So, you finally did it! The flight to Croatia is booked. You checked all your flying details, solved all your deadlines and schedules and now you can start thinking about your well deserved holiday. Destination: Dalmatiaaaaa!
Sure, you can be on the safe side and spend your time according to the guide books, but this column will show you another perspective and give you all inside information, so you could feel and discover the real soul of our country, hidden from all the 'Croatia-full of life glamour'.
As it is written, this is only for the brave and tough ones, who are willing to put all their already made plans aside and are capable of spending few days without the only thing that keeps you awake during long nights and is with you at each step of your way, for better and for worse, whose name you mention first when you come to an unknown place. This little piece of your own heaven is usually called: Wifi.
So, if you are ready, please turn off your mobile devices (unless you are reading this text on one, then please stay tuned!), or put it on airplane mode, since we are ready to take off!
Traditional way of booking a room- NO BOOKING FEE!
It may be strange for you, but this picture represents one of the first forms of today's booking.com or airbnb. How does it work? You arrive to your destination and you basically have no idea where to go next. What shall you do? Please note that the first instruction was – no internet, no mobile or any kind of other devices please!
This old man is your answer. Around 20 years ago this was the only form of booking, right on spot, without having any idea where you are exactly going. Sure, you can not check the reviews and see the pictures of your new home, but this element of surprise definitely has its advantages. You simply pull your car over and use the key words like apartment, Zimmer or room and there you go! Maybe you won't hear fluent English or German, but trust me, when it comes to business, this people are always at the top of their game. And let's be honest, no one's able to find you a better place to stay in Croatia than Croatian people.
I know that this kind of booking is a maybe too risky and truth to be told, even most of people who live in Croatia wouldn't choose this method for finding a place to stay, but the important thing I wanted to point out with this story is that the whole concept of working and providing accommodation for foreign guests was created by older generations years and years ago and they have past it on their children and their children's children. Over the years, it has simply become an unwritten rule: treat your guest as a part of your family, welcome them with some homemade liquor and schnapps and provide them with everything they need. I am not talking just about the perfect accommodation, but about the fact that you, as a guest, will feel like their friend and it will definitely feel like home to you - guaranteed! And it's kinda easy to get used to it, isn't it?
I give you my honest Croatian promise and word, there is no corporation or multinational booking page which will put more effort into trying to provide you the feeling that you're welcomed and appreciated. And in today's modern world, this starts right from the first request, first email or phone call.
Note: if you are really lucky (be aware: this is only for the single ladies and gentlemen), you will experience a totally different level of Croatian hospitality at its best! The main reason (if you put aside the fact that Croatian people are really easy going and friendly) is that your hosts could consider you as a „great catch“ for their grandchildren. Keep in mind that the good thing is that your potential husband or wife has nothing to do with grannies ideas about them getting married, so you don't have to worry about potential stalkers while your stay. ;)
No gym, it's time for some cheat days!
We all know that in today's world we are all trying to keep our good looks at highest possible level and that my friend, unfortunately does not include junk food, but healthy meals and a lot of exercising. Sounds kind of boring? I know, but we have to deal with the fact that it has become a big part of today's way of living. Of course, I will not tell you to stop doing it, but come on, you are on your holiday and it's time to relax a little bit!
You already heard that a million times? Sure, but what if I told you that you won't be going to the gym, you won't be running around while having +40 degrees outside and you will still have the opportunity to keep your healthy way of living on highest possible level? Well, Ladies and gentlemen, I present you the ultimate healthy program in Dalmatian style (no calories counted!)
Keep in mind that your day begins really early, basically around 4 am, before the everyday routine begins. This is a feeling that everyone needs to experience at least once in their lives. Just close your eyes and imagine the moment when you go outside, the sun is shining in your face and you can not hear a single thing around you except the sound of waves and few birds which have also decided to get up before anyone else. No cars, no fog, no noise, no problems - no stress at all! It's just you and the nature around you. Sounds almost to good to be true, right? So, you are wide awake and feel more alive than ever. This kind of enthusiasm is needed for a day out on the sea. Yeah, that's right – we're going fishing!
You can not fool me, I know that you're already feeling pretty cool with your fishermen equipment and your fisherman's hat and you're starting to feel like a true captain. I could say that I almost feel sorry for you that you can not take a selfie right now and post it on your social media, but I really dare you just to try it, to experience a day on the opened sea without having any connection or attach to anything or anyone in the „real“ world. Trust me, you will be very thankful later!
OK Captain, everything is ready: you and the crew are now on board, on the opened sea, listening to the old fisherman, about his life and experiences. As he keeps sharing most incredible anecdotes and you get completely lost in the stories, suddenly you feel something pulling your fishing rod. Everyone starts yelling,your pulse raises, the excitement gets bigger and you know that everything is up to you! It's almost like a Titanic moment: you are Jack, your fishing rod is Rose and you simply won't allow to let go! What a romance, ha? (Don't worry, it's just a metaphor, so chill Jack, you won't drown because of Rose)
So, you were never so determined in your whole life and at the end, after a huge and tough fight, you finally did it! Congratulations Captain, your next meal is there and you caught the biggest fish ever, almost big as a shark and you caught it with your bare hands! (I know that's probably the version of the story you'll be telling your friends, so don't worry about it, it't going to be our small secret ;) )
OK, so what's the next step? Well, the best is yet to come! It's time to prepare the fish in the traditional, 'old school', dalmatian way, on a home made barbecue. As you see the fish being prepared and hear the relaxing sound of fire beneath it, you suddenly don't feel the need to have your protein shake or smoothie anymore, do you? Well, I am proud to announce, you are acting like a real Croat now!