Wednesday, 7 April 2021

Historic Day: First April Snow Cover in Split Ever Recorded (PHOTOS)

April 7, 2021 - The first April snow cover in Split was recorded on Tuesday night as weird spring weather ripped across Croatia. 

It was a historic meteorological evening in Split on April 6, 2021. In the coldest moment of the evening, the temperature at the official DHMZ station, located on Marjan, measured 0.4 ° C (rounded to 0 ° C). This is only a tenth of a degree higher than the absolute minimum for April measured on April 8, 2003.

Snow fell all over the city, but higher city areas were covered, especially in neighborhoods like Visoka and Mejaši. 

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Miroslav Lelas / PIXSELL

The peak of the ice wave hit Dalmatia last night at around 9 pm. Snow fell on the entire Split area, including Kaštela. In Inland Dalmatia and  Dugopolje, the snowfall was up to 20 centimeters! 

 

In Kaštel Gomilica, there was a real snowstorm with hurricane gusts of bura wind up to 120 km / h. Snow also fell along the coast in Vodice, Šibenik, and Brela, reports Dalmacija Danas.

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Miroslav Lelas / PIXSELL

Due to strong gusts of wind on the Dinara, the cold was as high as -24 degrees. As the snow fell, the temperature dropped to 0, which is also one of the record low temperatures for Dalmatia at this time of year.

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Miroslav Lelas / PIXSELL

Southern Croatia does not remember when the last snow fell in April.

And although it was only a symbolic snow cover, it is the first known snow cover in Split in April in known history, reports Dalmacija Danas.

 

Until this morning, Dalmatia was cut off from the rest of Croatia. Last night from 10 pm, all traffic from the interior to Dalmatia and vice versa for all categories of vehicles was prohibited, and only this morning at 6 am did traffic open, however only for personal vehicles to the junction Sveti Rok and then state roads through Gračac, Obrovac, and Karin.

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Miroslav Lelas / PIXSELL

There is still no passable road to Dalmatia for delivery vehicles, buses, trucks, trucks with trailers, and tractors with semi-trailers, and HAK warns drivers not to drive if they do not have to.

 

While we wake up to sunny skies on Wednesday morning, at least those of us in Split can say that we experienced a historic meteorological night! 

For more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 12 March 2021

Zadar: Contracts For Social Entrepreneurship Worth HRK 10 Million Presented

ZAGREB, 12 March, 2021 - Labour Minister Josip Aladrović and deputy director of the National Foundation for Civil Society Development Luka Bogdan presented eight contracts in Zadar on Friday worth nearly HRK 10 million for projects to strengthen the capacities of old and new social enterprises and entrepreneurs.

"Today, we signed contracts with entities that are just starting and that are developing their business in accordance with principles of social entrepreneurship," said Labour, Pension System, Family and Social Policy Minister Josip Aladrović, noting that the ministry has provided over HRK 112 million to encourage social entrepreneurship.

The pandemic and crisis have created an opportunity for doing some things better and fairer, he said.

I believe that we can find a way in our business to regain a positive social impact. There are four counties among the co-signers: Zadar, Šibenik-Knin, Split-Dalmatia and Lika-Senj counties. All forms of entrepreneurship in these areas are more important than ever before, mostly due to the impact the pandemic has had on the tourism sector and all related activities, Minister Aladrović said, adding that by signing the projects they want to strengthen the capacities of old and new social enterprises through additional employment and education.

Deputy director of the National Foundation for Civil Society Development Luka Bogdan  said that social entrepreneurship was one of the models connecting solidarity and entrepreneurship that could be seen every day, not just in a crisis.

The purpose of the projects is to employ members of vulnerable groups -- women, Croatian war veterans and victims of the Homeland War, people with disabilities and others, and this will include creating new jobs and improving the knowledge and skills of employees through specialised forms of training and employment.

Before presenting the contracts cofinanced by the European Social Fund, Minister Aladrović and his associates had a working meeting with representatives of the City of Zadar on increasing capacities of retirement homes.

According to state secretary Marija Pletikosa, it is estimated that about 5% of the population aged over 65 needs accommodation in a retirement home, and Zadar has not yet reached the capacity to accommodate 3%, so it is necessary to build new retirement homes.

Aladrović said that he supported the idea because increasing the number of accommodation units for the elderly population across Croatia was one the priorities of his ministry.

