Friday, 3 February 2023

Exploring Croatian Recipes: Twist on the Favourite, Deconstructed Sarma

February 3, 2023 - As the cold weather persists and sour cabbage keeps calling our names, it might be time to rethink the nation's favourite and treat yourself to deconstructed sarma. We know you want to shout blasphemy, but just hear us out. Don't tell us you've never wished you could have it baked.

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Sarma (no English equivalent, I'm afraid) is a traditional winter dish of Croatia and the Balkans.

It's made of minced meat, rolled into sour cabbage leaves, and cooked with more sour cabbage. It's also one of those meals a woman should know how to make to get married (so they say).

Although sarma is considered a national dish in Croatia as well as in Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro, and Macedonia (even Bulgaria and Romania), its historical roots come from the Ottoman Empire, all the way back in the 16th century. And they stole the idea from the Persians! So, it's little to say that sarma has been around for some time.

The original version was meat-free, made with wine leaves and stuffed with rice, then boiled in hot water, which is the recipe known today as yaprak sarma (yaprak is the Turkish word for leaf). This kind of sarma is still eaten in more Muslim-oriented countries like Turkey and Bosnia. Other countries prefer the meat filling and sour cabbage combination, although in the south of Croatia and Herzegovina, they use leaves of a plant called raštika (wild blitva), and that dish is called Hercegovački japrak. Many nations, twice as many varieties of sarma.

The most common sarma in these areas is the one with cabbage and meat. Each household has its own ''unique'' recipe, and while some use only minced pork meat, others use a pork/beef mixture. Some put more spices in the meat mixture, while others keep it clean with salt, pepper, and paprika. Some make the sauce more flavourful by adding a bit of ajvar to the whole story; others don't. Some roll big sarmas; some make them small. And there's also a dispute over the right amount of ''sourness'' regarding the cabbage. As it usually goes in Croatia, everyone is right and wrong at the same time.

Now, if you're looking to ride an emotional rollercoaster when you say you're now going to deconstruct the almighty sarma (they'll hate you before they love you for it), just get your normal sarma ingredients and a little bit of patience. Let's recap what you'll need to feed a family of 6, twice (the right way).

Ingredients for deconstructed sarma:

- 1 kg of shredded sour cabbage or a cabbage head that you can chop up 

- 1 kg of mixed minced meat

- 2 cups of rice

- 2 medium onions

- 1 tbsp of lard

- salt, pepper, sweet paprika

- sour cream

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Instructions:

1. Boil your sour cabbage in enough water to cover it. Cook for about 30 minutes.

This is to soften it up a little and release any extra sourness (depending on how sour you like it, you might want to leave it on for a bit longer).

2. Chop up and saute the onions in lard, add the meat and spices, cook until 80% done. Drain and save the flavourful liquid.

3. Cook the rice in the meat liquid; add water if needed (about 6 cups of liquid for the 2 cups of rice). Season to taste.

4. Heat the oven to 180 °C.

5. Layer the ingredients in a mirrored fashion: cabbage, rice, meat, rice, cabbage. Finish off with a thin layer of sour cream.

6. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the sour cream starts looking golden.

7. Eat way too much deconstructed sarma.

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

Friday, 3 February 2023

Natural, Luxury Lustica, Breaking the Montenegro Overbuilding Stereotype

February 3, 2023 - It is always instructive to observe tourism in other countries. Some surprising and delightful discoveries in the natural, luxury Lustica peninsula in Montenegro, far removed from the Montenegrin coastal overbuilding stereotype. And VERY accessible.

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January is not traditionally the most popular month for tourism in Croatia or the wider region, but increasingly I look forward to the start of every new year. There are no crowds, and many places are shut, but it does give an opportunity to explore regions stripped back to their bare essentials. If you have never visited Dubrovnik in winter, for example, I heartily recommend it. The old town, with most of the cafe tables and chairs in hibernation, is brought back to its original stone - and is truly magical without the crowds. Of course if you happen to be here today, for the Feast of St Blaise, there is no finer time to visit. 

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After a great start to the year at the epic Osijek Wine Fest recently, I was delighted to accept an invitation from The Chedi Lustica Bay to come and explore the Lustica Peninsula in Montenegro in late January. 

