Monday, 12 March 2018

Floods Threaten Croatian Towns

ZAGREB, March 12, 2018 - Following heavy snowmelt, the town of Hrvatska Kostajnica, 70 kilometres southeast of Zagreb, is bracing for landslides as well as floods due to the swollen River Una.

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Norwegians to Invest in Biomass Power Plant in Croatia

ZAGREB, February 20, 2018 - A Norwegian investor plans to invest 18.7 million euro in a biomass-fuelled power and heating plant in the business zone in the municipality of Žakanje, about 60 kilometres southwest of Zagreb.

Saturday, 27 January 2018

Belgian Company to Build Care Home for Alzheimer's Patients in Duga Resa

Lindbergh Care Group from Belgium is planning to build a care home in Karlovac County

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

25 Reasons You Should NEVER Visit Continental Croatia

Is it really worth leaving the Adriatic coast and discovering continental Croatia? 25 things to think about.

1. The Locals are Neanderthals

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Locals have been living here for a LONG time, but just how long was learned in 1899, when evidence of Krapina Pre-Historic Man was discovered. Fast forward over 100 years, and a visit to one of an internationally award-winning museum to showcase one of the most important Neanderthal sites in all Europe is a must. Learn more from the official museum website, which also introduces the project below:

Ever since its opening on February 27, 2010, the Krapina Neanderthal Museum has been attracting attention of visitors, not only due to the intriguing notion of NEANDERTHALS in its name, but surely also due to its specific ways of presenting the topic. Authors of the project and its realisation, palaeontologist Jakov Radovčić and architect Željko Kovačić, worked to bring us a better understanding of the people of Krapina from the Stone Age, who lived in this area 125,000 years ago. The exhibition is set up as a time machine through the history of the Universe, the Earth and Man, leading up to the present day, and lays special emphasis on the Neanderthal period.

2. They Murder Tourists on Trains

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Eastern Croatia really is a dangerous place to travel. Just ask Hercule Poirot, who awoke at 12:37 in Vinkovci to hear a scream which was linked to perhaps the most famous murder ever on a train, the subject of Agatha Christie's 1934 classic, Murder on the Orient Express. Learn more about this as Poirot attempted to find the murderer with the train stuck in the somewhere between Vinkovci and Slavonski Brod. 

3. Their Waterfalls Don't Work

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{Photo credit Romulic and Stojcic)

Ever been to Niagara Falls? Isn't the power and noise of that mass of water outstanding? Come to UNESCO World Heritage Site, Plitvice Lakes, in January, and you could be disappointed. No gushing sounds, but instead stunning natural beauty as this unique natural treasure freezes. Come in other seasons, and the waterfalls are noisy and majestic. You can share them with the million or so visitors a year, or come at the height of winter and discover Plitvice in all its glorious white, as our favourite one man and a dog team did in this video below - one of the finest I have seen in my time in Croatia.  

4. Locals Have Been Drunk for 5,000 Years

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You might think that Croatians only really drink wine and rakija, but their beer heritage dates back some 5,000 years, further proof of the ancient civilisation in these parts (and yes, beer drinking is civilised...). Learn more on that and the traditions and revival of the Slavonian beer tradition here. 

5. People Look Really Weird

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Come to Varazdin in late August, and you could get a real shock. So many weirdly dressed people. For each year, Croatia's most famous and biggest street festival takes place in every street and square of the delightful Baroque old town. Spancirfest is one of the very best festivals in Croatia, with lots of fun for all the family. Check it out below. 

6. Locals Make the Most Ridiculous Claims about History

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Where is the oldest continuously inhabited town in all Europe? In Eastern Croatia? Really?!? Apparently, yes - learn its name and read more here

7. The Wine is Too Posh to Be Served at Your Wedding

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Not so many visitors to Croatia know much about its fantastic wine story of 130 indigenous grape varieties and a wine tradition going back at least 2,500 years. One young lady who did was Queen Elizabeth II, whose coronation included 11,000 bottles of Traminac from Ilocki Podrum back in 1953. I have been told that Queen Victoria also liked a little Ilok tipple, but have not found anything to substantiate this. 

The wines of continental Croatia are FANTASTIC, and incredibly varied, from Medjimurje in the north, to the sparkling wines and micro-climate of Plesevica, Grasevina heaven in Kutjevo, and gems such as Erdut, Baranja and of course Ilok to the east. Learn more about the wines of Croatia on our Total Croatia Wine website.  

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8. You Can Die of Thirst if You Get Lost in the Croatian Sahara

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Yes, Croatia really does have its own desert. The Hrvatska Sahara is not quite as impressive as its African namesake, but an interesting visit nonetheless, with a great flora and fauna story. Learn more about the Croatian Sahara here.  

