Thursday, 19 May 2022

5+ Years Living in Split: Expat Kimmy Chan from Hong Kong

May 19, 2022 - In our new TCN series, we uncover the lives of expats that have spent over 5 years living in Split. Next up, meet Kimmy Chan from Hong Kong!

Two idyllic weeks on a Croatian beach is very different from the realities of full-time living. So what is it really like to live in Croatia as an expat? In a new series on TCN, we meet expats who have lived here for 5 years or more, to find out from them the good, the bad, and the ugly of 12-month living in Croatia. Next up, Kimmy Chan from Hong Kong!

1. Tell us firstly how you came to Croatia? What motivated you to choose this slice of paradise and how long have you now been here?

I am Kimmy Chan, from Hong Kong, and have been living in Split for 9 years. I received my Croatian citizenship last year. I came to Croatia in 2007 because of an internship through an international student exchange program. Back then I had to choose between Croatia, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Ukraine, and honestly, I had no idea what Croatia is like, so I Googled it and the first photo I saw was the iconic golden triangle of the Zlatni Rat Beach on Brač Island. “It’s BEAUTIFUL and I have to see it!” I said to myself and that’s how I started my story in Croatia. During the internship, I met the love of my life through a friend and we had a long-distance relationship for 5 years. In 2012, I relocated to Split from Hong Kong and got married the year after. Now I have 2 daughters and 2 bunnies

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2. Looking back, what were your perceptions and expectations?

I actually experienced a lot of cultural shocks when I first came to Split in 2007. The first shock I had was on the very first day of my arrival. It was a Saturday and the supermarket back then closed at 2 pm on Saturdays and closed on Sundays. From that moment, I realized that Croatia is a country that cared more about family or rest time than money. The second thing that shocked me was the very limited choices for foreign cuisines. I remember there were only 1 Mcdonald's, 1 Mexican restaurant, and 1 Chinese restaurant in Split in 2007. Moreover, the menus in the fast-food stores and konoba everywhere were almost the same, and I wondered why people didn’t find it boring. Nevertheless, the biggest shock of all was the inefficient administration which is a well-known problem even for locals. I expected more European standards, working hard, diversity and open-mindedness in Split. 

Despite the cultural shocks, I have been constantly amazed by how much Croatian people love their country, sports (especially football of course), jokes, and history.

3. After 9 years here, how have those perceptions changed. Do you now view Croatia differently?

In the last 9 years of living in Split, I have witnessed improvements in terms of touristic offers, acceptance of foreigners, and administration. It is exciting to see that Split/Croatia is advancing, slowly but surely. I would say that having some of my perceptions or expectations changed is not only because of the city/country’s endeavor, but also because I got to know more about the culture, lifestyle, and historical reasons, and I tried to embrace and accept them. Moreover, I have children now, so the “pomalo” and simpler lifestyle in Split which I used to find too slow is now great for me and my family.

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4. After your time year, the 3 things you love most about Croatia?

Water - I genuinely find the water in Croatia is very clean and I love drinking tap water in Split which is sweet and tasty. And of course, the Adriatic Sea is a gem.

Safety - Croatia is a very safe country. I feel safe walking alone at night, even on some quiet streets.

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People - I am very impressed by how much Croatians love their country and how they are proud of their culture, food, nature, national teams, and so on. I met many Croatian families and they are all amazing hosts, always give the best to guests and make you feel welcomed. It may not be easy to be friends with locals at the beginning, but once the friendship is developed, they keep you dear to their hearts.

5. And the 3 things you would like to change.

The culture of “using connection”.  Ever since the beginning of my life in Croatia, I have heard so much from the locals about how everything is done through connection. From getting a place in public kindergarten to getting a job in government, many people find it normal to use connections to have shortcuts or even get the deal directly.

Parking issues in Split. There are not enough parking spots in Split. It is always a headache to find parking, especially in the center. There are many “creative” drivers who like to leave their cars somewhere they are not supposed to.

