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The Plitvice Times TOURIST MAGAZINE COVERING PLITVICE LAKES AREA

Kristjan Staničić EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

NUMBER 3 / SPRING 2019

CROATIA INFILTRATION

We brought Mazda to Željava

director of CNTB

CROATIA

A land for lovers anytime of the year VELEBIT

The Power of Silence

EVENT

Plitvice Valleys Bike Weekend

A TALE OF A HOST

Denis Lončar & Apartment Gacka


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CONTENT 3 ��������������������Editor`s Note 4 ��������������������News 10 ������������������Interview – Kristjan Staničić, director of CNTB 14 ������������������Plitvice Valleys Bike Weekend 16 ������������������The Legends of Plitvice Valleys 17 �������������������„Medin Brlog“ Festival 18 ������������������Interview – Croatia Infiltration 22 ������������������Info Corner – Plitvice Lakes Municipality 25 ������������������A word from the Municipality 26 ������������������A tale of a host – Denis Lončar 28 ������������������Croatia – A land for Lovers anytime of the year 30 �����������������Velebit – The Power of Silence 32 ������������������The nose-horned viper 35 ������������������Tourist Mountaineering Map for Plitvice visitors 36 ������������������Storm Chasing Team Senj 40 �����������������Visit Brinje – Letinac 44 ������������������Humans of Plitvice - Jeromie and Madeline 46 ������������������Tesla`s mother 47 ������������������From Plitvice to the World – Jordan 53 ������������������History & Legends - Kosinj Valley 56 ������������������Souvenir – Lička kapa/Lika cap 57 ������������������Recipe – Plum strudel

IMPRESSUM The Plitvice Times – number 2/2019 Publisher: The Plitvice Times j.d.o.o. Adress: Ogrizovićeva 3, 10 000 Zagreb e-mail: info@plitvicetimes.com Editors: Ana Vuković and Ante Fumić Content and photography partners: Plitvice Lakes Tourist Board, Rakovica Tourist Board, Lika-Senj County Tourist Board, Plitvice Lakes Municipality,Tatjana Miščančuk, Goran Stanzl (PIXSELL), Alex D. Vass, Josip Durdov, Nino Salkić, Rade Jug for Plitvice Lakes Tourist Board and Plitvice Valleys Tourist Board, Tamara Hodak, Petar Santini, Croatia Infiltration, The Miles We Share – Alisa and Brett, Croatian Mountain Rescue Service (HGSS) Gospić and Nikola Šimunić, Mladen Zadravec, Roman Cesarec, Katarina Terlević, Storm Chasing Team Senj, Jeromie and Madeline Hill, Vlado Butina, Croatian History.net, Pixabay, Wikimedia Copyright: The Plitvice Times Circulation: 5000 copies ISSN: 2623-7393 Cover photo: Petar Santini Print: Vjesnik d.d. Zagreb, Slavonska avenija 4 Design: MML Design Factory j.d.o.o. Translation: Vladivoj Lisica, ARCANUM

*The editor is not responsible for the design and the content of the ads *By sending your material to The Plitvice Times you agree for them to be published

EDITOR’S NOTE In your hands you are holding the first spring edition. The Plitvice Times has reached its second spring, but this is the first edition issued in the touristic pre-season. This issue is a new upgrade of our idea which is becoming better and more widespread. In addition to new distribution locations which you can check out on the penultimate page of the magazine, we have enriched our team by engaging new high quality associates and journalist. This resulted in us exploring new and excellent topics, so we will take this opportunity to emphasize three of them. This issue’s exclusive article is the interview with one of the forerunners of Croatian tourism, mr. Kristjan Staničić, the director of the Croatian National Tourist Board. We discussed the improvement of tourism in Lika and Plitvice, ideas for further development, but also statistical data and destination management. It’s interesting to read how our region is seen by the top brass of Croatian tourism. This issue’s main topic is Croatia Infiltration. Today they are a team of entrepreneurs who started out as photography and terrain enthusiasts. Our interview features interesting bits about military facilities dating back to Yugoslavia, we talked about how they brought an automobile industry giant to Željava, and they shared their experiences from around the world. The third topic we’d like to point out is based in the Gacka valley. Denis Lončar is a great host who’s been in hospitality for quite some time. Denis told us his story, how his career in tourism started, and the experiences that shaped his development. In addition to those three topics, in this issue you can read the most important current activities in the Plitvice Valleys and Plitvice Lakes. Ante Kovač, head of the Plitvice Lakes Municipality, wrote an article about developing infrastructure, our columnist Tamara shared the tale of her trip to Jordan, we included a story about Letinac, a small and beautiful village near Brinje, and there is an equally interesting story from Kosinj about some incredible, less known historical facts. The contents of this magazine are powered by amazing people who love Lika and Plitvice. We are very grateful for their participation and for providing us with great content. Have fun turning the pages and see you in over 50 distribution locations!

The Plitvice Times Team


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NEWS GREAT NEWS New Michelin stars for Croatia Michelin unveiled the online selection of the MICHELIN Guide Croatia 2019, which features a total of 64 restaurants spread throughout the country. This year there is 1 star for Noel in Zagreb. Here, chef Goran Kočiš uses a very precise technique and an international touch to create modern mediterrean cuisine, which is served in a trendy and relaxed atmosphere. To complement the cooking, great emphasis is given to food and wine pairing due to the extensive wine list and the passion of the co-owner sommelier. In Lovran, in the Kvarner region, the restaurant Draga di Lovrana also receives a 1 star distinction. The kitchen team is led by the talented young chef Deni Srdoč, who has a strong connection with this terroir and a gentle Italian-French influence to his technique. The dishes are created using local products, with the aim of supporting the Kvarner farmers and fisherman, and the result is contemporary cuisine with a personal touch. In addition to the new stars, the previous three 1 star distinctions are retained this year: Monte in Rovinj, 360 in Dubrovnik and Pelegrini in Šibenik. PHOTO: Draga di Lovrana

LIKA-SENJ COUNTY Additional medical teams in tourist destinations in the peak season The Ministry of Tourism will once again cofinance additional medical teams in tourist destinations in the peak season. Additional money goes also to Lika-Senj county and last year between 1 June and 30 September, medical teams in these counties attended to 168,000 cases which was 58% more than in the first four months of that year. “The security aspect is a very important part of tourism as are medical teams… all this is to help make Croatia a safe destination,” Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli said, adding that he has insisted for some time now for a solution for a helicopter medical service, particularly for the islands and hopes that a solution will be found by the summer.

GREAT SUCCESS Golden City Gate Award for Lika-Senj County At the world’s leading travel trade show – ITB Berlin, the LikaSenj County Tourist Board has won the prestigious “Golden City Gate Award” for the recently presented promo film. The new promo film “Visit Lika” has been recognized among the strong competition of 148 promo films from many world destinations. The award was presented to the director of the Lika-Senj County Tourist Board, Ivan Radošević who said that is a great recognition and an important step for the County’s tourism. The promo film was made by Balducci Film from Zagreb, directed by Bobby Grubic, and produced by Spomenka Saraga. The concept was jointly designed by Balduci Film and the Lika-Senj County Tourist Board.

“This year we will have 20 teams on the road that will be dispatched at more than 20 locations in the seven counties,” the director of Croatia’s Institute for Emergency Medicine, Maja Grba-Bujevic said.


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NEWS BOOKING.COM Slunj among the Most Welcoming Destinations on Earth

Booking.com is honoring its accommodation partners that consistently deliver great guest experiences with a 2018 Guest Review Award. For the seventh annual edition of the awards, 759,845 properties in total across 219 countries and territories are being given an award. Based on the share of properties receiving an award in 2018, for the first time ever Booking.com reveals the most welcoming places on Earth according to customer reviews. The great news is that among the 10 most welcoming destinations in the world is the City of Slunj! The most welcoming destinations besides Slunj are Goreme (Turkey), Eluanbi (Taiwan), Niagara on the Lake (Canada), Lake Tekapo (New Zealand), Bendigo (Australia), Newport (United States), Nozawa Onsen (Japan), Fernando de Noronha (Brazil) and El Chalten (Argentina). This is especially relevant for the 73% of global travelers that say friendly and interesting locals are one of their top considerations when selecting a destination for their next trip. PHOTO: Charlene Liang

Be a part of our magazine We`re already working on our next magazine issue that comes out in July, and we want you to be part of it!

NEW ATTRACTION A hanging bridge over the canyon in Krka National Park The coasts of Krka will soon be connected at a new location! A hanging bridge over the canyon of the river will connect the forts NeÄ?ven and TroĹĄenj, and apart from its attractiveness, it will expand the educational walking trails at the National Park Krka while directly linking the municipality of Promina with the municipality of Kistanje. A new tourist attraction, a pedestrian suspension bridge will be 462.5 metres long and will be the third longest pedestrian suspension bridge in the world. The construction of the bridge will last two years so the opening is planned in 2021.

We would love to hear your ideas and implement your suggestions to help you love the magazine even more! Be a part of our magazine by sending topics, suggestions, testimonials or feedback and connect with us. WANT TO BE FEATURED? We are always in a search for new topics to be featured, and we are always open to adding more diversity to our team of writers, photographers and content creators. Feel free to contact us at info@plitvicetimes.com


www.visit-lika.com www.croatiawalk.com


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NEWS

BEIJING 28% more Chinese tourists expected in Croatia this year Croatia can expect good results with regard to Chinese tourists and about 28% or 300,000 more arrivals this year compared to 2018. HTZ together with Slovenia’s tourism organisation (STO) held a business workshop Experience Croatia, Feel Slovenia in Beijing that was financed with support from the European Tourism Commission (ETC) and attracted Chinese tour operators and tourist agencies. According to data presented, more than 300,000 arrivals by Chinese tourists are expected this year or about 28% more than in 2018 as well as 430,000 more bed nights, which will be an increase of 25%.

LIKA CHEESE ROUTE Go, explore, taste! If cheese is something that you care for and love exploring new and different tastes - let`s go on this trip together. Have you heard about Lika Cheese Route – an entire network of farmers and producers promoting a brand of the rural area and top-class farm products. From the Gacka Valley, Gospić, Brinje area to the island of Pag and Novalja – the aim is to promote the area’s traditional small-scale businesses and local products. The goal is to showcase everything cheese related through visits to farms and dairies while the route mapped allow the visitors to explore the region, its people and its products offering insight into all stages of the cheese production process. Find the route online and go explore!

90 YEARS OF ROTARY IN CROATIA It all started at Plitvice Lakes The Croatian Post presented a postage stamp released honouring the 90th anniversary of Rotary club Zagreb. The founding meeting of the Rotary club Zagreb was held at the Zagreb Esplanade Hotel on March 6, 1929, at the initiative of Josef Schulz, then Rotary International Director for Europe. Among the founders of the Club are Ivan Meštrović, Franjo Hanaman and Branko Šenoa. After that, the ceremonial charter for both Zagreb and Belgrade clubs was held on June 28, 1929 at Plitvice Lakes. The guests were Josef Schulz, Sigmund Trover, President of the RC Graz, and members of RC Graz Alfred

Wahld, Dr. Winbirhardton, Hans Wagul, Dr. Herbert Wiesler, then Dr. A. Apold, the President of RC Wien, Mr. Thoenv, member of RC Innsbruck, and A. Kalina, member of RC Prague. Congratulation telegrams and letters were sent from offices in Zurich and Rotary Clubs from Rome, Hamburg, Dresden, Moravian Ostrava, Prague, Timisoara, Bucharest, Bratislava, Salzburg, Bern, Toplitz – Schonau, Pisek, Pilsen, Košice, Linz, Trieste, Sušice, Jerusalem, Waag, Bilbao, Czech Budejovice, Le Havre, Oslo, Venice, Berlin, Vichy, Utrecht, Malaga, Kutna Hora and Chur.


