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?

 

 

 

vinarija matuško, najbolje vinarije pelješac, dingač, plavac mali

Dingač i Crljenak – Na stolu američkog predsjednika Joe Bidena vina hrvatskih vinara

Kaštelanski Crljenak – Dar neba, suza zemlje, tekuća nada ili tek simbolični nektar spoznaje?

Vinarija Krolo Kaštela, Kaštelanski Crljenak
Vinarija Krolo Kaštela, Kaštelanski Crljenak

Intenzivan, živahan i koncentriran okus dalmatinskog nektara prožet je najfinijim taninima koji su u vrijeme Franje II ‘’išetali’’ iz njegovog carskog rasadnika i otisnuli se u svijet. Nenametljivo i fino, tek toliko da objave svoju prisutnost i postojanje.

Mekani, fini okusi dozrelog kaštelanskog crljenka, natopljeni okusima crnog bobičastog voća  brzo su  osvoji  fina nepca. S carskih polja u Splitu sadnice su početkom 19. stoljeća prevezene u Beč i Trst  te plodnu Napu  u Kaliforniju. Tu je kaštelanski crljenak nastavio puštati svoje korijenje utjelovivši se u kalifornijski zinfandel, a u Italiji u primitivo. Napokon su ga, nakon dugog lutanja, kaštelanski vinari vratili kući, u Kaštela kako bi ga na pradjedovini nastavili uzgajati i njegove dozrele bobice pretvarati u rujno vino, profinjenog okusa, “pa tako i mi u našem vinogradu i vinariji Krolo u Kaštelima”.

dingač, vina pelješac, joe biden inaugiracija
Vinograd Pelješkog vinogradara

 Hrvatska vina  na stolu  američkog predsjednika Joa Bidena

Mekano, pitko, slojevito i vrlo kompleksno vino crljenak, odnosno zinfandel svoje je mjesto pronašlo i na  raskošnom stolu u američkoj Bijeloj kući povodom inauguracije novog američkog predsjednika Joe Bidena. On i njegovi gosti zasigurno su uživali u mirisnim tonovima crnog bobičastog voća, likoriciji i zelenom papru, ali i  opojnim taninima pelješkog vina Dingač čije bobice plavca malog dozrijevaju na geografski zaštićenoj, istoimenoj južnoj padini otoka Pelješca te vrlo bliskoj padini Postup.

Dingač je zaštićeno, autohtono hrvatsko vino puna zrelog okusa. Bogatije je i korpulentnije od drugih vina, skladno, puno i ugodno gorkasto. Njegov je veliki ljubitelj bio i Robert Benmosche, bogati američki biznismen i  Obamin savjetnik.  “U svom sam vinogradu na Pelješcu, molim vas pustite me da završim branje grožđa i dolazim”  – svojevremeno je odgovorio Obami kada ga je telefonski nazvao i tražio da mu pomogne s posrnulom korporacijom. Benmosche je bio zaljubljenik u Pelješac i njegova vina, stoga je u Vignju podigao i vlastiti vinograd zinfandela, a na padinama Dingača sortu plavac mali. Uspješno je nastavio put Franje II, širiti svijetom okuse Zinfandela i Dingača. Zahvaljujući toj njegovoj strasti njime se danas nazdravlja i za stolom američkog predsjednika Joe Biden-a.

vino Dingač, inaugiracija joe biden, najbolja hrvatska vina
Padine Dingača, južna strana poluotoka Pelješca

Pelješki Dingač – svjetski poznato i priznato vino diljem svijeta

Prema riječima najvećeg  pelješkog vinara Ante Palihnića, osnivača Pelješkog vinogradara “ova vina se ne piju  samo u Americi, već širom svijeta, na najprestižnijim događajima i mjestima, dvoru kraljice Elizabete, papinskoj palači u Vatikanu, a Dingač je najdraže vino i britanskom premijeru  Borisu Johnsonu.”