For more about business in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 16 February 2021

VIDEO Peljesac Bridge Makes Giant Progress Leap With Land Connection

February 16, 2021 – The future of Croatian travel is almost here! In this brand new video Peljesac Bridge's gigantic horizontal sections are installed, joining the land to colossal sea pillars and bringing to life a project so mammoth it was previously difficult to visualise

The Peljesac Bridge project is so huge, it hasn't been easy to imagine just how it will look. Even after seeing all the plans, maps, computer-generated graphics and the imported parts arriving the bridge will be so vast, so important, so revolutionary for Croatia, visualisation of how life will look on the other side has been hard. Until now.

In this brand new video Peljesac Bridge's gigantic horizontal sections are installed, joining the land to colossal pillars standing steadfast within the brilliant blue of the Adriatic sea. We can finally see in the video Peljesac Bridge coming to life, taking shape and how connectivity to southern Dalmatia and its islands will be changed forever.

Explaining Peljesac Bridge's significance and life-changing promise to those not from Croatia can be difficult. Sure, rising 55 metres above the sea and stretching over 2400 metres in length, this is a big bridge. After reeling off the figures, anyone would be sure to agree. But, there are many, much bigger bridges out there.

Vividly illustrating its importance, in this video Peljesac Bridge is seen joining two parts of the Croatian mainland over a vast stretch of sea. On a bright and sunny day there is no interruption of the light glaring down on the project. Within a beautiful backdrop of pristine blue waters and clear, cloudless skies – a sight that will be familiar to all who have visited Croatia – in the video Peljesac Bridge can be seen traversing a topography littered with islands and peninsulas. And, in the background, lies another country altogether – Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The never-ending tailbacks, time-consuming, business-retarding and visitor-annoying border controls required for travel across the thin section of Bosnia and Herzegovina are absent from these February scenes. But, not only are they absent from this video Peljesac Bridge will eliminate them forever. Following the bridge's completion, south Dalmatia, Dubrovnik and its islands, will be just as accessible by road as Split or Makarska. Brought to life by this video Peljesac Bridge progress is more than just taking shape – the future is almost upon us.

Monday, 15 February 2021

Good Progression for Peljesac Bridge Construction, Finished by End of Year?

February the 15th, 2021 - What with coronavirus, a few political scandals and protests being held by those who were unable to work due to the country's current epidemiological measures, it's been easy to forget about what was once a top theme in the news and media - the Peljesac bridge construction process down in southern Dalmatia.

The Peljesac bridge construction wasn't immune to the coronavirus crisis either, with parts and even Chinese workers unable to get into the country for some time a while ago before proper measures could be thought up and introduced in a timely manner, leading many to wonder if this will be yet another stragetic Croatian project that fails to meet the deadline. This fate for the bridge, however, seems to have been averted, at least for now.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, today, the Peljesac bridge construction is set to take another important step to its much anticipated final realisation as it will finally connect with the mainland, that is, the first pillar that rises up out of the sparkling Adriatic sea below will connect with the pillar from the mainland, marking a significant leap in progress.

Davor Peric, a civil engineer from Hrvatske ceste (Croatian roads), explained that the two parts would be connected by an element 52 which is 52 metres long and weighs as much as 587 tonnes in total.

Given the fact that Chinese hands working for a Chinese enterprise are the ones building the massive structure, the Chinese New Year was also celebrated in Komarna, the location of the Peljesac bridge construction site, and the workers were all on a two-day break.

''The celebration was well felt,'' said Ivo Jerkovic, the owner of the facility where the Chinese workers are accommodated for RTL Danas/Today, adding that they also prepared gifts for the workers, including homemade wine, olive oil and other traditional gifts which are given at this time of year in that culture.

The Peljesac bridge construction process, at this rate, could even be completed by the end of the year despite all of the obstacles it has faced, both long before and during the pandemic.

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Monday, 8 February 2021

Dalmatian Bacon Joins Prosciutto With European Protection

February 16, 2021 – Pršut tends to hog the limelight when people discuss Croatia's mastery of preserving pig, but prosciutto is far from the whole story. Croatian bacon is the best bacon in the world! Having now attained EU-protection, Dalmatian bacon looks set to rightly become the next most famous export of traditional pork produce from the region.

If you've visited Croatia – perhaps, even if you haven't – you'll have tried or at least heard of its famous prosciutto. Known locally as pršut, this dry-cured ham is a renowned delicacy. Taking pride of place at every public buffet, it is served thinly sliced, usually uncooked and savoured simply alongside bread, cheese, wine and olives. It is enthusiastically imported from Croatia across Europe and no less than four Croatian prosciutti from different regions are protected at an EU-level. But, pršut is not the be-all and end-all of Croatia's mastery with preserving pig.

