Yards in front of houses
Speaking of local culture you cannot avoid people's yards and gardens, as they are inseparable from houses, from villages... this is where living rooms on open air are, here life and socializing happens, and views of the streets are most spendid if not enclosed behind a wall.
A modest yard will almost always have shade of vine, the local variety climbing and forming dense green roof upon a terrace of stone in front of main doors, where table and chair awaits family to sit down and their guests. Here, wine with its rich flavour and color will be shared... sometimes 'lozova rakija' with its high 'voltage' but of excellent quality straight from a wooden barrel... an invitation by a villager to sit down would be rude to refuse.
Gardens... fruit trees are the king and queen of the garden: pomegranate with its beautiful textured seed, fig tree if place allows, sometimes oleander with poisonous beauty, maybe a rosemary, then lavandel, cactuses and sometimes, though rarely, rose with its fragile individuality. I have already mentioned vines which are the first on display. Small patch of land will allow some vegetables to grow, though on a microscale... gardens and yards in villages are among those houses built close together are small, a few square meters and have to be both functional and serve for aesthetic pleasure, though modest... yet very pleasant. Stone is the construction material here, it will built pavements and walls and houses, benches and wells and water storage containers.
Yes, water is a resource so rare in dry Mediterranean regions that every drop needs to be treated with care and for many centuries Mljet locals had been collecting it from the rain, thus those water containers still take important places by peoples houses. Without water, there is no chance to prosper. Water means literally line between life and death in places so dried... on surfaces pierced with many underground caves and channels, like a swiss cheese.
- Historical Travel
donkeys are part of culture
Traditionally donkeys and mules were used as a working animals in many places in Croatian coastal regions. Now, things are little different and donkeys are replaced by obedient machines... almost entierly.... but nothing can replace his beauty and intelligence, let alone that they have some specific properties which make them be very helpful for a man for many centuries. They cohabited together for that long.
It is more matter of luck and coincidence to see donkey in his more and less traditional place, the village as we found out... we walked quite for some time before we heard donkeys 'voice' and even this one has been then tied in the garden behind his landlady's house. Old people or those who're trying to farm sustainably, nowsadays labeled organic (and in fact they traditionally farm 'organic' since ages these Mljet people) are most likely to be the owners of donkeys today.
Only one I saw but I hope somewhere else on Mljet there are actually many more. I wish they were more, everywhere.
- Arts and Culture
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Farm Stay
goats in Mljet
More than any other (domestic or wild) animal we saw goats: no wonder, because for them island with lots of rock and Mediterranean bushes is perfect place to live. Their milk is used for excellent and healthy (naturally organic) local cheese, which is half hard and kept in olive oil. Ask by the road side stalls for 'sir iz ulja' to fetch some for home or order it in Mljet restaurants, almost all have it on menu and many from their own goats.
Lots of village people still keep goats, one or a few of them mostly. It's not uncommon sight to see goats when exploring villages... yes... and see some of them live in such location that millionare wouldn't mind either (see the picture of goats in Ropa, upon the cliff... they do have scary beautifully view).
- Farm Stay
- Business Travel
olives, the source of divine oil
Olive orchards are plentiful on Mljet and most of them are owned by small farmers which means somehow their oil will be too good to be sold at the shops - under their deserved price. It takes hand picking and involves work almost without machinery, on patches of soil near settlements or little further away. Orhards are treasure of a family, generation after generation.
Their gray hues make for the typical Mediterranean scenery, their narrow leaves for finest textures and good shade. It makes a good walk among them by taking paths of a local farmer, yet even better are cold pressed oils of the finest quality - which can be bought at some people's homes or by the road side stalls.
- Farm Stay
- Arts and Culture