Lika – Krajolik s tisuću prirodnih ljepota

Voda i samo voda! Gdje god kreneš jezera, rijeke, slapovi, brzaci.  Ponegdje potpuno prozirna i mirna, a  onda samo nekoliko desetaka metara dalje potpuno poludjela, skoro pa nemoguća  u poimanju prirodne stvarnosti, granicama mogućeg i postojećeg. Doživljaj je obilaziti Liku, gledati  tu vodu Plitvičkih jezera i Rastoka  kako se kotrlja u svom koritu, malo po malo, a onda sve žešće, stremeći prema  litici koja će je sunovratiti u bezdanu sedrenih stijena, izazivajući zaglušujući huk.

Slapovi Plitvička jezera

                                                              Dobro došli na Plitvička jezera!

“Čuvajte ovo što imate i u pohode će vam dolaziti gospoda iz cijeloga svijeta”- bile su to riječi Crne kraljice prije negoli ih je zauvijek napustila.

Prema legendi Crna kraljica je ispunila svoje obećanje, ali i lički puk kojeg je pomogla i zadužila  kada je najviše trebalo. Zauzvrat su odano nastavili čuvati svoj komadić zemljanog raja, bogate šume, plodne doline i čarobna jezera.

“Da, Plitvička jezera su zaista rijedak  prirodni fenomen, najljepša u Hrvatskoj, a zasigurno  i šire. Nalaze se u  gorskom dijelu Hrvatske, u Lici i prirodna su rijetkost čiju vodenu snagu  dolaze vidjeti i doživjeti posjetitelji iz cijelog svijeta “– uvodno je započela Ines Milić,  vrsna poznavateljica hrvatske prirodne i kulturne baštine.

Gledajući prizore oko sebe priroda se uistinu poigrala. Čarobno je  povezala veliki vodeni sustav u jednu cjelinu, stvorivši prostrana jezera, razigrane   slapove i moćne  vodopade  raskošnih oblika. Plitvička jezera sastoje se od dvanaest Gornjih i četiri Donja jezera, ukupno njih 16, međusobno povezanih kaskadnim brzacima i slapovima.

Jezera su nastala rastom sedrenih barijera koje su i dalje aktivne, neprestano mijenjajući  izgled jezera i slapova čija se starost procjenjuje  između 6000 i 7000 godina što odgovara vremenu nakon  zadnjeg ledenog doba.

Plitvička jezera

Međutim, ljudima ovog kraja nije nedostajalo mašte. Najdraže im je bilo nakon teškog fizičkog rada sjesti oko otvorene vatre, izmišljati i pričati priče o nadnaravnim bićima, pa tako i o Crnoj kraljici koja je svojim nadnaravnim moćima stvorila  Plitvička  jezera.

                                                               Legenda o Crnoj kraljici

Vladala je duga i mukotrpna suša, čak  ni u Crnoj rijeci više nije bilo vode, a nekad je napajala  cijeli kraj.  Ljudi i životinje vapile su za kapljicom vode, a biljke su svoje zelene vlati okrenule prema zemlji.  Molili su Ličani za kišu svakodnevno, iskreno, iz dubine duše, ali bez uspjeha, sve do jednog dana. Šetajući  vilinskom dolinom njihove  vapaje je čula Crna kraljica. Smilovala se i poslala im  kišu praćenu jakom grmljavinom i  olujnim vjetrom. Voda je počela izvirati iz svake  zemljane pore sve dok   Crna rijeka nije nabujala toliko da se počela prelijevati iz  korita. Stvorilo se prvo jezero “isprošeno” od naroda i Ličani ga nazvaše  Prošćansko jezero!

“Na Gornjim jezerima se nalaze  dva najveća jezerska sustava Prošćansko jezero i Kozjak – najveće i najdublje (47 m) od svih. Kozjakom plove brodovi te se nakon njegovog prelaska dalje nastavlja šetnjom  prema Gradinskom jezeru  odakle se otvaraju sasvim novi prizori kaskadnih slapova Burgeti, Mali i Veliki prštavac” – objašnjava Milić i nastavlja:

“Na samom kraju Donjih jezera pada Veliki slap, koji se vodom napaja iz potoka Plitvice. Najveći je slap u Hrvatskoj, visok 78 m čija se snaga vode pretvara u beskrajan niz svjetlucavih kapljica, toliko moćnih da bez obzira na naizgled lepršavi pad stvara grmljavinski huk.”

Plitvička jezera najbogatija su vodom u proljeće i jesen, nekoliko dana poslije kiše kada nabujali podzemni valovi izbace  velike količine vode i na površini  zapršte u velikim  slapovima. Međutim, svako godišnje doba ima svoje posebnosti. Jesen  donosi mnogo šarenila i raznolikosti. Okolna vegetacija buja u zelenim, žutim, crvenim i smeđim bojama koje se lome i preklapaju u svakoj vodenoj pori.

Tijekom zime  voda se umiri, odmori i predahne od igre. Zamrznute  slapove, prekrije  snijeg   pretvarajući ih  u ledene skulpture praveći od cijelog prostora ledeno bijelu bajku. Proljeće na Plitvicama ponovo donosi novi život pun zeleno – plave raskoši . Na površini kristalno bistre vode preslikavaju se zelena stable i okolne biljke, plavo nebo i bijeli oblačići.

Nekad se sklad i potpunost života  doživljavala  pričanjem priča o lijepim i dobrim vilama, a danas, u ovo moderno doba, posjetitelji  ga  uspoređuju s boravkom  na Plitvičkim jezerima.

                                                                  Rastoke – Male Plitvice

Rastoke Hrvatska

Nakon Plitvica put nas vodi sjevernije, u tridesetak kilometara udaljene Rastoke koje zbog sličnosti s Plitvičkim jezerima  od milja zovu i Male Plitvice. Ovo će malo mjesto oduševiti svakog , pa i nenamjernog putnika koji prolazi magistralnom cestom D1 Karlovac- Plitvička jezera.  U središtu Rastoka se susreću dvije rijeke.  Tu se Slunjčica  preko sedrenih stijena pretače u rijeku Koranu, stvarajući pritom nemirne brzace, slapove i mirna jezerca.

Kako su živjeli stari Ličani?

