What we noticed when travelling in Croatia, was the large amount of private homes with accommodation.
What you look for is a sign that says 'ZIMMER FREI,' this means there is a room to rent.
We stayed in one near Plitvice Lakes, there are dozens around this area.
Our room was in a full house, it looked like they had built a new house next door.
We had a huge bedroom, a huge newly renovated bathroom and a proper kitchen for our own use.
We happened to be the only ones staying here. The owner brought over a nice plate of savouries, was nice and friendly and helfpul. Breakfast wasn't included and in this case the Double cost 200kr - A bargain!
We decided we would stay in one again!
One of the most characteristic dishes from Croatia is called "mjesano meso", the mixed grilled meat. It is content of: sausages (kobasice), thin slices of meat roasted on a skewer (raznjici), spiced meat (cevapcici), pork filet (lungic), etc.
Opanak is handmade and very light leather shoe, inevitable part of the national garb. There are special and very skilful craftsmen who produced this shoes. This kind of the shoe is characteristic for the most of the Croatian regions. The difference can be noticed in decorations and colours.
Not every region but every place in Croatia have its own garb, very different in style and decorations. All garbs are made excusevilly from the nature fabrics only; wool, coton, hemp and flax. Morover, all parts of the garb are handmade, usually during the long winter days. By the type of the decorations and colours it is easily to know from which part of Croatia the garb is coming.
This one on the picture is from the region of Banija.
The "difficulties" of the Cyrillic alphabet are well-known. In quite a few countries with predominantly Slavonic population the official alphabet differs from Roman. It is called as many know "Cyrillic" and as much less people know - in all it's variations it is a very phonetic and easy-to-remember alphabet.
What is less known: it has a brother, called "Glagolitsa" - which today is used as Croatia's second alphabet but much less common. Still, one can get a surprise... In some villages the road signs are in both Glagolitsa and Latinica!
The Glagolitsa may look very exotic... but the order of the characters matches it's brother 100%.
The most sadistic kind of road sign would be a bi-lingual Glagolitsa-Kirillitsa (and nothing else!) but I did not see such thing yet.
There is an interesting difference that while in Kirillitsa the numbers are like in "western" alphabet, in Glagolitsa it's not the case, they use letters for that.
You may notice, the infamous "shch" (try imitate a hissing snake!) is there, it used to be the hissing like in Russian, now it became something like soft "ch". Neither has English equivalent, so have fun trying it out!
Just like their meals, Croats like to draw out a drink of coffee as though they hadn't anything better to do. A typical day can involve three or more coffees in the morning, noon and night. Cafe is the place where locals prefer to pass the time and makes for a common meeting place for both business and pleasure.
When warm weather hits it is amazingly common to see half the city population sitting outside chatting the day away. Don't be surprised if noticing the same people at the same cafe-bar, day after day, we like to have "our" cafe-bars where everybody knows everybody.
So, when you come to Croatia, sit back and relax.
The island Pag has some of the best cheese in the world.
It´s main sheep cheese and it has it´s own unique taste because the island is very barren and a lot of sea salt gets blown on to the island so that the sheep milk has a different taste.
The most famous cheese from Pag is called "Paski sir" and is really really good.
It has been voted one of the best cheeses in the world at several food fairs and i totally agree with that.
All of the local wines that I tried (all reds) were good. I was told the best is the Dingac, but I also enjoyed the Viski plavac from the island of Vis and the house red pictured here was pretty decent as well.
For some reason, the quality of wines surprised me, but then again, if you think about the Roman influences here, it's really not that shocking that Croatia would produce some good quality wine. In fact, it is said the the robust red Zinfandel style wine was first made in Croatia.
Formed in 1995. under the influence of 60's garage and surf classics, Sisak based band The Bambi Molesters won sympathies of rock critics and underground rock audience soon after their first album "Dumb Loud Hollow Twang" was released in 1997. The whole album with 15 original songs was recorded in unbelivable three hours.
