Wednesday, 13 July 2022

Plitvice Lakes National Park Struggling for Staff, Some Facilities Closed

July the 13th, 2022 - The Croatian labour force continues to dwindle as a result of ongoing demographic issues and the ease of simply heading off to another EU member state to find work, higher wages and more general economic stability. Even Plitvice Lakes National Park is suffering.

The global coronavirus pandemic only forced the hand of this longtime trend, seeing what were qualified and skilled chefs, waiters, bar staff and people in other such positions go off to work either elsewhere, or train for new careers as the virus saw what put food on their tables closed during lockdowns. Now that Croatia's tourist season this year seems as if it's going to be just as good (if not better) than that of the record, pre-pandemic year of 2019 - you just can't get the staff, yet again.

These issues aren't just plaguing the coast, although that part of the country is undoubtedly being hit the hardest. Plitvice Lakes National Park, the most well known Croatian national park of all, is struggling to come across qualified staff, and some of their facilities have unfortunately had to remain closed as a result of these problems.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Plitvice Lakes National Park, known for its gorgeous cascading waterfalls and unreal hues of blue and green, is by far the country's most visited national park, attracting hoardes from all over the world.

This year, there are forty percent fewer guests than the record year of 2019, so the park's management decided not to open some facilities at all. They are also struggling with finding employees, they are missing waiters, cooks and salespeople the most. Most visited back in 2019, at the peak of the summer tourist season, more than twelve thousand people entered Plitvice Lakes National Park on a daily basis, writes HRT.

"It's actually in our interest that those excessive crowds don't happen again, and financially we are very close to reaching the figures we saw during those record years," said Tomislav Kovacic, the director of the stunning Plitvice Lakes National Park.

This year, due to the absence of large groups back during the pre-season as well as the absence of some guests who would usually arrive by plane, the park's management decided not to open some facilities such as the Bellevue Hotel, and the Borje camp and its accompanying restaurant.

"It's primarily our assessment that the facilities are not needed for this summer season, but they are ready if the need arises in August, we will manage to open them up in a few days if that ends up being the case,'' Kovacevic assured.

Although they had announced two tenders in which they'd have hired seasonal workers for summer 2022, there were still not enough applications for the positions of cooks, waiters and shopkeepers within the park's grounds.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated business section.

Tuesday, 5 July 2022

TripAdvisor Lists Plitvice Lakes National Park Among Top Attractions

ZAGREB, 5 July 2022 - American travel website TripAdvisor has listed Croatia's Plitvice Lakes National Park among top attractions and top destinations for nature lovers.

Plitvice Lakes National Park has been recognized by Tripadvisor as 2022 Travelers’ Choice Best of the Best Award winner for Top Attractions – Croatia, Europe, ranking second out of 10 and for Top Destinations for Outdoor Enthusiasts — World, ranking 22 out of 25, the national park's management said in a statement.

With these awards, Plitvice Lakes National Park has been included among the 1% of best sites to visit worldwide.

"In a year of heavy competition and changing traveler priorities, Plitvice Lakes National Park exceeded expectations and has been lauded as one of their favorites. Based on a full year of Tripadvisor reviews, the Travelers’ Choice Awards honor the best in travel, recognizing the places that delivered the most exceptional experiences," the statement said.

"Congratulations to the 2022 Tripadvisor Travelers’ Choice Best of the Best Winners," said Kanika Soni, Chief Commercial Officer at Tripadvisor. "The Travelers’ Choice Awards recognize the best in tourism and hospitality, according to those who matter most: your guests. Ranking among the Best of the Best is always tough — but never more so than this year as we emerge from the pandemic. Whether it’s using new technology, implementing safety measures, or hiring outstanding staff, I’m impressed by the steps you’ve taken to meet travelers’ new demands. You’ve adapted brilliantly in the face of adversity."

For more on travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 7 March 2022

Northern Velebit National Park Marks World Wildlife Day

March 7th, 2022 - In Croatia, freshwater and marine ecosystems are some of the most sensitive and most endangered, but also the most important national resources

World Wildlife Day was marked at Northern Velebit National Park last week, reports Novi list. Observed on March 3rd worldwide, Wildlife Day is the biggest annual event dedicated to wild animal and plant species. It was established in December 2013 at a UN conference; on the same day in 1973, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora was signed.

The theme of this year's Wildlife Day was ‘Recovery of Species Crucial to Ecosystem Restoration’, designed to draw attention to the conservation status of some of the most endangered wildlife species and encourage discussions on how to design and implement solutions for their conservation in the future.

