Unless the Bura (Bora) is blowing (and often when it is) Croatians are outside – living. They are gathered in cafes under huge umbrellas and awnings, sunglasses donned – hats optional, they are in their gardens, and walking, sometimes dancing, doing their shopping, sailing, scuba diving, riding horses, fishing, swimming and sunning. The concept of a ‘sitting room’ (aka living room) is beyond foreign and does not exist in any of my Croatian experiences to date (thus the reason I have sold nearly all of the normal accouterments found in an American living room). If you are inside with Croatians you are gathered around their dining table eating and talking, drinking (coffee or Rakia or homemade wines – the families of most Dalmatians of my acquaintance have been making wine for between 400 and 700 years) and talking some more. The TV is most likely on in the background in either environment and the atmosphere will be raucous and passionate if football is ‘on’.
But more about being outside.
The thing is that Croatia boasts 3,630 miles or 5,840 kms of coastline so even with an onslaught of tourists (last year 11.3 million) visiting from all over the world from June to August you and yours will not be fighting for beachfront to claim or open water to enjoy. An astonishing amount of her coast is treacherously rocky outcroppings, a good portion golden and creamy white pebbled and finally some sand crescents so beautiful you might never wish to leave especially when coupled with waters so pure they are listed amongst the top in Europe for cleanliness and sunrises and sunsets that still all capacity for words. All along the coast home-owners extend their properties into the Adriatic with charming piers, sometimes enclosing the sea water (yet providing drainage) so that small children can splash safely at high tide in the heat of the summer afternoons. There is a very pleasant landward breeze that cools Croatia ‘in the season’ is called the Maestral.
Now, I am not a country bumpkin. I got over, and embraced (in theory), the ‘bare it all’ mindset of Europeans on my first trip to Budapest and the Hotel Gellert Baths but I must confess that I had never heard the word Freikörperkultur before this trip to Croatia; when your traveling companion, Ken Herron, tells you he spent a summer ostensibly ‘studying’ in Germany you learn all kinds of new things. So here we are, in Istria, doing our best to expand both our horizons, and yours, sharing all with you so that when you come you have the benefit of our experience and to save you some embarrassing (and costly) mistakes in protocol.
Further there are 114 Blue Flag Beaches in Croatia (again, reference how pristine the water is) and Istria has 40 of these very special beaches which maintain the highest possible environmental management and quality standards criteria (a new list of awardees is announced each 5 June).
So yesterday, as we arrived in Croatia, I powered through some work and took a much needed nap (making me late for dinner!) and Ken set off to explore Rovinj’s beaches. While I went to see 2Cellos after dinner last night, Ken went to bed. I was up late, posting this YouTube video from the concert, and he was up early. I am packed, but can’t find my diamond earrings, but haven’t had breakfast yet because I am writing this – I best hurry it’s 8AM.
I have no idea if Ken went FKK yesterday or this morning – it’s like “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” but as we enter the first official day of our participation in the #ShareIstria contest I hope you will follow us as #IstraKT (across social media platforms Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and help amplify our various posts on social media.
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