Since then they have been playing regularly in Croatia and all over Europe and their fiery and energetic live performances helped to build their reputation as one of the finest and most original contemporary surf bands. They played as a touring band of the R.E.M. in several of their European concerts. In 1999. the band released their second album "Intensity!". Their 3rd album "Sonic Bullets: 13 From the Hip" features Peter Buck (R.E.M.), Scott Mc Caughey (Young Fresh Fellows, R.E.M.'s touring band), the Walkabouts frontman Chris Eckman, Terry Lee Hale, American singer/songwriter and Speedo Martinez, singer of the fabulous The Flaming Sideburns.
In 2003 they made the remake of their out-of-print album "Dumb Loud Hollow Twang - deluxe" released with a bonus DVD featuring documentary about the band, that includes footage shot 1999-2003. covering band's different shows as well as Bambi Molesters' R.E.M. support act.
Check their website for some mp3 samples.
I assure you - its better not to understand every word we say. Especially for your mental health :-)
Croatian language is part of slavic languages spoken in mid and eastern Europe. We do - actually - understand each other (cro and foregin countries) but it depends on langage and how fast one talks of course. BUT often we dont understand each other. One from Meðimurje and one from Dalmatia - if the talk dialects - wont understand eachother a word.
Now when we speak to eachother its most likely we will use lots of curses and generally bad words in our sentences. This is not because we want to insult someone - its just a bad habit. Let me give you an example:
''Utakmica je bila dobra u p..... m....., ne možeš vjerovati...''
''The game was good in your mothers v...., unbelivable...''
''Bio sam žedan j.....te i onda sam maznuo litru vode''
''I was thirsty f.....u and i drank one liter of water''.
So, generally, noone wants to insult, just lack of good habit. Its not expected that you do the same. If you do, everyone will be amused coz we love to hear stranger cursing and we find it sympatic.
Auckward isn't it??? Well, thats the way it is!
Most people will be able to speak english with you, some of them german and/or italian. When you travel, in the ticket offices you might have problems understanding or that they will understand you - happens.
Generally everyone speaks english.
Pronauntiation in croatian and in english is much difference. Here i bring some of usable words or sentences:
''Excuse me'' = Oprostite
''Dobar dan'' = Good day (this is how you should greet us)
''Dobra veèer'' = Good evening
''I don't speak croatian'' = Ne govorim Hrvatski (after this one u dont need new words or sentences hahahaha, u will just switch to english).
I am not sure if i am allowed to bring some ''bad words and sentences'' so i wont, if u ask me dont worry, ill answer. I wish you good luck with this one!
I spent New Year in Dubrovnik which was absolutely fantastic. Although it was cold everyone gathered on the main street in the old town where there was a stage, music and LOTS OF FREE CHAMPAGNE!!!! In fact, the people on the stalls kept urging you to take more and more (this proved fatal for me). There was such a great friendly atmosphere and no aggression or vandalism like you might find in parts of Britain.
Apart from all this that took place around 12 o'clock they had lots of other events like a choir group competition and live music all day piped out onto the street. Although no one was drunk in the day many were dancing to the live music in the street. The Croats seem like confident people who love to enjoy themselves. I'm not too sure about their general ability to dance though!!!hehe. Which meant I fitted in really well as it was my kind of dancing (more bobbing and shuffling of feet than fancy moves!).
I mustn't forget to mention the great firework display at 12 o'clock although I did miss my traditional 12 Spanish grapes!!!
My Croatian New year was defiantly one of the best New Year's I have ever had. I highly reccomend it!
I realised numbers were a very important thing to know. For even if you could ask how much something cost ( Koliko kosta -pronounced koshta) it was useless if you couldn't understand the answer.