In Croatia, freshwater and marine ecosystems are some of the most sensitive, most endangered, but also the most important national resources. According to IUCN Red List data, over 8,400 species of wild fauna and flora are critically endangered at the moment, with another 30,000 species considered endangered or vulnerable.

Based on these estimates, more than a million species could be threatened with extinction, stated representatives of the national park, adding that the loss of biodiversity, species, habitats and ecosystems poses an existential threat to life on Earth.

People worldwide rely on healthy and functional ecosystems for services they provide for free. These services support our existence, fulfil some of our basic needs, dictate the quality of our lives and provide economic opportunities.

This year's World Wildlife Day sent a strong message about the importance of healthy ecosystems and invites us to help reverse the fate of the most endangered species, support the restoration of their habitats and entire ecosystems, and promote their sustainable use by humanity.

The EU has prepared an ambitious and long-term plan, entitled Biodiversity Strategy until 2030, aiming to protect nature and stop the degradation of ecosystems, including freshwater and marine ones. The plan aims to convert a minimum of 25,000 kilometres of rivers into free-flowing rivers by 2030, primarily by removing redundant barriers and restoring floodplains and wetlands.

Restoring marine ecosystems back to a favourable state is somewhat more complex and requires the sustainable use of marine resources and strictly protected areas, the restoration of carbon-rich ecosystems, important hatcheries and habitats, and the implementation of measures to limit the use of fishing gear that’s harmful to biodiversity, says the message of Northern Velebit National Park.

Friday, 4 March 2022

Beloved Croatian Mljet National Park Re-opens Doors Today

March the 4th, 2022 - The much loved Croatian Mljet National Park (NP Mljet) has opened its proverbial doors to visitors once again today! The gorgeous park, situated in what is otherwise the southernmost and easternmost of the Adriatic islands of Dalmatia, attracts countless visitors from all over the world, and with the coronavirus pandemic hopefully dying down, fingers are crossed for an excellent season.

As Morski writes, the Croatian Mljet National Park has announced that this beautiful protected island oasis has opened its doors once again for guests today (March the 4th, 2022).

The national park itself is a favourite place to visit for those spending time in both southern and central Dalmatian mainland destinations such as Dubrovnik, Split, Makarska and the smaller areas dotted between them. The park covers the western part of the island, Soline bay, Malo jezero (Small lake), Veliko jezero (Great lake) and a 500 metre-wide sea belt from the cape of Mljet which spans 54 square kilometres in total.

Enjoying the natural and cultural values of the Mljet National Park is possible at a price of just 70 kuna for adults, 35 kuna for children from 8 to 18 years of age and 50 kuna for students. Admission for children under the age of 7 is still free, and a purchased ticket also includes a boat ride on the Great lake (Veliko jezero) and free guided tours.

Now that it is once again open to visitors from all over the world, you can visit the stunning Mljet National Park from Friday to Sunday from 08:00 to 15:00, and you can buy tickets at the Information point at the Great lake. Visitors are also provided with free parking at the entrance to Vrbovica.

A visit to the island and the Mljet National Park is possible by ferry line from the port of Prapratno on Peljesac to the port of Sobra on Mljet, and the ferry timetable can be accessed by clicking here.

For more on Croatian national parks, click here.

Thursday, 24 February 2022

5 Ways to Get a Free Week’s Stay in Croatia's Dream Destinations

February 24th, 2022 - If you happen to love spending time outdoors and have a few days to spare this spring or summer, Croatia’s national and nature parks offer amazing volunteering opportunities that involve a free week’s stay in some of the most spectacular locations in the country

We prepared a selection of five attractive volunteer programmes that are 5-10 days long and require up to 6 hours of work a day, with free accommodation, meals and transportation provided to participants. English speakers are encouraged to apply, as knowledge of Croatian isn’t a requirement for any of the following roles:

 

1. Dry Stone Restorer in Mljet National Park

Become a guardian of the past by restoring ancient dry stone walls in Mljet National Park. Traditional dry stone construction is inscribed in the list of intangible cultural assets of the Republic of Croatia, which means you’d literally help restore and preserve precious cultural heritage on Mljet island!

Volunteers will learn how to build and fix up walls, stairways and other dry stone structures. The job also involves clearing existing dry stone structures of vegetation, simple processing of stone using hand tools, and photographing dry stone walls before and after restoration.

Croatia_Islands_Mljet_National_Park_Mljet_0054-min.jpgMljet island / Photo © Mario Romulic

The programme takes place in April and is seven days long, including six days of work and one day off. Volunteers are expected to work six hours a day with a one-hour break, but considering that the physical work involved in this particular programme can be strenuous, the number or working hours can be reduced if needed.

