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view of houses from atop the city wall
Dubrovnik, Croatia; Aug 31, 2005

rethink croatia

Like many Americans, when I think of Croatia, I think of war. The only exposure to Croatia that I’ve had (or remember) is through the news, and it’s all been about violence and destruction in their country. I feel upset about it because there is so much more to this country that Americans are not hearing about so now I take it upon myself to tell you – Croatia is WONDERFUL!

lots of little islands off the coast of Hvar island

It’s certainly true that there was a lot of devastation in a lot of areas but they’ve done an amazing job rebuilding over the past decade. And if you get a chance to chat with the locals about the war, it is apparent that the emotional pain is still quite near the surface. But the people we spoke to say that tourism is on the rise again and that the locals are moving on with their lives. Looking out on the amazing coastline, it’s heartbreaking to imagine the horrible war they had here.

Anyway, like the locals, let’s move on. Croatia has a long coastline dotted with over 40 islands (see sidebar). The Adriatic Sea is clear and warm (enough) to swim in. The coastline isn’t the sandy kind we’re used to in California. It’s the pebbly kind which took some getting used to since it hurts a bit at first, but Croatians will argue that it is much better since sand sticks annoyingly to your sunscreen.

The locals are amazing hosts. Outside the major tourist areas, not many people speak English but in addition to Croatian they often speak Italian or German which covers the bulk of tourists to their country. Nonetheless, we were welcomed by the grannies that rented us rooms in their homes. They gave us fresh figs from their trees, wine they had just finished bottling, tomatoes off the vines and generally lots of smiles and hugs. Croatia is one of our favorite countries so far and Jelsa (a little town on Hvar) is one of our favorite towns. We hope to come back and visit our friends here again soon.

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