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Montenegro. As soon as I mention the word in some quarters, I immediately get comments (as I will from this article) from my Croatian readership informing me how the Montenegrin coast has been ruined by overbuilding, and how many decades Montenegro is behind Croatia in tourism. 

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And each time, I smile. For while there is often a large element of truth to a stereotype (and the chronic overbuilding of Budva is indefensible, for example), it is also true that not everywhere is tarred with the same brush. 

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I want to take you on a journey - a journey which starts for many at a roundabout, to a Montenegro that was my reality for a week last month, and which does not change that much, even during the season. 

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As you can see from the map above, the main road (and the main overrbuilding) from Dubrovnik to Albania passes through Herceg Novi, Tivat, and Budva. Here you can find pockets of true beauty, and several examples of overbuilding. A short drive from Tivat Airport (an airport connected 365 days a year to Belgrade and the world via the Air Serbia network) brings you to a roundabout, probably the most important roundabout for tourism in the whole country. 

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(The most important roundabout in Montenegro, approaching from Kotor. To the left, Budva, to the right Tivat and airport, and straight on to where the real magic happens - Lustica Peninsula)

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Turn left from Tivat Airport, and you head through the tunnel to spectacular Kotor and the majestic World Heritage Site of Boka Bay. Continue straight, and I wish you luck on your Budva odyessey.

Or take a right, and take The Road Less Travelled. 

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Welcome to Lustica! Wikipedia introduces the Lustica peninsula as follows (excerpts):

The peninsula has an area of 47 km² and is 13 km long. The highest point of the peninsula is Obosnik peak, at 582 m. It has 35 km of coast, which accounts for 12% of Montenegrin coastline. 

The area has twenty churches, out of which eighteen Orthodox and two Catholic ones. Once an isolated community, there are farms and smallholders producing their own olive oil, cheese, prosciutto, wine and rakija from local ingredients.

Luštica is largely undeveloped with populations of wild boar, mongoose, jackal and edible dormice. Nightingales and Scops-owls can also be heard in abundance. Olive groves are also plentiful although many are uncultivated and overgrown.

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It is an area of extreme natural beauty, as I hope the accompanying photos in this article demonstrate. The kind of underdeveloped, traditional way of life so at odds with that Montenegrin stereotype. 

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But Montenegro is a tourism country, and it is to be expected that an area with 12% of its tiny coastline would be geared towards tourism. However, far from going down the route of mass apartments and cheap summer tourism, Lustica has a far more positive and sustainable destiny, all meticulously planned in one project, the largest single investment in the history of Montenegro - Lustica Bay.

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Egyptian company Orascum, in partnership with the Montenegrin government, is developing a whopping 7 million square metre section of the peninsula for a higher level of tourism, with a strong strategy to put nature and the traditional way of life mixed in with a more luxurious tourism offer. In an age of illegal building, where one neighbour's 'vision' can destroy the look of an entire street, having a responsible masterplan for such a large area offers a new perspective on luxury tourism, not only in Montenegro but the entire region. 

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Two marinas, five hotels, a village of 2,500 people (with units selling very fast at the current price of 4,500 euro/m2, and about to go higher), and an 18-hole golf course as well. That still leaves a lot of space in that 7 million m2 to enjoy the nature and traditional way of life. 

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The initial flagship hotel, The Chedi, is marking its fifth anniversary this year. Unlike the majority of Croatian hotels, it is open all year, has an incredible team spirit, and if there is a better guest experience on the Adriatic, I have yet to hear about it. And probably the most surprising fact I learned in my week on Lustica was something which I doubt can be emulated on the Croatian Adriatic. 

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As Croatia's hotels, mostly open only 6-8 months a year, scramble to find seasonal guests each summer, The Chedi has no less than 35 full-time employees who will celebrate 5 years of employment at the hotel this year, as well as another 12 who have been there for 3 years and more. An investment into a 12-month product that provides careers, not seasonal jobs, for its staff. 

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And The Chedi is not alone. The Regent and Porto Montenegro, as well as One&Only and Portonovi are also open all year. Feeling hungry? A restaurant visit to Porto Montenegro in January will give you a choice of Montenegrin, Indian, Spanish, Chinese, French, Italian, and Mexican, with Austrian ice cream for dessert. With the exception of Split, how many coastal destinations in Croatia could match that offer in peak season, never mind January?