Sigurno se pitate zašto je Dingač tako dobro vino?

Na jednom trsu ne smije biti prinos veći od pola kila grožđa. Posebnost mu daje  trostruka insolacija, mora, kamena i sunca. Idealan slador grožđa za Dingač je 21-23 %, a u Antinom vinogradu dosezao je i do 25 %  što u konačnici znači i 17 % alkohola,. “Vidjevši gradaciju bio sam oduševljen. Nisam mogao vjerovati!  Za usporedbu, desertno vino-prošek  ima 18 % alkohola” – znalački nam objašnjava Anto.

dingač, zinfandel, robert benmosche, inauguracija joe biden
Anto Palihnić, osnivač Pelješkog vinogradara

Kod potpunog zrenja na grožđu se u trenutku berbe nalazi i do trideset  posto osušenih  bobica. I u tim se bobicama kriju rijetke esencije koje vinu daju posebnu kvalitetu. Dakle, insolacija – mora, kamena I sunca,  ekstrakt dobiven iz suhica, mali prinos grožđa po trsu, i visoki šećer u grožđu ključni su za dobivanje visoko kvalitetnog vina. Malo tko u Hrvatskoj može uskladiti taj omjer, ali s obzirom na geografski položaj i znanje peljeških vinara Dingač je svjetski poznato i priznato vino diljem svijeta.

Kvaliteta počinje u vinogradu. Ovisi o dobrom grožđu, a ne o proizvodnji vina. Treba biti zaljubljenik u vinovu lozu, stvoriti suživot i obostrano razvijati poštovanje. Reći vinogradu  dobro jutro i laku noć, nahraniti ga,  osloboditi grožđe da mu ništa ne zaklanja sunce, obrezivati ga i pomno paziti da ga ne unište prirodne nedaća i bolesti, i “ono će vam vratiti stostruko” –  kaže Anto.

On će u hrvatskom vinarstvu zasigurno ostati zapisan kao jedan od modernih začetnika vinarske proizvodnje na Pelješcu. Posao je izrastao na skromnoj tradicijskoj proizvodnji koju je započeo njegov pradjed. Od oca je baštinio tek 15 000, a danas u njegovim vinogradima raste 100 000 trsova vinove loze, sorte Plavac mali. U vinariji uz kooperantski urod godišnje napravi, uskladišti i proda osamsto tisuća boca vina.

Vinograd je strast, a ne  posao

 “Kada bi se po radu gledalo ja ne bih imao ni dana radnog staža” –  kroz smijeh će. Poseban užitak  daruju mi ta mala zrna koja sazore na trsu i vino koje od njih napravim. Jednostavno sam prepušten toj ljubavi. Kada vidim kako mi moji vinogradi svake godine obilato vraćaju nosi me volja, strpljenje,  upornost i želja da im dam još više. Plavac ne miješam s drugim sortama jer to je po meni najbolja vrsta kojom nas je Bog ovdje obdario. Bila bi šteta remetiti tu prirodnu harmoniju.”

Četiri je puta Antino vino u šest godina bilo proglašeno šampionom za kvalitetu. Njegove se kolege ponekad ljute, a Anto im uvijek kroz šalu kaže “što vam ja mogu, tko zna, zna!”

Njegovo mišljenje dijeli i jedan od poznatijih peljeških vinogradara Mato Violić Matuško iz Potomja.

inauguracija joe biden, pelješka vina, najbolja hrvatska vina, zinfandel, dingač
Vinarija Matuško

Šampanjac – piće užitka i strasti

“Bog nam je dao da živimo u raju na Zemlji i iskoristimo ovo podneblje. Dao nam je blagu klimu,  kvalitetnu sirovinu i vrijedne ruke, a time i mogućnost da proizvedemo vrhunsko vino, ali ne samo dobro vino, već i šampanjac!”