All necessary tools will be provided by the Park. Accommodation is provided free of charge on Mljet island in the Collier building owned by the Park, which has seven rooms equipped with bunk beds, toilets, showers, a kitchen and a living room. Meals are also provided free of charge, with the Park delivering groceries to volunteers or providing free meals at the local hotel.

If stonemasonry isn’t your cup of tea and you’d prefer a less hands-on kind of creative work, may we suggest another volunteer programme on Mljet island:

 

2. Photo Amateur in Mljet National Park

A dream come true for anyone who loves island hopping and snapping pics of stunning landscapes (don’t we all?), this programme involves photographing the scenery and events in Mljet National Park in the period between April and June.

Depending on the time of year, volunteers will be required to photograph various locations, events and activities on Mljet island using their own gear. You’ll be capturing the island’s flora and fauna, cultural monuments and landmarks, historic sites, enchanting landscapes and fun summer events.

opis_NP_Mljet_2-1024x695-min.pngMljet National Park / Photo: volonteri.parkovihrvatske.hr

Those who choose to participate in this particular programme will sign a statement of the assignment of the photos to Mljet National Park. You’ll have to submit the photos shortly after the programme is over, and can look forward to seeing them featured in the Park’s publications in Croatia and abroad.

A minimum of one DSLR camera with a lens is required to partake in this programme.

You’ll have plenty of time to explore the island on your own time, and there’s no shortage of things to do: there are over 40 kilometres of hiking and cycling trails, you can rent a kayak or canoe to explore the saltwater lakes on Mljet, or take diving lessons with a certified instructor.

For all Mljet-based programmes, volunteers are to bear the cost of travel to Mljet island, and the Park will provide transport from the ferry port on Mljet to the place of accommodation.

 

3. Gull Catcher in Kornati National Park

Are you a fan of the great outdoors and love being in close contact with wildlife? Consider becoming a seagull catcher in Kornati National Park. Don't worry, you'll be releasing them too!

You’ll be joining the Park’s experts as they band and monitor Caspian gulls in the stunning Kornati archipelago, specifically on a few islands where seagulls are known to nest.

program_PP_Kornati_purara-1024x770.jpgKornati National Park / Photo: volonteri.parkovihrvatske.hr

Do you dare to catch a young gull with your bare hands? If you do, you get to name the bird and take notes as it gets banded by a qualified employee of the Park. Banding and monitoring allows experts to track the behaviour and habitats of seagulls in order to collect data used to ensure protection of the species.

Volunteers will receive training prior to starting work and will be supervised by the Park staff. The programme takes place in May and June lasts about ten days, with volunteers expected to work seven hours a day.

Accommodation is provided and free, and in this case, it’s pretty amazing: you’ll be staying on a sailboat owned by the National Park Kornati, fully furnished and featuring 3 cabins, 6 beds, a living room, kitchen and toilet.

3S8C9082-min.jpgKornati National Park / Photo © Mario Romulic

Groceries are provided free of charge, and volunteers can either prepare meals on their own or seek the help of the volunteer manager.

Volunteers have to arrange transportation to Murter island, while further transport from Murter and within the Park area is organised by the Park and free of charge.

4. Traditional Gardener in Lonjsko Polje Nature Park

Lonjsko Polje (Lonja Field) is the largest protected wetland in Croatia, located approximately 70 km south-east of Zagreb.

If you have a green thumb and don’t mind getting your hands dirty, you’d be a great fit for a traditional gardener in Lonjsko Polje Nature Park. You’d help clean up the untended plots in the Park and plant new seedlings around traditional wooden houses in the villages of Krapje and Čigoč - think of it as traditional landscape design!

posavina_cigic_1-min.jpgLonjsko Polje Nature Park / Photo © Mario Romulic

The programme takes place in April and lasts five days, six hours of work each.

Accommodation is provided free of charge in a dormitory in Krapje. The facility is equipped with a small kitchen and a bathroom, and has central heating. As volunteers will be sleeping on spare beds, they are required to bring their own sleeping bags. Groceries are provided free of charge, and bikes and vehicles are available to use for transportation within the Park.

5. Guardian of Plant Biodiversity in Brijuni National Park

There’s not much need for gardening on Brijuni islands - domestic wildlife and imported species such as mountain zebras and mouflons take care of landscaping by nibbling away at the grass at all times.