Numbers - Brojevi
0 zero - nula
1 one - jedan(masc), jednaFem, jedno (nt)
2 two - dva(masc), dvije (fem/nt) (dveeye)
3 three - tri
4 four - cetiri (chetiri)
5 five - pet
6 six - sest (shest)
7 seven - sedam
8 eight - osam
9 nine - devet
10 ten - deset
11 eleven - jedanaest
12 twelve - dvanaest
13 thirteen - trinaest
14 fourteen - cetrnaest (chetrnnaest)
15 fiftheen - petnaest
16 sixteen - sesnaest (shesnaest)
17 seventeen - sedamnaest
18 eighteen - osamnaest
19 nineteen - devetnaest
20 twenty - dvadeset
30 thirty - trideset
40 forty - cetrdeset (chetrdeset)
50 fifty - pedeset
60 sixty - sezdeset
70 seventy - sedamdeset
80 eighty - osamdeset
90 ninety - devedeset
100 a hundred - sto
102 one hundred and two - sto dva
500 five hundred - pet stotina
1000 a thousand - tisu?a
a million - milijun
a milliard - milijarda
Hello - Zdravo (hallo when answering the telephone)
Goodbye - Dovidenja (dovijenya)
Thank you Hvala
Excuse me- Oprosite
good day -dobro dan!
Do you speak English? - Govorite li engleski?
I don't understand- Ja Ne razumijem (ya ne razumiyem)
I don't speak Croatian- ja ne govorim hrvatski
a little- mala
the bill- racun (rachoon)
am - sam
you are- (ti) si
we are- (mi) smo
this- ovaj (masc),ova (fem), ovo (nt)
that- tai (masc), ta (fem), to pronounced taw (nt)
Thur- cetvrtak (chetvrtak)
Sat- subota (soobawta)
Sun- nedjelja (nedyelya)
toilet was normally written as toilette although there are other words.
I'm sure these phrases sound formal as they were learnt mostly from a phrase book. At least you won't talk down to anyone! I heard a lot of them used anyway.
Although travelling through Croatia is a nice thing to do, the Croatians seem to have a strange habit on worshiping people. For many Croatians the generals of the Croatian army who have committed war crimes are heroes, because in their eyes these generals have fought for their independence. Which contradicts with the general accepted idea in the international community that they are still the committers of actions against humanity. So at the moment the discussion about the war crime suspect Kodovor is being held vividly in this country. Often you can find posters of Kodovor hanging, where the message states that Kodovor will never be hand over. Kodovor is on the list of the ICTY of people who suposidly have to be delivered to this court in The Hague. However this Court will close it doors very soon and the responsibility will be hand over to the court of Bosnia and Herzegovina. That rises up the question if this war crimes suspect will be delivered at all...
ps There is no problem in discussing this matter with Croatians. Many of them reject the crualties of the war also.
In the coastal towns, especially in Dubrovnik and Trogir, we saw so many stray cats wandering the streets. They are all very small and thin and very cheeky... and I felt so sorry for them I wanted to take them all home. I think next time I visit a Croatian coastal town I will bring cat food... even though I don't know if the cities (or the cats) would appreciate it?!
My favourite incident was a cat that was chased by a big dog around the Riva in Trogir. It escaped by climbing a palmtree just behind us.
The currency of Croatia is the Kuna, its abbreviation is kn. There are 100 Lipa in 1 Kuna. The banknotes look rather similar to the good old German mark which isn't a big surprise considering there is a small note "Printed in Germany" on some of them. ;)
You can get money from ATM machines all over the country. Petrol stations, shops and bigger restaurants accept credit card as well.
Here are some hints on how much some things you might need approximately cost:
1 pizza in Zagreb = 25 kn
1 pizza at the coast = 35 kn
1 pizza in Dubrovnik = 45 kn
1 meat dish, e.g. Cevapcici = 50 kn
1 pack of Marlboro lights = 20 kn
1 litre of Eurosuper 95 = 8kn
1 public transportation ticket = 8 kn
1 capuccino in a café = 9 kn
1 softdrink in a restaurant = 12 kn
0,5 litre local beer = 15 kn
One Euro is approx. 7,35 EUR as of May 2007. Happy calculating!
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