Šampanjac je po njegovim riječima piće trenutka, veselja. Ono se ne pije da bi se pilo, već da bi se predalo  strasti, senzualnosti i uživalo u nestašnoj igri zaigranih mjehurića.

Plavac mali dozrijeva u vinogradima zasađenima na strmim, šljunkovitim, teško pristupačnim padinama Dingača i Postupa koje s jedne strane padaju sve do oštre obale mora, a s druge se penju prema golim, brdskim kamenim vrhovima.Tu su sunčeve zrake najjače, odbijaju se od kamen i more dajući vinogradima svjetlost i toplinu, a time i bogatstvo okusa koji ga opravdano raznose dalekim svijetom.

joe biden inauguracija, hrvatska vina, dingač, zinfandel
Šampanjac Vinarije Matuško

Znatiželja dalmatinske vinare neprestano gura dalje. U dane nakon jematve. Zorno iščekujući susret s mladim vinom i njegovim zavodljivim okusima koji mami i provocira nepca. Tim okusima nisu odoljeli ni Franjo II, ni Benmosche, ni Biden, diveći se rujnoj boji, gustoj teksturi i okusima koji nakon svakog gutljaja umilno  prožimaju tijelo.

Čudni su ti Dalmatinci, emotivci bez kraja i granica. Iako se ne bi reklo! Srce i dušu ostavljaju u te čarobne kapi jer za njih je vino dar s neba, tekućina nade i nektar svjetovne spoznaje. Znaju oni da se još ništa veliko na svijetu nije stvorilo bez emocija, pa ni opojna vina Dingača i Zinfandela!

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

The Drama Queen

Written by  Anita Palada, Edward Kiersh

Photos by Zrinka Balabanić

Much like any love affair between a man and woman, it is often fiery, wounding and devastating.

At other times it is inspiring, enchanting and nurturing.

Bora on Sea
Bora on Sea

Its’ ups and downs are always surprising and whimsical. Never predictable, and prone to be unremittingly mysterious, its’ unleashed forces are wild, untamed, certainly reminiscent of unchecked passion and love.

Nature can be tempestuous, dispiriting, even dangerous, yet it’s also soothing at times, a presence bearing sublime gifts. It must always be seen as a threat with explosive potential, yet Nature also has its’ forgiving side, a gentility and caress that  offers the prospects of abundance, discovery, and new fertile horizons.

Such is the dual nature of this “Drama Queen,” the Bura, the legendary Croatian winds that sweep through the Dalmatian Coast at different times during the year.

Heavy Clouds Over the Island of Pag
Heavy Clouds Over the Island of Pag

It can be a blessing to cheesemakers on the barren island of Pag, delivering salt from the sea to the isle’s pastures—and to herbs such as thyme, sea fennel and sage—which eventually give the sheep’s milk a distinct salty flavor. That saltiness has increasingly earned Paski sir cheese numerous international awards.

Watching this robust cheese being produced in family-owned farms—and sampling several homemade recipes—are certainly a delight. It’s a fabulous family outing, a way to really savor authentic Croatian culture—and to have a “farm to table” experience.

But the “Drama Queen” still looms. While adventure-seeking sailors welcome the gales and gusts, the Bura is also notorious for closing bridges and disrupting life all along the Dalmatian Coast with its hurricane strength 170 km/h winds.

The Sea Stirred by the Bora
The Sea Stirred by the Bora

Again like a lover, its’ bursts can be short-lived. Let still ferocious.

These winds gather strength in the east over the mountains ringing the coast, then roll down the slopes and spin towards the Adriatic flinging outdoor furniture and trees wildly in the air.

That’s the dark side. Funnel-shaped winds. Uproarious seas that challenge even the most skillful sea captains. Swelling gusts coming from very direction.

Colorful Sky
Colorful Sky

It’s that changeability which makes the Bura particularly troublesome. Like some partners or lovers, there’s no reading this Queen—and in Croatia where sailing between magical sun-kissed isles is a chief allure for international travelers, boating can mean great derring-do adventures.

