Saturday, March 21, 2009

Croatia Online - The Secret and Adventurous Art of Blogging on Croatia

Whilst Croatia Online has been living it up, working hard, and exploring Šolta out of season (see postings below) we notice that the best of the Croatian blogging world has also been prolific.
Šolta has provided a number of great learning experiences, not least of all is some insight on how to live life in a small community. Šolta may lie very close to the much bigger and more cosmopolitan community of Split but it's still essentially a very special kind of place where everyone knows their neighbours, and strangers out of season are welcomed with just a little curiosity but open arms. An illustrative example of the generosity of spirit was when we were walking round Donje Selo trying to follow up a hot tip. Our look may have been starry eyed but it might have been interpreted as lost (although getting lost is very difficult on Šolta). A car driver stopped to ask if he could help, we told him what we were looking for, and he gave us a lift to the family's house.
He knocked on the door, carried out an introduction, and we were invited in to sample a glass of the local Dobričić wine and given a few details on the family business - wine and olive product producers as well as providing authentic konoba dinners. To share a similar and perhaps more in depth experience with the Kaštelanać family (with or without the kindness of introductory strangers!), telephone 021 658 109 or mobile 098 385 376.
We digress - the subject of this posting is the art of blogging in Croatia, especially Dalmatia; we used Šolta as an introduction for four reasons:
1. It is very fresh in our minds
2. It will remain very special in our memories of Croatia
3. It's a small island with a number of even smaller villages
4. We were reminded that, especially in a close knit community, embracing the competition and the collective good is more important than self interest
The blogging world in Croatia is still small but it's a lot bigger than when Croatia Online started nearly 300 posts ago. Šolta provided a timely nudge to remember that what is good for the whole, is generally good for the best of its component parts. Whilst many Croatian blogs are now just regurgitating facts, often without due credit, from other blogs and websites, or vying to trick google with as many keywords as they can make fit a sentence, two are quite special for their unique and original first hand information and insights:
Lifejacket Adventures - who's latest postings include a Buddhist Centre in Split, current news on the renovation of their traditional wooden boat, and a new sandwich shop in Split who's name needs some explanation.
Secret Dalmatia - who have enlightened readers recently on Octopus lunches, the significance of the Bura wind in March and the Babić wine of Primošten.
Croatia is full of Catholic churches but may still need time to become catholic in the wider sense of the word - all embracing, broad minded and tolerant according to just some of the dictionary definition. However island life, as it is lived on Šolta, side by side with its visitors from Split and elsewhere, might have a lot to teach those of us who think we are experienced in world living.
Today's photo is of one of the reception rooms in Martinis Marchi in Maslenica. Given that we are widely told that the new owners have restored the castle, with great care and no mean investment, according to original plans, we'd like to think that the Martinis brothers used their dining room to stay in touch with their modest number of early neighbours drawn from all walks of life in the common interests of the day.


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