(Author's note - this is not about bashing Croatia at all, it is about understanding - and perhaps learning from - what is happening in the neighbourhood)

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The Chedi will be joined this year by the second 5-star hotel, luxury Mamula on the tiny island of the same name, thereby offering two very different top-end tourism experiences on the peninsula.

But while the luxury is all very welcome for guests with money to spend, the true magic of Lustica is not the luxury, but the space and stunning nature that it offers, as well as the seamless proximity to the essence of Lustica and its traditions and nature for visiting guests. 

 It is an exceptional adventure playground, on land and on sea. Traffic is a fraction of the rest of the coast, and there are so many ways to explore - kayak, sailing, hiking, cycling, and quadbiking. Here is your favourite fat Englishman on a quad on Lustica in October, 2020 - and with all the restrictions of lockdown, never have I appreciated the freedom and nature as much. You can more about this trip in Lessons from Montenegro: Wild Beauty & The 'Old Normal' at The Chedi Lustica Bay.

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Some even choose to swim... in January!

Of course, having a luxury adventure playground without interacting and involving the local population misses the point of sustainable tourism. Working with locals to enhance the authentic tourism experience benefits all stakeholders. And it was here that I came to appreciate the magic of Lustica most of all on this trip. 

As part of our week filming in Montenegro, star Chedi employee Aleksandra took us on a tour of her favourite spots on Lustica - all accessible to guests and the general public - but she saved the true magic of the tour to the very end.

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"There is a very interesting local guy I want you to meet. He has a really interesting tourism project, and our guests love it."

 And so it was that I was introduced to Bogdan, founder of the extraordinary Klinci Village Resort in the tiny village of Klinci.

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A village which has been beautifully restored thanks to the efforts of Bogdan and his wife. 

A village of just 8 people, but with a wonderful 4-star authentic eco-resort, with all food sourced from within one kilometre. 

A village of 8 people but 5 churches.

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A village of 5 churches, but just 4 that this fat blogger could enter.

A village of 5 churches, one of which was built in just 24 hours on New Year's Eve in 1799, and which celebrates the Feast of St. Sava on January 27. So small is the church that only the priest and his assistant can enter. The service is conducted with them inside and the congregation of 20 outside. We will be producing a video story on my YouTube channel for anyone interested. 

Bogdan was kind enough to invite us back two days later for the church service and obligatory rakija and cakes at 09:30 with spectacular views out to the Adriatic. The small gathering of 20 included a Canadian woman who is a regular guest and discovered the magic of Klinci more than a decade ago.

And after such a stimulating morning of local culture and conversation, it was back to The Chedi for a waterside lunch at The Spot, followed by an afternoon of pool, the golf simulator, and massage. 

Natural, Luxury Lustica - truly the Montenegrin coastal story which bucks the stereotype. 

It would be wrong of me not to acknowledge that there are challenges, both in terms of infrastructure and connectivity, but these are both improving too. The Lustica Bay development is building better roads to service the needs, but there is also one intriguing development that will be a huge plus for luxury tourism in the Boka region. 

It is no secret that the border crossing from Dubrovnik Airport leads to delays in summer, something that will probably be exacerbated with Croatia now in the Schengen Zone. Tivat does a fine job connecting Lustica to the world all year, but its capacity is somewhat limited. Onward travel from Tivat Airport is about to get MUCH easier with the development of a harbour at at the end of the runway. Whether or not it will happen for this season is open for discussion, but it is coming. 

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(My bedroom view at The Chedi, January 2023)

And then imagine. New York - Belgrade - Tivat - speedboat - Luxury Lustica, a seamless connection, with not a car in sight. 

You can learn more about the magic of The Chedi from the official website

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Paul Bradbury was a guest of The Chedi in January 2023

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What is it like to live in Croatia? An expat for 20 years, you can follow my series, 20 Ways Croatia Changed Me in 20 Years, starting at the beginning - Business and Dalmatia.

Follow Paul Bradbury on LinkedIn.