9. They Fight Wars with Live Roosters

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Close by to the Sahara (and with a family of three camels to match - bought from Germany by the enterprising Mayor of Djurdjevac to cash in on the Sahara story) is one of my favourite, and what must be the smallest, old town in Croatia. And with quite a legend. The residents of Djurdjevac were under siege from those pesky Ottomans, and it was only a matter of time until they succumbed. There were almost out of food, down to their last live rooster, when one old lady suggest to the commander that they fire the rooster from the cannon, to show the Turks how much food they had. It worked, and the Turks gave up, thinking they would have to wait months to starve them out. An annual Picokijada is held each year to celebrate the legend.  

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10. They Have Welcoming Tourist Villages with Names Like 'You've Been Poisoned.'

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Quite possibly my favourite tourism story of all. How a man left a village in the middle of nowhere in 1977 to earn a living as a waiter in Germany, then returned a week later and decided to open a restaurant in his village of Otrovanec (which translates roughly as 'You've Been Poisoned' (after another Turkish legend). I was very honoured to be present at the 40th birthday of the oldest rural tourism business in Croatia, earlier this year. The team at Zlatni Klas in Otrovanec - you are my heroes. Read about this wonderful, wonderful place here

11. You Will Turn into a Pumpkin Long Before Midnight

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Have you spent your life trying to get home before midnight to avoid turning into a pumpkin? Don't come to continental Croatia, as it will be unavoidable. Pumpkins, pumpkins, pumpkins. The pumpkin place to be each Autumn is Ivanic Grad, near Zagreb, for the annual Bucijada festival. From pumpkin beer to pumpkin everything - a fun day out. Top pumpkin tip which might sound a little gross, but is DELICIOUS - vanilla ice cream and pumpkin oil.  

12. Elsa from 'Frozen' is Waiting to Turn You into Ice

Ever wonder where those movie-makers for the hit 'Frozen' got their inspiration from? Majestic Trakoscan in Varazdin County, perhaps? Take a wonderful video tour. Trakoscan is a gem whichever season you visit - a truly special place.  

13. They Need 3 Million Bricks for Just One Building

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(Photo credit Romulic and Stojcic)

The Osijek skyline is dominated by one truly majestic building. This is what I wrote about it a few years ago on a visit:

Three million bricks, with construction overseen by one of the city’s most famous sons, Bishop Josip Juraj Strossmeyer, it was exactly 90 metres high, the same height as the city itself is above sea level, as I found out later when Mislav invited me to climb Mount Osijek in a park. It is the second tallest church in South-East Europe after Zagreb, and there is a replica in Cologne a little smaller at 80 metres.

“Look at the altar. What do you see?” Something was different for sure.

“Our Catholic visitors always look at the altar when they enter, but our Muslim visitors – and we do have them, the latest was a group from Kuwait – look a little higher The Islamic-style arch was a symbol of the bishop’s desire for Christian and Muslim co-existence.”

Learn more about this wonderful city, including proof that the Germans stole the music from Croatia for their national anthem

14. Their Youngest Gold Digger is 95, and He is Still Not Rich

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Did you know that Croatia had its own gold rush, on the banks of the River Drava. It is a really fascinating story, as told to us by the last surviving Croatian gold prospector, Mate Horvat, who I met last year at the tender age of 94, and watched with awe at his nimble presentation of how he used to prospect for gold with hundreds of others. Read about it here

15. They Make Rakija from Anything

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(Photo credit https://web.facebook.com/Slavorum/)

Those continental Croats will make rakija out of ANYTHING. I heard today about a guy who makes it from snakes. Some truly weird versions of the hard stuff. As well as some wonderfully aromatic concoctions - two of my favourite are rose and mistletoe. Proceed with caution... 

16. They Have the Most Bizarre Toilet Suggestions

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It is probably something to do with the childish British public school humour in me, but some road signs do make me laugh.  Such as this sign to the wonderful Krapina Toplice (spa) earlier this year. There is nothing crap about them at all. 

But then I really did laugh at something related which happened later. The Croatian word for South is 'Jug' (pronounced 'yoog'). There is a petrol station in southern Krapina called Ina. I called my friend and asked him exactly where he was. His reply?

"Ina, Krapina Jug." We both burst our laughing. Now try saying that sentence as if you were speaking English.

Hint: Where are you? In a crap in a jug. 

17. Some Locals Have the Craziest Ideas

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We have all been there - listening to some local going on about how they can change the world. 