As well as famous sausages like Kulen, kobasica and krvavica, Croatia is also brilliant at making bacon. That's no overstatement. They are not just good at it – Croatian bacon may be the finest you will ever try.

The best bacon made in the country usually come from Dalmatia and Slavonia and is, like Dalmatian prosciutto, smoked. Though Dalmatian bacon may stand slightly in the shadows of the region's more delicate pršut, this more robust and flavoursome product is featured within a greater wealth of traditional, cooked dishes and praised by anyone who tries it.

dalmatinska-panceta-gvarilovic-lidl-263517.jpgDalmatian panceta © Gavrilovic

However, the secret of Dalmatian bacon may soon be let out of the bag. This traditionally made product has received the same EU-protection as Dalmatian prosciutto. Sometimes called slanina or panceta (even though, in Italy, the title of pancetta is usually reserved for bacon which is not smoked), Dalmatian bacon was protected at a national level in 2019, the first steps required in order for it to apply for a similar classification within the EU. Confirmation of its EU-awarded protection was announced by the Croatian Agriculture Ministry on Tuesday 16 February 2021

Dalmatian bacon is salted by hand, pressed and smoked. Unlike bacon available in other countries, Dalmatian bacon is only ever that which is elsewhere called 'streaky' bacon, as opposed to 'back bacon'. It is made from pork belly and chest. It has belts of whitish fat running along its length, which carry a substantial amount of flavour. Its traditional salting and smoking process are so thorough that it can be eaten raw, uncooked and is regularly enjoyed in this way.

Dalmatian bacon is aided in its preservation by low winter air temperatures and in its drying by seasonal winds.

Friday, 5 February 2021

Initiative to Rename Split Airport to be Launched, Says County Prefect

February 5, 2021 - Split-Dalmatia County Prefect Blaženko Boban announced that in agreement with local mayors, the competent ministry, the airport administration, and other stakeholders, he would launch an initiative to rename Split Airport.

Famous for saying, "Forgive me, Lord, for I am a Dalmatian," Saint Jerome is the protector of Dalmatia and is honored on Saint Jerome's Day on September 30. Interestingly, according to the oldest and most famous Encyclopedia Britannica, Jerome was born in Stridon, a village near Emona on the border of Dalmatia and Pannonia, probably near modern Ljubljana in Slovenia. 

However, as it has yet to be scientifically proven, Split-Dalmatia County Prefect Blaženko Boban doesn't seem to mind, so much that he will launch an initiative to confirm just how much Saint Jerome means to Dalmatia, reports Slobodna Dalmacija

"Saint Jerome is our saint, the protector of Dalmatians and Split-Dalmatia County. His birthplace, which has never been scientifically proven, was not the motive for choosing Saint Jerome, whom we have long worshiped in our area, as our heavenly protector. We sincerely hope that the whole world will worship and respect him as we do. May he be the protector of the whole world!"

Boban added:

"In my opinion, the wrong direction is to limit the worship of a saint to the place of birth. For example, Saint Dujam, the patron saint of the city of Split, is worshiped by the people of Split, even though he was not born in this area. Through the generations, numerous families give names to their children in honor of our saints, Dujam and Jerome. There is a wide range of names - Dujam, Duje, Jere, Jeronim, Jerko, Jeronima, Jerka ... And the proof of the veneration of Saint Jerome in our area over the centuries is numerous churches dedicated to this saint."

Therefore, in honor of the heavenly patron of Dalmatia, the Split-Dalmatia County Prefect announced the following important step in branding the favorite Dalmatian saint:

"Our exclusive motive is to worship Saint Jerome. Moreover, we plan, in agreement with the mayors, the competent ministry, the airport administration, and other stakeholders, to launch an initiative to rename our Split Resnik Airport after our heavenly patron, Sveti Jeronim Dalmatinac."

To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 28 December 2020

Croatia Through the Eyes of a Digital Nomad: Dalmatia’s Underground Fungi is Croatia’s Black Gold

December 28, 2020 - Cyndie Burkhardt continues her nomad lifestyle with her experiences in Croatia - this week with a little truffle hunting in Dalmatia. 