The real estate prices in Split are crazy for both rental and buying.

6. Given your experiences, what advice would you give to any would-be expat thinking of making the move?

Look up information from expat groups on social media and expatincroatia.com. They are very helpful and informative.

The administration and paperwork is complicated, so be patient and it is very likely that you need a native Croatian speaker (e.g. lawyer, translator, local friend) to help you deal with it. 

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People from different regions in Croatia have different mentalities and work styles. In the southern part (Dalmatia), people, in general, are quite relaxed and less organised, so it is important to manage your expectation and find a place where you feel comfortable staying or work in.

7. The most beautiful place in Croatia, and why? 

I love Istria. Love the sea, the green, and colour houses. Istria is not very big but it has a lot to offer.

Your favourite moment of your time in Croatia?

One of my favourites is the sunset dolphin-watching tour in Rovinj. The sunset was romantic, the host was friendly and so passionate to share homemade liquor with guests, the dolphins were lovely and Rovinj is a beautiful town. The tour was a very special experience.

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Are you an expat who would like to be featured in this series? If yes, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject Expat

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

Monday, 16 May 2022

5+ Years Living in Split: Expat Sandra Perkovic from Canada

May 16, 2022 - In our new TCN series, we uncover the lives of expats that have spent over 5 years living in Split. Next up, meet Sandra Perkovic from Canada. 

Two idyllic weeks on a Croatian beach is very different from the realities of full-time living. So what is it really like to live in Croatia as an expat? In a new series on TCN, we meet expats who have lived here for 5 years or more, to find out from them the good, the bad, and the ugly of 12-month living in Croatia. Next up, Sandra Perkovic from Montreal, Canada!

1. Tell us firstly how you came to Croatia? What motivated you to choose this slice of paradise and how long have you now been here?

I met my husband in Canada while he was on tour, we then got married and I moved to Croatia. For me, moving to Croatia was a childhood dream of mine. I have been living in Croatia for 20 years - 10 in Zagreb and 10 in Split.

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2. Looking back, what were your perceptions and expectations?

Croatia has exceeded all my expectations, even though my cousins used to tell me it's not the same vacationing here and living here.

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3. After 20 years here, how have those perceptions changed. Do you now view Croatia differently?

I think that Croatia is the best place to raise a family. It's so fun living here and I love nature and the fact that it is a small country with so many different climates. I love that you can be on the beach and in one hour you can be skiing.

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4. After your time year, the 3 things you love most about Croatia?

I love Croatia for its safety; children have freedom here because it is so safe. I love how there is always a festival going on, it's just so much fun living here and lastly, I love nature, the national parks, the sea, the mountains, such beautiful nature, and of course how everyone always has time for kava…. Kava in Croatia can last for hours.

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5. And the 3 things you would like to change.

I wish that people were more pet friendly, although this is getting better, I wish that people got jobs based on their qualifications rather than through connections and I wish that the school system was not so demanding.

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6. Given your experiences, what advice would you give to any would-be expat thinking of making the move?

I will never regret coming here, I just regret not coming sooner. If you are considering the move to Croatia don’t hesitate.

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7. The most beautiful place in Croatia, and why?

Oh, so many beautiful places. I love Zagreb because it’s a big city and has it all, but I also love the islands along the Dalmatian coast.

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8. Your favourite moment of your time in Croatia?

My favourite moment is waking up each day in Croatia and being aware that I am living my dream. Croatia is a dream come true.

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Are you an expat who would like to be featured in this series? If yes, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject Expat

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

Wednesday, 11 May 2022

5+ Years Living in Split: Expat Eric del Castillo from Mexico City

May 11, 2022 - In our new TCN series, we uncover the lives of expats that have spent over 5 years living in Split. Next up, meet Eric del Castillo from Mexico City!