There’s a single item on the menu that the animals don’t like: a spiky flower called Spanish oyster thistle. Since the wildlife practically mows the lawn, it removes all natural obstacles that would prevent the spread of the Spanish oyster thistle, allowing it to take over whole areas that would otherwise be home to other plants.

Istra0026-min.jpgBrijuni islands / Photo © Mario Romulic

As a volunteer, you’ll help maintain the biodiversity on the meadows of Veliki Brijun island by keeping the pesky thistle in check. You’ll be removing the aggressive plant using provided gardening tools.

Volunteers are needed in the month of May and are required to put in 6 hours of work daily. Beyond that, the islands are yours to enjoy: explore the Safari and Ethno Parks, rent golf equipment and play on the golf course opened in 1922, or go for a swim at one of Brijuni’s pristine beaches.

The Brijuni are also a nice jumping off point for trips in Istria. Discover the ancient Roman monuments in Pula which is located only 7km away from Fažana, or visit the picture-perfect city of Rovinj.

IMG_3729.jpgWildlife on Brijuni islands / Photo © Mario Romulic

Accommodation is provided in one of the apartment buildings on Veliki Brijun island that are owned by the Park. Apartments are equipped with toilets, bathrooms, and a kitchen; rooms are shared with one or two other volunteers.

Groceries are provided free of charge and delivered to the apartment building, and one meal a day is also provided free of charge in the workers’ restaurant.

Volunteers have to arrange transport to Fažana town, and boat transportation to and from Veliki Brijun island is organised by the Park free of charge for the duration of the volunteer programme.

***

Applicants who don’t speak Croatian must be able to speak English in order to communicate with the park authorities and volunteer coordinators.

You can find more information about these and other volunteer programmes on the website Volunteer in Parks of Croatia.

Looking to apply? Fill out this form (in English), pick a programme you like and specify when you're free to participate, and the relevant programme coordinators will get back to you.

Please note that some of the programmes might not be accepting applications for the time being, or might be otherwise affected by epidemiological measures.

 

Check out our comprehensive Guide to the Nature and National Parks of Croatia.

Thursday, 10 February 2022

Krka National Park to Introduce New Entrance in Šibenik

February 10th, 2022 - The new gateway to Krka National Park will relieve the pressure on two other entrances used by 95% of visitors, and make it easier for tourists in Šibenik to visit the national park 

A new entrance to Krka National Park is about to be opened in Šibenik, reports Morski.hr. The Dalmatian town is set to become the sixth official gateway to the magnificent park, a natural karst phenomenon, along with Skradin, Lozovac, Roški Slap/Laškovica, Burnum/Puljane and Kistanje/Manastir Krka.

The overwhelming majority of visitors, about 95%, enter Krka National Park via Lozovac and Skradin entrances, the latter being the closest to the majestic Skradinski buk waterfall. Introducing an entrance in Šibenik is hoped to relieve the pressure on the two mentioned entrances, and distribute visitors evenly throughout all the sites in the park and at the reception centres.

The decision to introduce an official park entrance in Šibenik is a part of the Action plan for visitor management in the period 2019 - 2031, but a strategic project as well.

‘We were of the opinion that this high percentage [of visitors] needs to be more evenly distributed and that a possibility of opening a new entrance to Krka National Park in Šibenik needs to be considered. We proposed the idea of reception and transport of visitors in the city of Šibenik, who spend an average of three days staying in accommodation facilities in town and on islands of the Šibenik archipelago. We also had in mind the citizens of Šibenik to whom the Krka waterfalls are a synonym of the Park and their favourite destination. Naturally, we also thought of new visitors from the two neighbouring counties, who could choose the Šibenik entrance as a jumping off point for their visit to Krka National Park’, said Krka NP director Nella Slavica.

It’s believed that this new concept of visitor reception will help solidify the position of Šibenik on the tourist map and increase the number of visitors to the city, who will then go on to avail of other tourist services in town.

Šibenik Mayor Željko Burić brought up a few steps the City of Šibenik is planning to take to ensure the best possible outcome of their cooperation with NP Krka. ‘A necessary step in the implementation of this project is to introduce regular bus and boat services for visitors, as well as a commercial space for presentation of the Public Institution "Krka National Park" in Šibenik', said Burić. 

 

Monday, 2 August 2021

First in Croatia: Lonjsko Polje Nature Park Accepts Cryptocurrencies

August 2, 2021 - Lonjsko Polje Nature Park accepts cryptocurrencies and is the first nature park in Croatia to welcome digital money!

Virtual and digital currencies are becoming increasingly popular. Just a few days ago, El Salvador became the first country in the world to introduce bitcoin as the official currency, i.e., a parallel legal tender with the US dollar.

