We went to Croatia last week. In fact, to be more specific, we spent a wonderful long weekend in the historic centre of Split enjoying the vibrant city life and sampling the excellent local wine. On the last day we took a boat trip to the islands. We had hoped to go to the Blue Cave but it was too windy to be safe and so we set out in a small ferry to Trogir and then the Blue Lagoon.
I looked out for the gardens, as I always do, but they were remarkable by their absence. The centre of Split is a warren of medieval alleyways so perhaps it was not so surprising that there are no planted spaces but although the modern sea front has an avenue of palm trees the busy space is covered with pathways and cafes. On the islands there is no evidence of municipal planting in central areas but it is possible that there are parks that we did not visit. The small village houses that we walked past had vines and some bouganvillea but in comparison to similar villages in Italy or Greece the planting was quite sparse. Croatia is not a wealthy country and perhaps this is part of the explanation - gardens are a luxury when it is a struggle to make a living . Our friendly taxi driver Mario gave us another clue - he told us that when he grew up there was no colour at all - every surface was grey, covered in the dust from two cement factoriesm and the sea was contaminated with the outflow from a chemical factory. It would be difficult to grow anything in earth poisoned with chemicals and air thick with cement dust and so it is no wonder that there is no tradition of gardening. It is a testament to the energy and entrepreneurial spirit of the Croatians that the places we visited have recovered so quickly from the damage of the period of Socialism and the civil war after the declaration of independence in 1991.
Anyway, in lieu of flowers, have some pictures of boats.
I remember my daughter spent five days on an island in Crostia at the end of a month's interrailling last summer. They stayed in an apartment with a kitchen and were able to buy fresh produce to cook and eat so there must be places on the islands where the soil is good for growing. I remember travelling around the Greek Islands in the summer of 1980 and although I don't remember gardens as such there was a lot of home-grown produce which was always generously shared. Your photos are beautiful.ReplyDelete
Thank you! I am sure that if you go to the more rural areas you can see the farms and vineyards and buy local produce. Split was a very important industrial zone but has worked hard to transform the environment to the wonderful city that we visited.Delete
That clear sea looks heavenly. So glad you had a good break. It's the perfect time of year for some Mediterranean sunshine.ReplyDelete
We did! We have never been to Croatia but will definitely go back to explore other parts of the country and hopefully visit some islands.Delete
I went when it was still Yugoslavia; the hotel was rubbish, the food was dreadful and the bed was not changed in the fortnight we stayed. The only good thing is that when my husband lost his wallet, the hotel staff phoned the taxi company and the wallet was returned the next day. I am glad that you had a better experience.ReplyDelete
Oh dear! It sounds like a very grim holiday - how quickly things have changed. Split is now a major destination for cruises and it is the perfect place to explore for the day and then admire the stunning coastline from the deck as you sail away into the sunset.ReplyDelete