Subscribe to the Paul Bradbury Croatia & Balkan Expert YouTube channel.

Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners is now available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.

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Friday, 3 February 2023

Looking for a Job in Croatia? This Week's Top 10 from Posao.hr (February 3, 2023)

Febuary 3, 2023 - Looking for a job in Croatia? A new weekly feature on TCN, in partnership with leading job site agency, Posao.hr, who present a selection of weekly job listings.

How hard is it to find a job in Croatia, and what is on offer?

We spoke to Ines Bokan, director of leading jobs site Posao.hr, who kindly took the time for this excellent interview overview.  

Pfizer Inc is hiring a person for the position of Medical Affairs Scientist Croatia (m/f). Place of work Zagreb. Send complete applications via link by March 3th.

dotSource is hiring a DevOps Engineer (f/m/x). Workplace Rijeka. Your work-life balance is important to us – flexible working hours, home office and fitness incentives. Send complete applications via link by Feb 11th.

Skiper Hoteli d.o.o. is hiring a person in the position of IT coordinator (m/f). Place of work Savudrija (Umag) - Croatia. We offer incentive incomes and additional work bonuses. Send complete applications via link by March 1st.

Sunce Hoteli d.d. / Bluesun is hiring a person in the position of Specialist in Human Resources (m/f). Place of work Tučepi, Brela. The possibility of advancement and additional training. Send complete applications via link by Feb15th.

MED-EL Elektromedizinische Geräte GmbH is hiring a Senior Software Engineer (m/f/d). Place of work Innsbruck, Tirol - Austria. Send complete applications via link by Feb 18th.

Strabag BRVZ d.o.o. is hiring for the position of Senior Software Developer (m/f/d) in Zagreb. They are looking for excellent Java know-how, several years of practical experience in web technologies, and a team player with analytical thinking. Send complete applications via the link by Feb 15th.

CCPORTER Sp.z.o.o. is hiring a Sales Advisor with Croatian (m/f). They offer you work from home, a competitive basic salary and an attractive bonuses depending on the sales. Send complete applications via the link by Feb 23rd.

Jet2.com is hiring a Duty Manager (m/f) in Dubrovnik. They are looking for an inspirational leader committed to the development of others, passionate about delivering the highest standards of customer service and safety, with excellent administration skills and strong operational experience within an airport environment. Send complete applications via the link by Feb 20th.

Workforce, for a client, is hiring an IT Application Specialist (m/f) for remote work – within Croatia. They are looking for a good level of English, experience with ERP systems as a key user, and advanced knowledge of MS SQL. Send complete applications via the link by March 1st.

Next Step career network is hiring a Junior Hotel Management Executive (m/f) in Austria. They offer you net monthly salary €2.500, 14 full salaries a year, and a full social benefit package. Send complete applications via link by Feb 17th.

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For more career options and job listings, visit posao.hr.

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These weekly job listings will appear in the weekly TCN newsletter - you can subscribe here.

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What is it like to live in Croatia? An expat for 20 years, you can follow my series, 20 Ways Croatia Changed Me in 20 Years, starting at the beginning - Business and Dalmatia.

Follow Paul Bradbury on LinkedIn.

Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners is now available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.

Friday, 3 February 2023

Croatian Wine Producers Perform Well Despite Challenges

February the 3rd, 2023 - Croatian wine producers and all those in this lucrative field have managed to do remarkably well given the unfavourable position they've found themselves in over the last couple of years. The year 2022 was a difficult one, but they made it work.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, 2022 was a markedly challenging year for Croatian wine producers and others involved in the sector as it was marked by an increase in input prices, from raw materials to labour, problems due to disruptions in supply chains and an average crop reduction of around 10 to 15 percent due to drought.

Despite all of the aforementioned obstacles which stood in the way of those working in the field (or should I say vineyard), good wine placement was achieved due to a successful post-pandemic tourist season during the summer months and export growth.

All of this was further explained by Dragan Kovacevic, the vice-president of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce for Agriculture and Tourism. He touched on the topic at the opening of one of the most important annual events of the Croatian wine industry - the Grasevina Croatica En Primeur 2023 event, organised by the Grasevina Croatica winemakers' association of Slavonia and Croatian Podunavlia.