Now, the third-largest protected park in Croatia, Lonjsko Polje Nature Park, apart from the kuna, has introduced bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as a means of payment, reports HRTurizam.

Thus, visitors can purchase tickets with cryptocurrencies via Eletrocoin PayCek for a solar-powered boat ride on the Strug river, known as the "Slavonian Amazon," a tour of the "Posavina safari" - a traditional pasture, a tour of the ornithological reserve Krapje đol and observe the fields from the new observatories "Bird reaper," "White Stork" or "Vrška,". Visitors can also use the currency for all services and souvenirs.

219671956_3979480248841190_3984998285771384858_n.jpeg

“We are glad to be the first nature park to introduce this service. We certainly encourage investors in cryptocurrencies to think about the importance of the protected area, its sustainability, but also to enjoy the natural beauty," said Marija Kušmiš, director of the Lonjsko Polje Nature Park. 

Electrocoin d.o.o. points out that the interest of business entities in introducing payments for their products and services in cryptocurrencies is constantly growing. They are extremely pleased that this trend is not exclusively related to companies in the technology and finance segment. An excellent example of this is the excellent cooperation with Lonjsko Polje Nature Park, which recognized the potential of implementing the PayCek cryptocurrency payment system in its business and thus showed that it not only keeps pace with future technological trends but also recognizes the need for a new generation of consumers.

Lonjsko Polje is the first park in Croatia and beyond, which since yesterday has allowed its visitors to visit the Park and enjoy other content from the offer by paying in cryptocurrencies.

For more on travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

 

Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Plitvice Lakes Offers to be Ready for Visitors in May!

April 21, 2021 - Those interested in visiting one of the most beautiful national parks in the world will be able to, as great Plitvice Lakes offers have been announced for May.

Known for their magic during the four seasons of the year, the Plitvice Lakes offer their visitors dreamlike settings. From trees covered in snow in the winter that contrast with the turquoise color of the lakes, to a powerful combination of greens and blues in the summer, it is always a great time to visit one of the most popular national parks in the world.

And the month of May should not be an exception because, in addition to being in full bloom during spring, Plitvice Lakes offers include not only better prices to visit the natural attractions, but also to enjoy the best amenities and activities in the National Park.

Plitvice Lakes National Park through seasons (Plitvice Lakes channel)

As turistickeprice.hr reports, after lowering the prices of tickets and certain services in April, the Plitvice Lakes National Park announced that all visitors will be able to enjoy the spring magic of the Park in May as well. Thus, the April reduced prices will remain next month. This means that a single ticket for adults will still be 80 kuna. Let us remind you that the full price in this part of the year is 180 kuna, which is a discount of more than 80%. Other special prices from April remain the same. Students will pay 50 kuna instead of 110 kuna, and children from 7 to 18 years 35 kuna, instead of 50. Two-day ticket prices have been reduced, and will be 120 kuna for adults, 70 kuna for students and 60 kuna for children.

Spring packages are on offer at the Jezero Hotel, located in the heart of the Plitvice Lakes National Park, until the end of June. They include two or three nights with half board, a ticket to the Park, and an hour of renting a rowing boat to explore the corners of Plitvice's largest lake Kozjak. But Plitvice Lakes offers even more to their visitors in May.

For example, until June 30, at a price of 750 kuna per person, they offer two nights with breakfast, a ticket to the National Park for the entire stay, as well as a 50% discount on a one-hour rental of a rowing boat on Lake Kozjak. In addition, take advantage of a 20% discount on lunch or dinner at the Vučnica bistro, a 20% discount on the use of the Finnish sauna in the hotel, a 20% discount on RELAX massage in the Fors Fortis salon, a 15% discount on the ticket price to Barać's Caves, a 15% discount on prices of services at Ranch Equus Igni.

PXL_160520_28964809-plitvice-lakes-offers.jpg

See the entire offer for May, which also includes discounts for Croatian Tourist Cardholders, the Park's gastronomic offer, and a picnic lunch for Labor Day in the Plitvice Lakes National Park on the official website of the Park.

For more about the nature and national parks in Croatia, be sure to check our Total Croatia 2021 guide to all of them HERE.

For more news about travel in Croatia, follow our dedicated page.

Friday, 19 March 2021

International Poetry Day Croatia: Non-Croatian Poets about Croatia

March 21, 2021 - In honour of International Poetry Day Croatia, TCN's Ivor Kruljac met with non-Croatia poets to share their views on Croatia through their art.