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NEWS 52 PLACES TO GO IN 2019 The New York Times traveler coming to Croatia! Each year, The New York Times puts out a list of 52 Places to Go. In 2018, they sent Jada Yuan to all 52 destinations. This year, they’re sending another intrepid journalist, Sebastian Modak, to do the same, and guess what – Croatia is on the list! “Once again, we got applicants from around the world and from a variety of backgrounds (meet some of them here). After weeks of assessing them, we settled on a handful of finalists. From that group, we chose Sebastian Modak, one of our finalists from last year, and a journalist with an impressive background and résumé. Just weeks before he sets off to his first destination — Puerto Rico, which took the No. 1 spot on the list this year”, say from the New York Times. No 11 on the list are Zadar and nearby islands and here are a few reasons why Zadar made it to the list! “After the Croatian soccer team captured the world’s attention in the World Cup last summer – its team captain Luka Modric’s inspiring play was particularly notable – soccer fans revved up their search engines and learned that Mr. Modric hails from Zadar, a pretty, compact town on the Dalmatian Coast. Zadar is often ignored as visitors hopscotch from Istria in the north to Split and Hvar and then down to Dubrovnik. But that may be about to change!“ says David Farley for The New York Times.

UNA National Park one step closer to UNESCO World Heritage List! At the meeting of the National Commission for UNESCO, the final document by which the Milančev waterfall with a complex of waterfalls located in Una National Park will be listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, was accepted. UNESCO World Heritage Sites were created in 1978 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). They began designating important sites around the globe as part of an effort to preserve the world’s cultural and natural heritage. To be selected, a World Heritage Site must be an already classified landmark, unique in some respect as a geographically and historically identifiable place having special cultural or physical significance (such as an ancient ruin or historical structure, building, city, complex, desert, forest, island, lake, monument, mountain, or wilderness area. It may signify a remarkable accomplishment of humanity, and serve as evidence of our intellectual history on the planet.

USEFUL ACCOMODATION GUIDE “Camping near Parks in Croatia” In addition to the quality of Croatian Camps, beautiful nature is one of the main reasons why many campers choose Croatia as their vacation spot. Camping enthusiasts and nature lovers will be happy to know that it is possible to camp in nearly 40 camps near Croatian Nature Parks and National Parks which is perfect for exploring Croatian exquisite nature. The project called “Camping near Parks in Croatia” was founded with the aim to inform everyone about camping accommodation in Croatia. The project connects National Parks and Nature Parks with activities and affordable accommodation in camps or in camping trailers in the vicinity of untouched Croatian nature. You can find all the important information about Croatian Nature Parks and National Parks, as well as the camps near them on the project’s website.


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PHOTO: Goran Stanzl PIXSELL


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INTERVIEW

Kristjan Staničić director of Croatian National Tourist Board

„This year we are putting special emphasis on promoting the less known or visited parts of the Lika-Senj County“

We are witnessing the great discovery of Lika which is growing and can grow even more in terms of tourism, and development has to be sustainable The area of Plitvice and Lika in general are exceptionally important for Croatian tourism, and there is great potential in this region for developing a new offer based on authenticity and sustainability, which tourists find more and more appealing, and which is to a great extent the goal of sustainable development in tourism. Even though the offer is still lacking, particularly in the area of accommodation, we expect that the following years will bring about the great discovery of Lika as a destination of active and other types of vacationing, which will undoubtedly push new investments by the private sector, some of which are already being completed this year. Additionally, everything will be even better promoted, both on the domestic and foreign markets, by the increasingly active Croatian National Tourist Board (CNTB) and the system of local tourist boards, including the Tourist Board of the Lika-Senj County. While Lika and the area of Plitvice have been promoted as ideal destinations for years, this year special emphasis will be placed on promoting the less known or visited parts of the county. Kristjan Staničić, the director of the Main Office of the Croatian National Tourist Board, has weighed in on the situation with Lika and Plitvice for The Plitvice Times, and has also described promotional plans and expectations for the upcoming year.


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How does the Croatian National Tourist Board see Lika and the connected area of Plitvice as a destination? How important is this region for Croatian tourism? As this is a region where the most prominent and most visited of our eight national parks is located, i.e. a natural treasure added to the World Heritage list, we do not have to talk about it only in terms of its importance for Croatian tourism, but of its immeasurable importance for Croatia as a whole. This year we are intensively working on developing continental tourism, continental areas and inland Croatia in general, so to that end the CNTB’s programme for 2019 includes a host of activities related to the promotion and development of tourism in continental Croatia, including Lika. We believe that this region, when considering its current touristic traffic, has the potential for much larger growth. Tourism has a multiplicative effect, and its development is an opportunity for many other economic activities and subjects in the area to grow and develop. Through all of that, our goal is to preserve the Plitvice Lakes National Park as a protected natural location, along with the rest of the exceptional and pristine nature, and to develop tourism only through a sustainable model.

What do the CNTB and the system of tourist boards, in cooperation with other stakeholders in the region, plan in terms of the region’s promotion this year? We see this tourist year as another opportunity to promote the Lika-Senj County as an ideal destination, not just as a waystation on the road to the sea, but as a primary choice for a full vacation. So this year, in collaboration with the Lika-Senj County Tourist Board, we are strongly focusing on promoting the less known and visited locations in the county, which can and have to become recognisable to both foreign and domestic guests following the success of top destinations such as Novalja and Plitvice. The elements of the planned joint promotion range from active tourism, which is on the rise in the area in the last couple of years, over the increasingly recognisable gastronomy to the unique natural beauty.

In addition, we will continue to intensively include the region in all of the foreign markets where the CNTB is present. In the sense of branding and marketing and promotional activities, last year we supported a series of projects throught the Slavonia Cluster, our support is also wellknown in the Dalmatian Hinterlands, where we set a good example with merging the tourist boards in Imotska Krajina. We have a similar project in mind for Gorski Kotar this year, as well as for Hrvatsko Zagorje and Međimurje. This is all being done because continental Croatia, including Lika, has great potential for developing various selective and sought after forms of tourism based on authenticity and autochthonous products, which is exactly what the region has to offer.

Are there perhaps some special promotional projects in store for the region? Lika and the Plitvice region are a mandatory visual part in essentially all marketing campaigns conducted on foreign markets. For example, last year’s spring campaign conducted on 15 markets featured Plitvice as part of the special communication related to cyclotourism in the context of one of the most attractive cycling routes in Croatia. Similarly, a whole host of foreign journalists, global bloggers, influencers and agents are taken to the Lika-Senj County, i.e. Plitvice and the Plitvice region. Depending on the season and prepared programme, which is typically organised in collaboration with local tourist boards, the Plitvice Lakes National Park and the County Tourist Board, most people do not expect such a rich offer in the region, and their surprise and delight is always nice to see. What we are particularly careful about when designing itineraries is to present this destination which offers much more than a one-day tour of a national park. The results of creatively designed programmes include a proposal, if you remember when the blogger from Dubai Vivek Kukreti proposed to his girlfriend Nisha at the Plitvice Lakes National Park, a protected jewel of Croatian tourism.


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What’s the statistical data on arrivals and overnight stays in the region? Is there a particular market where there is special interest for the area? In 2018, the Lika-Senj County registered around 813 thousand arrivals and just over 3.3 million overnight stays. Around one fifth of the overnight stays and just over half of the arrivals were registered in the continental part of the county. This is still to a large extent the result of the traffic noted by the Plitvice Lakes National Park and surrounding area, but with the further development of the tourist offer this could significantly improve. Based on markets, the greatest interests comes from key markets in Germany, Italy and France, as well as distant locations such as the USA, China, South Korea and Japan. Those guests are particularly interesting because we know they travel during pre- and post-season in tours, and they especially value pristine nature, historical and cultural landmarks and gastronomy.

What is, in your opinion, necessary to increase the frequency of tourists in the region? More programmes, tours, better accommodation and other offers, more people who want to work in tourism, or something else? I’m sure that a combination of all of the above would contribute to getting more tourists, especially during pre- and post-season. Attractions, sports events, festivals, high quality accommodation, organised tours – all of it constitutes motive for tourist arrivals at a destination. Lika and the Plitvice region has grown and is still growing in that sense, the capacities and offer are increasing, as is the quality, so I believe that this growth will continue. A lot has been invested in accommodation, but also in additional, even exclusive and luxury content which makes a destination more attractive, all of which resulted in the growth of tourism.

How does destination management work for the region and how important is it for the sustainable development of tourism? The Lika-Senj County Tourist Board is conducting the activities in its purview well and they are promoting the tourist offer of the county both at home and abroad in collaboration with the CNTB. We’re working hard on enriching the total touristic offer, especially selective types of tourism. As an example, I could mention the project for branding family accommodation in the Lika-Senj County which the county tourist board has been running under the motto „Blue and green gomestay“. This project specifically brands accommodation that is bike, hike and moto-bike friendly. In addition, they have recently created a new promotional film which promotes the touristic

offer of the county – all of its touristic products, cultural and natural heritage, with special emphasis on the exceptionally rich and diverse gastronomy of the region. Destination management can be clearly depicted on the example of last year’s first Croatian Walking Festival in the Lika-Senj County. Within the scope of the project, the County Tourist Board as the organiser consolidated all subject and services required to realise the event, both on the horizontal and vertical levels, and used the realisation of this project to display the permanent focus on developing active tourism in the region. Similarly, the Lika-Senj County Tourist Board is active in all projects executed by the Main Office of the Croatian National Tourist Board and participates in joint advertising, nominates projects for the CNTB’s support programmes, exhibits at fairs, etc. It actively participates in the EDEN - European project which promotes less developed regions and searches for the best areas in Europe, as well as conducts numerous other activities for the improvement and promotion of the county’s tourist offer.


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PROMO

Come to the first Plitvice Valleys Bike Weekend! Plitvice Valleys Bike Weekend PROMO

10-12 May

Are you a fan of cycling, adventure and beautiful nature? Then save the date! The second weekend in May is reserved for the Plitvice Valleys Bike Weekend – a three-day festival of cycling to be held in Plitvice Valleys. What should you expect from this event? Three whole days of a rich programme, so let’s go into more detail.

Day 1 – Search for the best sunset The first day of the event will host a relaxing 20 kilometre long „sunset seeker“ night ride with electric bikes. After enjoying the sunset over the Plitvice Valleys, cyclists can go for a ride under the starry sky, which is an ideal opportunity to test the performance of electric mountain bikes.