“Vilina kosa, Buk i Hrvojev slap najveći su i najimpozantniji slapovi nad kojima se prostire to malo, romantično mjesto. S obzirom na bogatstvo vode podizale su se tu prije nekih tristotinjak godina kuće s vodenicama.  Skoro je  svaka kuća imala mlin od kojih su mlinari sa svojim obiteljima lijepo živjeli.  Muškarci su vrijeme provodili u mlinu, a žene pazeći na djecu i radeći po kući i oko nje. Ustajale su ranom zorom, obilazile stoku, muzle mlijeko, pravile sir- basu, ložile vatru, mijesile proju – domaći  kruh i pekle ga pod pekom na otvorenom kominu. Kuhale su krumpir, divljač ili zelje sa suhim mesom u velikom loncu jer trebalo je pojesti nešto toplo i nahraniti veliku obitelj nakon napornog dana” – dočara je Milić nekadašnju domaćinsku atmosferu, osvrnuvši se i na ljude koji su morali priječi dug put kako bi na konjima donijeli vreće žita i samljeli ga u najbližem mlinu. “Dolazili su pred vodenicu i na red čekali satima, a ponekad i danima. Pričalo se tu, raspredalio o polju, žitu, urodu, vjenčanjima i rođenjima, radovalo se i zajedno plakalo.”

Rastoke Hrvatska

Tradicionalno izgrađene  drvene kuće i danas su tu na sedrenim stijenama, ali imaju drugu  namjenu. U lijepo uređenim kućicama gostoljubive domaćice dočekuju goste, želeći im dočarati  prošlost i pokazati sadašnjost Rastoka.

Ovo malo mjesto okruženo je  hukom vode, a nakon zime, u proljeće i mirisom zelenih livada i rascvalim cvjetovima jabuka, krušaka i šljiva. Istina, nema više u tim kućama  starih mlinara, ali ostao je u njima  još duboki trag prošlog vremena koji se dalje prenosi u pričama i legendama.

Hrvojev slap, najveći je od svih, a dobio je ime po Hrvoju, kršnom i lijepom momku koji se zbog nesretne ljubavi bacio s tog slapa u rijeku. Drugi,  prelijepi kaskadni slap Vilina kosa  dobio je ime po vilama  koje bi tijekom noći mlinarima krale konje i zaigrano jahale po obližnjim planinama.  Ujutro bi mlinari u čudu promatrali svoje premorene, ali prelijepe konje. Istimarena tijela sjajila su im se na ranojutarnjem suncu, a guste grive uredno ispletene u  duge pletenice. I tako je slap dobio ime Vilina kosa jer srebrom optočene vodene kapljice podsjećaju na raskošnu boju viline kose.

Rastoke-Male - Plitvice- Hrvatska

Lika – puna adrenalina

Šetaju se i danas Likom, ali ne više vile, već mnogobrojni gosti . Obilaze Liku, penju po  obližnjim planinama Velebitu, Maloj  i Velikoj  Kapeli i Plješivici, uživaju u zelenim  šumama, istražuju  prostrane livade po Krbavskom polju, kajakare po rijekama, Gackoj, Korani i Slunjčici, spuštaju  do izvora i kupaju u kristalno bistroj  vodi čije će ugodno milovanje još dugo osjećati na svojoj koži.

Možda biste to voljeli i vi?

 

 

 

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Uganda – Marvelous Safariland

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Tiger on the three

Their blood froze. They couldn’t move. A gorilla was there, a noble creature of the jungle yawned in the noonday sun. He was only fifty yards away, and it was a scene that fascinated a small group of rainforest visitors.

The silverback, about two, three, or four feet tall, weighing about 200 kilos, stood and watched around. He saw them! They gaped in awe combined with fear. But he didn’t move towards them! He walked lazily from tree to tree, deftly grabbed branches with long limbs, and ate green leaves.

The visitors stunned. Their feelings swirled. What to indulge, to fear or admiration? The gorilla alpha male lazily chewed leaves and raised his head. “It’s a male. That is well seen by the silver stripe on his back. He feels he is not alone,“– Tarasis Bitesi (35), a local safari guide, explained the behavior of the gorilla. He knew that rainforest and its inhabitants’ behavior like the back of his hand.

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Silverback

We are in Uganda, an African country that Churchill once called the Pearl of Africa. Uganda is an equatorial country in East Africa. Because of the favorable climate, the exchanging of sun and rain, greenery flourishes everywhere, Uganda is one of the world’s greenest and the most exciting countries.

There are lush rainforests everywhere on its soil, in the west, there is the mountain massif Ruwenzori (5109 m), and on the east the volcano Elgon 4321 meters high. In the central part of Uganda is a swampy plain inhabited by crocodiles and hippos. The wetland area is home to many migratory birds that fly to warm African regions during the winter. Uganda is a country where many animals live playfully and ruthlessly. In the savannah, an area of low grassland with sparse forests, the laws of lions, hyenas, giraffes, zebras, antelopes, buffaloes, and many birds rule. One of the most exciting parts of Uganda is the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, whose beauty has to be explored yet.

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Crested crane – Uganda national symbol

The Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park

A group of curious visitors obsessed with untouched nature and wildlife joined Tarasis on the way to the rainforest. They wanted to track gorillas and because of that desire, they had to go deeper into the forest. “Gorillas are most like to humans in their behavior,”– said Tarasis. “This Ugandan rainforest is a world unto itself, far from civilization and people. The laws of wild animals and nature rule it. It is ruthless towards a man if he rejects its requirement. It is necessary to treat the natural world with deep respect. Only in this way, one can experience unforgettable experiences. “

The road to gorilla habitats was difficult to cross. The jeep transferred a small group of visitors to the place where Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park began. They had to cross a very demanding part of the forest, bumpy any muddy, especially that part covered with fallen, slippery leaves that slowed their walking.

Uganda is one of those heavenly places on the globe where the sun and rain alternate, encouraging the growth of tall, uneven trees and green grass. Gorillas spend their days in greenery, and 52 percent of the total planetary population live in Uganda.

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Hosts warmly welcome their guests

A close encounter with gorillas

As Daddy Gorilla sweetened himself with leaves, the toddler jumped mischievously around him. He paused from time to time, curling his head curiously towards his father, watching how he entertained the visitors with various gestures. The mother kept a close eye on what was happening, especially making sure that the little one did not get into trouble. She carried the other toddler tightly in her arms.

However, curiosity did not give her peace. She placed the little ones in a safe place and set out to explore the environment. She was slowly approaching a middle-aged woman who was sitting down by the road’s side, overcame by fatigue and excitement. When the woman saw the gorilla came, she “died” of fear. Her heart was in her heels right now. She wanted to escape! But she remembered the guide’s previous instructions that gorillas should not be disturbed by sudden, unpredictable movements and high sounds. She crouched down, pretended to be calm, and waited for the gorilla to leave. But mom gorilla had no plan to go! She gently reached out and touched the woman on the shoulder, the first and even the second time. It was a peaceful, even maternal movement. With that touch, the gorilla’s mother wanted to welcome the woman. This gentle gesture warmed the woman’s heart. Though frightened, she raised her head and rewarded the gorilla with a broad smile and a warm look. The mom gorilla turned and left as calmly as she had come, leaving behind a frightened woman.

