Reflections on Croatia

The medieval town of Šibenik has been our home for the past few months.

The medieval town of Šibenik has been our home for the past few months.

We made a good choice to make the medieval town of Šibenik our home for our time in Croatia.  I cannot describe the feeling of living in a town where the buildings date back to the 15th century and the history of the town dates back to Roman times.  I love the stone-paved streets just wide enough to let donkey carts pass through, which is how they were designed 500 years ago.  I love our apartment which is divided off of what was once the residence of the Bishop of Šibenik.  This we know because of his statue on the wall as we enter the courtyard outside our door.

The weather is nice most of the time.

The weather is nice most of the time.

I love the weather here on the Dalmatian Coast.  There have been December days where we walked along the seawall without need of a jacket as the sun shone brightly on us.  I never tire of the view of the bay and the surrounding hills as we enjoy taking coffee at any time of day, just like the Croatians.  We have been taken through the surrounding countryside by our Croatian friends to experience amazing sights like the medieval village of Primosten, the vineyards of prized babić (BOB ich) grapes grown almost exclusively in this region, and the viewpoint overlooking Lake Vrana, the largest lake in Croatia.  There is so much history here that it takes more than one visit to take it all in.

Good food is the standard fare in Croatia.

Good food is the standard fare in Croatia.

I have experienced so much good food and drink during our stay.  The Croatian people live close to the land.  If someone does not live on a farm, they are closely related to someone who does.  Everyone has home-pressed olive oil from the olives grown on their land or the land of their families.  Everyone has homemade wine as well as rakija, the distilled beverage made from freshly pressed grapes.  Everyone eats fresh fruits and vegetables grown locally.  Everyone gets fresh meats from the local farms and fresh seafood from the coastal waters.  I need only walk a few blocks to the open market whenever I wish to restock our kitchen.  And now my favorite baker and produce vendor greet me by name when I show up.

We love the friends we made in Croatia.

We love the friends we made in Croatia.

The best part of Croatia, of course, is the people.  To say they are warm and welcoming would be an understatement.  One of our acquaintances told me Croatians are sometimes better hosts to visitors than they are to one another.  I do not know to what extent that may be true.  All I know is that we have been treated incredibly well.  Our landlady, Nina, has been more than a business contact.  She has been our most reliable friend.  She took Florence to her doctor when Florence was ill.  She used her beautician skills to give me a haircut and to give Florence a hairstyling for our anniversary. 

Biljana and Tina toured us off the beaten path to reveal the Croatia we would not have seen otherwise.

Biljana and Tina toured us off the beaten path to reveal the Croatia we would not have seen otherwise.

Our friends, Tina Vickov and Biljana Lambasa*, took pride in showing us local hidden treasures that are off the beaten tourist paths.  We have seen enough of the islands, lakes, waterfalls, fortresses, and historic landmarks that some of the local people say we now know more about Croatia than do many Croatians.  All I know is we have come to appreciate and love Croatia because the people we have met during our stay have not only opened doors for us.  They have also opened their hearts to us.  We know whenever our path should bring us back to Croatia that they will welcome us back like family. 

Overlooking Lake Vrana, Croatia's largest lake

Overlooking Lake Vrana, Croatia’s largest lake, with the Dalmatian Coast and islands in the distance

Thanks to the friendships that have been forged, Croatia will always occupy a special place in our hearts.

*Note: For information about lodging and tours, here are links for
Tina Vickov and Biljana Lambasa.

9 comments on “Reflections on Croatia

  1. anemina says:

    I agree! Croatian food is great. Love your pictures by the way 🙂

    • Mike Lince says:

      Yes, they take good food seriously here. An interesting thing we learned is that ethnic restaurants are all but unheard of in Croatia. Locals will not frequent them, so they cannot stay in business outside of tourist season.

      • Well, mostly we don’t dine out. We prefer home made “Spiza”. Plus, our standard of living doesn’t let us spend much in restaurants.

      • Mike Lince says:

        Good point. I also should have added how important it is to families in Croatia that they gather at meal times, something Americans do not do nearly as much. Thank you for adding your comment. – Mike

  2. Mario says:

    da ljudi, to je naša zemlja 🙂

    • Mike Lince says:

      Nabavite spremni.
      Uskoro će Hrvatska biti dobro poznata u svijetu.

      Translation: Yes folks, it is our country. 🙂
      Reply: Get ready. Soon Croatia will be well known in the world.
      Thanks, Mario. Nova Godina!

  3. reocochran says:

    I like the descriptions of the land, history and the markets in Croatia. I especially grin while in the library looking silly indeed, at the pictures of you and Florence. Also, love to see the friends you make enjoying your company and theirs, too.
    Happy New Year to both of you! I am sure you skyped and saw the grandson and your adult children, too! That is always fun to see what they are up to! Take care and God bless you in the New Year.

  4. And ?
    Did you leave paradise (Dalmatia) to look for it elsewhere ?
    Ok, everybody is entitled to make a mistake, so you can always come back and give it a second try :-).
    Cheers from Svinisce, Pim.

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