What makes Croatia special? I gathered my memories, impressions, fascinations and surprises throughout my stay there last autumn. Below are my 7 favourite curiosities about Croatia (all very subjective!):
1 No iPhones everywhere
Yes, Croatians actually talk to each other! Even when they commute, travel or queue. People (all of them!) sit in a café and enjoy their time talking and drinking coffee. What a beautiful sight.
I couldn’t not write about figs. OMG, they’re delicious and cheap and fresh and green. My favourite!
Driving can be wild in Croatia, let’s face it. Speed limits often change, but this doesn’t mean anything to Croatians who still drive very fast. There are tolls on the motorways, but on the other hand, you can find free-of-charge parking in some city centres such as in Zadar.
Croatians don’t look the kindest, but they truly are. They’ll give you goods for free, praise your child or apologise. Imagine: we’re on a beach in Split, we’ve just arrived in this beautiful city and we’re relaxing on the sand when all of the sudden somebody starts screaming and shouting at us that we’re blocking a pedestrian’s path (he’s actually gesticulating and saying this in Croatian). We’re completely shocked. We then realise that we are indeed sitting on this path, so we move our towels further away. After half an hour, this man is back and he starts APOLOGISING in beautiful English that he’s sorry; he was nervous and overreacted, as he shouldn’t have behaved like that. WOW! Can you imagine that? Strange, but beautiful at the same time.
5 International & local
Croatia is a very touristy place. People travel there from many different countries: Germany, Austria, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, France Belgium, the Netherlands and many more. If you want to practise European languages, it’s definitely the place to go and improve your linguistic skills. Even though there are so many travellers, Croatia still remains local and friendly. This simultaneous feeling of global and local might be the Balkan/Central European influence as well.
6 Non-commercial country
Croatia seems to be “resisting the new” (as Cody Brown wrote in his book on Croatia).* The country is westernised and there is a clear influence of Italian culture, yet it has its own kind, generous and real identity (in various forms: from human to nature).
Oh wow, the nature is amazing! From beautiful islands and coast to breath-taking natural parks and animals (rabbits, wild ducks, flamingoes, herons, tortoises, pheasants, beetles and many more). It looks, smells and feels just wonderful.
These are my curiosities from Croatia. It’s a very beautiful place which I intend to explore even more. Have you been to Croatia? What surprised or amazed you there? Please share your observations in the comments below.
*Cody McClain Brown, Chasing a Croatian Girl. A Survivor’s Tale, Milton Keyenes, 2015.
Written by Kinga Macalla