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Giraffes on the road

How do gorillas live in their natural habitat?

She scrambled deep into the woods and sat down on the ground. She was, for a sure, upset by the sudden close encounter, too. As soon as mom calmed down, the cubs bounced out of the bush. The smallest hairy creature deftly jumped up and leaped into her arms. The slightly bigger and more mischievous one decided to play a little more on the surrounding branches. Ignoring her mother’s voice and warning glances, it continued to jump mischievously. But, like any caring mother, she forced him to climb on her back. Led by Daddy Gorilla, they headed in an unknown direction. After they spent time with the guests, they were tired and only wished the family peace.

That day was full of tension, even of fear, but visitors will not easily forget this emotional connection with gorillas. The men became convinced that he could get the best out of it by respecting nature and its laws. It was an unforgettable experience, incomparable to any other urban happening. Impressed, in the silence of their thoughts, the visitors left the rainforest, listening along the way only to the melodic song of brightly colored birds.

A visit to the Bwindi tribe

After a visit to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, guests descended to a nearby village. Members of the Bwindi tribe sat in front of their cottages gathering to welcome them. Their specific traditional singing and dancing are deeply rooted in the African population’s culture and genes. It is a scene that triggers emotions and great gratitude to the universe for allowing someone to spend exhilarating moments in that picturesque country.

Besides song and dance, guests also enjoyed homemade food, matooke. Potatoes are the most popular food there. The hosts also suggested tasting chapatti, the dish prepared with fried Rolex. Rolex eggs. “But be careful,”–the woman warned them! ‘’It is not a type of the watch than a quick snack served along the roads and everywhere in towns. If you visit western Uganda, you also must taste traditional dishes like ni Mbarara, and Karo or Akaro – finger millet bread, served with Eshabwe, locally made cheese.”

But this was not the end of the surprises. Tarasis already had a plan for the next day.

After a beautiful day with gorillas and socializing with the local tribe, Kibale National Park was the next exciting spot to visit. A beautiful national park whose hills and valleys are covered by dense greenery and rarely seen trees. The best of all chimpanzees live there! “Chimpanzees are very playful and unrestrained. They have never peace.

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Meet elephants

They hang from the trees, jumping from branch to branch, shouting at each other. They have fun with each other and delight visitors with their acrobatics and playful behavior,“– explained Tarasis and continued.

“There are also many other beautiful locations to visit. Murchison Falls National Park is a national park where the mighty Nile Falls fall. It is a habitat for crocodiles, hippos, and many other wild animals.’’

There is also Queen Elizabeth National Park, home to 500 different species of birds, a paradise for those who love bird watching. Many mammals, lions, hippos, elephants, and leopards also live freely on the changing terrain. Their struggles for survival continually keep them vigilant. There is always a game between them and means life or death.

The scenes of the Ruwenzori Mountains National Park are reminiscent of a painted canvas. The surrounding landscape with lots of greenery is remarkably beautiful. The river Nile waterfalls flow at higher altitudes; glaciers freeze on the peaks, the lakes provide incredible moments of peace and supernatural experience.

The safari guide and our host, Tarasis has spent days and days walking and exploring Uganda’s national beauties. His adventurous spirit boosts curiosity, motivating him to present the country’s most exciting places to the people worldwide, especially to adventurers and explorers, curious to discover the undiscovered. Those who want to visit the jungle, and experience the lives of these wild animals, watch their games and behave at the hidden jungle places, savanna, and swamps.

“I hope you will experience places in their full natural beauty. I can offer to you to experience the yet unexperienced,”– said Tarasis at the end.

After I explored and wrote this incredible story about Uganda, I believe him!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uganda

https://www.visituganda.com/

Written by Anita Palada ©

Photos by: Tarasis Bitesi, Pixabay, Pexels

 

 

 

A Terra Madre Winery – a breathtaking view of  the Neretva Bay

 

Everywhere you turn, there’s nothing but boulders and thickets on the hilly terrain by the sea. Will this meager land in Komarna, near Dubrovnik, ever be able to bear juicy fruits ripened in the sun? A few wondered, many doubted, but not the bravest, Stipe and Damir Dominikovic and Davor Martinovic. After a series of business successes in the partner company “Poljopromet”, they decided to take on a new business challenge – the reclamation of karst on hillslopes. They wanted to plant new vineyards on that rocky soil and grow their own vines.

From the rocky terrain to the Decanter award

The rocky, steeply sloping terrain wasn’t too promising, but they wanted to cultivate at least 5-6 hectares. The venture began! Heavy machinery occupied the hill. The crushing of the boulders started on a wide area surrounding the hill, first cautiously, and then more and more resolutely. Day by day, their idea took on a more and more concrete form.

 “We had to dare, resist the conventional belief that nothing can grow on this rocky terrain. The most important thing was to beat this hard, long-neglected soil and prepare it for planting new vines” – director Davor Martinovic began his story.

Today, the vineyards cover a total area of 16.55 hectares and have 125,000 vines.  Perched on top of a small hill is the contemporary Terra Madre winery, occupying 800 square metres and equipped with giant wine containers and wooden barrels to store wines. The upper floor occupying 400 square metres is intended for wine tasting. It is the gastronomic paradise for all who are eager to savor delicious wine and domestic food: prosciutto, cheese, marinated and salted anchovies. The terrace offers a magic and unforgettable view. The clear blue sea of the Neretva bay merges with the azure blue sky, green vineyards of the Pelješac peninsula, one of the best-known wine-growing regions in Croatia, and Mali Ston Bay, a gastronomic destination renowned for oysters.

Thanks to several hardworking and persistent people like Davor, Damir and Stipe, Komarna has become the youngest Croatian terroir. The endless rows of vines at the foot of the hill merge with the craggy shore. This harsh rocky environment is where plavac mali grows. “That autochthonous Croatian variety gives excellent sugars and acids, as well as sharp flavors and bitterness,” continues Davor. “But in addition to plavac mali, we also planted smaller quantities of the French syrah and cabernet sauvignon varieties, which give plavac extraordinary gentleness and softness”.

“This is limestone, dry area with minimal fertile land. Therefore, we irrigate the  plavac vines in the initial stage of ripening, which repays us manifold in quality. Bora, scirocco, triple insolation, karst, sea, and sun affect the grape yield and wine quality”.

Silver will soon be replaced by gold!

Wine Plavac Mali Premium
Wine Plavac Mali Premium

The Terra Madre winery produces five types of wine, including two reds made from the plavac mali variety. This production requires aging in wooden barrique barrels for up to three years. Plavac mali premium wine is made from plavac grown on selected terrains. “Yields are lower in quantity because pruning is regulated, and the fruits are partly removed. Due to this, the wine is of special quality. The silver medal won at Decanter, a prestigious London wine fair, testifies to this”, says Davor proudly. His daughter and trusted associate Vedrana Martinovic Trutina (32)  joined our conversation, too.