The area surrounding Split is joining the exclusive and rarified world of wild truffle hunting, where these underground mushrooms are highly prized delicacies and adorable dogs track them down in secret locations.

One fine day I sat in a cozy hilltop restaurant in Motovun sipping Croatian red wine and gazing at both the picturesque view out across the countryside and the eyes of my handsome boyfriend across the table. We were exploring Istria and I was about to have the most anticipated meal of our trip. The entire place had a gentle whiff of truffles and it filled my nose. The waiter placed two bowls of pasta in front of us and started shaving truffles on top. He asked if I wanted more. I smiled and said “yes!” and he proceeded to cover my dish. I think I melted before I even took a bite.

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(Dogs experience the world through scent. The key to training them to find truffles is scent and positive rewards—they smell a truffle, they get a treat.)

That was years ago and I’ve eaten truffle pasta only one other time—until now, that is—but I’ve never forgotten the experience. The area surrounding Split is joining Istria and Zagreb in the truffle economy, as recently reported here. Learning that I could go on a real hunt with dogs, and eat truffles, I jumped at the chance. 

Secret location

Ivana Najev met me near Mall of Split and blindfolded me before we drove to meet her father Tonci and the dogs at a secret location. It’s well known that truffles are highly coveted for elite dining tables and they rank among the rarest foods in the world with some of the highest prices. Given the stakes, I was only told that we were going to Mosor Mountain. The intrigue was killing me, but it was certain to be an adventure and I acquiesced.

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(Dalmatia’s soil is predominantly black, which produces black truffles like this black winter Tuber Melanosporum.)

Truffle dogs

Once the car stopped and I got out and saw the dogs, they were irresistible. Aldi is seven years old and a seasoned professional. Indi is one and a half years old and is still full of puppy energy. Both are medium sized Lagotto Romagnolos with golden brown curly coats, and they’re absolutely adorable. Their fur reminded me of my grandmother’s hair, God rest her soul. I liked them immediately. The dogs darted around the forest bursting with excitement before getting to work. I laughed out loud watching them run about, their faces and tails full of expression.

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(One tactic in training dogs is to stuff toys with truffles and bury them, making a hide-and-seek game fun for them.)

When it was time to hunt the dogs were focused, moving from one spot to another as scents caught their attention. Aldi and Indi work together but they don’t dig in the same hole. When one finds a truffle spot the other one watches over his shoulder, as if waiting for the results. I don’t know if this is typical behavior for truffle dogs but it looked like team spirit, sort of like saying “hey buddy, nice score” and giving a high-five. Sometimes a dog would lay down right next to his spot while Tonci or Ivana dug into the soil to retrieve the prize.

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(Lagotto Romagnolos are the primary dogs specifically bred for truffle hunting. Truffle dogs can be expensive, it's not unheard of to pay $4,000 for a prime Lagotto and another $5,000 to train it. Training starts from two months of age and takes about two years for a dog to mature and become really good. They want to play, but they’re still working.)

Seductive smell

These trained animals were constantly moving and sniffing for good reason. As a truffle matures it releases a pungent odor when ripe, which is key to the hunting process. The smell comes from volatile organic compounds, similar to pheromones released by a male pig. I knew about truffle hunting with pigs and now I know the reason—they’re an aphrodisiac for a female. Pigs are natural hunters but also feeders, which is an abrupt way to watch your hard work and profit go down the drain; dogs are preferred.

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(Aldi and Indi are more than working dogs, they’re beloved family pets. They have their own room in the house with a carpet, a couch, and a television. What do they eat? Regular dog food.)

Intoxicating appeal

It turns out there’s more to truffles than sex appeal. Researchers in Italy found that black truffles produce a natural chemical compound similar to marijuana's active compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Truffles are not chemically addictive but many people find them intoxicating. “You start to eat and you always want them,” says Ivana. “The dogs have the same reaction, it’s like a drug. Indi lays down on the hole because the smell makes him happy, and crazy.”

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(A truffle’s size and smell are factored into their overall value, which can reach into tens of thousands of dollars at market.)

Nature Lover

How does someone get into this business anyway? It helps to be a nature lover and like most Croatians, Tonci Najev thrives on being outdoors. This is clear from his notable background as a professional diver. His feats include being on the expedition team that made the first-ever dive into the Red Lake, near Imotski, and earning records for descending 100+ meters (330+ feet) with pure oxygen, no mixing of gases in the tank. 

