Friday, 19 October 2012

A click from the other part of the world

There's nothing better than having someone do your job (for free!), on account of which you end up collecting likes. Good old copy-paste! I bet someone from inland Croatia would call me a typical Dalmatian right now. You see, they think we're all lazy, and I say it's not laziness , it's just 'fjaka', and they're just jealous.  ;)
The word 'fjaka' could be explained as psycho-physical condition which occurs in perfect surroundings of coastal areas, where life feels so good it makes you want to lie down, enjoy the beauty, and not move a finger.
But back to my topic. This summer I had the pleasure of hosting my dear friends, Morana and Terii, with whom I not only spent incredible couple of days, but who have sent me these lovely photos, as well.

Thanks Morana Paj & Terii Bazley!   

Thursday, 4 October 2012

A working summer in the Mecca of festivals!!!

As I was handing in approximately the 99th document I needed in order to open a tourist agency, in our small but rather bureaucratic country, filled with the kind of enthusiasm you see in every optimist drunken with the idea of trying to create something special through his own business, a frightening idea crossed my mind - I will be missing only the best time of the year - summer in Šibenik!

Maybe I should've done what most of my clever colleagues from the Faculty of Philosophy had done, get a job at school, teaching kids a little about Weber and Marx, a little about passato prossimo and the prepositions, enjoying my three-months vacation on one of amazing islands of Šibenik Archipelago , activating granny-service and visiting all those festivals that make Šibenik more famous each year (OK, maybe the title ''Mecca of festivals'' is a bit too pretentious, but if you multiply the top lists of prestigious magazines on which some of those festivals are placed with years of tradition some of those festivals have, and divide it with the number of enthusiasts in Šibenik, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about). But no, I decided to spend the very best part of the year working like a horse, playing a doorkeeper, translator, psychologist, manager, cleaning lady...      

My mother's comment, and she's the biggest rationalist I've ever met, was: ''Don't waste your time. Deciding to be your own boss in the time of recession is simply bad timing... ''
But then it hit me! I would be a really bad promoter of tourism if I didn't have at least a small bite of what Šibenik has to offer, sharing it afterwards with all those sceptics who still think Šibenik is only a drive-through destination on your way to the beauties of Krka and Kornati.    One may think that the offer is always the same, but Šibenik offers something new and promising every year. Therefore I decided to mix business with pleasure through the form of my blog.

Because of my hobby, I had the chance to travel a lot and visit so many beautiful countries, and I was always surprised how some countries, with a lot of work and enthusiasm, simply know the right way to use and sell what they've got. Šibenik definitely has a lot to offer, and it seems that others have finally realized it.
The amazing beauty of the untouched islands in Šibenik Archipelago, numerous festivals, including Terraneo, the International Children's Festival, The Garden Tisno, Chansone, Regius, Off jazz&blues festival,.... There's also the brand new city beach ''Banj'' from which you can enjoy one of the best views of St James Cathedral, and let us not forget the amazing apartments which definitely don't fit into the old fashioned idea - OK, I've got 4 walls, why don't I furnish them with the old things from my place, and buy some new furniture for myself.
You'll find so many gorgeous apartments, some of which hide real historical legends, art work and details which will thrill you with its inventiveness and love that was put into their decoration.
Art apartments

Penthouse Happy bird

There are also some new cool places to visit, like the wine bar Vino&Ino, which offers many incredible vines, with the priority of those from Šibenik region, and where you'll also find designer brands, all made in Croatia. It's placed at Mala Loža, an amazing location near St Ivan Church.
To my great joy, my acquaintance Ana Bujas opened a store which, in my opinion, should be obligatory in every tourist place. In this charming little store called ''Galerijana'', placed inside an old stone house at Gorica, you won't find any typical 'made-in-China' souvenirs that you can see at the majority of souvenir stands in our tourist places. Unique pieces of clothes straight from the hands of renown Croatian designer and sculptress Ivana Popović, hand made leather handbags, ''Sapunoteka'' natural cosmetics, sailors with inspiring messages by famous Croatian academic painter Ana Kolega, and so much more!


But, let's get back to my summer. I've managed to take my friends out to ''Pelegrini'' and taste their tuna sausages, white fish fillet with lemon potato purée, and their well-known carob cake. It's no surprise that the specialties from Rudi's kitchen have been chosen to represent Croatia on Croatia Airlines international and internal flights, within ''Taste of Croatia'' project. That way visitors can enjoy exquisite vines and one of the best Croatian restaurant's specialties, thousands of meters above the ground. As expected, my friends were thrilled with Rudi's cuisine, and the looks on their faces showed that they were even a bit surprised that Šibenik has such excellent offer
Morana and her boyfriend Terii were simply enchanted by the beauties of Šibenik. Terii, who comes from New Zealand and lives and works in Florida, was so ecstatic about Šibenik, that in one moment (I'll skip all of the adjectives he used, to make the story short), he declared that he felt like walking through the Bible itself. I know, some will say I'm exaggerating, but believe me,  I'm just quoting his own words.    