Over the first ten months of last year, at least when compared to the same period back in 2021, imports decreased, and the export of Croatian-made wine, especially wines of a higher price category, quality wines and sparkling wines, grew by almost eight percent. In addition to that, he added, it should be noted that Croatian wine producers have done remarkably well, having won a large number of awards and a lot of well deserved recognition at the most prestigious international competitions despite any and all difficulties faced.

Sandra Zokic, the director of the Directorate for Agricultural Land, Plant Production and Market of the Ministry of Agriculture, emphasised the importance of the National Assistance Programme for the Wine Sector, through which Croatian wine producers and winegrowers were granted support in a financial package worth almost 630 million kuna for 526 projects carrying a total value of 1.3 billion kuna.

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

Friday, 3 February 2023

Croatian National Bank Purchased Two Tonnes of Gold in December 2022

February the 3rd, 2023 - The Croatian National Bank (CNB/HNB) purchased around two tonnes of gold back at the end of last year, and a World Gold Council analyst took to Twitter to explain more.

There have been huge monetary and political changes for the Republic of Croatia this year already, with the country being the first to ever join both Schengen and the Eurozone on the very same day. When it comes to money, or at least items of value, gold is something that the country has allegedly not really had on its radar for a great many years, until December 2022, that is.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Krishan Gopaul, an analyst at the World Gold Council, tweeted that ''The Central Bank of Croatia bought almost 2t of #gold in December. Prior to that they were not reporting any gold holdings, and haven't since 2001. And this is another Eastern European central bank who had bought gold in 2022.''

While many will likely focus not on the topic of gold but on the fact that he referred to Croatia as Eastern Europe (let's not go there now), this is interesting because the country hadn't reported any gold holdings for such a long time now.

The gold was immediately forwarded by the Croatian National Bank to the European Central Bank because since January 1st, 2023, upon joining the Eurozone, the Croatian National Bank has also participated in the management of part of the ECB's international reserves, as do all other central banks of Eurozone member states.

To be clear, the statute of the European System of Central Banks and the European Central Bank stipulates that the national central banks of Eurozone member states must transfer part of their international (foreign exchange) reserves to the ECB when joining the Eurosystem. As such, the Croatian National Bank also had to transfer part of its assets as well, according to what was explained by the bank for tportal.

National central banks of the Eurozone pay money in relation to the existing balance of international reserves of the ECB, namely 85 percent of the amount in US dollars and 15 percent in gold.

The Croatian National Bank was supposed to transfer 639.9 million euros to the ECB, that is, 580.1 million in US dollars and 96 million euros worth of gold, which the central bank did not have at that time.

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

Friday, 3 February 2023

Giant Rijeka Waterways Project Worth 300 Million Euros to Take Years

February the 3rd, 2023 - A huge Rijeka waterways project worth as much as 300 million euros is set to begin soon, and the traffic issues it will cause will continue for years before completion.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, in the City of Rijeka and its surroundings, works will soon begin as part of the large aforementioned project involving the improvement of water utility infrastructure in the area of the Rijeka agglomeration, worth almost 300 million euros in total.

This huge Rijeka waterways project will last (depending on individual sections and areas involved, as well as any issues which may come up during the process) for the next few years, which is why significant traffic jams and stoppages are expected in some places within the wider area, writes local portal Novi list.

The project to improve water and communal services in the area of the Rijeka agglomeration includes the construction and optimisation of the water supply and drainage system, whereby about 217 kilometres of sewage system and about one hundred kilometres of water supply system will be built, along with 125 pumping stations and a new wastewater treatment plant on the Delta.

The Municipal Water and Sewerage Company (KD ViK) says that the works within the Rijeka waterways project are being contracted in several components, each of which has its own performance dynamics.

For more on Croatian and EU projects being carried out in various parts of the country, make sure to check out our dedicated news section.

Thursday, 2 February 2023

Croatia Learn Opponents in 2025 Under-21 EURO Qualifying Draw

February 2, 2023 - Croatia's young national team will fight to qualify for the 2025 Under-21 EURO in group G against Portugal, Greece, Belarus, the Faroe Islands, and Andorra.