Two idyllic weeks on a Croatian beach is very different from the realities of full-time living. So what is it really like to live in Croatia as an expat? In a new series on TCN, we meet expats who have lived here for 5 years or more, to find out from them the good, the bad, and the ugly of 12-month living in Croatia. Next up, Eric del Castillo from Mexico City!

1. Tell us firstly how you came to Croatia? What motivated you to choose this slice of paradise and how long have you now been here?

It's a long story, but starts in Sausalito, California. In 1996, I was at an artistic residency at The Headlands Center for the Arts. There I met Neli Ružić an artist from Split and I fell in love with her at the first moment. A year later I visited Split for the first time when Luka was born, the following year Neli and Luka visited Mexico, and a year later I returned to Split for them and we went to live in Mexico. Pablo was born in Mexico City and we lived there for 13 years. At a hearing in the summer of 2010, we decided to move and live in Split, after two years of preparations we finally arrived in Split in 2012. Now we have almost 10 years living here.

2. Looking back, what were your perceptions and expectations?

From 1997 to 2010, I saw a great change in the infrastructure and the economy of the country and good quality of life. However, in Mexico, the so-called war against drugs began and violence and insecurity grew up. Our expectation was to offer our children a much safer and healthier environment. Every day I confirm that we were not wrong and that we made the right decision.

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And of course, language is an issue, but malo po malo. I'm doing better and already I got my permanent residency.

3. After 10 years here, how have those perceptions changed. Do you now view Croatia differently?

There is no perfect place, as everywhere there is bureaucracy, corruption, lack of budget, legal gaps, poverty, and inequality. But I think that these are things that are much easier to solve in a country of 4 million than in others of 130 million.

4. After your time year, the 3 things you love most about Croatia?

The art scene and the artistic community, it's a very supportive group and I've made great friends, they are amazing people.

The food and the good quality and freshness of local products, and of course the extraordinary good weather.

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5. And the 3 things you would like to change.

A more open society

Simplicity in government office services, meaning less bureaucracy and more digital services.

To have in the old town center a digital fiber-optic network.

A better system and more awareness on separation and recycling of waste disposals.

6. Given your experiences, what advice would you give to any would-be expat thinking of making the move?

Split is a fascinating city, with great history. Very safe and easy to access and move around, everything is relatively close. For me, it is a source of inspiration and in every corner, I always find extraordinary details, with so many layers of history one above another, it is like a visual palimpsest.

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7. The most beautiful place in Croatia, and why?

I couldn't mention just one there are lots of them: I love the cities of Split and Zagreb, the landscapes, the sea, and the islands. Nature is incredibly beautiful in Croatia.

8. Your favourite moment of your time in Croatia?

There are many moments that I have really treasured. Christmas is one of the few dates that we can all be together. When I have exhibitions, I had several exhibitions in split and Zagreb.

When we receive family and friends from Mexico, the house is always open to receive visitors.

Summer In Šolta, we are there a big part of summer and we spend all the time in nature.

I always have lots of work to do there, taking care of the garden and plants, trying to plant and develop my avocado trees, for now, I haven't succeeded, improving year by year the technique of suho zid, and of course, always creating some artwork. 

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Learn more about Eric here: 

www.ericdelcastillo.eu

[email protected]>

instagram: eric.delcastillo

Youtube: Eric DELCASTILLO

Are you an expat who would like to be featured in this series? If yes, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject Expat

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

Tuesday, 10 May 2022

5+ Years Living in Split: Expat Marko Gómez Karadza from Peru

May 10, 2022 - In our new TCN series, we uncover the lives of expats that have spent over 5 years living in Split. Next up, meet Marko Gómez Karadza from Peru!

Two idyllic weeks on a Croatian beach is very different from the realities of full-time living. So what is it really like to live in Croatia as an expat? In a new series on TCN, we meet expats who have lived here for 5 years or more, to find out from them the good, the bad, and the ugly of 12-month living in Croatia. Next up, Marko Gómez Karadza from Lima, Peru.