“When we exhibit at wine fairs, especially at the biggest ones such as ProWein in Dusseldorf, it becomes clear to me where we are and what we do, and how strong our competition is. It is great to be in the company of winemakers from around the world. We are constantly working to be as close as possible to them in terms of offer and quality. But we also have our powerful aces up our sleeve – organic production, indigenous varieties, new vineyards, and a God-given location”, says Vedrana, also revealing that her biggest desire is to place the wines on new, still undiscovered international markets.

Dubrovnik guests drink Terra Madre rosé

In addition to red wines, plavac combined with syrah gives an extraordinary mild Rose. “That is the wine most sought after in Dubrovnik area, especially popular among female guests who like to drink it as an aperitif wine or in combination with light seafood. Pošip is a white wine that pairs well with Adriatic white fish, swordfish, John Dory fish, dentex fish and shellfish, and especially with oysters from Mali Ston”, Davor shares his abundant experience.

K7 wines are drunk in prestigious American restaurants

Overseas markets also recognized the quality of wines from Komarna. The enterprising American woman of Croatian roots visited the Terra Madre winery as a guest. She liked their wines so much that she wished to offer them to all Americans, and she succeeded! As other winemakers from Komarna joined this project, she grouped them all under the unique K7 brand. The market’s differences and administrations were reconciled successfully, and Americans can drink that wine in more prestigious restaurants.

How to drink and stay on your feet?

The oenologists Marko Šuman and Gorana Dominikovic are influential wine experts. They have been taking care of young and aged wines for a long time.

They are continually checking the quality and maturity, especially of red wines aged in barrels and bottles, for up to five years before tasting. We cannot relax until we get positive quality ratings. We do this from day to day, from year to year, because mature wines get consumed, while at the same time new ones are being produced”, says Marko and continues:

“We taste wine every day. We have to feel all its flavors, and at the same time, memorize that taste from yesterday. Every sip of wine must be clean, rinsed with water so that the flavors do not overlap and mix. The palate is our most important ‘tool’ for assessing the quality, dryness or hardness of wine.”

These two young people make a great team, although Gorana is still learning next to Marko. Next year he will let her take care of the cellar, while he plans to devote himself more to the vineyards where, in his own words, “the quality of wine stems from.” They are always supportive of each other. The greatest pleasure for them is recognition for a job well done and high-quality wine. Terra Madre winery is undoubtedly at the forefront of the wine-making business, side by side with well-known wine producers.

An unforgettable vacation in a vineyard by the sea

But this is not where the story ends! These hardworking people do not stop planning and dreaming new dreams. Director Martinovic has retired, but he is still developing new projects with his partners.

The soon-to-be-opened luxury restaurant will provide special delicacies, grilled Adriatic fish, traditionally cooked meat, and homemade cakes. Apart from the wine tasting, the terrace with splendid views will offer a new gastronomic experience as well. Enjoying the small stone-lined Dalmatian houses surrounded by the green vineyards and drinking wine under the starry sky is bound to lift each spirit. What more can one wish, except to visit that magical place?

 

Romance in the Trogir Noble House

The bell from Trogir’s city tower strikes twelve. The sun shines on the old town, inviting the tourists to take a short break because, after sunset, many of them eager for discoveries and new experiences will revisit them. Curious, they will walk the streets, peeking through half-open wooden windows whose lace curtains hide the intimacy of Trogir families and the charming spirit of the surrounding restaurants.

That is so good, what a pleasant smell! The fish is grilled somewhere nearby! I follow a street lined with stone houses, built several centuries ago.  Curious, I enter through a wooden door to one of the most beautiful stone courtyards still only seen in nobles families’ houses.

I have to sit and enjoy the sumptuous court’s ambiance. I imagine tender tones of the harp and dancing ladies dressed in lavish crinolines in arms of sleek nobles. Delicacies from the richly set tables sweetened their mouth and stolen kisses in one of the dark corners of this courtyard.

That place is magical! Happy people are sitting around the tables full of excellent food. Lobster on buzara, grilled white fish, shrimp wrapped in bacon, black cuttlefish risotto, pasta with seafood. Meat, grilled, cooked in a real Dalmatian sauce.  I can’t even talk about imaginatively prepared cakes, especially Dalmatian rožada, because while I’m just looking at it, I want to feel its caramelized taste in my mouth. I feel so good while my imaginations wander through,  from the past to the present.

Unbeknownst to me, thanks to the fantastic smell of grilled fish, I came to the well-known restaurant and hotel Monika, located in the noble, Cega family house’s historic ambiance. The restaurant, with its fifty years of gastronomic tradition, does not lag behind the rich past.

I wonder who owns this hotel and restaurant, who had the strength to make this splendor in the middle of the old urban city and restore it to its former aristocratic splendor? Each piece exudes with luxury and carefully selected details,  with a specific style and taste.

It would be best to meet Jasminka Vranješ, the owner who belongs here with her charming and engaging behavior. Only a woman with an uncompromising will, inexhaustible energy, professional experience, and personal wisdom can build this “empire.” She had the pleasure to refurbish this space for herself and guests worldwide who have been faithfully returning to her for half a century.

She started putting together her catering story back in the seventies with her husband Vinko. In an instant, she had to continue their familiar story on her own, fighting like a lioness, all to make their dreams come true. “There have been ups and downs, crisis years, but I always went forward, believing in myself. If I had succumbed to bad thoughts at any moment, my dream would never become shattered.” She did it! She kept her promise!

In the beautiful authentic the ambiance of the old Trogir stone court, there is an open part of the restaurant with a hundred seats, accompanied by an interior space, specially decorated for romantics who want a unique atmosphere and intimacy.

Visiting the hotel means experiencing Trogir as it once was, the style and way of life of the Cega noble family, whose tradition collapsed in a historically turbulent and relentless moment. But new times have brought new opportunities as well. Jasminka had a mission! Renovated the house and gave it back the look and sophistication of a noble home. “For twenty years, I bought part by part of the house. When I put all the torn parts back under the same roof, I started renovating the space. After three years, I opened a hotel with sixteen spacious rooms, decorated in a synergy of a traditional and modern style”.

Luxurious, soft beds covered in red satin and velvet dominate the space, facing the windows that each overlook their part of the old town. Unique charm is given by refined, imaginative decorations that fill the rooms, giving them dreamy warmth and harmony. The terrace between the roofs of Trogir houses and the view to the surrounding city gardens, the old town, and the bell tower of The Cathedral of St. Lawrence intertwined with the blue sky and sea is a new experience that I will remember for a long time.

