Monday, March 24, 2008

Croatia Online - Artists At Work

We had a lovely and encouraging comment on our sister blog from Martina, an American Croatian living in California. Her father is an artist educated in Split, originally from Dugi Otok, and he paints bright, beautiful pictures of Croatia and California. He believes that the images of Croatia, and Dugi Otok in particular, have a strong influence on all his work. Today's illustration is his painting of Bozava on Dugi Otok and you can read more about Mario Mirkovich, and see more of his paintings, on Martina's blog or Mario's website
Thanks to Martina for making the effort to get in contact with us and helping us discover yet another very talented Croatian!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Croatia Online - Šibenik

Yesterday we rediscovered Šibenik with an objective traveller's eye. We visit on various projects at least once a month but, like anywhere you're used to, it's not until you experience it with a visitors' eyes that familiar knowledge allows you to do it justice. Despite the rain it was a most enjoyable and revealing day and it's not that often that a work priority allows the indulgence of trying out a great new restaurant, and wandering aimlessly around discovering all the many new things that Šibenik is offering to discerning visitors. Good news to see a couple of early season tourist groups as well, all suitably impressed!
We're saving the easily flowing and glowing prose, and sharp details, on the latest and best of what Šibenik has to offer, for Time Out's Magazine For Visitors' to Croatia due out in late April.
Suffice to say that a day wandering around the backstreets, peeping into corners and chatting with tourists and locals alike just goes to prove that Croatia's Gems will remain undiscovered for many years to come - there are so many that as soon as one is revealed, tens of others come to light.
Today's photo illustrates the posting. It was far easier to pick an image to do this than capture the essence of Šibenik in one single image!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Croatia Online - Mandolin Concert In Split

Regular readers may recall a March 2007 posting on a delightful Mandolin concert we attended in Split, direct link - Croatia Online - Music With A Difference. There's another one coming up tomorrow, 20th March 2008, this time with a French theme. Full details as below and the added bonus is it's free!

On the occasion of the International Francophony Day, 20 March, The Alliance Française de Split and the City Mandolin Orchestra Sanctus Domnio organise a concert of music composed by French composers, composed genuinely or arranged for mandolin orchestras.

Although Sanctus Domnio deals first of all with Croatian music for mandolin, on this particular occasion it is joining the world-wide staged events of the International Francophony Day

The concert takes place on Thursday, 20 March 2008, at 19:00 hrs., in the Split Puppet Theatre, Tončićeva 1, Split.

The entrance is free and all mandolin fans are welcome.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Croatia Online - Update

Regular readers of Croatia Online can normally judge by our output the level of activity in our day job; friends know that its pretty hectic for us at the moment. That's a shame because there's so much to report on.
Hopefully readers will be patient as we seem to be swimming well against the tide! Today's photo is courtesy of SwimTrek who we last covered back in September 2006 in a posting on keeping fit. You should be able to read more about them in Time Out's new Magazine For Visitors' To Croatia, due out at the end of April.
Equally exciting is our project to write a Superyacht Owners' Guide to Croatia for Boat International, due to be published not long after. If that's going to be worth reading, and, after what the research has uncovered, we know it is, then Croatia Online unfortunately has to take a back seat for a few more weeks.
Don't forget to keep an eye on our sister blog for nautical news and we're happy to report that our Croatia Cruising Companion, covering the Dalmatian Coast and islands, is currently ranked by Amazon at number 5 for travel and holiday books on Croatia, and number 8 in books on sailing in any destination. Direct link Amazon - Croatia Cruising Companion.
As we find out every time we carry out some new research, visit a new place, revisit an old one, talk to old friends or meet some new people, Croatia is one of those places that the more you get to know it, the more there is to discover. That makes for a life that's never boring!

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Croatia Online - Tourism Fair

I trust readers will forgive us for featuring a photo from Bosnia and Hercegovina's extensive area at the "Sajam Gast" taking place in Split between 5th and 9th March 2008, rather than a Croatian stand. The event is essentially a trade show for those in the Croatian tourism industry featuring the whole gamut of consumables (wine, cheese, beer, coffee, local delicacies...), serious equipment (restaurant kitchens, furniture, barrells) and much more.
The Bosnia and Hercegovina Tourist Board were the main commercial partners in the show and had an impressive array of stands and literature as well as a number of presentations throughout the length of the fair.
Today's photo shows an artisan at work, making by hand the copper vessels for the essentials of turkish coffee - coffee pots and sugar bowls for example. The small bowl in the picture takes 7 hours to make and the craftsman we spoke to claims to have made the Guinness Book of Records for the largest turkish coffee pot ever made. In a short space of time, we were unable to corroborate this on the internet but we did find a link with the statistics of the feat and the fact that it was made as part of the celebrations for the opening of the new Mostar bridge -
The BiH (Bosnia and Hercegovina) area was a treasure trove of delights for those seeking the more hidden aspects of our part of the world. We have a mountain (and hopefully not a rainforest) of literature to digest and need to remind ourselves that BiH is easily accessible from Croatia and has much to reveal. Great news that a major Croatian trade show sees the sense in bringing BiH tourism on board and vice versa.
More news on what we picked up in future postings but, in the meantime, readers may be interested to learn more about:
General Tourism in BiH -
The Pyramids -
Having spoken to some of the key players in the BiH exhibition area, BiH seems to be taking 21st century tourism very seriously and recognising the role that Croatia and BiH can play together. That's got to be good news for both republics and a very welcome step forward for all concerned.
For those in the area, there's just one more day of the fair - sorry we didn't get to it sooner. Website Maybe next year we'll see some English pages that might just allow international visitors to make new discoveries and bring the fair to a wider audience.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Croatia Online - Relaxing And Taking Stock

Life has been hectic in the past few months and not without its share of ups and downs - that's the way it is for everyone. Trite as it may sound, we counted our blessings yesterday and wished for more similarly idyllic days off. Early March, beautiful weather and a friend with a sailing school nearby who likes nothing better than to take his mates sailing when the conditions are clement. In the season, Nigel and his professional team provide any number of RYA and related sailing courses week on, week off, and still seem to love it. Off season, we are grateful that Nigel chose to leave one of his yachts on standby for having an occasional fun day out - nowhere to be, a try out of a couple of new sails and "let's follow the winds around Kaštela bay".

The motley crew that responded to the early call on Sunday morning, despite various degrees of hangovers from the night before, were well rewarded. Yes there was plenty of sail changing, ok Nigel probably was breaking himself back into instructor mode for the season, maybe the novice sailing dog's bark was a little screaching at times, and some of the rabble weren't responding as energetically as they might to changing conditions or empty glasses. BUT there's not many other places where you could toy with the idea of easily reaching a handful of islands from a large city, or enjoy the company of seasoned Croats and Croataphiles who realise that there's much more to Croatia than struggling with the weekday bureacracy. If it was easy, we wouldn't have had the bay, a lovely yacht and the islands almost to ourselves!

We hope Nigel enjoyed his busman's day off as well - if anyone can help you enjoy sailing to your own maximum, he can. Croatia is the place to do it and if you just want to relax on the deck, in the sun, with a beer, that can be arranged too. Go to for more information on sailing courses and holidays. If you want an off season treat like we had then you'll have to do your minimum three year aprenticeship, full time in Croatia, and be prepared to contribute to the debate, the expenses and the stocks!

Those that want to book now, for the spring, summer and autumn, rest assured. Yesterday's rabble will be looking forward to catching up with Nigel in the winter of 2008 when he's finished scrubbing the boats and enjoyed delivering the normal conscientious and reliable, tailor-made premium service in his modern and purpose built yachts.