An Introduction To A Fox's Love For The Adriatic

I once heard a saying, relating to one of Croatia's natural beauties that said:

        'On the last day of Creation, God desired to crown his work, and thus created the Kornati Islands out of tears, stars and breath'. 

What I didn't know then was that this particular quote, by Irish playwright, George Bernard Shaw, would start to build my love for the natural beauty of this world, particularly Croatia, and would be the reason I would start this blog.

It all started in 2009, when visiting ‘the motherland’, for the first time as an adult. The moment the plane flew over the borders of Europe, it felt like I had entered the territory of my second home. That small ray of sunshine coming through the plane’s window, warming my skin, was not only a sign that winter was officially over for the next 6 weeks, but that I was about to embark on a little adventure of self-discovery into my family and heritage. 

  What I discovered on this adventure was that Croatia is a culture that is so rich in its traditions. From the joyous and passionate singing of songs, by our klape (traditional a capella groups), that celebrate love, wine and the homeland, to the beautiful handmade čipke (lace work) found in the majority of households no matter where they live in the world, Croatian culture celebrates every aspect of its proud and passionate character.

  One particular place that gives me goosebumps each time I think of it, is the coastal city of Zadar. It’s a place where the sounds from the Morske Orgulje (sea organ) and the stunning views of the sunset light disappearing into the distance over the Adriatic sea leaves its visitors with no choice but to feel relaxed and desperately in love with its beauty. There is nothing quite like passing the Forum in Zadar whilst a klapa perform on a warm summers night. Friends and loved ones spontaneously dance through the marble stoned streets to their welcoming music (although I do advise not dancing on these marbled stones when there has been rain – trust me. You will thank me later!). 

  Along with Zadar, the other coastal towns along Dalmacija are known for their laid back personalities which are a reflection of the locals’ day-to-day activities. Take the ‘art’ of drinking coffee. While I am the first to admit Australia has the best coffee, it seems a rarity (besides on the weekend) to sit down and enjoy a coffee. Many are used to quickly ordering their double-shot skim cappuccinos takeaway (although I do prefer a good latte) because they are always in a rush to somewhere (I’m so guilty of this!).

However – Croatians sitting in a typical Dalmatian kafić know how to truly savour it. They know that drinking your veliki macchiato or crna kava should take, at the very least, 1-2 hours so you can soak in the morning and watch the people pass you by before you continue with your day. To me this is a true testimony to the Croatian quality of life.
  
It’s not just the coastal towns that contain such charm though, but the countryside too. The spectacular beauty of the coast seeps into the countryside. These towns always bring me back to the basics of life in such a nurturing way, which is refreshing after living a chaotic lifestyle in Sydney. 

From the drive on the autoput to a small coastal-country selo (village) of Budak, seeing crosses on the top of mountains and hills is a refreshing and welcoming sight as well as a reminder that this country is one strong in its Christian faith. These crosses give a sense of security and peace in a country where many political and social obstacles were overcome to get to where they are today. 

  The beauty of all this is that, while many Croatians live abroad, our rich and vibrant culture is so strong and proud not just in Croatia but throughout the world. 

  As in the words of Miriam Adeney, “You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart will always be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place”. 

While I am blessed to live in such an amazing city as Sydney and experience a unique Australian-Croatian culture with my dear friends and family, I too always long for the natural beauty and excitement from the homeland. 

This too though exists in many other countries and communities and so I hope to combine the gorgeous aspects of both my own personal love for Croatia and it’s beauty as well as the beauty of this world through this blog. 
To inspire you all and bring together travel communities and cultures would be my absolute longing. 

So relax and get ready to take this exciting journey ahead with me, the Adriatic fox!