1. Tell us firstly how you came to Croatia? What motivated you to choose this slice of paradise and how long have you now been here?

I came to Croatia being driven by the need to get connected to my roots, as I'm a Croatian descendant (my grandpa was Croatian). Initially, my idea was to spend 1 year here to enjoy the place, see my relatives and get more in touch with the culture. For that, I joined the program called "Croaticum" to also learn the language while I was sorting my Croatian documents, which also was part of my initial goal. Once I arrived in Croatia, it didn't take me more than 1 month to realize I would stay for way longer than planned. Currently, I have almost 6 years living in Split.

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2. Looking back, what were your perceptions and expectations?

In terms of my expectations, I already knew how beautiful it was because of some pictures I saw beforehand, but once there I can say that reality surpassed my expectations! Also once here, I got to dive deeper into the historical heritage and culture which is impressive for someone that loves that kind of stuff and knew just a small portion of it. The food was also above my expectations in a very positive way.

3. After 5+ years here, how have those perceptions changed. Do you now view Croatia differently?

After 6 years living here, I have to say that my perceptions didn't change so much. It is true that I have a wider idea of how all works and happens in this country and I'm more aware of the pros and cons of living here, but I would say that your perception will change depending on where you are coming from. I see a lot of things that work way better here compared to my home country, other things are interestingly working in the same way and maybe some others could happen in a better way, but that is some encouragement to eventually help make a positive change on them.

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4. After your time here, the 3 things you love most about Croatia?

After 6 years I can say that the 3 things I love most about Croatia are: The beautiful nature and perfect geographic location, the safeness all around the country with a very little delinquency rate compared to other countries; and the beautiful and kind-hearted people I met and shared life with.

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5. And the 3 things you would like to change.

3 things I would change would be: the long, slow and tedious bureaucracy, the lack of support to entrepreneurs and small new companies which are being killed with high taxes mostly; and the focus on building more industries rather than just focusing on tourism.

6. Given your experiences, what advice would you give to any would-be expat thinking of making the move?

I would advise you to learn a bit about the culture and the language beforehand. You are always gonna be welcomed here but it really changes if you are seen as somebody who puts some effort in trying to learn a bit, at least, about their culture and language. People will appreciate it a lot. Also, analyze the industries and business/job opportunities well in advance for a year-round living, normally things tend to change with the seasons so it is good to be some steps ahead in that field.

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7. The most beautiful place in Croatia, and why?

As a sailor by profession, I dedicated a lot of time to sailing around the Croatian coastline and islands and I have to say that my favorite place is Korčula. It is such a beautiful island full of green all around, amazing lovely bays and impressive historical heritage. Also, since it is very close to the Pelješac peninsula, it is a great place to enjoy some good wines too!

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8. Your favourite moment of your time in Croatia?

My favorite moment here I would say was when my mom came to visit me and we went to visit the old house where my grandpa was born and lived as a child.

I live in Split and I am a professional skipper. My Instagram account is @gkmarko where people can see beautiful places around the Croatian coast and can reach me if interested in sailing here!

Are you an expat who would like to be featured in this series? If yes, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject Expat

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

Monday, 9 May 2022

5+ Years Living in Split: Expats Andy and Cindy Elder from England

May 9, 2022 - In our new TCN series, we uncover the lives of expats that have spent over 5 years living in Split. Next up, meet Andy and Cindy Elder from England!

Two idyllic weeks on a Croatian beach is very different from the realities of full-time living. So what is it really like to live in Croatia as an expat? In a new series on TCN, we meet expats who have lived here for 5 years or more, to find out from them the good, the bad, and the ugly of 12-month living in Croatia. Next up, Andy and Cindy Elder from England.

1. Tell us firstly how you came to Croatia? What motivated you to choose this slice of paradise and how long have you now been here?