Day 2 – Family cycling tour through interesting locations in the Plitvice Valleys Saturday is reserved for the Barać Caves family bike tour. This 30 kilometer long tour with a 350 metre altitude change includes riding on a macadam road and asphalt through the Plitvice Valleys, taking the cyclists through pictoresque villages, the Barać caves where a picnic will be held, all the way to the Drežnik Grad medieval fort above the Korana canyon. It’s a proper challenge!

Day 3 – win great prizes on a recreational race Sunday’s race is for adventurers seeking exciting off-road trails. The organizers have announced a downhill ride through grooves left by tractors, and the spectacular horizons of the Plitvice Valleys. Psst – there are also prizes to win! In Grabovac, at the Plitvice Art Farm, there will be a Bike Village where cyclists can relax and refresh themselves with domestic specialty dishes, they can test the latest bike models and have fun with a DJ while the youngest participate in various activities. You can find detailed information on the website of the Tourist Board of the Rakovica Municipality – plitvicevalleys.com, as well as on Facebook and Instagram.


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PROMO

The Legends of Plitvice Valleys are coming to Old town Drežnik! The historical and touristic festival The Legends of Plitvice Valleys will once again be held during this year’s tourist season in Rakovica Municipality. Everyone who has visited the Legends of Plitvice Valleys festival has seen with their own eyes what it’s like when history comes to life in the full sense of the word. The area of Rakovica Municipality is home to rich, interesting legends, as well as important historical events.

Old town Drežnik, the historical fort over the Korana river, will once again host interesting guests who will spend time with the visitors. Eugen Kvaternik, leader of the Rakovica rebellion; the serious Seressaner (Serežani), a historical elite police force based in the Plitvice Valleys donning impressive uniforms; the Iapydes (Japodi), expert jewelcrafters whose products will be on display, and of course, the river Korana, a beauty who will come back to life for a day and tell us the tale of what made her so special for the people here.

archaeological research and presentation of domestic products and handcrafted items. Visitors will also be able to transform into historical figures by having their faces painted. There are more things coming, but you will just have to be patient until May for more announcements.

Visitors definitely won’t have time to be bored, as the rich programme also includes thematic workshops for children,

The event’s official hashtag is #Legende2019, follow us on social networks and see you at the fort!

The Tourist Board of the Rakovica Municipality invites everyone to join these festivities, and for one day step into the region’s glorious history, enjoy new experiences, make new friends and create everlasting memories.


PROMO

This autumn we’re once again going to the „Medin Brlog“ festival At the end of the tourist season, the Plitvice Valleys will once again host the „Medin Brlog“ festival (eng. Bear’s Lair), where visitors will be able to learn and experience everything that the Rakovica region has to offer. What exactly is „Medin Brlog“ and why should you visit it? Because it will enchant your palate! The festival offers traditional autumnal activities such as preparing jam, dumplings and cake, but also cooking schnaps and game meat goulash. The festival will also include a special cycling tour to the Old town Drežnik fort, traditional games and great workshops. Costumed legends of the Plitvice Valleys such as Korana and Eugen Kvaternik will also appear at „Medin brlog“ in Grabovac near Rakovica. Additionally, local cultural-artistic societies will present their traditional songs and folk costumes, and judging by last year, we can expect many foreign and domestic guests. Visitors will also be able to visit the nearby Barać caves, the National Park and Rastoke at promotional prices. This September, reserve a weekend for the „Medin Brlog“ festival, and follow our official website plitvicevalleys.com for more information.

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INTERVIEW

„We brought Mazda to Željava“ Croatia Infiltration

Project Croatia Infiltration that many of us follow on social networks with great interest because of the great content they publish from numerous abandoned locations, is part of a much greater story driven by three versatile enthusiasts – architects Mihovil Pirnat and Matija Pucak, and their colleague Josip Kovač Levantin, a pilot. Like so many things, this started out of boredom in the summer of 2008 with the first spontaneous research done in Zagreb, and over time it has grown into a Croatian company that does scouting and project implementation for foreign productions. Their passion are abandoned locations from various regimes which they then revive in global projects – from ads to movies. We talked about all of this with Mihovil who revealed how it all started and how, over time, they became one of the most successful companies of its kind in Croatia.

Let’s go back to 2008 and the very beginning of this adventure. It all began out of boredom. I was in high school then, exploring secret tunnels on Markuševac beneath Sljeme with my bike. Something inspired me to go inside and explore, to gain insight into times past and human customs and activities. I had a phone then with which I took photos and that was the first chapter of both exploring mysterious locations and photography. When I came home and put the materials online I received positive feedback from people who like these things and realized how much this fulfilled me. That’s when I decided to start my blog – Croatia Infiltration. After that I spent some time exploring numerous abandoned locations in Zagreb with my friend Vlatko who now lives in America. As the story went viral, Josip from Split contacted us, we met up and became

inseparable, we even started a company together! After enrolling in university my classmate Matija joined us, and then when Vlatko went to America it was just the three of us. This is today’s Croatia Infiltration three-man team.

You were students who combined several interests and professions and started on a special adventure. What were your first projects? While exploring around Zagreb and publishing what we discovered on our blog, we got an unexpected mail from a mister Kevin from Urban Gentory based in London. This was back in 2011. He told us that he was organizing product testing for HTC smartphones and he wanted to collaborate with us. Our task was to use interesting abandone locations in Zagreb so journalists from all over the world could photograph different locations in different conditions – dark, dust, humidity, light. We did it perfectly, even though we were under a lot of stress, we were only 19, didn’t have a formal business, but we’re talking about a lot of money from a student’s point of view and a challenge we didn’t want to pass on. We dedicated a lot of time to this, maybe even risked a bit with our academic obligations, but mister Kevin was really satisfied with our abilities and effort and we continued working together. After the HTC thing, he contacted us again in 2013 with a new project that involved product testing for Canon cameras. We were supposed to review new telephoto lenses for long-distance photography. Then we decided to found our company. My brother Andrija helped us out a lot in this process, he owns the Swanky Mint hostel in Zagreb today. For this project, we decided to get out of Zagreb and proposed Plitvice and Željava as the target locations. At Plitvice we took


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photos of animals, nature and people, and then we moved to the airstrips in Željava where we captured acrobats from a very long distance. They found Željava very interesting because they wanted to test the camera’s resistance to dust and humidity. We had to get special permits for that. As far as we know this was the first more serious project at the location in a long while so we definitely broke some ground there. Even though everyone was very forthcoming, it wasn’t easy to get the paperwork completed, but everyone understood that such a great project with a global reach is definitely in the best interest of the community, that it might attract other business, and this soon happened with Mazda.

Let’s talk about the 2016 Mazda project. In the meantime we did more and more location scouting, we got hired by production companies and at that point we already had a good database of abandoned locations across Croatia. That’s how Mazda came – the project was run by the production company called Division, they hired us for location scouting before filming a new ad. They briefed us on the director’s vision and we had to come up with a proposal based on that. They were looking for an underground passage – a tunnel wide enough for two cars driving side by side. One was supposed to film with a russian arm, the other to be in focus. We shortlisted two locations – a small tunnel in Mostar named Buna and Željava. As soon as they saw

the photos from Željava they went – this is it. When the director came for location scouting and when we went through the tunnel together, they instructed us how to organize the location. I was there for three weeks, we even did some construction work – removing waste and materials, even though they requested that the tunnel wasn’t sterile, but robust. Some parts were supposed to stay and some cleaned out, so we used our own judgment to satisfy the director. We also had to find as much scenery as possible in the area so that they didn’t have to send things to Croatia. We brought in barrels, construction machines, traffic signs... It was a lot of effort, but everything went

great. There were 150 people from around the world on set, filming itself took three days, and preparation took a full three weeks. In the end, the segment from Željava lasted around 30 seconds in the ad, while the rest was filmed in Ljubljana. While we were busy doing serious projects and maintaining our hobby of filming abandoned locations, we simultaneously produced the amateur trash film „Extreme Danger“ which we filmed for three years. It ultimately won the trash film award – the Golden Chainsaw. This pulled us into production and filming organization, which proved to be a great experienced for when we later work on proper productions.


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How did the company execs react to the final material and has it maybe prompted other proposals to use the same location?

trying to get to foreign clients this experience helps us greatly, we’re receiving a lot of proposals.

What was going on Even though they told us that we jumped with the blog into their most difficult project in the last in all this six years, and even though we were just a small piece of the whole story, everyone time? was very pleased and Division continued to hire us.

The crew on set was very interested in Željava, so after filming we’d hold small guided tours for them. This was possible because we had to install good lighting on the inside for the sake of filming the ad. After that we received many proposals for Željava, but we had to focus on university and decline projects. Projects such as these take a lot of time to complete. Now, with diplomas in our hands, we can also invest a lot more time into everything. We didn’t forget this area. Back in 2016 a Dutch production company hired us for a projected called „Possessed“ – a documentary film which was filmed at Plitvice, on the Željava airstrips and in Kumrovec. This project involved only 30 people and I realized I was far more interested in the creative part than the production itself. All of our clients were foreign production companies, so now when we’re actively

Croatia Infiltration as a blog was active the whole time. We went on our adventures when we had the time. In the beginning about 70% of the adventures were in Croatia, but we quickly expanded and concluded that it was time to take our story more international. This included Bosnia, Bulgaria and Hungary, we’re currently presenting half-hour long films about those trips on our channel.

Let’s focus a bit on interesting locations in Lika and this area. What would you emphasize here, what did you learn? The wider area of Lika and Kordun has shown to be very rich for our work. We can mention Vojnić where you can see the magnificent monument by Vojin Bakić. We can talk about Udbina, Željava or Plješivica

with the base/bunker, but we wouldn’t recommend exploring it because of the danger from mines. They were part of the defense system of Yugoslavia which monitored the surrounding area, making them very interesting as there are many things there that nobody has touched in a long time. Tito’s villa is one of the locations that interested us, but when we look at it today compared to when we first took photos, it’s incredible how devastated it has become. Tito was a brand and I’m sure he would have attracted many tourists. They’d gladly visit these locations and learn something about history, not only about Tito’s period, but also before and after him. We think there’s great touristic potential regarding that both in this area and in Croatia as a whole.

You were at Chernobyl, tell us a bit about it. How hard is it to get in and what are their policies? Yeah, I was in Chernobyl in 2010 and in Fukushima in 2016. You can enter


21 Chernobyl without too many complications nowadays, they even have multiple-day tours. I’d love to repeat that trip, stay there for a week so I could make a video. Fukushima was a completely different story as the tragedy is fresh, there are no such tours there. When such a catastrophe happens, it’s considered an „exclusion zone“ or „no go zone“, and a 30-kilometer radius around the epicentre of the catastrophe is cordoned off. You can’t get in unless you have a valid reason, and I can use the fact that I’m an architect to my advantage. It gives me both credibility and a reason to go. As far as Fukushima goes, I contacted an association that deals with the problems there and who communicate news from the area every day. They helped me and assigned a woman as my guide. She showed me everything in a single day. Since the catastrophe was fresh, everyone had to know we were there and that we were recording. It’s also a moral responsibility, and you can feel the depression at the location itself. I haven’t published those materials anywhere yet as I’m still not sure if I can properly justify why I am publishing it. We’re going to come out with those materials soon.