Such spasmodic gusts present (especially in the winter when the Bura rages most intently) bouts with V-shaped winds of incredible speed.

As the “Croatia Full of Life” website advises, “the Bura spreads like a fan. The larger the bay, the larger its’ blowing fan.”

So take heed. Sailing is not easy in the “clash of sea currents.”

No one ever said love is clear sailing.

The Rainbow Over the Sea
The Rainbow Over the Sea

Yet the drama can be taken out of your relationship with this tumultuous Queen.

Simply retreat to a small cove—or a roadside haven when the winds rise up. Watch the storm swirl and then dissipate while enjoying the scenery and the predictable bonding over some refreshments.

With all that energy in the air, the pure electricity, all sorts of intriguing prospects become possible.

Memorable moments amid blackened skies. And yes, even love!

 

Olive Oil Škrip

The Beauty of Olive Island

Written by Anita Palada, Edward Kiersh

Photos by Anita Palada

Long before the Mediterranean Diet became a health-enhancing trend, Kruno Cukrov, 50, would stand in his olive tree grove watching scores of sheep eating the grass, and appreciate their giving a special “blessing” to his land.

Proud that he’s using totally organic cultivation methods dating back to the Romans, he insists, “We are respecting a great past, no chemicals, the sheep’s natural fertilizer, picking by hand…”

Olive trees and stone on the island of Brač
Olive trees and stone on the island of Brač

As Kruno bites into a few olives, and shares this bounty with me, it’s understandable why he works slavishly everyday to produce the highest quality extra virgin oil.  Along with feeling a special reverence for his land, he hopes to continue another trend.

His grove on the sun-swept island of Brač, and other small family Croatian cultivators are winning increasing international recognition for their limited quantity oil.

What does Cukrov and his counterparts on the island of Krk, and in the northern region of Istria, have in common?

Kruno Cukrov
Kruno Cukrov

They share a passion for the land, for the verdant trees, for handpicking each olive and pressing them the same day to guarantee the utmost taste.

Recognizing that his 1000 olive trees are a legacy from his grandfather that must be honored, Cukrov calls these trees “mothers.” He feels they give birth to oil with the best balance of fruit and bitterness, along with prized distinct aromas.

So he works. Continuously. Relentlessly. Lovingly. Digging the land around the trees, picking grass and sprouts, even encouraging the sheep to come visit, to give their “blessings.”

Olives trees at Cukrov field
Olive trees at the Cukrov field

As we talk about Brač’s riches—one million-plus trees (mainly Oblica which fare well in drought and wind), and his own trees, Cukrov pauses for a few moments to look at the shimmering blue Adriatic. The views from his elevated property are stunning, certainly part of the excitement that accompanies any visit to the Olive Oil Museum he and his wife Katija built in a charming, restored stone building in Škrip.

His museum, a tribute to 1800’s hand-made production methods, is graced with olive presses, spindles, a fireplace for heating water, and numerous wooden casks.

“This is not just a building that has been declared a cultural asset by the Republic of Croatia,” says Crukov. “It’s a former gathering place of social life that has been completely restored to the spirit of life and customs (of the past)…a spirit best reflected in Katija’s kitchen.”

Katija Cukrov
Katija Cukrov

Yet this cozy kitchen presents a major dilemma. When is it best to savor her sheep and goat cheeses along with olive spreads adorned with almonds, garlic and anchovies?

At the start of a visit to Brač or at the conclusion of a six-kilometer walk that is known as the “Olive Trail”?

Take that excursion. It winds past numerous groves where oil and the local wine can be enjoyed.

Then meet Katija, a maestro in the kitchen. Faithful to traditional recipes, yet still willing to add modern nuances, she combines olives with “capers, cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and other Mediterranean ingredients.