Jasminka has given her whole life into the restaurant and hotel, past, present, and future. “I have nurtured this hotel as a child, giving all my best. I can see that I am successful by the guests’ reactions who are delighted with what they feel. I am happy and grateful when I see a smile and shine in their eyes; it means that I have fulfilled my mission. ”

Even today, after fifty years of working,” My every new day is my new beginning, I work there with equal passion, paying attention to every detail.  There is a vast love for work, long-term  staff, and this building that I have renovated, to the pride of myself and the city of Trogir!”

She has successfully built and edited, but she has always primarily cared for the guests’ wishes, desires, and comfort. Grateful for the hospitality, welcome, and goodwill, the guests give it to her back with kind words and selfless attention, proposing that everybody must experience it in person.

 

 

 

Let’s explore Jordan with Joanna!

A strong wind is mercilessly raising the sand all around, obscuring the beauty of this magic land! Deceptive and unpredictable in desperate rage! Huge and strong sand clouds rushing across the air making an ominous silence and uncertain over the desert.  Sandstorm is coming! Nothing to see than a pile of sand! Only a fear, a beating hearts,  and desire to stay alive!

But Bedouins – “kings of the Wadi Rum desert” wait peacefully,   knowing that the sun always rises after the storm. They have already learned how beautiful can be that demanding, seemingly wild and unfriendly desert.  Like nomads, they have already met its temper.  They had not a safe life, home, constantly changed the dwelling place for moving cattle through the desert, but they have survived! Today they are modern hosts who welcome guests in the middle of the desert, accommodating them in modern luxurious capsules, serving them a delicious dish specialty zarb. That is meat roasted for long hours in a special underground hole, covered with sand. All that background enables an unforgettable travel experience to “modern nomads” wishful exploring strange ambiance and boosts adrenaline.

Morning’s rays over the desert bring them a new revelation. Sun rays play mischievous light and shadow games overlapping the space, illuminating orange sand and unique landscapes. New sightseeing encourages them to uncover yet unknown feelings.

Yes, you guessed, we are in Jordan, Middle East Islamic country which with Syria, Palestine, Lebanon creates a region called the Levant. Jordan is the country where the beauty of the desert, valleys, mountains, Death salt sea, rich cultural heritage deliver the new sense. It comes from the “high energy voltage” of local people, and their temperamental ancestors’ souls.

Amman - Jordan's Capital
Amman – Jordan’s Capital

Impact of two cultures, Arabian and Mediterranean, give them hot temper, talkativeness, and warm hospitality gift.  “Jordanians take pride in hosting guests”- explained Joanna, my virtual host, young Polish woman, happily married to Jordanian and his faith. “Jordanian hospitality is an old tradition rooted in the times when people here were still Bedouins. The rule was that a stranger could be hosted in a Bedouin household for three days without telling the host the reason for visiting. Even the host couldn’t ask for the reason himself during those three days. It was against the Bedouin honor code. Till now Jordanians proudly mention their three-day rule.”

In the north-central, there is Amman, Jordan’s capital. The busy town that never sleeps and its streets are always full of life. The locals in their daily routine smoke shisha and drink tea or coffee. Young guys like to play cards and dance dabkeh on a street while girls like to visit restaurants or enjoy a cozy café near Paris Square in Weibdeh.

Amman-Jordan’s Capital

“Do you want more fun in the places by the seaside?”- Joanna asked me.  “Well, let’s go to Aqaba, the town on the Red Sea coast. It is a great place for it. The luxurious hotels occupy the beach. At that area tourists can enjoy bikini on private beaches since the public beach, in the central part of Aqaba city is reserved for more conservative locals. There are also Ayla and Tala Bay, closed districts with lots of hotels and well – kept beaches where you can enjoy bikini, drinks, and good music”.

The Dead Sea coast is also a place with lots of resorts and private beaches where tourists can swim and never sink due to salty water, enjoy the SPA treatments based on amazing Dead Sea mud. “But be careful” – Joanna warns,  “the temperature during the summer passes 40 degrees so the best time for visiting is before mid-June or after mid-September”.

Wow, what a beautiful and interesting kingdom!  Joanna is a  great cultural ambassador of her new country.  While I was talking with her I was feeling like I was there, impatiently waiting for new stories.

Petra town!  It is a fantastic ancient city carved in rose-tinted stones, hence it’s called ‘Rose City’. It was established by Nabataeans in 4th century BC, a mysterious civilization that is still being discovered thoroughly to this day. The city is strategically situated in a canyon and the only way to go there is through a narrow passage called siq. There is the most known site of Petra, Al-Khazaneh  -The Treasury building. According to the legend, there is a treasure hidden on top of Al-Khazaneh. “So if you are courageous enough, climb to the top and check it”- suggested Joanna with a smile, continuing more seriously:  “The Nebo mountain is special, too. It is a well-known place already mentioned in the Old Testament.”

According to the Bible Moses reached the peak of Mount Nebo to see the Promised Land – Canaan  and God told him at that time that he would die before entering it.

There, from the top is an amazing view of the entire Holy Land. Those who reach the top can still feel what Moses felt. “That’s why the place is so special for the believers. People stay exactly at the same place where Moses was standing and look at the same view as he saw” – explained Joanna.

The View from the Nebo Mountain
The View from the Nebo Mountain

After visiting all of those beautiful and interesting places it is time to rest and enjoy Jordanian cuisine. Mmmmm! The best Jordanian national dish mansaf-  tender lamb cooked in a white sauce made of jameed and shaneena served with rice and shrak, very thin, almost transparent bread must be tried. The same goes for Levant specialties grilled lamb, magloubeh, dawali -stuffed grapes leaves, kofta – minced meat baked in an aromatic sauce, hummus, and falafel at Hashem Restaurant in Downtown Amman, and mezzeh, a variety of cold and hot appetizers.

“Oh yes, don’t forget to buy some souvenirs there for long memory of that amazing trip.”  Joanna “took” me for a walk along Downtown Amman street to show the best place to buy souvenirs.

Shemag definitely must be bought. It is the traditional red and white scarf that many men wear here along with egal, the black band that used to be a rope used for catching camels, but now it’s just worn for aesthetics purposes. If you want an outfit, then buy  madraga, a traditional folklore dress worn by women still till this day to events like weddings and other parties.

Downtown is so big and packed with many interesting shops, but souq – marketplace gives a special experience.

Always try to haggle and negotiate the prices because it’s a part of Jordanian culture as well! Don’t be afraid when the seller greets you in his shop with coffee. IT’S THE WAY OF SAYING “WELCOME”.

 

 

 

 

 

paris holiday

Come With Me And Feel Paris Vibes!

Written by Anita Palada

Photos by Pixabay

Paris, Rome, San Gimignano!

Can you guess what is common to those places? They are tourist destinations but not very ordinary, as well-known, special ones.