In a hundred years when people explore today’s locations like you’re doing right now, do you think they’re going to have similarly engaging stories? That’s a political question because the result depends on whether or not our system will survive. If there’s a regime change, like when communism shifted to democracy, then the monuments of this age would surely be treated from a completely different perspective, maybe even with disgust, which is what regularly happens today when looking at the past. This is what makes our photography relevant – if in a hundred years someone does research they will have photo and video materials. Finding archival data for some objects is very hard, and I’m sure that in the future someone will find our archive useful when undertaking their own adventures.


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INFO CORNER - WHAT’S GOING ON IN THE PLITVICE LAKES MUNICIPALITY - PROMO

DELICIOUS 9th Bear’s Garlic Day 4 May 2019

The tasty gastronomical festival „Bear’s Garlic Day“, dedicated to this delicious plant (wild garlic, ramsons) related to onions and garlic will once again be held this year in the Plitvice Lakes Municipality. The festival is jointly organized by the Plitvice Lakes Municipality and the Plitvice Lakes Municipality Tourist Board, and it is dedicated to this springtime specialty which bears love when they wake up from hibernation. This traditional festival is an ideal opportunity for the inhabitants of Lika and their guests to better get to know this edible and medicinal plant. The 9th „Bear’s Garlic Day“ will be held on Saturday, 4 May, in the centre of Korenica, in front of the library, where some of the hospitality establishments, family farms, the high school and kindergarten will offer various dishes featuring this healthy and tasty plant. Visitors will have the opportunity to taste domestic specialty dishes with bear’s garlic and there will also be a short cultural-artistic programme. In addition to enjoying bear’s garlic, the festival is a great opportunity to spend time in nature. There will be organized hiking tours with the possibility to go pick bear’s garlic, and visitors will be able to have lunch in nature. Come to Korenica for Bear’s Garlic Day, taste what we have to offer and enjoy the magnificent nature of the Plitvice area! Disclaimer: the organizers reserve the right to change the date and time of the event

ACTIVE 34th Plitvice Marathon 31 May – 2 June 2019

This year, the Plitvice Marathon, one of the most beautiful marathons in the world, will take place for the 34th time. The whole event will feature a marathon race, a half-marathon race and a regular 5-kilometre race through the incredible nature of the Plitvice Lakes National Park. It will be a weekend full of activity. Last year’s marathon saw over two thousand runners from around the world, and this year the weekend event which will take place from 31 May to 2 June is expected to attract over four thousand people, many of whom will spend the whole weekend at Plitvice Lakes. The first races – the 5-kilometre and children’s races – are the first to start on Saturday, 1 June, while the following day is reserved for the professionals running the marathon and half-marathon. This race, continuously supported by the Tourist Board of the Plitvice Lakes Municipality, has been very popular from its very beginning. In addition to the participants, the marathon is followed and supported by many visitors, so the contest itself is also a pleasant social event. The reception center opens the day before the races, on Friday, along with the Marathon EXPO, giving everyone the chance to spend a fun sporty weekend while visiting Plitvice Lakes and touring all the other sights in the area. Join the race or just come have a good time in the Plitvice Lakes Municipality. See you at the Plitvice Marathon! Disclaimer: the organizers reserve the right to change the date and time of the event


INFO CORNER - WHAT’S GOING ON IN THE PLITVICE LAKES MUNICIPALITY - PROMO

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ARTISTIC Water – The fluid of life 8-16 June 2019

Disclaimer: the organizers reserve the right to change the date and time of the event

This year, from 8 to 16 June, the Plitvice Lakes National Park will host the international exhibition named „Water – The Fluid of Life“. The theme of the exhibition is water in all its aspects and forms. Water as a universal life force, life’s fluid, source of inspiration. And what better place to get inspired and to experience this force but the Plitvice lakes, a UNESCO protected national park with 16 falling lakes and countless waterfalls in the midst of Lika, the Croatian highlands.

„Join us at this feast of art and nature. Spare a moment to think about water. What it is for you, how you perceive it, how it communicates with you, how you translate it in to your own life, your creativity and your work. Participate with your artwork at our expo and join others from all around the globe“ – the organizers have announced.

explain all the extraordinary qualities that make this fluid specific and unique to this planet and universe.

Lately, water has been studied not only by scientists, but also by explorers, artists, philosophers and ecologists. They study the phenomenon of water, they try to

See you at this interesting exhibition supported by local institutions including the Plitvice Lakes Municipality Tourist Board.

Given those recent discoveries we learn that water has the power to heal as well as destroy, it has a process of self-cleansing, it is a bearer of important biological information and it has memory!


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#discoverplitvice

PHOTO: Rade Jug


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PROMO - A WORD FROM THE MUNICIPALITY

The infrastructure Plitvice deserves Important decisions

Tourism in the Plitvice Lakes Municipality, which is visited by almost two million tourists annually, requires significant investments in infrastructure. Because of that, the Municipality, along with its partners, puts in a lot of effort each day to solve problems on the water supply system, wastewater system, and to improve the road infrastructure. We want to create the best conditions possible, not just for the sake of our citizens, but also for the numerous tourists visiting our destination, and we want them to go home with great memories, remembering Plitvice as a highest level destination, which includes infrastructure.

In addition to that project, Rudanovac and Rastovača, villages with a large vacation accommodation capacity, have finally received a proper water supply system worth around 5 million kuna. A temporary purifier was also installed in Rastovača, which is very significant as it will solve the problem with wastewater generated by the hotel and a narrower part of the Park, at least until a permanent wastewater system is built. This project is worth around 8 million kuna. There is another project currently in the process of public procurement, which involves a conceptual project design for the water supply system in two municipalities – Plitvice Lakes and Rakovica. The documentation has to be completed by November 2019, and it has to define the long-term goals regarding water wells, pipelines, and solving the problem for all towns. The Agglomeration project is worth 300 million kuna and is ready to be implemented. It involves building 80 kilometres of sewer networks with two purifiers in Korenica and Rakovica, with high safety standards that Plitvice deserve. Only when it is completed, which is expected to take place in 2023, will we be able to say that the infrastructural issue of Plitvice has been solved. When we add plans for the renewal of the Plitice bypass to all this, which would displace the national road out of the park centre, and this is something that should be done by 2024, we can say that Plitvice are on the road to having a very bright future.

Let’s keep nature safe together and welcome to The past couple of years Plitvice Lakes National Park has been the Plitvice Lakes Municipality! mentioned in a negative way in terms of ecological danger, to such a degree that there is a threat of being removed from the UNESCO heritage list. In response, the competent ministry, park management and municipality self-government have taken the signs of an impending catastrophe very seriously and got to work. A huge project involving the sanation and improvement of the water supply system to reduce losses is currently in progress. It is worth 12 million kuna and it will result in several hundred new connections and consumers which will finally make the local water company in Korenica solvent, i.e. a company that can make a profit.

Ante Kovač HEAD OF THE PLITVICE LAKES MUNICIPALITY


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A TALE OF A HOST

DENIS LONČAR & Apartment Gacka „A smile is the key to successful tourism“

Denis Lončar from Otočac is one of the pioneers of tourism in the region. Apart from offering his guests a wide array of sports and entertainment activities, he has been providing accommodation in his family house where he lives with his wife Sandra and children Kevin and Melani. After finishing high school, Denis wanted to study tourism. He felt that this field would be able to recover quickly after the war and enable good living conditions in the area. He finished the Faculty of Tourism and Hospitality Management in Opatija, and he was additionally motivated by where he lived – a house by the river Gacka where many foreigners competed in trout fishing.

How long have you been in the hospitality business and how did it all start? I started renting in 2007, it was a joint effort with my father and mother. Our motto has always been „guests first“, so even back then when competition was very low, we were 100% there for each guest. Many of our regular guests, fishermen, still talk about how my late father used to bring them domestic plum schnaps and drink with them for every trout caught. The whole story, which began 12 years ago and is still going strong, is deeply bound by friendships with guests and spending time with them. Each winter we spend time with our guests in their territory – Wolfgang in Vienna, Corrado in Italy, and other guests who are our friends, we spend the weekend together and have a good time. If I were to tell you all the nice memories and anecdotes with our friends, you’d probably have to dedicate one whole issue of the Plitvice Times just for that.

In addition to interior decoration, how important is it to decorate the surrounding landscape? You have a children’s playground, barbecue, sandbox... do guests acknowledge those things? It’s true that when you decide what direction to go in, that you have to dedicate yourself to it. In addition to fishermen, our most loyal guests are families with children. When the kids are happy, so are the parents. I’m also a parent of two, we often travel and I know what it feels like to sleep in a room that’s only 20 metres square, it’s literally a prison. Kids need to be free and to play, so we made a playground next to the apartments. It has a slide with a house, sandbox, swing, trampoline and a bunch of toys,

equipment and deck chairs for parents, all of that on 400 metres squared. While the kids are playing, the parents can keep an eye on them while reading a book or sunbathing. And then in the evening, when the kids go to bed, the parents can relax with a glass of wine on the terrace that also features a barbecue, all set in a silent rural mood, with a gentle, fresh breeze coming from the forest.

Your place has been given the Blue & Green Homestay label. How important is that for you? We are delighted that the Lika-Senj County Tourist Board recognized us as a valuable touristic subject and gave us the label. When you do something for over ten years, and you put in a lot of effort for every single guest, the Blue & Green label is definitely something we’re proud of. We will continue to be at the service of all our guests, and the guests will also be able to see that institutions have acknowledged our efforts. However, this label also provides a feeling of security for the guests. They know that if they come to us by motorcycle or by bike that they will have a place to safely park in our garage, that there’s a wrench if they need one, and lubricant if something is creaking. When a hiker comes, they know that they can get good information which trail to go on in line with their abilities.

What has been your best experience in the business? I could mention two incredible experiences. The first one was when we threw a birthday party for our fishermen guests who came for the second time. The whole group was here - a grandfather, son, daughter-in-law and grandson. All of them went fishing together and they had no idea we were preparing a surprise. When they came back, we were ready to celebrate the grandfather’s 74th birthday, we made cake, baloons, barbecue, and we spent time together all evening, drinking a few shots of plum schnaps in the process. That was the night when we made a permanent bond with our friend Wolfgang


27 I’ve mentioned before. The second experience was when Wolfgang and Corrado threw me an unforgettable birthday party. I won’t talk about it any further, the readers can imagine how much fun the three of us had that day...

What do the guests like the most when they come to you and to Lika? All hosts will tell you the same two things – hospitality and natural beauty. According to some research, we are the most hospitable hosts in the world, and this is something that our guests from around the world notice and they are always impressed. Even though most guests come to see the Plitvice Lakes, they are surprised and enchanted by the entire scenery. They can’t believe that there is a beautiful and special river like Gacka, clear and fresh over all of its 11 kilometres of length, so when they’re enjoying a walk, cycling or rowing, they can drink directly from the river.

Is tourism on the rise in Otočac and the Gacka valley? Tourism in Otočac and the Gacka valley has definitely woken up. There are many lovely hosts putting in a lot of effort for their guests, there are many historical and natural sites, attractions and activities to see, visit and do as a tourist. These days, when a guest comes to Otočac, you don’t have to worry what to offer them. We can offer our guests several days of quality vacation time. Sure, there’s always room for improvement, but we’re catching up to global trends, and in my opinion we are already above Croatian and worldwide competition, at least when it comes to hospitality and equipment, especially in new and refurbished apartments.

