Island News

End of an Era: Last Cold One at The Office in Jelsa

By 27 November 2016

All good things come to an end.

Soon after I moved to Hvar permanently in 2003, I met a guy from London who also wanted to move to the island. He bought some properties from me, we became friends, then partners, and he was a perfect addition to my new-found idyllic Adriatic life. British humour, sarcastic, open-minded and ready for a cold one whenever the need arose.

Our nine years together brought us ever closer, the more so as - like me - he fell in love with a local girl, married and had a daughter. Life was set - fate had put us together on Europe's sunniest island where life was good and the beer (relatively) cheap.

During some of the (many) dark winter nights, we used to joke about who would be the first to leave, and how would that farewell be. It would be unthinkable to imagine life on Hvar without the other. And then one day...

An opportunity in the Caribbean led to our farewell a few years ago. The departure - short, liquid and very British - at Marko's Pizzeria one late morning in Stari Grad, was not quite as we had scripted it, but soon he was gone, one last journey on the ferry to Split, and I was left alone with a fresh cold one to contemplate the last wonderful 9 years, and the uncertain future.

Hvar changed for me a little that day.

I often wondered if I too, would eventually leave, find a different opportunity which would be a better family option than the paradise of Jelsa which has become my adopted home. Based in The Office in Jelsa (aka Caffe Splendid on the main square), there were really few better places in Europe to conduct one's business.

But circumstances too do change, and opportunities do arise, and so when the ever faithful Captain Nijaz told me a couple of days ago that today would be his final day of the season, I realised that when he returned in 2-3 months, I would no longer be in Jelsa, and that after 13 years, today would be my last day at The Office.

It was a typically glorious Hvar day - you don't find that sunshine in many places in late November.  

Thirteen years. It has been quite a run at The Office. I will not pretend the service has always been the quickest or the beer the coldest, but the love has always been there, and for childcare services for a Dad hoping to pop out for a quiet pint, it has been second to none. And as a showcase office too - a place to store documents and meet clients - unbeatable. I am sure that in my real estate career, seeing a fat Englishman living the cappuccino lifestyle from his main square cafe contributed at least in part to one or two sales - if he can do it, we can do it so much better. 

So thank you Captain and Mrs Nijaz - you have been amazing these thirteen years. May you live long and prosper. 

The Total Project is evolving nicely, and the future looking very bright indeed, and I thank you all for your considerable support these past five years. It has been truly humbling. We are about to make a major new departure, which will be quite a challenge, of which more details in the next month. 

But thirteen years in one office - does one leave a legacy? Not that things like that bother me, but I had to smile today, as we are about to enter December. After more than a decade of watching locals in 9 layers of clothing during winter sunny days, it was heartening to see 75% of our table in 'kratke rukave', or short sleeves. 

The Total Project has been an amazing journey so far, and it about to enter a new phase. Thanks for your support, and stay tuned. 

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