In those days Tonci spent the mornings diving for sea coral and the afternoons hiking. Up in Split’s mountains, locals told him they’d found truffles. His interest was piqued and he began researching the land, the trees, and the dogs. Today, with perseverance and persistence, Tonci has discovered 100+ truffle locations and he holds the first and only truffle hunting business permit in Dalmatia.

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(People often ask if the dogs work just to get a reward. Ivana says Indi and Aldi are eager to please and to see their father (Tonci) happy.)

Black and white

Two main truffle species are among the most esteemed food products in the Mediterranean: Piedmont/Italian white truffles (tuber magnatum pico) and Périgord/French black truffles (tuber melanosporum). They are the first and second most expensive truffles in the world, respectively. 

They grow wild in the forests of southern Europe and they’re native to France, Spain, Italy, Slovenia, and Croatia. Limited availability contributes to their value, as the majority of truffles on the market are cultivated.

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(What do Aldi and Indi eat? Regular dog food.)

Exclusive and expensive

Given the secret growing locations, labor-intensive sourcing, specially trained animals, limited quantity, and a short lifespan, truffes are a delicacy in the same camp as other rare foods: saffron, caviar, kobe beef, Densuke watermelon, and fugu. 

In 2020, white winter truffles (magnatum) sold in the range of $3,000-$4,000 USD per lb. (retail) and black winter truffles (melanosporum) sold for an average of $1,500 USD per lb. Prices constantly change and vary per the yields of the growing season, the class of truffles (including size and smell), and the rarity of the type. I found reports on European wild truffles selling at auction for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Damn. I’d love to know the life story of one of those mushrooms.

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(Dalmatia’s oak trees and karst landscape make a special environment that’s ideal for wild truffles to grow.)

Dalmatian truffles

On Mosor, we found two types of black winter truffles: tuber melanosporum and tuber brumale. Yesss! We got the good ones! I was impressed that we found anything at all, the ground seems to favor rocks. It’s described as a karst landscape, one that’s made up of limestone and has some sort of a natural drainage system beneath. As it turns out, the terrain and Croatia’s climate make an ideal habitat for wild truffles.

One other thing is needed—the right tree. Truffles grow underground in symbiosis with certain trees; specifically, truffle spores and tree roots share nutrients. Dalmatia delivers on this too and some of the most common “truffle trees” grow here—Hrast (Oak), Grab (Hornbeam), Smrič (Spruce/shrub), Corylus Avellana (Hazel), and Populus Alba (Poplar).

Dobak Tek

After a successful morning hunting, it was time to eat. Our dining room was Mosor Mountain, under a large oak tree, appropriately. Once again, I enjoyed fresh truffle pasta—prepared right in front of me—while sipping local wine and gazing at Croatia’s beautiful scenery. A spread of cheese, meat, and soparnik was the second course, all of it topped with freshly shaved truffles. I was glad I had skipped breakfast.

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(The morning hunt culminates with a fresh meal of homemade truffle pasta. Once a truffle has been unearthed, its journey from ground to plate should be no longer than ten days.)

It’s funny, the pasta was delicious but I can’t describe the taste that truffles add. Ton

i said chocolate and strawberry but I’d go toward earthy and musky. My palate isn’t that refined but I know what I like and I craved more. I really think there’s something to that seductive, intoxicating aroma; it engulfs your senses and your brain like a potion. Maybe the mere anticipation of truffles is what drives behavior such as auction madness… 

Winding down

After an upbeat morning I was pleasantly surprised that the tour kept going. On the drive back to our meeting location Ivana pointed out several places of cultural and historical importance—the remains of Skočiba, an old village in Gata that dates back to the Middle Ages; the church of Sveti Jure, on one of the highest mountain peaks in the country. It was a nice way to round things off and see more of Dalmatia’s heritage.

Leaving the seductive world of truffles, I thought about a modest comment Ivana made when we first discussed where to meet, “We do not have an office, nature is all we need.” I love that. I scored another great day outdoors, with good people and animals, in this country that I’m coming to appreciate more and more. By the way, there was no blindfold.

Learn more about tours with Truffle Hunting Dalmatia on the website.

Learn more at TCN’s Digital Nomads channel. 

Story and photographs ©2020, Cyndie Burkhardt. https://photo-diaries.com

For more of Cyndie's experiences, check out her Croatia Through the Eyes of a Digital Nomad column.  