What would you recommend to hosts, even those who are only thinking about entering the business? Dedicating yourselfs to each individual guest is the only key to long-term success and personal satisfaction in the job.

What are the top three qualities each host should have? Smile, smile, smile.

And finally, what would you say to guests planning to come to Lika? Dear guests, when you come to Lika, be prepared that your host will always greet you with a smile on their face, welcome drink in hand, advice for a pleasant stay and gratitude for coming here. Your stay in Lika will be a pleasant memory you will cherish for a long time. You will experience and see so much more than you expect. PHOTO: Josip Durdov


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ALL OVER CROATIA

CROATIA

A Land for Lovers Anytime of the Year!

When it comes to relationships, it’s important to keep things interesting. Brett and I (The Miles We Share) have been together for 10 years now! Our secret? We never stop trying new things together! One of our favorite activities to do that never fails to spark up romance is to travel to new and interesting places that won’t show up on the average “Top 10 Destinations” list. As Americans, we are bombarded with the idea that our vacations should be spent sipping cocktails on a tropical beach. As relaxing as that can be, we prefer to have a little more culture and exploration in our travels. Luckily, Croatia literally has ALL of those things! If you and your Significant Other are searching for your next romantic getaway, you have GOT to check out Croatia! We traveled through this incredibly gorgeous country not knowing what to expect, and ended up being completely blown away! Not only is it insanely easy to get around (boat, bus, rent a car, HITCHHIKE), but it’s also one of the most affordable European countries to travel through! Off the grid and it won’t break the bank? Yes please!

ZAGREB

If you and your partner are looking for a full on cultural experience Croatia has plenty of spots to check out, but one of our favorites is the capital city of Zagreb - this place is ripe with history and gorgeous Gothic and Romanesque architecture to marvel at. The Church of St. Mark is probably one of the most unique-looking churches we’ve ever seen with a brightly-colored roof that represents Zagreb’s coat of arms.

If you’re into a more avant garde style of travel and consider yourselves to be slight “tombstone tourists”, you definitely have to visit Zagreb’s Mirogoj Cemetery. It should go without saying, but if you visit this location please be respectful of those in mourning. This place is enormous (with over 300,000 resting sites!) and absolutely stunning. If at all possible, we recommend visiting Mirogoj after All Saint’s Day, which happens annually the day after Halloween. People all over the country celebrate the lives of their lost loved ones by cleaning up their grave sites and adorning them with mass amounts of flowers and lanterns. It is truly a beautiful experience to be a part of.

PLITVICE LAKES

This next spot is probably one of the most well known national parks of all the Eastern European countries, but one you absolutely cannot miss if you are a couple who enjoys the beauty of the natural world. The Plitvice Lakes National Park was one of the main highlights of our trip through Croatia. Measuring in at 114.6 mi² the park is open daily to the public. You’ll want to have at least a full day to explore this location, or you can plan out a longer visit and stay in one of the many hotels located inside the park. *Bonus tip: Visit the park in the low-season! We can’t stress this enough. This place is beautiful all year round but going in the colder months could save you the hassle of maneuvering through hoards of other tourists! We went in December when it was snowing and couldn’t have had a better time. Check out more of our experience in our video at YouTube channel called „TheMilesWeShare“.


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ZADAR

DUBROVNIK

Next up on your unique Croatian getaway has got to be Zadar. We fell in love with this gorgeous coastal town and it’s multitude of fun activities. Even though we were here in the winter, the sun was shining and the trees were bright green!

Last on the list for your unique Croatian getaway is one we just could not leave out. A UNESCO World Heritage site, Dubrovnik is undoubtedly one of the most touristy spots mentioned in this article. But there is so much more to this fascinating town than just being recognized as King’s Landing. Any Game of Thrones fans out there?

Have you ever heard of a “singing beach?” Yeah, neither had we until we visited Zadar’s Sea organ, or Morske orgulje in Croatian. This architectural sound art piece actually creates music when the sea waves hit the built-in tubes located under the organ’s marble stairs. This is a perfect spot to have a little picnic if you and your partner are looking for some mellow, relaxation time together. When you’re ready for something a little more involved, hop on over to The Greeting to the Sun (literally a 30 second walk from the Sea organ) to watch a double sunset! Wait, what? Yup, you heard us right. This mesmerizing interactive art piece acts like a giant mirror and reflects the sky- a perfect spot to end your day! Once the sun sets, stick around to check out the impressive solar-powered light show. Locals and travelers alike enjoy taking creative pictures here, so don’t forget to bring your camera!

Walking on top of the impressive coastal wall is a must! The city wall is absolutely massive and takes you all the way around the historic town. The walk is about 2 km long (so be sure to pack water and a snack!) and gives you the most amazing views of the city’s narrow streets, fortresses, and of course the glistening Adriatic Sea. For a truly romantic experience, we recommend going in the evening a couple of hours before sunset.

If you and your Significant Other visit Dubrovnik anytime between April and November, pop over to Lokrum island which features the remains of a magnificent monastery and a beautiful botanical garden. You should also plan on making friends with the island’s inhabitants, wild bunnies and peacocks! The ferry ride is only 15 minutes and when you’re ready to grab a bite to eat, head back into town where you can find some amazing restaurants. Dubrovnik has some delicious Italian food options tucked away within its walls. Old town is full of surprises! So there you have it! If on your next couples retreat you’re wanting rich culture, pristine nature with stunning views, AND tropical beaches, Croatia is ready to deliver. And if you’re having a hard time deciding which place to visit, don’t worry. There are frequent buses that run up and down the coast (and all around the country) for cheap. We’re talking $15USD cheap! What are you waiting for? Book your trip today! By: Brett and Alisa - The Miles We Share


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EXPERIENCE

The power of Silence A magical night on Velebit in dream houses

Velebit, the mythical mountain adored by hikers from around the world, has some truly special places where you can escape from the whole world, yet they are fully suited for contemporary humans.

PHOTO: Petar Santini


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Have you ever dreamed of spending the night on a mountain, beneath the stars, in small houses that look like glass oases on the surface of the moon? Petar Santini, a trained and experienced veterinarian who decided to turn his passion for photography into a full time occupation, embarked on such a journey. As we disccuss his adventure, we also talk about the personal reasons why a person would make such a sharp turn in life. „I needed a change at that point in my life. It became an exciting challenge to be my own boss and today I love that I’m learning new personal skills through the craft of photography.“ Because of the freedom such a job provides, the planning involved was minimal. “One of the privileges of being my own boss is the luxury of choosing any free day of the week to take a short trip. I took this trip to Velebit in particular on a Monday and stayed through Wednesday. That means I didn’t come across anyone. My dog Zita and I were completely alone.” They reached their destination shortly after sunset, just as night began to fall, which was kind of nerve-racking because of the icy paths. “The mountain hut was ready and fully equipped. I tossed a few logs into the fireplace and went out to take some photos of the Supermoon, the brightest full moon in 2019. I preferred the nighttime views this time because of the moon that shone a bright blue light. But I do enjoy the daytime scenery as well. The views are incredible because of the ever-changing scenery.

The valleys turn into meadows which slowly shift into forests and cliffs right in front of you.” It was one of those adventures that fully charge the batteries. Just take a look at these photos! “The silence and calmness were unbelievable. At that time there was no wind at night, so there were absolutely no sounds outside the hut except for the occasional owl. It was more silent outside the hut than inside, where the only sounds were caused by the odd running vole on the roof or the crackling fire. The silence there is almost healing. These adventures really put everything into perspective for me. This one was special because I rarely go alone and that made this experience that much more unique.” Unfortunately he didn’t bring his crampons and that was the only problem. „I entered a forest in the north where the sun doesn’t reach every surface, which meant that the ground was frozen and a 15-minute walk took me 45 minutes. It was very dangerous because of how steep it was. I went stepby-step and used my trekking poles for support. Thankfully, all went well and I managed to reach a more suitable path.“ If you want to experience this kind of overnight adventure yourselves, Petar has some good advice. „Do your research. It is crucial to get familiar with the surroundings beforehand as much as possible. Read about the paths, accommodation and mountain huts. Also, look into the weather forecast and make sure you are well-equipped. Sporting goods stores are also a very helpful source of information. And be safe!“


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ANIMAL WORLD

The nose-horned viper A famous, but misunderstood resident of Croatia

In Spring flowers bloom and many animals, awoken from their Winter slumber, become active. Among them is our little scaly friend. The nose-horned viper, Vipera ammodytes (Linnaeus, 1758) [in Croatian: poskok], is the largest member of the viper family present in Croatia. On average, it can attain a length between 60 and 80 cm, (very) rarely more, despite what you can hear in the media. The ground colouration of the body varies from light grey to dark brown. Greenish, yellowish, pinkish and reddish hues may be present, while it is possible for a specimen to be completely reddish, orange, whitish-grey and, extremely rarely, completely black. Along the back is a characteristic zig-zag pattern, which is almost as variable as the ground colouration. It serves as both camouflage and a warning to potential predators. Atop the snout is another distinguishing feature of this species – a soft, scale-covered horn. What is its purpose? No one knows!


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34 This species lives on suitable dry and warm, preferably rocky, habitats almost all over Croatia – most notably in the Mediterranean part of the country, but also in the interior, like Lika, Hrvatsko Zagorje, and Kalnik, but it is missing in Slavonia, Podravina, Baranja and the hills around Požega. High altitudes are not a problem – it can be found from sea level to the highest peaks of Dinara and Velebit. The nose-horned viper feeds on small mammals like mice or rats, and they play a vital role in the population control of those species. It also feeds on lizards, birds, and even other snakes. It is strictly protected by law in Croatia – it is illegal to catch, hurt, kill, keep, sell, destroy its habitat etc.!

Our little scaly friend is literally the stuff of legends, with intricate folklore weaved around it. The tale pertaining to its Croatian name, “poskok” (literally “skip”, “jump”), refers to the myth that this species can jump, as much as several metres, and inflict a deadly bite. Of course, it cannot jump. But it is venomous, therefore if you do encounter one it is best to simply leave it alone – it’s NOT out to get you, but it will defend itself if you leave it no other option! Simply keep a safe distance (roughly the length of the snake is fine, one to two metres is more than enough) and wait for the snake to move off on its own, or simply pass calmly by it maintaining the safe distance. You could snap a picture or two, to show your friends and family… and it would certainly be nice to share your find with us! by Mladen Zadravec, Roman Cesarec, Katarina Terlević

Currently we’re working on three separate populations – one on a hot Mediterranean island at sea level, one in Lika at about 1000 m a.s.l., and a suburban one in northwestern Croatia at about 300-400 m a.s.l. As well as gathering much needed data for the conservation of this species, we’re curious to find out how they adapted to living in such different environments. In case of a bite, various side effects may occur, rarely even death. If a bite occurs, proper first aid should be applied. The injured person should minimize their movements, and you should ask whether the person is feeling nauseous and dizzy, and call the emergency services, to be on the safe side. If the bite is for example on the arm, it can get numb and swollen and the injured person should be taken to the hospital, to be monitored. Antivenom should never be administered outside the hospital! In most instances it isn’t needed, anyway. In any case, you should never panic! You photographed a snake somewhere in Croatia? You don’t know which species it is? You want to share your finding? Feel free to send your findings to zh@zadweb.biz.hr! Whatever you send there will also be included into the publicly available Biologer.hr database, maintained by Association Hyla. Records for other reptiles and amphibians found in Croatia are also accepted. Check out biologer.hr for more details.