Sometimes, though, they can - and do. Don't miss the birthplace of the genius that is Nikola Tesla, in the village of Smiljan near Gospic. It was a pleasure to be there on the Nikola Tesla EV Rally with the Rimac Concept One in attendance. I bet that would have made young Tesla smile.

18. Their Fish Swim Too Far from the Sea

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Karlovac may be most famous for its beer, but it has a wonderful new attraction, which is fab. Do check out the Karlovac aquarium

19. Their Vegetable Shopping is Extreme

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 (Photo credit: Romulic and Stojcic)

No 24-hour supermarkets here with year-round availability of watery frozen vegetables as you get in the supermarkets back home. Just the very freshest availability of whatever is in season. Fruits and vegetables which will take you back to memories of childhood when vegetables tasted 'proper'. The continent is little with high-quality food available directly from small producers who market their produce from the family field in front of the family home. Prices are just as good as the taste - we recently bought 13 kilos of delicious red paprika in Otrovanec for just 50 kuna. And there was certainly nothing poisonous about what was contained therein. 

20. There is No Such Thing as a Quiet Song

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There is music, and then there are the tamburasi. When a few guys with a range of instuments come together and start to play and sing, you know it is going to go on for a while. Most live performers sing for an hour, these guys can go on for weeks. It is infectious, and they turn up everywhere, including this vineyard I was visiting near Virovitica last year, where they played at length to celebrate the erection of a scarecrow. 

21. They Think They Can Teach Jimi Hendrix a Thing or Two about Guitars

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Guitarist and composer Ivan Padovec (1880-1873) was born in Varazdin, Croatia. Juraj Karl Wisner Morgenstern passed his music theory knowledge on I. Padovec in Zagreb. From 1829 to 1837 Ivan Padovec played in Vienna. As one of the last European guitarists of his time, he performed with great success at concerts in his homeland and abroad (Vienna, Graz, Prague, Brno, Budapest, Frankfurt, Hannover, Hamburg, London, etc.).He wrote compositions for a guitar, mostly variations and fantasies on popular operatic themes. In his vocal works, solo songs with guitar or piano, he successfully approaches to the spirit of Croatian folk songs. And his lasting contribution to the world was the 10-string guitar, which you can see in the Varazdin Tourist Board office in the town centre. This Varazdin guitar tradition has been revived with a new festival in the city in 2016 - the Flying Guitars Festival

22. They Put Sparkling Water into Wine

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Locals swear by it. There is nothing you can do, but succumb to the favourite tipple - white wine and sparkling water. Death by gemist - it is not a bad way to go. 

23. They Eat All Kinds of Weird Stuff

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I have given up asking what I am eating most of the time in Croatia these days. Before, I used to be a fussy eater, but everything I have had (with the noble exceptions of tripe and blitva) has been delicious. Slavonians have dishes from parts of the pig I suspect don't even exist, but they are masters of hearty meat cuisine, and the fish paprika is worth a section on its own. My advice? Don't ask - just enjoy. 

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(Photo credit - Romulic and Stojcic)

24. They Think Their Horses are Better than Yours

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State Stud Farm Đakovo is one of the oldest in Europe, it was established in 1506. The Lipizzaner horses from Đakovo have performed in numerous events in the world during the past. After performing at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, Queen Elizabeth II (that woman again... she seems to really like Croatia) decided to visit Đakovo Stud Farm in 1972. 

25. Your Romantic Story will Never Beat Theirs

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Many people think theirs is the most romantic story people will ever hear.

If you truly believe that, then don't come to continental Croatia, because nothing beats the story of the two loving storks, Malena and Klepetan. 

Continental Croatia is one of the great undiscovered destinations in Europe. Is it time to change that?

 

Monday, 16 October 2017

Karlovac County Cycling – Leave the Crowds Behind

While clearly not on the quintessential bucket list of any cycling bible, Karlovac County is a great starting point for bicycle touring addicts to embark on their exploratory Tour of Croatia, or a wonderful rural retreat for those cyclists in search of a spot to gather their thoughts and quietly pass a few weeks with their favourite two wheeled beast.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

670 Million Kunas for Flood Defence System in Karlovac

The “town on four rivers” will finally receive some flood protection.

Friday, 11 August 2017

ŠtrudlaFest #2 to Be Held in Jaškovo Near Ozalj

The Guinness-record strudel making festival will take place on September 3

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Marshal Tito Square in Karlovac Renamed

Proponents of the change say the move is not an attack on antifascism.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

New Heat Wave Coming: Where will be Most Affected?

Get ready to feel the sun as another heat wave comes ever closer...

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