I found time to go and see a lovely puppet-show about Pinocchio, the legendary wooden puppet, in interpretation of French Theatre ''Compagnie Jean-Pierre Lescot'', at the Summer Stage of the International Children's Festival, and see the face of my favorite three-year-old after watching his very first fireworks at the opening of the 52nd International Festival, describing it with these words: ''This is the most beautiful thing I've seen in my whole life!''. By the way, when I was a kid, that same fireworks and all the little joys about the Festival's opening, where something we used to wait for the whole year, and wouldn't miss for the world!
At the time of the festival, the city becomes a revelation of children's imagination and creativity, and this year was no exception. The colorfulness and children's imprecision fit perfectly in the Medieval face of the old part of Šibenik.  Every morning, after grabbing the best coffee in town on my way to office, I had a chance to witness the incredible music workshop led by Bill Connor, just steps away from my office window. Even now I can hum you the melody which was making me smile for 10 days.

Maša :)

No matter how busy I thought I would be, I knew that Terraneo was something I had to visit this year as well, and thank God, I managed to spare two nights! Couple of years ago I went to Exit Festival in Novi Sad, and it was absolutely perfect, but Terraneo, regardless of how young a festival it still is, has nothing to be ashamed of in comparison to other, older festivals. Apart from all the big names that attract over 45000 people each year, the next thing to mention is definitely the relaxed Terraneo atmosphere. Where else could you wake up in the morning, go to the beach only a kilometer away and refresh yourself in clear blue sea, later go to one of the National Parks here, and finally enjoy, on festival grounds, a glass of exquisite vine, thanks to the wine bar ''Vino&Ino'', or chose between a fried Monkfish and a shark sandwich in local fast food ''Šešula''....yummy!
Just follow our example, cause nobody knows best places to eat better than the locals do. Visit one of our finest restaurants, such as Uzorita, with a 100-year-old tradition, and indulge your taste buds with sheepshead bream carpaccio, black truffles and capers, followed with a glass of some great vine from their rich vine offer. 

I saved the best for last, my favorite place in the world - the island of Kaprije. Trust me, you won't be sorry if you spare a few days in September and visit this oasis of peace, still undiscovered by tourists, under lower prices in this period, of course. A perfect place to put your mind at ease.
Thanks to Mario and his tractor, we didn't have to drag our luggage up the hill to our apartment. Yes, you heard it right - a tractor! All of the islands in Šibenik Archipelago (with the exception of Žirije) are car free and completely without traffic, which is another plus if you're planning to spend your vacation with kids.
We had coffee and took of to Margita's place. Our nice apartment owner welcomed us with 'rakija', which is still a kind of enigma for us, since nobody's really sure what it is made of. Walnuts, honey, carob, whatever it is, one thing is undeniable - Margy's rakija is incredible!  She showed us our apartment which was simply adorable, and only few minutes walking distance to the beach and the centre, and some 10 minutes to Plitka Polokva Beach. It's fascinating to see what Margy managed to fit into only 30 m2, especially because she did it all by herself. The place is really nice and tastefully decorated, inside an old stone house, and its look fits perfectly into the idyllic scenery of Kaprije. In my oppinion, it's a perfect place for a young couple.
We had our morning routine, coffee at one of the local bars, a visit to  Zrinka and Nino's Liberty Beach Bar for the perfect Mojito, afterwards climbing the wild roads to Mala Nozdra Bay for the incredible lunch and another glass of good vine (funny, but from this perception, someone might think that we spent the summer getting drunk :) !  What a life!!
Mario transfer

sailer Bepo :)

Little Margy's home

Beach bar Liberty

on our way to Nozdra

Oh, I almost forgot, I managed to catch the first night of Regius Festival, too, and had a great time listening to Marčelo, Superhiks and my favourite band - Let 3!
And there's still so much more I wanted to visit, events like Murter Rock Fest, Salsa Fest, Vodice's hot night life, Skradin's rich gastro offer, Garden Fest, Medieval Fare in Šibenik... But don't worry! Remember those clever colleagues of mine I mentioned earlier, from the Faculty of Philosophy? Well, they had three lazy summer months, and they'll share some of their stories with you in some of our next blogs.
Šibenik has got nothing to offer?? That's the biggest delusion I've ever heard! Maybe that's how it used to be, but those times are behind us. We have finally opened our eyes, realized what we've got, and we're going to get better every year!! :)

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