Qualifications begin next month for the 2025 Under-21 EURO Championship, which will be held in Slovakia in two years. 

In this competition, the age limit is set for players born after January 1, 2002. This rule also applies to the qualifications.

Croatia entered the qualifiers from the second pot, making it impossible for them to avoid a much stronger opponent. In this case, it was Portugal. 

Croatia will thus play in Group G against Portugal, Greece, Belarus, the Faroe Islands, and Andorra.

"Portugal is the slight favorite of the group, but our goal is to qualify for the Euros for the fourth consecutive time. We will try to achieve it directly, as the first-placed team or one of the three best second-placed national teams," said U-21 national team coach Igor Bišćan after the draw.

Nine group winners and the three best runners-up will qualify for the Euros, while the remaining six runners-up will be divided into three pairs, the winners of which will also go to Slovakia.

The group stage matches will be played in March, June, September, October, and November this year and in March, September, and October next year. 

Croatia U-21 national team qualifying schedule:

September 12, 2023: Faroe Islands - Croatia

October 13, 2023: Greece - Croatia

October 17, 2023: Croatia - Belarus

November 20, 2023: Belarus - Croatia

March 21, 2024: Andorra - Croatia

March 26, 2024: Portugal - Croatia

September 5, 2024: Croatia - Faroe Islands

September 10, 2024: Croatia - Portugal

October 11, 2024: Croatia - Andorra

October 15, 2024: Croatia - Greece

The Croatia Under-21 national team will thus gather in a new guise, with players born from 2002 onwards.

However, the current generation (or players born in 2000 and younger) will gather again at this year's European Championship in Romania and Georgia in June. Croatia is in Group B against Ukraine, Spain, and Romania. 

Croatia will qualify for the Olympic Games in Paris if it finishes in one of the top three spots at this year's Euros. 

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 2 February 2023

Ajme! When Life Gives You Lemons, Hrvatska Posta Delivers... (Not Lemonade)

February 2, 2023 - Which takes longer in Croatia - to change the registered name for a property in the cadastre, or deliver some lemons from Hvar to Zagreb? Just another random day (or month) in Absurdistan.

This a tale with a VERY happy ending, and one which points to huge positive change. Genuinely.

It just didn't look that way for 18 days.

Our story begins on the morning of Monday, January 9, 2023. A new year, a new start. For some, a new zest for life. What could be better to help with that zest than a shipment of lemons from the family tree on idyllic Hvar?

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A package of goodies was dispatched by my mother-in-law to her daughter at 09:14 with Croatian Post (Hrvatska Posta), early enough to make the ferry for onward delivery to Zagreb. 

Time passed.

A lot of time.

On Friday, January 20, a phone call to HP elicited the information that the package was in the system at Velika Gorica, close to Zagreb, and would be delivered soon.

When nothing had arrived the following Monday, a phone call to ask if we could collect the package rather than waiting was met with a negative. It would be there soon. 

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Seven phone calls in all, including from 28 and 38 minutes of waiting time (and I understand the calls are charged), resulted in nothing. Apart from the inconvenience of having to wait at home on the off chance of the delivery, the greater concern was the state of the lemons and how they would function as future stars in the evening gin and tonics after more than a fortnight in captivity. 

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Finally, on Saturday, January 28, some 19 days after the lemons started their journey from Croatia's Premier Island to the Big Smoke, the lemons arrived. 

In case we might think that the Kings of HP had some discriminatory policies towards lemons, a simultaneous example of delivery incompetence was ongoing with another shipment, this time from Germany.

The timeline...

January 11 - online ordering in Germany

January 14 - order dispatched. 

January 16 - arrived in the Kingdom of HP. 

January 26 - still no lemons and a phone call to cancel the German order, after 10 days of it being stuck in the Kingdom of HP, and an enquiry about the health of our lemons.

January 27 - miraculously, the German order arrives (one can only speculate if an email to the supplier had anything to do with it)

January 28 - our heroic lemons, a little worse for wear after their arduous 19-day journey without sunlight, arrive at their final destination, the tonic water already chilling in the fridge. 

Now, don't let this tale of the lemons who did not become lemonade discourage you, for there is a MUCH more efficient system of moving vegetables and anything else around the country, called the 'Balkan DHL Express', the fastest, cheapest and most reliable delivery service in all Europe. Check out our video explanation here and below.