Paris by night
Paris by night

Those cities aren’t only simple places with many buildings or properties built many centuries ago, where people luxuriate in every moment. Those spots have unique and magic vibes.

Paris is a magical jewel, an extraordinary destination, a place that transforms the spirit, that leaves indelible memories — Paris a timeless destination that remains a cultural wonderland and romantic idyll.

“When I am there, I feel welcomed.  Something exceptional is in the air. I love Paris, especially during Christmas when all is so magic,”–my friend, a life traveler, said to me many times, describing Paris’ atmosphere.

“There are special sentiments that circle “three feet above the sky’—the stars on the sky sparkle with beautiful luminosity, inspiring lovers to open, passionate affection.  The magic vibes make them more amorous, happy and fulfilled.  Those places enchant and intrigue, make people experience particular moments, provoking them to talk about their pleasant feelings.”

Montmartre Paris
Montmartre Paris

What can be better than a walk-in Paris along Montmartre, sitting in the small café, eating a delicious croissant, looking at walking people and enthusiastic painters? These graces make guests grateful to God to be alive and be there. When they travel to Italy and stop in Rome, they “run” to throw the change into the  Fontana di Trevi with powerful desires to return. In San Gimignano, they are curious to taste the best ice cream flavors in the world and traditional Italian pasta at the small, traditionally decorated restaurants in the narrow streets.

Tourists prefer to go to those cities, stay at their hotels and restaurants, walking along the streets than to the other ones? Do you know why? Why are those places so memorable? Because of delicate senses that float between land and sky, making an unforgettable harmony of body and mind.

Places and buildings without impressive vibes are the same as a handsome person with an “empty soul,” without personality, warmth, and charisma. Because of that, somebody is more liked and adore than other ones. The same is for cities and buildings.  Only good vibes can attract, charm, and stop people at the same place.

Fontana di Trevi Rome
Fontana di Trevi Rome

How to achieve it?

If you are the city’s mayor, a hotel’s owner, entrepreneur, wine producer or manager, immerse your feelings into your city, heritage, tradition, and customs. Write, speak, and present it with love. Don’t be ashamed!  Be loyal and passionate! Remember that love and engagement can move the world!  Do your best to tell the best STORY about you and your city!  Create exciting content, highlight pretty photos with smiling and joyful people,  charming places, and picturesque landscapes of your region.

The suggestion is to create a story and publish it on different media, boosting pleasure, emotion, and desire. In this way, your material properties “wrapped in love” will achieve higher value. In effect, it will present you, your energy and passion.

If you don’t know how to create artistic, emotional, and dynamic stories, I am here.  Just call me, and I will do it for you. 

Stradun Dubrovnik
Stradun Dubrovnik

I am Anita Palada, a travel journalist from Croatia.

My journalism experience and creative writing skills allow me to describe the best of all I see and feel. I am fortunate that I have had the possibility to write original stories about various regions, cultures, travel, recognized and undiscovered touristic destinations, luxury hotels, restaurants, chefs, traditional and modern food, wineries and quality wine, fun, and adventures. 

As a writer, professional photographer, and successful digital content creator, I attract over 10000 people per day over my online channels and much more in association with clients.

We will create and share out your best story. Dare to be different from your competitors!

Contact me!!!!

My imaginative writing stories can evoke each person to visit your country, your hotel, restaurant, winery, and other exciting places among it.

paris vacation

 

 

 

 

Martinis Marchi Room

Escape to Paradise

Written by Anita Palada, Edward Kiersh

Photos by Martinis Marchi Hotel

The tastes of heaven begin with a tangy soup spiced with locally-grown herbs, a “time honored speciality” featuring a rich mix of ravioli and delicacies from the sea.

The Island of Šolta - Maslinica
The Island of Šolta – Maslinica

Always hoping to stir emotions, thoughts of culinary wizardry, and to be faithful to intensely-flavorful homemade” recipes, the young chef looks at me expectantly. Only after I praise the soup, and smile, does he seem relieved, even buoyant.

The consummate host, waiting for my every reaction, Toni Miloš, 35, one my engaging hosts at the Martinis Marchi seaside restaurant on the idyllic Croatian island of Šolta, says “our menu is quite simple…dating back 300 years. We have adapted dishes to modern times but we still use ingredients that are specific to this island. They are very special.”

Martinis Marchi Heritage Hotel
Martinis Marchi Heritage Hotel

So is chef Miloš, and his “simple” yet still creative, Mediterranean dishes— from the brujet cooked in tomato sauce with onions, garlic and parsley; popara with potatoes, carrots and pieces of white fish; to the pheasant prepared in a locally-sourced red wine.

Insisting “all my dishes have their roots in local traditions, the culture close to the magical blue Adriatic (Sea),” Miloš certainly wants to prepare memorable “gastronomic experiences” in his Martinis Marchi castle hotel kitchen.

Listening to the Wind at the Pool
Listening to the Wind at the Pool

But such specialties as homemade ravioli, beef tartare with fermented garlic and chocolate soufflés are also meant to  appeal to travelers “seeking a glorious escape removed from time.” He hopes each dish will inspire lasting emotions, a sense that Croatia is a unique time capsule devoted to intoxicating surprises and pleasures

He succeeds triumphantly. So does this luminous 7-suite boutique hotel that boasts 1500-square meter lodgings, a heated pool, hammam, sauna, and a marina where private excursions can be arranged to whisk you to numerous secluded coves and sandy beaches.

Here indulgences thrive along with a tranquility that first attracted the three  Marchi brothers to Šolta in 1703. Hoping to build a calm, soothing oasis—a bounty of “simplicity combined with pristine nature”—they won permission from Venetian authorities to build a sumptuous summer retreat above the bay of Maslinica one hour from Split.

The Outside Terrace
The Outside Terrace

Intent on creating a shelter against marauding pirates, the brothers wanted a refuge of “light and stillness”—and in that Wellness spirit the hotel is a veritable cocoon surrounded by the sea and a lush Mediterranean garden resplendent with herbs and flowers.

“Our place has a unique historic past and soul, a very positive energy,” says Tihana Mravak Sivić, the hotel manager. “We want guests to really feel at home. We try to honor every request, to turn the impossible into everything is possible—with a smile.”

Such pampering makes it remarkably easy to forget the outside world, to be content simply from listening to the wind at the pool, or to stroll in the adjoining village. Yet if feeling “adventurous,” guests can take the “Martinis Marchi I” Sunseeker Superhawk 50 to the island of Pag to sample its’ internationally-renowned salty sheep cheese. Or they can visit  one of the glorious beaches on Hvar, Brač, and perhaps a winery or two.