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HGSS FOR PLITVICE TIMES

Tourist Mountaineering Map for Plitvice Visitors Safety first

National Park Plitvice Lakes is a destination visited by nearly 2 million foreign and domestic visitors yearly. Due to such tourist arrival frequency, the risk of accidents and space disorientation grows, causing an increase in HGSS interventions number.

trails (hiking, biking etc.), buildings and other objects such as caves, springs, ruins etc.

HGSS Gospić has acknowledged Plitvice Lakes area as a security risk and started making a tourist mountaineering map under the HGSS programme “Cartography”, with the aim of preventing accidents, increasing safety of moving and staying in nature and promoting natural, cultural and sport/ recreational values of the said area. The choice of destination is a result of the fact that under HGSS Gospić’s control (intervention-wise) is the total area of Lika-Senj County, and NP Plitvice Lakes belongs to it for the most part of its territory (90,8%), meaning that in case of an accident or a missing person, HGSS Gospić members go on the field. With credible and up-to-date themed tourist mountaineering maps and guides, HGSS tries to act preventively by giving clear and purposeful information about the territory to mountaineers, tourist and other recreational visitors who plan to visit and conduct other activities. These maps are also useful to HGSS members giving them a faster, safer and more efficient access to people in danger during rescue missions and searches. Having in mind that a map should be

adjusted to an average user, clear and intuitive, and as up-to-date and credible as possible, project author of NP Plitvice Lakes tourist mountaineering map, Nikola Šimunić, Ph.D., started working on this map with the aim of giving potential users as many useful and relevant information about the NP. The map is entirely made in GIS system which guarantees precision in 1:25000 scale, meaning that 1 cm on the map corresponds to 250 m in nature. This map is a part of HGSS’ map series called “Dinaric Alps”. Main layer of the map is the GIS base of spatial data containing information about hypsometry (contour lines), forest surfaces, hydrological network, roads,

After making the GIS base, author and colleagues from HGSS Gospić inspected the field and collected information, with GPS devices, about trails and objects that would be interesting to include on the map. With all data in one place, the next step was to start graphic design and review the map. It was made in HTRS96/ TM coordinate system, the official projection coordinate system of Croatia. Since HGSS Gospić members use HTRS96/TM coordinate system on official GPS devices, making the map in this system will enable even easier spatial positioning in the stated area. That area has a surface of 684,7 km2, and covers mostly rural and, at places, hard accessible territories of Vrhovine, Rakovica, Saborsko and Plitvice (Korenica) areas. It is the contact area of Lika subregions Krbava and Gacka and Plaški-Saborsko territory (Potkapelska zavala). Expected release date and market availability for tourist mountaineering map of the NP is this month, and the author believes it will find its place in the backpack of every active nature lover who gets the chance to visit this destination and enjoy its beauties. by HGSS Gospić and Nikola Šimunić, Ph.D.


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ADVENTURE

STORM CHASING TEAM SENJ

A storm chaser is born, not made


37 Have you ever heard of the term storm chaser and are you aware of the legendary Senj bora wind? Seven brave men from Senj combined the two and formed the Storm Chasing Team Senj in 2013. We talked to the team – Dinko Brozičević, Lucijan Španić, Nino Salkić, Karlo Uković, Mario Devčić, Marko Fero and Toni Popović – to learn everything about their activities, ventures, as well as Senj as the city of bora.

How did it all start and when did the first team form? The Storm Chasing Team Senj was unofficially formed in 2013 as the culmination for the storm chasers working on the coasts of Croatia. We gathered as let’s say weather enthusiasts, primarily because of lightning photography, and after that this love grew into chasing all other weather conditions, and mostly the one Senj is famous for – our Senj bora. In order to make our work more efficient and to get better at promoting Senj and the Senj bora, we decided to formalize our team and found the Storm Chasing Team Senj society in 2019.


38 What exactly is the Senj bora and how is it different from other weather conditions? The Senj bora is definitely a trademark of Senj. It’s our private wind, our citizen, we are born with it, live with it and die with it. Out of all weather conditions, it is different because of how unpredictable it is, it is an intense wind, cold during winter and dry during summer, and it has the „blow dryer“ effect.

What does it mean to be a storm chaser and what criteria does a person have to meet to join your team? Describe one of your „trips“ in detail. A storm chaser is born, not made. There is no special education to become a storm chaser, it’s important to understand weather and weather conditions, make sure you and your team are safe, respect nature, love photography and be ready to get out and take photos of any weather condition at any time. Before going out we follow weather forecasts, radars and other apps and models which either predict weather conditions or display them in real time. We agree on a location through a group we have on a social network, and sometimes, depending on weather conditions, we get out in fewer than five minutes after sharing information about the weather. It can even happen that we go out several times in one night and go back home without any success. After going out in the field, we determine the direction of a cyclone and select filming locations based on it. After the chase we sort through the materials and publish them on our official Facebook page.

What is the most dangerous situation you’ve found yourselves in? Have you ever had to save one of your team members? The most dangerous situation was definitely what happened on 17 February 2016 when we were measuring wind speed up at Fort Nehaj, and a gust of wind of 200 kph lifted our friend Dinko and pushed him several meters away. We reacted quickly and brought him to a place sheltered from wind so luckily this incident passed without injury. Ever since then we prioritize safety, so when measuring hurricane gusts of bora we use safety belts and rope.

Over time your adventures have become more serious and more dangeours, and you’re also getting a lot of media coverage. What’s next, what are your planning? We’re currently working on branding and promoting the Senj Bora, in collaboration with city institutions. In the meantime we’re buying and upgrading our wind measurement gear which will greatly help us in our future work. There are many plans for the future, but we’re taking it one step at a time. Don’t worry, you’ll be hearing about us more and more.

What makes Senj special? Does Nehaj play an important role in your storm chasing activities? Apart from being one of the oldest towns on the Adriatic and well known for its wind, Senj is recognizable by the legendary


39 and never conquered Fort Nehaj – the symbol of Senj. Fort Nehaj plays an important role in our activities because of its position above town where the gusts of wind are the strongest.

makes the air cleaner, makes breathing better, and we can also say that the bora makes Senj one of the sunniest places on the Adriatic, in addition to Hvar.

The weather conditions in Senj have also made the architecture different. Can you explain this a bit? As soon as you peek into the old city core you’ll notice narrow streets and small windows facing away from the wind with two sets of blinds – one which open to the outside and one which open to the inside. The roofs are flatter, and there are handlebars in some streets so people can hold onto something while walking.

How do tourists react when they feel the bora wind for the first time? What advice do you have for those who want to taste it, when should they come to Senj?

How do you drink in the wind? The idea of making the „Bora Caffé“ video comes from the gratitude we have for our loyal followers on social networks, but also as a humorous presentation of the bora wind in which members of our team show what living with this forceful wind is like. Having a drink in the wind is not easy, as can be seen from the video we published on Facebook. But anything is possible with a little willpower and humour!

Does the bora wind have great touristic potential for Senj? We believe that the bora at Fort Nehaj is a future city brand. Other than expanding the tourist offer, it can also be used for health, as a natural cure for asthma and the respiratory system.

Is it true that there is no flu in Senj? We wouldn’t say that there’s no flu, but it is definitely not present as much as it is in the rest of Croatia. The Senj bora

Anyone who feels the real bora wind for the first time is stunned by how special and powerful it is. Such a wind cannot be felt just anywhere, and many tourists come back to Senj because of it. Guests from all over the world have come to Senj because of the wind, there was even a film crew from Japan who were so fascinated by the wind they decided to film a documentary about it. They don’t get anything similar in Japan. The last documentary in collaboration with the Storm Chasing Team Senj was filmed by a crew from Austria. It will premiere in April on Senj City Day. There are songs about bora, tales about it, and more stories are yet to be written in the future. Storm Chaser Team Senj motto : It’s windy again...


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VISIT BRINJE

Letinac

Village with an 11,500 year-old lunar calendar

In the heart of Lika, eight kilometres east of Brinje, there is a village called Letinac which holds a rich and interesting history going back many years. The village appeared under its present name in 1645, and is today formed by twelve hamlets with just a little over 150 inhabitants.

The secret of the Siničić Cave

A favourite spot to visit in the Brinje area is the Siničić Cave, located on the road to Letinac, four kilometres south of the Brinje town centre. Ceramic objects and animal bones were found in the cave, proving that the area features traces of one of the oldest settlements in Lika. The Siničić Cave was often visited in the past, as there are hundreds of graffiti inside. The oldest signature is from 1860 and simply says: Spinette, 1860. There are some from 1868 and countless from the early 20th century. All signatures are around two hundred metres from the entrance. That is the farthest point most visitors could reach because the cave continues into a subterranean lake flowing off into canals.


Back in 1997, when the subterranean waters were low, a group of speleologists from Zagreb and Karlovac managed to pass into the typically unreachable part of the cave. After digging through the canals, they found unusual symbols carved into the rock five hundred meters in. To this day, scientists have not been able to figure out their meaning, but the carvings are assumed to be a primitive 11,500 year-old lunar calendar. There are also crosses carved into the cave walls, and scientists believe them to be from the 15th century, created as part of a ritual of exorcism performed by Augustinian monks from the Brinje area. It is likely that the locals found the misterious symbols, bones and deer horns, ascribed them to evil powers and called the monks from the Brinje monastery to perform an exorcism in the cave. Other than the misterious historical message, the Siničić Cave also holds another treasure. An endemic species of amphipods called the „Redenšekov rakušac“ lives there, and it is categorised as critically endangered (Red book of cave fauna), and so far has only been discovered in this cave. The cave is also home to a colony of bats and is on the Natura 2000 list as a protected site for the preservation of species and habitats.

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Saint Anthony – the celestial protector of Letinac The celestial protector of Letinac is the revered folk saint Saint Anthony of Padua. The Letinac parish was founded in 1807, alongside 50 other parishes in the then called Diocese of Senj and Modruš. A hundred years later the Saint Anthony of Padua church was built in Letinac.

The forgotten Hercules from Plašćica

The chapel of the Holy Ghost’s new image East of Brinje, on the left side of the road to Letinac, high up in the hills, there are remnants of an old town named Jelovik that once dominated the east side of the field of Brinje. Jelovik was a medieval estate owned by the Frankopan Dukes, and as its Croatian name suggests, it was mostly built from firwood. In the hamlet Pađeni, on the woody hills beneath Jelovik, there is a small church of the Holy Ghost surrounded by drystone walls. It has long been in ruins and could no longer support religious rituals, but it has recently been restored and thus saved from being forgotten. Before the church of the Holy Ghost, the site used to hold a Pauline monastery, and the chapel of Saint Roko is located just under the church.