Sunday, 20 December 2020

PHOTOS: Epic Croatia Weather Photography Stuns The World

December 20, 2020 – The 13 winners of the incredibly popular World Meteorological Organization annual competition have just been announced, and two fine pieces of Croatia weather photography are among them. These spectacular images of Croatia weather photography show all 9 Croatian photographs which reached the final in 2020 and all 10 Croatian finalists who similarly stunned the global audience in 2019

Croatia weather photography: the two newly announced winners from the 2020 competition
LošinjSandroPuncet.jpgPhotographer: Sandro Puncet Photo taken: Losinj island

Zrinka Balabanic Beach Sv.Duh -Pag island.jpgPhotographer: Zrinka Balabanic Photo taken: Pag island

Thanks to its popularity as a tourist destination, lots of people are now used to seeing beautiful photos of Croatia. Although, the images they usually see are of idyllic beaches, cloudless skies, stunning nature and turquoise blue seas. But, as anyone who knows the country will tell you - and as these photos show - Croatia isn't always like that.

Croatia weather photography: the two newly announced runners-up from the 2020 competition
Šime Barešić Drage, Croatia.jpgPhotographer: Šime Barešić Photo taken: Drage, Pakostane

Mislav Bilic (Croatia)Dubrovnik - Lapad Peninsula.jpgPhotographer: Mislav Bilic Photo taken: Lapad Peninsula, Dubrovnik

Out of season, Croatia can experience vastly different weather conditions to those advertised in travel brochures and blogs. And, whenever there's a spectacular weather occurrence, usually there's a photographer out there, braving the elements, trying to capture it.

Over recent years, some of the best Croatia weather photography has featured in the annual competition organised by the World Meteorological Organization. 2020 has been no different.

The other five Croatian finalists from the 2020 competition
Šime Barešić Drage, Croatia222.jpgPhotographer: Šime Barešić Photo taken: Drage, Pakostane

Sandro Puncet Isolated cloudisland Lošinj, Croatia.jpgPhotographer: Sandro Puncet Photo taken: Losinj island

Zoran Stanko Geisler Alm, Dolomites, Italy.jpgPhotographer: Zoran Stanko Photo taken: Geisler Alm, Dolomites, Italy

Maja Kraljik Umag, Croatia.jpgPhotographer: Maja Kraljik Photo taken: Umag, Istria

Igor PopovicRijeka, Croatia.jpgPhotographer: Igor Popovic Photo taken: Rijeka

The winners of this year's competition have just been announced and the two fantastic examples of Croatia weather photography within the top 13 will take their place in the 2021 World Meteorological Organization calendar.

The 10 Croatian finalists from the 2019 competition
Danica Sičič Srobreč, Croatia2019-min.jpgPhotographer: Danica Sičič Photo taken: Srobreč, Dalmatia

Romeo IbriševićPlitvička Jezera2019.jpgPhotographer: Romeo Ibrišević Photo taken: Plitvice Lakes National Park

Božan Štambuk Bundek Zagreb, Croatia2019.jpgPhotographer: Božan Štambuk Photo taken: Bundek park, Zagreb

Miroslava Novak (Pribislavec, Međimurje) 2019.jpgPhotographer: Miroslava Novak Photo taken: Pribislavec, Međimurje

As well as the two winners, two further examples of Croatia weather photography came in the runner-up category, of which there were 12 in total.

Francesca Delbianco  Zagreb, Croatia2019.jpgPhotographer: Francesca Delbianco Photo taken: Zagreb

Ivica Brlić Sava river Davor, Croatia.jpgPhotographer: Ivica Brlić Photo taken: Sava river, Davor, near Slavonski Brod

Nataša ŠafarKarlovac, Rečica2019.jpgPhotographer: Nataša Šafar Photo taken: Rečica, near Karlovac

Romeo IbriševićPlitvička Jezera201922222.jpgPhotographer: Romeo Ibrišević Photo taken: Plitvice Lakes National Park

Over 1000 photographs from all over the world were entered in the 2020 competition. The submissions were narrowed down to a final selection of 70 contenders. As TCN reported back at the start of October, no less than 9 examples of Croatia weather photography made it into the final 70, taken by 7 Croatian photographers.

Danijel PalčićPagIsland2019.jpgPhotographer: Danijel Palčić Photo taken: Pag island

Aleksandar Gospic Ražanac, Croatia2019.jpgPhotographer: Aleksandar Gospic Photo taken: Ražanac

Croatia regularly punches well above its weight in the annual competition, as we can see from these 10 examples of incredible Croatia weather photography that were among the finalists in 2019.