Delicious food at Oil Museum

“All these foods and spices are here from time immemorial..but our ancestors ate and combined them differently…we are left to follow tradition and upgrade antique dishes. We just want to give our visitors good taste.”

And good memories of a genuine “farm to table experience.”

Olive Oil Museum
Olive Oil Museum Škrip

So come meet this hard-working couple desperately trying to provide glimpses into authentic Croatian life. Wedded to the soil, and its’ riches, they too are a treasure.

 

 

 

    Welcome to the Love Boat

Written by Anita Palada, Edward Kiersh

Photos: Anita Palada

Always the rogue, the lover of women and their most stunning attributes, the Captain mischievously laughs at his feeling helpless in a “sea of confusion.”

“I kept marveling at the sight in front of me, it was so beautiful, so heavenly,” recalls Tomislav Mravičić – Mito, the captain known throughout Croatia and the Balkans for his “party boat” and wild, often ribald storytelling.

Captain Tomislav Mravičić Mito Makarski Jadran
Tomislav Mravičić Mito

“I couldn’t move. I had gone to get my work permit, told I couldn’t get one, and here was this secretary in a low-cut blouse with this unbelievable cleavage.

“Seeing I was persistent, she took pity on me and gave me a cup of coffee. When handing it to me she bent over me, and seeing so much of her, I had to say, ’they are so beautiful…the most beautiful I have ever seen. So wonderful, so amazing!”

Makarski Jadran
Makarski Jadran

The Captain got his permit—even if the startled secretary spilt her coffee, yelled unprintable words at him—and his life on the sea, looking for mermaids and adventures, began.

That was 30 years ago.

Now Captain Mito is a free-spirited fixture on the alluring Dalmatian Coast. Plying the turquoise waters near Split, Hvar Island, Korcula and Brac, this 70-year-old libertine is known for steering passengers to uninhabited dance parties, gluttonous food feasts, and other wild merriment aboard his ship, the Makarski Jadran

“I can’t talk now,” bellows Mito into the phone, smiling devilishly at me. “Go, go, get some delicious grilled sardines on deck. Can you please put on a new (sea-faring, blue-striped) T-shirt?

Adriatic sea
Life is Wonderful

Then returning to his phone call, he adds, “There is a beautiful lady in my cabin. We are busy. She needs all my attention. Let me take care of ship’s business.”

Laughing uproariously at his own humor, he abruptly ends the phone conversation, and ushers me to the top deck where scores of female passengers have jumped onto tables. Their hips swaying wildly to the beat of loud music, and waving excitedly to onlookers on Bol’s Zlatni Rat beach– a long white sandy expanse—these dancers have ripped off their tops, and exchanged for fo tight-fitting T-shirts. They only want to party, to feel totally liberated.

“I dance too, I know how to create a good mood with giving out T-shirts, but now I must take care of the ship,” says Mito, grinning. “My young sailors also know how to treat  women.”

The Best Life Nearby Sea
Best Life Near the Sea

The sea is so transparent at Zlatni Rat many people on board jump into the water once the ship anchors offshore. I, too, couldn’t resist these warm waters that are so calm, so soothing. So as the seagulls flew over me, and the music from the ship continued to tickle my senses, I swam and swam, never wanting to stop.

Once this swim-n-sardine interlude ended, Mito was again up to his old tricks, shouting at a woman waving from her house.

“Ivanka, here I am, wait for me, I am coming, soon, wait, wait,” he yelled, obviously trying to entertain passengers with his joking, trying to be the King of the Sea.

Between Biokovo Mountain and Adriatic Sea
Between Biokovo Mountain and the Adriatic Sea

“I have a very beautiful, very dangerous wife,” he admits, a woman who is his constant North Star. “I always listen to her. She provides me with wonderful food, a warm bed, and the inspiration to show everyone on my ship memorable good times.”