Relaxing Terrace Ambient in Evening
Relaxing Terrace Ambient in Evening

Eyeing the ships docked close to the restaurant, Marina Captain Frane Cecić Acosta insists, “Always looking to give guests exciting experiences, we welcome sunsets with champagne, listen to songs when appropriate, and anchor in bays to allow guests to swim.”

Ever nervously looking out towards the Adriatic, Acosta knows the sea is often capricious, yet he adds, “Guests come back. That is a confirmation we are doing our job very well.”

His taking tourists island hopping is a delight. Yet so is Šolta with its’  beekeeping apiaries, olive oil factory, and vineyards with prized Dobričić grapes.

Such exploring allows guests to meet local people, to really immerse themselves in Šolta’s island culture.

Grilled Lobsters
Grilled Lobsters

“We hope guests can connect with  our local surroundings, experience the pristine wilderness,” says Sivić. “We want guests to find total joy there.”

But the greatest joy, if not sitting by the pool, or luxuriating in the hammam, is basking in the comfort of one’s suite. Each of these 7 air-conditioned suites has been tastefully-decorated with armoires, paintings and other furnishings that are meant to rekindle the spirit of the 18th Century. They speak to a refinement the Marchis’ brothers relished—an elegance sorely lacking in most hotels today.

Martinis Marchi Yacht
Martinis Marchi Yacht

So discover the unforgettable.

Escape to the Martinis Marchi.

Authentic Fish Market Trogir

        The Cat and Mouse Game at the Trogir Fish Market

Smiling flirtatiously, the blonde, elegantly-dressed woman approached the man behind a table lined with mounds of anchovies, sardines, squirming lobsters and bright-orange shrimp.

Immediately the seductress, playing a “cat and mouse” game in this Trogir, Croatia fish market, she mischievously asked, “What can you offer me that is  right out of the sea, something really good for my husband?”

Trogir Fish Market
Trogir Fish Market

A place for gossip, romantic liaisons, and heated arguments, Ribarnica is more than a mere market. This historic, red-tiled institution only a short drive from Split on the Adriatic Sea, is a raucous, often salty-tongued “playground.”

Beyond the shouts of “fresh fish, fresh fish scallops that will change your life tonight,” the emotional, passionate, and even volcanic temperament of Croatian people becomes very evident.

“Pretty lady, I have something very delicious for you, I am here just to please you,” laughs the fish seller, grabbing a lobster and rather provocatively dangling it close to the woman.

“I am here just for you, speak to me, how can I help you,” he quickly adds, reaching for a long knife, and adding, “try this swordfish. So perfect for grilling. So are these sardines. Believe me. Eating them with some good wine will make your husband a new man.”

The thinly-veiled innuendos—and acerbic repartee that eventually entails haggling over prices—evokes the fun and entertainment of a Middle Eastern bazaar.

Very crowded around the stand
Very crowded around the stand

“It’s always a knockdown fight, a contest of wills between egos and pocketbooks,” observes an elderly man in between sips of coffee from a nearby cafe.

“Everyday it’s different here. Who knows, always exciting, sometimes a dog barks, and sometimes a rabbit runs. Tomorrow that money thing could change. The rabbit, not the seller, will have a good day.”

Visitors win everyday. Ribarnica is theatre. There are so many verbal acrobatics, jousting for position, give-n-take over tables filled with exotic-looking creatures, this colorful market has a distinctly earthy Mediterranean flavor.

But “dangers” still lurk. Especially from stampedes.

Provoking this wild, very amusing spree, a fisherman yells, “Skuša, skuša, mackerel, the freshest, heavenly mackerel. Come! Come! Now!”

Dozens of housewives and men over-burdened with packages start dashing towards the fisherman’s stand.

“What’s the price of your unbelievable mackerel?” scoffs a wry skeptic.

“100 Kuna (13 Euros). That’s nothing. Very good price!,” barks the fisherman.

“100 Kuna? Are you crazy?”

“You don’t like? Then go home to your wife with no fish. See what that gets you tonight”

The banter continues. Soon there is no more mackerel. It’s been  good day for this particular “barking dog.”

One more day is over, one more Ribarnica story has been written.

A meeting place for women to secretly talk about their husbands; a rendezvous point for lovers; and a convenient, relaxed setting for arranging business deals; Ribarnica is all about anger, love and mystery.

If only its’ stone walls and tiles could talk.

Or perhaps not.

Maybe it is far better to savor some grilled sardines, and to allow those mysteries to remain hidden.

What do you think? Please let us know!

 

Šibenik

The strange disappearance of Brad Pitt

Asked if she had seen Brad Pitt, the waitress in the Fafarinka cafe just looked at me as if I was crazy.

Šibenik Archipelago Dalmatia Croatia The best beaches
Šibenik Archipelago

“A man told me Pitt, the actor, had been here, have you seen him?” I continued, waiting for the waitress to put my ice cream on the table, and to stop staring at me as if I had been out in the sun too long.”

“He’s disappeared, has he been here, to Šibenik?”

Still looking amazed, the waitress  responded, “I like him, he is an interesting person, but nothing special. He is blond, I don’t like this kind of man. I prefer black-haired ones, tall with muscles. They are very seductive.”

What a revelatory moment! Now this woman’s deepest love life secrets were being revealed to me. She started to laugh, but I was no closer to solving the mystery.

Šibenik
Visit Šibenik

After Brad Pitt had visited the Croatian coastal city of Šibenik a few years ago, the rumors and speculation swirled. TV reports. Newspaper stories. Everyone was abuzz here and in the neighboring beach towns.

Brad Pitt, the winner of last year’s Oscar for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, was considering investing in a beachfront, 800 million Euros tourist-residential complex that would transform the outskirts of Šibenik.

The area was divine, a rather undiscovered retreat known as the “gateway to the Kornati islands”—a place for discovering Adriatic lobsters, fine wines, and secret coves with crystal white sand.

Šibenik Archipelago Dalmatia Croatia The best beaches
Šibenik Archipelago

But Pitt was not just scouting lovely and secluded area beaches like Tijat, Zmajan, and Žirje where swimming with the fishes in the transparent sea is bewitching—or savoring the homemade chocolate ice cream with hazelnuts at Fafarinka.

According to the gossip, unproven stories circulating among the townspeople, Pitt wasn’t just thinking about real estate. It was rumored that he had fallen under the spell of a Croatian beauty.

“Yes Pitt was here, it was interesting because of  the rumors, that he had found a real secret gem in Šibenik, real secret,” laughs Fabijano Baranović, the manager at the luxurious King Krešimir Heritage Hotel.

Heritage Hotel King Krešimir The best hotel in Šibenik
Heritage Hotel King Krešimir Šibenik

Handing me a menu and insisting, “We make special dishes from black pigs in Lika, pig medallions, prosciutto, and sausages are our specialties.” A true pig lover, he finally adds, “gossip, gossip, we made fun of discussing Pitt’s feelings.”