Since 1999 and the 30th General conference of UNESCO, March 21 is recognized as International Poetry Day. As said by the United Nations official website, the date was dedicated to poetry to celebrate „one of humanity’s most treasured forms of cultural and linguistic expression and identity“, which history remembers practiced in every culture on every continent. 

„Poetry reaffirms our common humanity by revealing to us that individuals, everywhere in the world, share the same questions and feelings“, states the UN.

Supporting linguistic diversity and an opportunity of endangered languages to be heard within their communities along with encouragement to bring back the oral tradition of recitals, the promotion of poetry teachings and poetry in the media, as well as connecting this ancient art form with other art forms such as music, painting, and theatre, are all goals of the International Poetry Day. And here at TCN, we want to do our part and connect poetry with what we always struggle to report on: Showing all aspects of Croatia.

To the fans of contemporary poetry, it's no secret that poets today are very much alive, productive, and regularly present their work. If not in books then at poetry events, open-mics, and on social networks – either from their private accounts, blogs, or in groups dedicated to this wordy-art.

We asked non-Croatian poets through social networks and private group chats dedicated to poetry who either visited Croatia or know about Croatia to send us poems about Croatia with a promise that the top 5 will be published and authors presented. Now, to be fair, while the author of this article is a poet, that is far from being a legitimate poetry critic and the rest of the TCN's editorial team (at least to public knowledge) aren't even poets. The idea was to pick the poems based on how it resonates with us as individuals who gave the art a chance. The academic acknowledgment is nice, but resonating with the audience, the everyday people, should be the goal of any art publically displayed, right?

To be honest, there wasn't really any competition as, by the end of the deadline, we received only four poems. Nonetheless, the beauty of these poems and great resonation with TCN was there and we are happy to publish these poems and ranked them, from fourth place to the very best. You can decide for yourselves which poem you like best (and the messages you see in their work), but here the four poems that „knocked on the doors of our mailbox“ (metaphorically, quite poetically, speaking).

#4: „Croatia“ by Jesus McFridge 

Poets such as Charles Bukowski and Walt Whitman are very well known by their name, but just as in many other arts, poets are no exception in sometimes preferring to use pseudonyms to present their work while keeping their identity unknown and privacy secured. Such is the author that goes by the name of Jesus Mcfridge. Quite active in a Facebook group Poetry Criticism For Cool Cats, he revealed in his application that he is from California and described himself as a „24-year-old American that watches too much television“. He added that his knowledge of Croatia is limited to the country at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, but he has fallen in love with the Croatia national football team's checkered uniforms. Despite never visiting Croatia, after „Croatia's tragic loss in the 2018 World Cup final“, he found himself also crying just as many Croatians did.

„In this poem, I have attempted to capture the feeling of this tragic loss that we have shared together, despite the vast seas that separate us“ concluded Mcfridge in his application.

His bittersweet poem simply titled „Croatia“ indeed brings some painful memories but presented in a short and funny way allows us to look at the past in a brighter way, bring back smiles, and give us the strength to cheer for our Croatia national team as they prepare for the next trophy hunt.

 

Croatia

They

Almost won

The world cup

But

Mandzukic scored

An own goal.

Jesus_Mcfridge-c-_Jesus_Mcfridge.jpg

Jesus Mcfridge © Jesus Mcfridge

#3 „Daniela's song“ by Christian Sinicco (English translation by Daniela Sartogo)

Christian Sinicco was born in Trieste, Italy, and his poetry is published in various anthologies and magazines and an editor of the magazine Argo with which he has dealt with the widest overview of poetry in the Italian dialect from 2000 to the present day. He published three books of poetry: „Passando per New York“ (Lietocolle, 2005), „Ballate di Lagosta“ (CFR, 2014) and „Città esplosa“ (Galerie Bordas, 2017). He won the first Italian Slam Poetry Championship and served as the president of the slam poetry association LIPS - Lega Italiana Poetry Slam (2013-2014) and is the current vice president of Poiéin. He is also active in a global initiative of slam poets organizing the world slam championship which early results can be followed on Twitch.   

He participated in numerous book festivals including four festivals in Croatia: Zagreb Contemporary Poetry Festival, Forum Tomizza (in Umag), Pula Book Fair, and Rijeka Book Fair.

His second book of poetry „Ballate di Lagosta“, translates as Lastovo Ballads and it's actually a preview while Sinicco plans to soon publish the full book dedicated to this beautiful Croatian island on the southern coast.