I will tag Hrvatska Posta when I share this article to see if they have a policy on lemon compensation.

But it is not all bad. And here is the happy - and quite incredible (if you follow the joys of Croatian bureaucracy, prepare for a WOW moment) case of Croatian bureaucracy on fire.

The timeline...

January 16 - online application to change the name in the cadaster for a piece of property on Hvar.

February 1 - a letter from the cadaster in Stari Grad delivered to Zagreb with the updated cadaster details. 

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Just 16 days, INCLUDING delivery time. The same journey the lemons took from Hvar to Zagreb. 

Croatia - a delightful mixture of Absurdistan with the best lifestyle in Europe with a sprinkling of Balkan insanity on top. Why would you live anywhere else?

Now to investigate how to get my lemons delivered by the Stari Grad cadaster.  

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What is it like to live in Croatia? An expat for 20 years, you can follow my series, 20 Ways Croatia Changed Me in 20 Years, starting at the beginning - Business and Dalmatia.

Follow Paul Bradbury on LinkedIn.

Subscribe to the Paul Bradbury Croatia & Balkan Expert YouTube channel.

Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners is now available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.

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Thursday, 2 February 2023

Adriatic Gastro Show Opened in Spaladium Arena in Split

February 2, 2023 - A prominent international festival of gastronomy and tourism, the Adriatic Gastro Show, opened on Wednesday, the 1st of February, in the Spaladium arena in Split.

All visitors to the festival will have a chance to see the equipment for catering facilities and food preparation in the hospitality and tourism industry for the next four days, writes 24Sata.

"About eight hundred exhibitors from thirty-seven countries will be presenting on 12,000 square meters of space. Therefore, the visitors will be able to see all the novelties for equipping hospitality establishments as well as all the novelties related to the preparation of food and drinks for the hospitality industry," said the director of the fair, Josip Bužančić.

He added that everything that hospitality and tourism professionals might find interesting for themselves or their businesses would be presented at the fair.

Before the opening of the Adriatic Gastro Show, however, the mayor of Split, Ivica Puljak, expressed that he was against hosting the Adriatic Gastro Show in the Stadium arena. As he pointed out, the Spaladium Arena was closed at the end of last year. On the other hand, the bankruptcy administrator of the company that manages the Spaladium Arena (Sportski grad TPN), Natalija Mladineo, pointed out that the contract for the fair was signed with the company "Poslovi mediji" in May last year, long before the Arena was closed at the end of December.

The director of the Adriatic Gastro Show, Josip Bužančić, simply and shortly commented that, as organizers, they are not interested in politics.

"The owner of the Spaladium Arena is neither the City of Split, nor the Split-Dalmatia County, nor the state. Spaladium Arena is a private facility where the private company 'Poslovni mediji' is organizing this event. We just want to do our job," said Bužančić.

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

Thursday, 2 February 2023

Ilocki Podrumi, Croatian Wine Fit for the Queen's Coronation in 1953

February 2, 2023 - Croatia has some incredible wines and some of the wine stories are equally incredible. Learn more about the tales of Ilocki Podrumi, in Croatia's easternmost town of Ilok.

It is closer to Zagreb than Split, and yet for many, Croatia's easternmost town of Ilok seems to be at the end of the world.

Make the journey, however, and you will be rewarded with wines fit for royalty and a wine-making tradition dating back to Roman times.

Meet the wine which was served at the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, and again at the weddings of Princes William and Harry.

And then hear the incredible story of how 1,200 bottles of the royal 1947 Traminac were saved after the Serbs took control of the winery during the Homeland War.

This video was shot by Steve Tsentserensky and edited by Igo Vuk in November 2021, while the Queen was still alive, which explains the words in the National Anthem at the end.

You can learn more about Ilok and eastern Croatia in my Total Croatia News article of that trip, Slavonia, Full of Life: Time to Tell the Truth about Eastern Croatia.

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What is it like to live in Croatia? An expat for 20 years, you can follow my series, 20 Ways Croatia Changed Me in 20 Years, starting at the beginning - Business and Dalmatia.

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