Ante, born and bred in Split, a Dalmatian city and second largest in Croatia, after Zagreb, the capital, looks forward to another sunny weekend spent in his home town. As usually, he takes his and his wife’s little dog for a morning walk along the coastal promenade towards Marjan, the landmark promontory hill that’s sacred to every Splićanin as residents of Split are called.
They climb several flights of stairs before they reach a walking trail winding through an airy Mediterranean forest all the way to the top. He stops for a minute to take in the view of Split, its harbour and marina below and of the islands out in the blue Adriatic. More times than not he walks the perimeter of the hill but sometimes he turns back when he reaches the westernmost point. Anyway, Ante’s back on the waterfront soon enough to enjoy a cup of coffee on the terrace of one of the many cafes along the beloved Riva, Continue reading “Walking and Jogging Split, Croatia”
Oprtalj is a tiny hilltop town set in a countryside of lush Mediterranean forest, manicured vineyards and cultivated olive tree groves. In a word, it’s a land of infinite shades of green.
Oprtalj is very similar to its neighbours Grožnjan or Motovun or Buje yet at the same time very much different. They’re all filled with charming stone houses and cottages, some derelict some wonderfully renovated, and all offer breathtaking views across the valleys to the Adriatic or inland.
Anyway, as many as there are similarities each little town has its own character.
Grožnjan exudes everything art, for instance. There are plenty of galleries and artists’ studios (some of them even work outdoors). There’s this gorgeous terrace acting as a main square with beautiful view, where excellent coffee is served along with homemade pies. At the entrance to the old town some local farmers sell their produce on the improvised tables under the safe shade of a huge tree.
There’s a spectacular deserted graveyard behind St Martin’s church in Buje that’s filled with grave stones scattered all around a terraced lawn. Old gravestones carry all kinds of personal information about the deceased which might not mean much to today’s Facebook generations used to everything being published anyway.
There’s a last resting place of one lady from Umag, a woman of force, donna di forza, who left behind a devastated husband, had given all her heart into educating their three sons who all grew up to be prudent, and dedicated her life to taking care the poor recognized the power of Christ. Among other things. On some gravestones even crusaders’ symbols can be seen.
The sign on the town main square’s tower implies the sleepy town of Buje is not so sleepy all the time. The school is one of the buildings lining the square on the hilltop. The tower bears the plaque of Venetian lion since the town had been a part of Benetian Republic for several centuries. The Baroque church next to it was built on the sight of a Roman temple.
At some point, a lavender field amidst the vineyards surprises an innocent passer-by.
And then, when exhausted after all those steep hills and rocky lanes, a plate full of this fragrant dish might feel like a cherry on top of a much deserved cake.
Have no fear, there’s some fantastic wine to be enjoyed.