As the ship sails towards Makarska, and Mito begins to think of the “adventures” that await him at home, he continues to talk about his ship.

“Of course sailors want action. They must keep their distance on the ship, but the summer passes quickly. If they need a day off for love I never ask a question. I just tell them to agree on who will do what, how, and that’s it.

“We have had several cases on board that resulted in marriage. Love flared up, really flared up on this ship. Even my son found love on this ship. He met his wife onboard”.

The suggestion is clear. Mito’s  ships a “Love Boat”

Good Mood on the Boat
Good Mood on the Boat Makarski Jadran

 

Though momentarily at a loss for words, I could understand what Mito meant. This was no ordinary cruise to gorgeous islands. It was a passage that took me back to my past, to my youth, a time when I ached to be in love-to find a soulmate.

Not an ordinary companion, but one I shared my dreams with – one which made that fire flare up. That would be real companionship, exploring and finding joy together.

Don’t we all need that now? Real togetherness, sharing our humanity together. Wouldn’t that help us get though the current storm?

Captain Mito, along with all his jokes and stories, certainly knows all about love. He has certain wisdom. So as I headed home from this momentous day at sea, I kept smiling. I knew I would soon return to the “Love Boat.” Very soon!

Can you catch the sun?
Can You Catch the Sun?

 

Wonders from sheep island!

Written by: Anita Palada, Edward Kiersh

Photos: Tourist Board Kolan, Cheese factory MIH, Cheese producer Šime Oštarić

Grandma Tonica was a risk taker, a woman with a “secret recipe” which she shared with her family—a recipe that is now winning international acclaim.

Back in the 1990s Tonica Pernjak owned a small restaurant on the Croatian island of Pag, otherwise known as “Sheep Island.” Farmers, salt producers and other local people showered her with praise for the hard sheep cheese she hand-made in her basement.

MIH's prized sheep
MIH’s prized sheep

That chorus inspired her. Tired of simply cooking, and hoping to launch a more profitable business that would use old-fashioned cheese production methods, and be environmentally-friendly, Tonica taught her son Dubravko, and later her grandsons, the intricacies of that remarkable recipe— and to have a “passionate” relationship with cheese making.

While she attributes her good health at age 88 to eating “lots of Pag cheese,” Dubravko and his sons learned their lessons well. They devoted themselves to following her recipe to make an indigenous Promenka sheep cheese that is naturally flavored by salt. They also strove to give their cheese various aromatic qualities influenced by the sheep’s grazing on pastures which contained thyme, sea fennel, sage and other herbs.

Treasures await at MIH
Treasures await at MIH

“Tonica had this wonderful dream, the special hands needed to adjust the moisture in the milk, to mold cheese, to really create magic,” insists Šime Baričević, the CEO of MIH SIRANA KOLAN, the Pag company that Tonica’s grandsons Šime and Marin now operate.

“Even though producing cheese on this barren island that is buffeted by strong Bura winds is very difficult work, she remained faithful to her dream. She always prized quality, doing everything by hand, keeping cheese on wooden palettes, not plastic, to increase flavor, and she always preached these lessons to her son and grandsons. She had the dream, they made it happen.”

Now appealing to Paksi Sir cheese connoisseurs in Croatia and other European countries, MIH has grown into a dairy with 550 sheep and 27 employees who are scrupulously schooled to respect Tonica’s revered production techniques. They painstakingly filter, cool, filter again the milk, add dairy cultures, and finally mold the cheese.

But as another Pag Island cheese maker Šime Ostarić says, “anyone making hand-made cheese must inject special energy into cheese, put yourself into the cheese. Cheese making can’t just be for money. Your hands must show love.”

MIH Beauties on Display
MIH Beauties on Display

Baričević is certainly passionate about MIh’s “unique” and highly-lauded Tartufin, or black truffle cheese.