„I was on Lastovo several times. I know a poet from there, Marijana Šutić and I spent a vacation there with other poets such as Ivan Šamija and Silvestar Vrljić“, said Sinicco in his application where he offered a poem from „Lastovo ballads“ which already seen its presentation on a prestigious literary site Versopolis.

„Daniela's Song“ may not bring out the most visual and most explicit Croatian motives, but the discrete and specific localization of Croatia is there all wrapped in a love poem to touch the heart and help us remember the summer sweethearts and romance in Croatia.

Daniela's song

I.

She talks about how beautiful it is without knowing where to go

perhaps into the water of the sun like her cheek

simply necessary as the wet dream

in a wider galaxy if it can be understood,

she seduces you through valleys and dusty vineyards

with eyes towards the bay with the waterfall:

Za Barje the sign said, and so also barked the dog tied

under the cypress – his teethed mouth was the buried reason

the fishermen had left him there – near a house

covered with ivy and blackberries, in which had grown

an apple tree with sour fruits and roses

that only you will taste:

avoiding the asphalt and dirt road holes you followed Daniela

targeting yourself and the asphyxia of your life

that follows the path to erect the intelligence of the species

that on the concept of work has built its republic of theft,

then you saw her dancing on the beach between the warm rocks

and the boat pulled out of the lobster pot, the fishermen are back:

good and evil are triangles of waves that spread

on the sea towards the two islands where we swam

– the fish are not aware of it,

and so the man under the pine and his child

with the mask, another fisherman with the fishing line,

only you maybe on the petals you bite as the words

 

II.

after quite a while we are outdoors and eat figs

at dusk time on this meadow

sliced on the wooden bowl,

we take the bread and tear it many times

because paradise is close to the fire

and the village to our left rises white in pink

made with scales like the barracuda

Korčula has no intention to leave our sight

I shouted as my usual self

you lit the candle and made me notice

we are not alone, but you can stay calm

slowly also the hut

and its fire have become attractive

calming the natural tension

of a darkening sky, not preventing us

from tasting the happiness

of a grilled fish, of tomato and capers

you are attractive when you smile

with a glass of water on the lips

too quietly they get up,

wanting to be born in the response they seek outside

the people at the tables next to us, and from the cottage

where they grill they come to clear up

a woman and the cook, as in a ceremonial

we ask for the check with the hands

they will be intertwined when we emerge from the field

toward the parking lot where we’ll get in the car

and head out to the highest point

of a series of bends, before descending to the valley

the vault of stars surprises us

we stop everything, propped on pillows of a land

that is still hot, we’re sure

that the star will fall, and it comes true

 Christian_Sinicco-c-Daniele_Ferroni.jpeg

Christian Sinicco © Daniele Ferroni

#2 „The Lakes of Plitvice“ by Vanni Schiavoni (English translation by Graziella Sidoli)

Born in Manduria, Italy, but living in Bologna, Vanni Schiavoni published five poem collections: "Nocte" (1996), "The Suspended Balcony" (1998), "Of Humid and Days" (2004), "Salentitude" (2006), and  "Walnut Shell" (2012). He also published two novels "Like Elephants in Indonesia" (2001) and "Mavi" (2019) and edited the poetic anthology "Red - between eroticism and holiness" (2010). Most recently, he also published poetical plaquette „Croatian Notebook“ which features twelve poems dedicated to six Croatian sites: Plitvice Lakes, Kornati, Šibenik, Trogir, Split, and Dubrovnik. Schiavoni wrote the "Croatian Notebook" after a week-long journey in the summer of 2017. His birthplace Manduria is located in the region of Puglia which is 30 miles away from the Pelagosa (Palagruža), the most distant Croatian island, and his surname originates from the name of the Slavonia region in Eastern Croatia.

„For me, it was not just a holiday trip but a journey in and out of everything that I am, a travel diary through which to bring out the game of mirrors between me and that place, between what I am and where I come from and what I have encountered“, said Schiavoni. This journey impacted him with images of the signs of Italy engraved in stone, mournings of the war, communist history („most heretical Communist party in the east in front of the largest Communist Party in the west“, as Schiavoni puts it) and as he added, „the same Adriatic Sea which gives both of us fishes and earthquakes“.

His poem „The Lakes of Plitvice“ is a lovely description of the mixture, the game, and visual eye-candy of the waters in Croatia's oldest National Park, and it linked with a search for bravery and the encouraging point that good and beauty can defeat evil and change it to something better.  