All images courtesy World Meteorological Organisation

Sunday, 13 December 2020

VIDEO: PlayStation 5 Release in Croatia Marked by Klapa and Traditional Instruments

December 13, 2020 - The PlayStation 5 release in Croatia has been marked by the traditional music of Croatian regions. 

The PlayStation 5 is one of the most anticipated releases in the gaming world, so much so that it achieved the highest launch month sales for a video game console in United States History since its debut there on November 12. 

Thus, to mark the release of the PlayStation 5 console, PlayStation Croatia, in partnership with musicians from several Croatian regions, recorded the opening sound of the new console authentically, and characteristic for each Croatian region using traditional instruments and song, reports HRTurizam.

It has been 25 years since the arrival of the first PlayStation console on the European market and during those years the sound reproduced when launching the PlayStation console is one of the features by which every PlayStation generation is remembered and recognized.

Thus, a music tour of Croatia was recorded, from Slavonia, Istria, Dalmatia, and Zagorje to Petrinja, in which the opening sound of the PlayStation 5 console was recorded on the Slavonian tamburitza, Istrian sopila, Zagorje bass, brass instruments, and Dalmatian klapa.

“With the opening sound of the PlayStation 5 console, we made a music tour all over Croatia! With the Slavonian sound of the tamburitza, the Dalmatian performance of the klapa, the Zagorje version on the bass, the sounds of Istria on the flutes, and a touch of Petrinja with brass instruments, the sounds of the PlayStation 5 console received new life with traditional Croatian instruments. The tamburitza ensemble Rubato, KUD Zlatela Kršan, Marko Horvat, Klapa Sebenico and Gradska limena glazba Petrinja took part in the recording," said PlayStation Croatia.

Videos were released with recognizable locations around Croatia, like Rovinj and Petrinja, an authentic Slavonian village near Slavonski Brod, the fortress of St. Mihovil in Šibenik and the Veliki Tabor castle, which you can find below. 

 

To read more about coronavirus in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Saturday, 12 December 2020

Move Over Istria: Truffle Hunting Now Available in Dalmatia

December 12,  2020 - Once the sole preserve of Istria,  Croatia's truffle hunting options are expanding - first Zagreb and now Dalmatia.

I love the randomness of life in Croatia. 

A wonderful country there the unexpected is always around the corner. 

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An invitation to go truffle hunting in the forests outside Zagreb a few weeks ago piqued my curiosity. Truffles and Zagreb? Really?!?

Oh, yes, but not only that. It seems that Turopolje truffles (the region which includes Velika Gorica by the airport) have long been an established tradition for those in the know - for years, apparently, these Turopolje truffles have been sent to Istria and sold there. In some cases, they have even made their way back to the restaurants of Zagreb via an Istrian detour. 

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My day in the forests of Turopolje was indeed an eye-opener, and you can read about it in Move Over Istria: the Rise of Zagreb Truffle Hunt Tourism.

And the Zagreb truffle story went beyond hunting. The truffles are now being served in dishes in an increasing number of local restaurants and they are inspiring new culinary combinations, two of which TCN featured recently - strukli with truffles and truffle pralines. You can learn more about them and follow the Zagreb truffle story here

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And there the story might have ended had I not been made aware of something that had completely escaped me during my 14 years living in Dalmatia - truffle hunting on the edge of Split. 

I am reliably informed that the best places for truffle hunting in Dalmatia are Dugopolje and parts of Zagora, but there is zero chance of finding them without those specially trained hunting dogs. 

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One small local business offers just that - the complete truffle hunting experience, complete with 4x4 transfers to their secret hunting locations. The Najev family are local Dalmatians in love with their heritage, offering a range of tours in inland Dalmatia, which is one of the most beautiful and undiscovered parts of Croatia in my opinion. Exploring the nature of the region is as exhilarating as the tour itself. Depending on the season, the truffle types to be hunted are the black truffle (Tuber aestivum, Tuber brumale, Tuber melanosporum) and the white truffle (Tuber borchi-bianchetto). At the end of the hunt, there is a truffle-themed tasting of local products. 

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One more authentic experience in Croatia that is not so well-known. Croatia is full of such experiences, and the development of an eco-system supporting and promoting such specialist local tourism will help develop a more diverse and sustainable tourism offer. 

You can learn more about Truffle Hunting in Dalmatia on the official Facebook page

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