At the end of the story about Letinac, we should also mention the hamlet Plašćica, birthplace of renowned Croatian author and caricaturist Damir Karakaš. Some of his most famous works include the multiple award winning novel „Sjećanje šume“ and the short story collection „Kino Lika“ which was also turned into a movie directed by Dalibor Matanić. Another famous inhabitant of Plašćica is grandpa Jure Rajković who is remembered as the strongest man in Lika and the best accordion player in the Brinje area. Rajković was born in 1928, and the citizens of Brinje tell stories of his superhuman strength. They say this modest man could lift motorcycles, oxen, logs and even a horse with a rider on it, all with his bare hands. This tiny village has indeed seen its share of mysterious forces and special people over thousands of years... by Tena Brnad

PHOTO: Josip Durdov


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In March we `ve distribute of the Plitvice d last cop edition on Z Times magazine win ies a Jelačić squa greb`s main square – Bter re. an

Our girls wo rked hard tw o days so that man y citizens, to urists and visitors could grab a free copy of the magazine.

zine Maga y s e m i op iceT #Plitv ForAFreeC e #AskM


44 HUMANS OF PLITVICE

Millenials on a mission “This was definitely a highlight of our Croatia trip!”


45 Jeromie and Madeline travel the world and they suggest our readers to visit the Greek islands and Zakynthos and also one place that reminds them of Plitvice – city of Cairns, Australia, located in the Rainforest with waterfalls and lush greenery everywhere.

“Without a doubt, Plitvice is a must see! We wish we had more days to explore this beautiful area. Croatia as a whole is such a gem and we will be back as soon as we can!

Jeromie and Madeline Hill, a young married couple from America and Australia are fulfilling a dream of travel & adventure! Mostly they’re in search of great wine and incredible views and they traded in one incredible life for another. Madeline was a primary school teacher, and Jeromie a professional basketball player. Now, they’re millennials on a mission! With just a laptop in hand and hearts of wanderlust, they work remotely and bounce from one incredible experience to the next. One of them was Plitvice Lakes…

„We saw pictures of Plitvice online and knew we had to come! We specifically drove to Zadar to spend the night just to visit the park. It was our first visit and definitely not our last! We heard about the endless trails of beautiful waterfalls and wanted to see for ourselves.” The colours were just beautiful and they admit that they would love to visit Plitvice at all times of the year just to see it change with the seasons.

The best tips we can make for visiting this park are: 1. Arrive early. The park is incredible in the morning and you feel like you are the only one there! 2. Plan the trails that you would like to walk/ hike. This will help you determine what entrance to park at and enter into. 3. Bring a picnic! There are so many places to stop and enjoy a meal! It’s a long day and you will need something to keep you energized!” They will definitely come back to Plitvice during different seasons to see how the park changes! “Definitely a highlight of our Croatia trip!”

“There are so many beautiful waterfalls and we kept stopping to take pictures. We were so shocked at how clear and blue the water was. Every corner of this National Park is so picturesque. You could see all the foliage with the bright blue water. Our favourite waterfall was Gradinsko. We were in awe at how strong these waterfalls were. The Upper Waterfalls are unmissable as well!”


46 Tesla called his mother a first-class inventor and believed that she would have achieved so much more and developed her gifts if she had not been so separated from contemporary life and its possibilities. He always spoke of her in an elated way, and emphasised that, much like him, she had the gift of discovery, a gift he considered he had gotten from her. Geogina Đuka Tesla worked tirelessly from dawn to late at night, managed to discover various devices in the household, and she was renowned for her expert craftsmanship. She invented and crafted various tools and devices, and she weaved beautiful designs with threads she had spun herself. Even past the age of sixty, her fingers remained nimble enough to tie three knots on an eyelash. Geogina Đuka sowed seeds, grew plants and separated fibers, so a large part of the clothes and furniture in the house were her own work. It is well known that she perfected braiders and used what she made to clothe her entire family. She was also very imaginative and decorated the clothes in creative ways. When you look at photographs of her daughters Milka, Angelina and Marica, there is nothing rural about them, they display an image of tastefully clothed citizens of their time, and it is assumed that this is because of their mother’s efforts.

HISTORY

Tesla’s mother Georgina Đuka Tesla

Georgina Đuka Tesla, Nikola Tesla’s mother, was born in the village Tomingaj in 1822 into the family of Serbian orthodox priest Nikola Mandić (1800-1863), after whom Tesla got his name, and Sofija Mandić (born Budisavljević) from Gračac in Lika. Georgina came from one of the oldest families in the area, a line of inventors, and was a typical woman of her time, in the sense that her position in society was humble. Her father and grandfather had invented many tools for the household, agriculture and other purposes. She was the eldest of eight siblings and had to take care of the younger children after their mother’s death, and as such was the only one who did not go to school.

Despite everything, Tesla’s mother was a truly capable woman, of rare skill, courage and strength of character, who weathered every storm and overcame many difficult trials.

Even though she did not know how to read, Georgina was very wise and interested in poetry. Nikola Tesla definitely inherited many of her abilities, one of them being her excellent memory. She was also ingenious, a good psychologist and a spontaneous educator. When young Tesla fell into gambling, she told him „Go, Nikola, have fun! The sooner you lose everything we have, the better. I know you’ll get over it then.“ After hearing those words, Nikola decided to get rid of his addiction, and spent his entire life training and strengthening his willpower. That same strength of will allowed him to remove himself from the pleasures of modern life: entertainment, women and cashing in on the patents that others milked to have a pleasant life. When giving lectures in Paris, Tesla heard the news that his mother was seriously ill, so he cancelled his lectures and went to Gospić. He was fortunate to find her alive and say goodbye. She died on 4 April 1892 at the age of 71. by Antonija Pokrajčić


FROM PLITVICE TO THE WORLD

JORDAN A Middle East oasis

47 Following the news can be both informative and misleading. For example, the media publishes a lot of news about war and conflicts in the Middle East. As much that may be true, it is also that much misleading. Why? Because of Jordan. Take a look at the map. Being surrounded by countries that are fighting someone, Jordan is a peaceful oasis and a safe place. Little do we know is that the Middle East is beautiful, it is where civilization began and that is why its history is very rich and detailed. Unfortunately, many discoveries, monuments and traces have been shattered by war.


48 Instead of almost copy-pasting articles about „top 10 things to see in Jordan“, I will focus on breaking stereotypes. Not only does Jordan deserve more attention, but I also hope that a couple of nice words can positively affect the conflicts in the area.

asked him if he could take care of us the following day. Tareq picked us up from the bus station and gave us a short tour around the city as well as his workplace – the 7-star Hyatt hotel. After that, he took us to his apartment for lunch to meet his wife Diana and kids. Luca mentioned he loves to cook. Diana gave him a gift – a special spice for food that cannot be bought in stores because she made it.

But first, let`s start with some useful basics and facts or things you should know if you decide to visit Jordan. Before arrival, make sure to buy a „Jordan pass“. It’s a package that includes a visa and tickets to many sights all across the country. You can purchase it online and it will save you a lot of money. Everything you need to see can be easily found online. All the articles about attractions are basically the same and all of them summarise the most important sights. Eat everything. Make sure to stay at least one week. Prepare cash, not everybody accepts cards and ATMs cannot recognize all cards. It is not expensive, yet not as cheap as I expected. Respect tradition, don`t uncover yourself too much. It`s very warm. Fly to Aqaba and sleep there. Everything is closer to Aqaba than to Amman. Read the reviews about accommodation carefully. The only bad thing about the whole trip was the hotel where we stayed. Turn off your phone, put your camera away and meet the locals. Renting a car is necessary. However, due to the problems we had with our cards, we ended up staying there without a rental vehicle. I think it was the luckiest misfortune that could have happened to us. Having no option but to use public transportation, taxies and to walk around, we met a lot of people. And trust me, the people of Jordan are what makes Jordan the greatest country ever.

Later in the afternoon, Tareq gave us a ride to the airport. He even called his friend, who is the boss of airport security, to notify him of our arrival. The boss welcomed us and we went to our gate.

As the song says - You got a friend in me I went there with Luca. Before the trip, we tried to find some information about the country. During the process, he came across a Jordanian girl on Instagram – Duha. A short conversation later, we ended up with the idea of meeting up in Amman. The night before departure, Duha and her husband Laith invited us for dinner. They took us to an amazing restaurant with traditional food. They were incredibly friendly and we had a very nice evening of pleasant conversation. We told them that we were going to Aqaba the following morning. Laith called Tareq, his best friend who lives in Aqaba, and

We sat down staring at each other thinking „what did we do to deserve this?“ We have never been treated by strangers so caringly. None of them had any reason or need to welcome us into their home in such a warm way, to find time in their schedule for us, to treat us and ask for nothing in return. There are no words to describe our gratefulness and their kindness.

Kill the world with kindness „I saw tourists before I saw my mother“ – he said. And I felt it. A lot of small stories made Jordan the greatest country ever (sorry, USA). After the first post on Instagram in which I tagged some accounts based in Jordan, I got followed by one specific account dedicated to warning people about „scammers in Petra“. Being curious, I took a look at the content. There were many accusations, voice messages, Facebook transcripts, faces... I did not stop there. We met a lot of people in Amman so we asked them is there any truth in the warnings. Some people confirmed, saying that inhabitants who call themselves bedouins and claim that they live in caves are mostly con artists, rapists, wanted by police, they rob tourists, seduce women, invite girls to their caves, talk about dead camels... Full of disbelief, I ignored everything. It might have been the truth and it might not have. We went there without any prejudice or negative thoughts. Bedouins offered us a climb up the rocks to have a great view and take amazing photos. As much as we like getting a good view and taking photos, getting to know people and culture is far more important. The climb took 10 minutes. It was not so easy but it was definitely worth it. At the viewpoint, there was a tent made of carpets, rugs and scarves. There were a few boys inside welcoming everyone with a cup of tea. Tourists refused and ran to the „Instagram spot“. Isn`t it a bit rude to ignore people who helped you get „the perfect Instagram photo“ without even saying thank you?


49 Getting souvenirs was unplanned. Thinking about what we could bring home, we got stopped by a guy who was selling Arabic perfumes. That was it. A perfect gift suitable for everyone is a small bottle of perfumed oil that can be bought only in the Middle East. Trying to choose the best, we took an hour of his time. He was smiling and putting a lot of effort into helping us. In the end, he gave us 2 bottles for free. In the following days, every time we would pass his shop, he would stop us and put perfume on us. My leather jacket still has a wonderful Arabic scent. Going through the streets, the smell of food comes out of everywhere so you get hungry easily. At one point, I made eye contact with falafel and we stopped to buy it. With a big smile and sincere greet, we asked for a bit of it. For reasons unknown, we got the food for free. It was the best falafel I’ve ever tasted. We accepted the tea, sat in the tent, smoked a cigarette and asked them their names. I had many questions but not enough time. The tea was great, we even got some water. After the tourists moved away, we went to see the view. One of the boys offered to take my camera and climb the higher rock to take a better photo. Many heads turned back, feeling sorry for not saying „thank you“. Going down was hard for me because I`m short. The kid, who was showing us the way, carried my jacket and held my hand while I was doing my best trying not to fall down. Besides us, only 3 more people expressed any kind of gratitude. Two women from Korea shared their fruit with others and one older guy sat down telling jokes instead of taking photos. This short visit and an honest conversation made it clear that we should go offline and travel more. Kill the world with kindness.