We met 17 years ago on a dating site after both of us having been widowed. Andy was already into sailing and had a dream. He wanted to retire early and buy a boat to live on and travel. He took me on several sailing holidays, including around Dubrovnik, so I could see if I would enjoy that life. On our last trip, we decided to hire a catamaran. I thought it might be more comfortable to live on, instead of a monohull. There weren’t many places that had the second-hand make and model we wanted, but Croatia was one of them. It seemed ideal, as the others tended to be in the Caribbean, a bit far to organise from England!  I was still working, so Andy made a trip to Split to see the boat, sent me the photos, and we fell in love with it. He then made several trips by car to finalise everything, the last one coming back only a day before our wedding! We spent our honeymoon on our catamaran “Two Can Play”, and then went back to get everything packed, and either drove it back here, or delivered on pallets through a transportation company. I don’t think we would have made such honest and helpful friends anywhere else. Must have been fate to come to Croatia. We’ve never regretted it.

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2. Looking back, what were your perceptions and expectations?

We expected to stay here a year, then sail onto Greece and further. There was so much to see that we decided to stay another year to see the rest of the coastline, and a few places inland by car. Then Covid hit. We decided that it was better to stay here, visiting places we knew, knowing people who could help (we got our resident permits after Brexit with A LOT of help from our friend in Split! We have a doctor and a dentist. Andy is currently in hospital in Zagreb after having to wait 2 years because of Covid to get surgery to repair the blocked main artery in his leg. Another story for another time maybe!

3. After 5 years here, how have those perceptions changed. Do you now view Croatia differently?

We didn’t think we would love it here so much that we would still be here 5 years later, Covid or not. Even after 5 years, there are still places we would like to visit. We didn’t realise just how rich and diverse the history is. The people here are so friendly, helpful, and generous.  We do think, however, that our friend here in Split might just sabotage us ever leaving the country!!! 

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4. After your time here, the 3 things you love most about Croatia?

First: The people. We have made the most amazing friends here, in Cavtat/Dubrovnik, Split, and Zagreb. The best friends you could possibly have. We just wish your language wasn’t so hard. I can speak German and some other languages enough to get by. The Germanic and Latin-based words I can just about handle, even the Slavic ones, but the rest? We still keep trying though!

Second: The food! I am always telling people that the best beefsteaks are in Croatia, and their pizza is better than in Italy

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Third: The history. An almost intact Roman arena older than Jesus? Roman artifacts everywhere? Places that look like Venice or Vienna? The history and beauty of this country is hard to beat.

5. And the 3 things you would like to change.

First: Not so many stamps! It’s a common joke of ours to make fun (lovingly) of the bureaucracy in this country. Need a document? Go to 5 different places, and get it stamped in each place. Then maybe you can get or do what you need.

Second: Need your car M.O.T.?  Spend all day queueing up to get it passed.

Third: Arrange for someone to come to fix or install anything? Don’t expect them to turn up on time, or even on the same day.

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6. Given your experiences, what advice would you give to any would-be expat thinking of making the move?

Go for it! Life is not a dress rehearsal! If you make friends here, they are so kind, helpful, and caring. Just learn that things happen slowly. There is a bit of a “manana” attitude to life here we find both wonderful and infuriating! Think of how long any officialdom should take, then double or triple it. Worth it in the end.

7. The most beautiful place in Croatia, and why?

We can’t really just pick one, it’s a beautiful country! We love Split, it’s alive still in the winter, and not too cold. However, it’s a bit too cold and damp to stay on our boat in the Winter, so for those months we stay in an apartment in Split. It’s great that we can go out to dinner, the movies, and see friends. Lots of great places nearby we can visit by boat or by road. Trogir, Krka waterfalls, Sibenik, Zadar. All beautiful and wonderful. Zagreb for the culture. Tesla museum, museum of illusions.

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Otherwise, we both love Pula. Amazing that the Roman arena is still so intact, so beautiful! Anchoring in Cavtat, life, but a quiet bay. Visiting Dubrovnik. The views when walking the wall. Sailing by the city to see the walls.