But despite Baranović’s ardent passion for pig sausages, the mystery still lingered—where was the elusive actor? Could he be at the Michelin-starred Pelegrini restaurant famed for its’ lamb and veal dishes? Or would he be found admiring the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Gothic cathedral, or just strolling through Šibenik’s charming winding streets?

Not finding any clues, I headed to Zablaće, a seemingly-endless white beach about 5 km. from Sibenik. Dotted with stunning villas, it is just the storybook type of escape mega-investors could be attracted to.

“Have you seen Brad Pitt here?” I asked a swimmer. “You know, the actor, the blond in Ocean’s Eleven with George Clooney?”

“Brad Pitt? No, I didn’t see him.”

“That’s a pity,” I sympathized. “He might be interested in talking to you. Maybe you could tell him where to find an authentic locally-prepared Šibenik lunch.”

“HaHa, meet me? He’s a big movie star. He likes the best restaurants, not meals in my simple home.”

Pelegrini restaurant Šibenik The best restaurant in Šibenik
Pelegrini Restaurant Šibenik

I moved on. Maybe I could find another sunbather who had seen this very socially-conscious Hollywood heartthrob.

Only receiving some more astonished looks, I returned to Šibenik, questioning my detective skills.

To boost my spirits, I stopped at Koka, a clothing shop near the famed St. Jakov cathedral.

After admiring the dresses, I had to ask, “Have you seen Brad Pitt? A woman told me that he had been here. That he bought a dress here.”

The owner looked confused, and gave me another of those unsettling looks that suggested I was mad. I feigned a smile, but before I left, a well-dressed woman looked straight at me, and said, “Of course I saw him. I came here to buy a lovely dress just for him.”

“What?” I could only mutter.

“That’s right. I must look beautiful!He’s at my home now. I am going to make lunch for him, shrimp and mussels.”

It was now my turn to be dumbfounded. Speechless for a few seconds, I finally summoned the courage to ask, “And what will the side dish be?”

Typical of the welcome awaiting visitors to Šibenik, the woman quickly laughed.

“Me! What do you think? Me!”

Thanks a lot for collaboration and photos to:

Tourist Board Šibenik, Heritage Hotel King Krešimir, Koka Boutique,

Pelegrini Restaurant, Farfarinka Cafe, Ms. Jasenka Ramljak, Ms. Brankica Dominis Mišić

Written by Anita Palada, Edward Kiersh

 

split dalmatia croatia

        Split continues to be enjoyed for its’ high-voltage

Beware, once seduced by the floral scents and “secret recipe” sensations, temptation quickly takes over. It’s all too easy to feel bewitched, even helpless.

Marinko Biškić made one-ton chocolate bar
Marinko Biškić made one-ton chocolate bar

Casting a spell that promises only joy and playfulness,   Marinko Biskić, a former Guinness World Record holder, boasts a special gift. In Nadalina, his pint-sized Split boutique, this artisan meticulously and zealously creates hand-crafted pleasures—chocolates infused with lavender, rosemary, fig and olive oil.

“They are love and passion,” extols Biskić, standing behind a counter filled with pralines and chocolate bars. Ardently discussing how his concoctions are made from the choicest Peruvian and Domincan Republic cocoa beans, he continues, “We are the only ones in Croatia to roast the beans, to not use ready-made chocolate. We mix spices, sage, anise…always experimenting with new flavors, to me chocolate is for the palate and the soul.”

Mirroring Biskić’s infectious enthusiasm, a wild and artistic bent that compelled him to celebrate Nadalina’s 25th anniversary by producing a 101 sq. meter, one ton chocolate bar, Split is similarly mischievous, unpredictable and exciting. Unlike that devoured chocolaty slab (which was the Guinness record holder in 2015), Split continues to be enjoyed for its’ high-voltage, adrenaline-fueled nightlife, partying and festivals, especially the Ultra Europe music fest.

Always throbbing with laser lights shows and cocktail extravaganzas, Split has had a pronounced BUZZ ever since Roman Emperor Diocletian sought refuge on these sun-caressed, Adriatic shores in A.D. 295. He built a must-see palace (a UNESCO World Heritage site stuffed with treasures), along with a labyrinth of bedeviling cobblestoned passageways—and to appreciate strolling,  first find some sustenance.

At Krafne kod Mate—where marmalade, vanilla creme, or chocolate donuts are artfully baked by Mate Bajamić. Using only choice flour, he insists donuts “expressing love” can only be made by bakers “coming to work in a joyful mood.” So feel the energy in this minute space, and discover that the chocolate donuts are pure happiness.

Arterija brings other types of dazzling pleasures. Located inside the palace, this bold, cutting-edge “concept store” attracts modish fashionistas hoping to find attention-grabbing necklaces and earrings, simple yet provocative and unconventional dresses. Here there is a powerful, even defiant feminine aesthetic—and under the ownership of Gorana Gulišija, “fashion is passion.”

Arterija Shop

Instead of breaking with tradition, the Uje Deli Shop pays tribute to the past, particularly Croatia’s rich  agricultural heritage. Besides offering a dizzying array of locally-sourced olive oils—there are savory, golden-green varieties from Hvar and Brac—Uje boasts an abundance of carefully-curated wines from Dalmatia to Istria, Slavonija and Zagorje. Enjoy one of them with some sardines and the shop’s famed anchovy pie.

Adjacent to the Diocletian Palace, the always-thronged Bokeria Kitchen & Wine offers its’ own alluring specialties. Here the vibe is decidedly young and casual, and the gastronomic flourishes from the bruschetta to the grilled octopus and swordfish are a wonderful mix of Croatian and Mediterranean influences. The Red Roga, a type of pepper with minced meat and creamy mashed potato must also be savored. It’s divine!

Bokeria Kitchen&Wine Bar
Bokeria Kitchen&Wine Bar

So is Dvor Restaurant.

Dvor Restaurant

Commanding views of Solta and Brac islands from its intimate outdoor terrace, the serene, highly-acclaimed Dvor is a Michelin Guide favorite. This restaurant/bar is surrounded by towering pine and tamarisk trees, and its’ very diverse menu also reaches flavorful heights. Especially the seabass pate, freshly-baked olive bread, the mushroom risotto, fish dishes wrapped and roasted in salt, and of course, the fudgy and heavenly chocolate lava cake. It’s a taste Explosion!

But Split’s delights never seem to end. There’s also Os Kolač, Tea Mamut’s pastry shop that is renowned throughout Croatia for its’ green violet cake made with pistachios and blueberries. Every bite of this sweet-sweetie is a thrill, and the same can be said about her vanilla and chocolate cream cakes.

Oš’ kolač – Pastry shop

They sparkle, just like Split!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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