“While all of our products are the result of our special environment close to the sea, our truffle cheese is unrivaled. We only use the choicest black truffles from Istria, so the smell is fantastic. This hard cow cheese made from Pag curd has black truffle aftertaste that is just superior, a cheese that shows our commitment to pure old-fashioned quality.”

MIH Cheese Makers
MIH Cheese Makers

Compared to the island’s largest cheese company Paksi Sirana, MIH with its’ 550 sheep is a relatively small company. That allows MIH to maintain the highest quality, and to make other artisanal cheeses such as Otancan, a cow and sheep cheese, and Kolanjac, a cow cheese. Both are also highly-regarded by aficionados.

Yet on Pig  where scores of small producers offer tourists a selection of homemade cheeses on their farms and in Kolan houses, Šime Oštarić is a one-man, boutique cheese maker.

“Of course I want to profit from my work,” say this 31-year-old who only owns 50 sheep on his small farm near Kolan. “But i do this very hard work because I really do love the whole process.”

Artisan Šime Oštarić at work
Artisan Šime Oštarić at work

“My mother Maria taught me everything I know about cheese making. I’d come home from milking the sheep, and she’d patiently explain all of her secrets to me. That’s what cheese making is, secrets, your hands, your love, and also knowing the wind here, the ferocious wind here.

“The Bura can be very cruel, drying the land, and making it hard for the sheep to eat. Then I have to buy corn for them and hope. Hope to survive, and to show people that my cheese is made my way with the greatest of love.”

 

   Pig Heaven

Written by Anita Palada, Edward Kiersh

Photos: Anita Palada, Hotel Marmont

Mr. Pig is very muddy.

It’s been raining in this heavily-forested, northeastern part of Croatia near  Lika, and finding acorns on the pastures close to the Korana River means lots of scampering through the mud.

Black Pig
Black Pig

He runs, jumps, sniffs a lot, burrowing his pink nose deep into the ground. Mr. Pig is very determined, seemingly aware that being a member of his very elite Black Pig fraternity carries great responsibilities.

My Secret and Secluded Cove

Written by Anita Palada, Edward Kiersh

Photos: Anita Palada

How do I escape the madness, soothe my restless soul? What do I do when the world seems upside-down, torn from its’ axis, and feel like many of you do right now, that the stress keeps mounting, and is too overpowering?

I flee.

 

Determined to be child-like again, to play, and to discover an entirely new reality, I escape to a place that is all mine.

My secret and secluded cove. My very own smooth stone on the Dalmatian Coast in Croatia.

It’s a stone that allows me to be free, at least for some precious moments. A stone that even lets me follow the paths of mermaids swimming offshore. I am so alive here, so entranced that I can see the long tails of these mermaids flapping in the deep blue sea. Her hair shines in the blazing sun, and she glides so beautifully, it’s easy to understand why passing fishermen yell to her, desperate to embrace her magic.

Yet this cove with so many other-worldly powers is still secret. It is not so easy to get to. There are so many large boulders in this wild, untamed place, so many rocks blocking my path. They make it so difficult to see the transparent sea, and its’ playful, glimmering fishes.

We all encounter boulders in our life, insecurities and various obstacles—so there is only one choice—we push ahead, we remain determined, ever courageous.

I jump from boulder to boulder, and my imagination gives me new confidence. I can’t fall, and so with each strong leap, I edge closer to my cove, my stone.

Once I finally feel its’ warmth, its’ hugs, my eyes start to wander, to explore all the shades of gold, blue and green surrounding me.

Pine trees.

The clear, uplifting blue sky.

The limitless horizon.

My soul soars, comes alive. So do my secret desires and fantasies.

I am young again. Reborn and renewed.

Of course I never want to leave this paradise.

But there is still one unresolved mystery.

As I sit on my stone, and watch the golden sun caress the water, I keep wondering,

“Will she appear today and take me to places only a mermaid can visit?”

There is only one answer. I better stay here a little longer, just a bit longer, to wait for her. To dream.

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