8. Your favourite moment of your time in Croatia?

Again, can’t really just pick one. Watching the sunset from our boat. Never gets boring, and never looks the same way twice. Anchoring by one of the smaller islands or villages and watching the stars. The first time we were invited to a party even though we can’t really speak Croatian. Being told by our friends that we are Split locals, family, like one of them. Fireworks here on New Year’s Eve. Nautical flares, firecrackers, anything goes! Crazy, but fun. Same watching a Hajduk game.

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We thought English fans were supposed to be a problem, but the Torcida? Throwing flares on the pitch, setting fire to their seats? Incredible to experience. Anchoring in a bay overlooking the arena in Pula. We are British, on a South African made boat, listening to Tom Jones performing in Croatia in a Roman arena. Can’t get much more international than that!

Also, check out our friend's yacht if you're in need this summer! Yachts | Astarea – #1 Yacht & Charter in Croatia (astarea-yachting.com)

Are you an expat who would like to be featured in this series? If yes, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject Expat

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

Saturday, 7 May 2022

5+ Years in Split: Meet Expat Elga Mannik from Canada

May 7, 2022 - In our new TCN series, we uncover the lives of expats that have spent over 5 years in Split. First up, meet Elga Mannik!

Two idyllic weeks on a Croatian beach is very different from the realities of full-time living. So what is it really like to live in Croatia as an expat? In a new series on TCN, we meet expats who have lived here for 5 years or more, to find out from them the good, the bad, and the ugly of 12-month living in Croatia. First up, Elga Mannik from Canada!

1. Tell us firstly how you came to Croatia? What motivated you to choose this slice of paradise and how long have you now been here?  

I am from Toronto, Canada but had visited Croatia a few times. My sister came here to settle and I followed her when I retired. My mother was Croatian and always talked fondly of her homeland. I fully intended to retire in Europe but was thinking possibly Spain or Italy.  I needed to get my EU passport so when I arrived 7+ years ago, I applied for citizenship and by the time that it came through, I was hooked.  

2. Looking back, what were your perceptions and expectations?  

I really had no perceptions and planned to travel around the country and get a better understanding of the people and the culture. My expectation was to be in a warmer climate where there was a sea and sun.  

3. After over 5 years here, how have those perceptions changed. Do you now view Croatia differently?  

I am absolutely in love with Croatia. I felt so at home here and believed that I could easily assimilate despite not knowing the language. I started out by doing a few semesters at the University here in Split and am still continuing with private lessons. I understand the language a lot better and can speak enough to get by but it hasn’t been easy. I now feel that Croatia for me has changed from an interim holiday experience to my home. I am a Splićanka. I bought a tiny stone house in Varoš and finally feel settled and extremely lucky to be living in such a beautiful place.  

4. After your time year, the 3 things you love most about Croatia?  

The weather, the people, the history (did I mention the weather)!  

5. And the 3 things you would like to change.  

I know a lot of people have issues with bureaucracy and government issues but so far, I  have managed to get things done that needed to be done and really can’t say that I would change much. I am an optimistic person who sees the good in most things and feels that changing things to any great degree would detract from the overall feel of the place. 

6. Given your experiences, what advice would you give to any would-be expat thinking of making the move?  

I would say, what are you waiting for? There is nothing that you can’t find in your home country but so much more than you can imagine.  

7. The most beautiful place in Croatia, and why?  

There are so many beautiful places here, among them Plitvice, Istria, Zagreb...I could go on and on but for me, my weekly hike on Marjan when I’m walking alone through the trees and seeing the bluest water is by far the most beautiful.  

8. Your favourite moment of your time in Croatia?  

Last Christmas, having more people in my house than it could comfortably hold was such a  joy. Covid was receding, we were all vaccinated and I made vast quantities of Kuhano Vino and we all celebrated the end of lockdowns, with ex-pats and locals all crammed in laughing and singing. It was amazing. 

Are you an expat who would like to be featured in this series? If yes, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject Expat

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

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