Sunday, June 8, 2008

Final thoughts on Croatia

Croatia is a small country, yet the diversity in terrain, vegetation, architecture and culture is vast. We didn't even explore the eastern-most section of the country. Zagreb feels East European. The architecture is heavier, some buildings more grandiouse, the vegetation is more temperate. Even the food was heavier. The Adriatic coast is semi-tropical with smaller dark pastel buildings. Only in Rijeka did we see the more grandiose buildings we saw in Zagreb. In terms of food - everywhere there was fresh fish and seafood. All over Croatia - Italian food, especially pizza, is popular.

We passed through farmland, some areas looking quite depressed, others more affluent. We were surprised to see almost no evidence of farm animals - we occasionally saw signs with a cow picture (cow crossing?) but no actual sightings of animals. The mountains are astonishing - one side quite verdant, the other dry and barren. The coast is very Mediterranean, with beaches (many rocky), smaller homes, fishing boats and less industry. There were still signs of the Homeland War - though more in the small inland towns.

When we went to see a folk dance evening in Dubrovnik, it was astonishing to hear the variety of musical styles, the different costumes and the many styles of dance.

It's a new country and you can often hear the pride of people, but there are serious issues of unemployment. Croatia will be joining the EU shortly - there are concerns about more young people leaving to find better jobs.

Croatia is a wonderful place to visit. People where we stayed made a point of asking us to tell our friends. They desperately need tourism. It is their main industry. So I'm passing on that message.

Still travelling....

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