
But temperature aint the main reason to live here, it's the total
quietness, the non stressy atmosphere, where apart from neon lights
along the road nothing disturbs the peaceful feeling you get here.

And as we're smokers (sorry Barack) we sit outside a lot, even in the
late evening, joined by four or five cats that live around us in the
wild, looking up to the sky with trillions of stars.

Guess you may know that total silence in Alaska too, a precious thing
many people never ever experience in their whole life (which is a
shame I think).

As a true reporter I could write about the multi-headed monster of
corruption in Croatia, or the hilarious practical political moves towards the
upcoming elections, but I WON'T.

I have more fun telling about communication here, where everybody has
at least one cellphone.

To give you an idea I must explain the structure of the land here.
We live in a westward valley, about two hundred fifty meters above sea level.
Our land is on the higher side of the valley, which step by step goes
down, with on every step another small patch of land to grow grapes,
potatoes, melons, olives and much more, with long growing seasons from
early march to late november.

And just today a neighbor planted his garlic to be harvested next season.

Left from us, therefore southbound, lies a mountain ridge of about six
hundred meters, between us and the sea, and wherever you look the
landscape goes up and down with numerous rocky ridges hiding numerous

Far away left on the north-west, still clearly visible lie the Mosor
, going up to fourteen hundred meters.

And within a half hours drive we have the Biokovo Mountains, an
impressive nature park up to almost the eighteen hundreds, where
amazingly you can soon stand in deep snow, looking down on the
Adriatic blue of the town of Makarska, with its palm trees along the

So, count me in for some "all season impressions" of a fantastically
natural country, where I still have only one problem:
What to write, where to start, the countless signs of history (and
forgotten wars) in the scenery, the wildlife, the old traditions, the
singing culture (called klapa), the influences of the ancient Ottomans
(Turks) in especially Bosnia, also only a good hours drive away from
us (where cigarettes still cost less than a McDonalds hamburger).
Or shall I only write about the total change of lifestyle we both have
chosen (63 and 53 now), coming from a over arranged country, where
salad is bought in plastic (AND tastes like it !!!), where we here
plant, pamper and enjoy !!! it straight from the land.

And of course we have satellite tv, water, electricity, two cars, an
airco and a washing machine (we're not totally flipped), but the
additional values here, the small social life, the woodfire heating
colder nights, it all makes it special, each and every day.

When people here work on their patch of land, you can hear some of
them sing, while others join in, and every word of the song bounces in
an echo back from the surrounding voids in the land.

But not only the singing, also talking to each other is done using the
clear echo coming back. Words and sentences are pronounced a lot slower than average, and are transported amazingly clear over a larger distance.

Even more extreme is the way sound in general travels from one
location to another.

The landscape here is a continuous high up and deep down, valleys,
rigs, mountains, slopes, with a lot of rock and stones between the trees.
A message from "home" to one herding the goats far away is transported
over many kilometers, still clearly understandable, and despite
presence of the cellphone in the pocket of each and every one here.
Before cellphones were invented, this was the perfect way to
communicate over large distances, and thank God, it is still a not
forgotten cheap and easy way to communicate.

Sunday is hunting day here, and most men are passionate hunters.
Birds, rabbits, wild boars, sometimes a chamois (wild mountain goat),
when an animal is in sight, one or two shots are fired.
And after the shot(s) comes the echo with one, two extra "shots",
bouncing from here to there and back. And of course in a thunderstorm the echo makes the already impressive
thunder sound even a lot more impressive.

The roaring of thunder here therefore is a massive experience, mainly
due to the wall of sound, which was not an invention of one Phil
Spector but mother nature herself.

A cellphone however here is a "must take" when going into nature, and
lucky enough, the coverage of the net is pretty good, even in the
roughest parts. Still, the traditional communication is not only cheap, it's great fun, and it works !!!

And once more I must emphasize we're modern people, and so are all
people here today.
Airco's, internet, cars and yes, cellphones, all are great stuff to
have, but sometimes it's even greater to forget them for a moment.

And that's something we think, makes life here  fantastic, and so do a
lot more things, but that's worth another story.

Warm greetings from Croatia, Pim.