THE LAKES OF PLITVICE

The first day they always plunge down into the same spot

the river rapids that come to the encountering

of the white river with the black river

and the more we think ourselves ready with our shrewd eyes

the fewer the adjectives made available to us before that wonder:

the green rush pushes our pupils towards a wild frenzy

it pushes them inside the tearful torrents by our feet

in the shrouded darkness of the sequential caves

and in the vertical caverns sculpted

as if by a hand capable of it all.

Yet Judas must have passed by this place

and though perhaps not the one with burning lips

a simple Judas must have become lost

in this mysterious grid of remorse.

These lakes fall into lakes as lashings on yielding branches

they flow into other waters and so they rain

endlessly

and perfectly untouched.

Vanni_Schiavoni-c-Dino_Igmani.jpg

Vanni Schiavoni © Dino Igmani

 

#1  „Dubrovnik Rock“ by William Vastarella

After Schiavoni and Sinicco, our first-ranked poet is the conclusive evidence there is something so incredible about Croatia it really inspires poetically-inclined neighbors across the Adriatic. Born in Napoli in 1974, William Vastarella is a teacher of Italian Literature, geography, and History. He's has a Ph.D. in semiotics from the University of Bari and writes for several literary and cultural magazines in Italy. He also edited several poetry anthologies as well as semiotic essays. Vastarella visited Croatia several years ago and had a cultural and relaxing holiday on the seaside. „I found her so full of the Mediterranean spirit that I wrote a poem in Italian. I tried to translate it in other words, trying to leave intact the sounds of that memory“, said Vastarella about his poem on Dubrovnik.

The poem „Dubrovnik Rock“ is fantastic in the way, Vastarella visually invokes the images from the history of Dubrovnik (Ragusa) Republic and the relationship it had with Italians at that age with the waves of the Adriatic Sea as the link between Italy and Dubrovnik but also between past and present.

 

Dubrovnik Rock

Other singers claim to feel

singular vibes in the waves

Nearby this shore,

and so do I.

Ragusa, Dubrovnik

A name is not enough

To trap a soul.

I ask myself

Who’s the other side

Of the other side

As the seawater shuffles.

I touch with my finger

and now I know it’s real

the steel and the wood of the boat

powerful works of man

that wipe out weapons

and I ask no more.

I realize

we have been both

pirates and emperors

centurions and barbarians

through the centuries

each one to the other

a flurry flow

of slavers and Slavs,

slayers and saviors.

Sometimes when the north wind blows,

melting the white in waves,

painting clouds of amazing blues

mirroring the water in the sky,

space seems to become so narrow,

so easy the neighborhood,

then all

the voices of the ancient age

of an ancient game

of thousands lost

in that spot of time,

that spot of sea,

mutate in a mute roar singing

in which merge the rage of riot

and the call for help of a lot

castled in the rock

waiting for a drop of rain to drink

or friend sails on the horizon.

 William_Vastarella-c-_Vito_Signorile.jpg

William Vastarella © Vito Signorile

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Monday, 8 February 2021

TripAdvisor Named Plitvice Lakes Third Best National Park in Europe

February 8, 2021 – According to TripAdvisor's Traveller's Choice list, Plitvice Lakes National Park took a high place and was declared the third best national park in Europe for 2021.

TripAdvisor compiled a Traveller's Choice list of the top 10 best national parks in Europe for the first time. Croatian most famous national park Plitvice Lakes took third place on the list and thus got another recognition by visitors.

As written on the TripAdvisor webpage, the Plitvice Lakes National Park is impressive in both winter and summer.

"The bubbling, turquoise crystalline pools of Plitvice Lakes National Park comprise one of Croatia's most popular tourist destinations. Just a two-hour drive from Zagreb, the national park offers 50 acres of forest and lake. In winter, it's a wonderland of frozen waterfalls. In summer, the park is lush with greenery. Wooden walkways and hiking trails traverse the porous karst limestone. This World Heritage Site is a veritable wildlife haven, home to everything from birds to boars and even bears," writes TripAdvisor.

Yorkshire Dales National Park in the United Kingdom took first place, and Vatnajokull National Park in Iceland overtook Plitvice Lakes National Park in second place. Check out the full list:

1. Yorkshire Dales National Park, United Kingdom

2. Vatnajokull National Park, Iceland

3. Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

4. Peak District National Park, United Kingdom

5. New Forest National Park Hampshire, United Kingdom

6. Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park, Spain

7. Sierra Nevada National Park, Spain

8. Uludag National Park, Turkey

9. Sierra de Aracena and Picos de Aroche Natural Park, Spain

10. Cilento and Vallo di Diano National Park, Italy

And what do Plitvice Lakes National Park look like right now? Check out at the live video stream.

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