Befriend a stranger Walking down the street in a city you visited for the first time can be confusing. The best way to find the right direction is to ask the locals. Almost everyone in Amman speaks English! If they didn’t speak English or they couldn’t answer our question, they would stop another random passer-by until someone helped us. Sometimes, we would stop one person and ended up being surrounded by a few people because the whole group wanted to help.

Our driver to Petra was a sweet 45-year-old man who knew just a few words of English. However, he liked music in English. It was adorable to listen to his interpretation of the song „Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle“. Not understanding the words, he was saying „Lego, lego, lego“. The 3-hour ride was fun. If you make eye contact with someone in the street, they will say „hi“. Pedestrians are literally walking around acknowledging each other. It is absolutely normal to greet strangers. I`m just curious, what reactions would you get if you did it in your country?

The top of the bucket list Tourism in Jordan is drastically decreasing due to the events in neighboring countries – it has dropped by over 60% since 2010. Bad stories have a wide reach. Bad news travels fast. There have been more situations in the past when I was told not to go somewhere because of bad news. The urge to travel was bigger than the word „stop“. After I visited certain places and found out that those places are nothing like presented in the media, I decided to contribute to society by telling the truth and spreading the word. If you do a bit of research about travelers who visited Jordan, they will all say the same – the kindest people, great food, beautiful historical sights and that it is a safe place. I usually recommend places to put on the bucket list. As far as Jordan is concerned, you won’t regret putting it on top of your bucket list! by Tamara Hodak


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PREMIUM SOUVENIR

Plit vice perfume

ORIGINAL SCENT OF PLITVICE LAKES AREA

Order online: www.plitvicetimes.com/shop


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HISTORY & LEGENDS

Kosinj Valley

A place of famed history and a mysterious present Kosinj spreads along the river Lika in the picturesque Kosinj Valley, one of the most beautiful valleys in Croatia that you shouldn’t miss. That is the case today, but what was it like in the past?

PHOTO: Damir Kvajo

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Here are five interesting facts about the Kosinj Valley you probably didn’t know: 1. Inhabited since prehistory Archaeological findings indicate that the area of the Kosinj Valley was inhabited back in prehistoric and ancient times. In the pre-Roman and Roman era the Illirian Iapydes tribe lived in the region, and the most significant finding from that time is the so called „Inscribed Stone“ – a tall white stone with a Latin inscription. To this day the 2000 year-old inscription can still be read: EX CONVENTIONE FINIS INTER ORTOPLINOS ET PARENTINOS ADITVS AD AQVAM VIVAM ORTOPLINIS PASVS D LATVS I. This translates to: „Per the agreement, the border between the Ortoplin and Parentin; approach to living water to the Ortoplin 500 steps, 1 width.“ What does this inscription in the middle of the forest mean? Who were the Ortoplin and Parentin? What is „living water“? The Inscribed Stone was created in the 1st century, when the Romans assumed power over the Iapydes in Lika. The Ortoplin and Parentin were two neighbouring Iapydes tribe – nomad herders whose flock fed on the slopes of northern Velebit. The „living water“ is the Begovača spring where the herders brought the animals to drink, and it was located near the Inscribed Stone. The Stone thus tells the story how the two neighbouring tribes had a conflict about using the source, and the Roman government, who believed it important to keep the peace in their newly conquered territory, stepped in to resolve it. The Romans gathered representatives of the two tribes near the stone, deep in the forest, and a compromise was agreed upon before the Roman governor, granting the Ortoplin access to the water source. A Roman stone carver inscribed the decision into the stone so that it be visible to all and that no one may contest it. The Inscribed Stone is some sort of law, a proper legal document, and for two thousand years it has stood the test of time.

3. Old maps of Kosinj The name Kosinj first appeared in 1461. Ever since the 15th century, Kosinj was an important religious and cultural centre, located on many traffic routes of the time. Kosinj’s historical importance can also be seen by the fact that it was drawn over a hundred times on different European maps from the 16th to the 19th century.

2. Kosinj and the legend of the arrival of the Croats The name Kosinj can be found in the famous legend of the arrival of the Croats, written by the Byzantine emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus in the 10th century. The legend mentions five brothers (Klukas, Lobel, Kosjenc, Muhlo and Hrvat) and two sisters (Tuga and Buga), and their names have been preserved in the names of some settlements and families in Lika, including Kosinj – after the brother Kosjenc.


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4. First Croatian book For Croatian culture and history, Kosinj is by far the most significant as the place where the first Croatian book was printed. Soon after the discovery of the printing press, the Frankopans founded the first Croatian printing house, which was also the first printing house in this part of Europe. It is believed that the first book in Croatian and in the glagolic script – „Kosinjski misal“ – was printed in Kosinj in 1483. Additionally, an important part of the Kosinj glagolic heritage are the inscriptions in the Church of Saint Vitus in Kosinjski Bakovac.

5.Village in the depths of Kruščica Lake Kruščica, located on the river Lika, is one of the most beautiful artificial lakes in Croatia, but it is not widely known that the depths of Kruščica conceal the remnants of a village bearing the same name and the church of Saint Elias. Kruščica was once a village through which the river Lika flowed, and it was inhabited by around 60 agricultural families. The houses in the village were built from wood and stone and the village had a cemetary and a school. The village centre was home to Kruščica’s celestial protector, Saint Elias. Life in the village stopped in 1912, when an engineer came to the village to inform people that the artificial lake would be built. In the early 1960s, all families received compensation and began relocating, while the altar of the church of St. Elias was moved to Aleksinica. After the inhabitants left their homes, Kruščica was covered by 80 million cubic meters of water in 1965. During summer, when the water is low, you can see the foundations and ruins of the church, houses, estates and roads. The ruins at the bottom of Kruščica continue to defy the power of water. The lake is emptied every 10 years to check the state of the dam and repair any possible damage. It was last dried out in 2010, and when the water withdrew, the remains of the village appeared – dried and dead trees, the foundation and ruins of the church, derelict house walls, the remains of the old mill and millstones... These impressive and slightly apocalyptic scenes from the bottom of the lake attracted many curious eyes, and the former inhabitants of Kruščica used the opportunity to see their drowned homes once more.


SOUVENIR

LIČKA KAPA The Lika cap – a symbol of tradition and culture of Lika

The Lika cap has been a traditional piece of men’s headgear for hundreds of years, black and red in color with black tassels. One of the stories about its creation, which you can hear from every person in Lika, is that the Lika cap was made after the Battle of Krbava Field in 1493. After the bloody battle in which hundreds of Croats were killed, mostly from Lika, the wives and mothers of the fallen began making caps with the symbols of the battle. The large red field on the cap symbolizes the Krbava Field drowned in blood of fallen Croats, while the bottom of the cap symbolizes the Turks which occupied much of Croatia at the time, including Lika, until the Croats managed to chase them away with the help of father Marko Mesić. The black tassels hanging from the cap symbolize the tears of the women who lost their sons and husbands. The materials used to make the caps have changed over the years, along with the length of the tassles and decorations, but the colour and shape have always remained the same. The tassels were originally shorter and worn over the right ear. Longer tassles were introduced later, but it was said that the tassles were as long as the four fingers of the man who wore the cap. The top of the cap was always red, while the bottom and sides were either black or red with black motifs. The motifs were circles and spirals also called „the hare’s leap“, while the embroidery was chain stitch. This type of stitch was used

their heads. Sometimes the younger boys from wealthy families would get their own caps so their friends would be jealous as they inherited theirs. They would sometimes steal and hide their wealthier friends’ caps, often resulting in arguments or fights. Girls were known to steal and hide the caps of the boys they fancied, thus letting them know they were interested.

because the circles on the cap symbolized the army at the Krbava Field which was linked as a chain. The Lika cap was once greatly valued. It wasn’t just an ordinary object or garment, it was an important part of life. The cap was worn by everyone. Men wore it at all times, whether it was while working in the field or going to mass. Young men were excited to get their first cap as wearing it meant they were becoming more mature and respected. Younger sons typically inherited their caps from older brothers or fathers. The cap was worn until it fell apart, and sometimes it was funny to see younger boys wearing caps larger than

The cap was a personal valuable of unique importance. Fathers, when going to work abroad, took the cap with them and kept it by their sides. It represented family, so the cap made them feel like they were falling asleep and waking up at home. The cap also served a purpose in traditional games – the main player would take off his cap and place the object used as the wager in it. It was also incredibly offensive to take someone else’s cap, throw it on the floor and stomp on it. Moments like those would result in massive arguments which people talked about for days. The Lika cap remains present in many homes and families. Even though they are no longer worn, people keep them in visible locations, preserving the value the caps once had and honouring them in such a way. Various folk groups and societies sing songs about the Lika cap, describing its worth and significance, and confirming its status as a symbol of Lika By Lika Club


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RECIPE

ŠTRUDLA OD ŠLJIVA PLUM STRUDEL Traditional dessert

Oh how we love desserts and sweet fruit strudels are often our choice! Strudel has German roots but here in Lika they are also a part of our tradition for many years. Strudel is a pastry made from a thin sheet of dough rolled up with filling and baked. Strudels can be sweet or savory, but the sweet apple and plum strudels are the most famous in Lika. The strudels are perfect for hot sunny days because they can last long, if you manage not to eat them the first day.

PREPARATION Wash well the plums, remove the pits and cut in half. You can also sprinkle the plums with sugar. Preheat oven to 220°C. For the filling mix plums, walnuts, raisins, sugar and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Set aside.

INGREDIENTS

Grease 4 pastry sheets with oil and put them on top of each other. Brush the top layer with oil also.

• • • • • • • • •

Place plum mixture along the edge of the pastry sheets, leaving a border on each side. Bend the edges of the sheets, then roll the strudel. Brush with any remaining oil. Place on a baking tray and bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown.

6 plums, stones removed, chopped 100g walnuts, chopped 100g raisins 100g sugar 1 teaspoon cinnamon 4 pastry sheets oil 125 ml cream Icing sugar

Meanwhile, use an electric beater to beat the cream. Dust strudel with icing sugar. Cut into even slices and serve with whipped cream. #PlitviceTimesRecipe


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Place

Zagreb Tourist Board.............................................Croatia...............Trg bana J. Jelačića 11.................................................... Zagreb, center Zagreb Tourist Board.............................................Croatia...............Ul. Rudolfa Fizira 21............Velika Gorica, Airport “Franjo Tuđman” Zagreb Tourist Board.............................................Croatia...............Avenija Marina Držića 4........................................ Zagreb Bus Station Zagreb Tourist Board.............................................Croatia...............Strojarska cesta 11................................Zagreb, Main Railway Station Zagreb Tourist Board.............................................Croatia...............Strossmayerovo šetalište................................ Zagreb, Kula Lotrščak Croatian National Tourist Board..........................Austria................Liechtensteinstraße 22a, 1/1/7....................................................... Wien Karlovac County Tourist Board............................Croatia...............Vranyczanya 6.............................................................................Karlovac Karlovac Tourist Board..........................................Croatia...............Petra Zrinskog 3............................................................Karlovac, center Rakovica Tourist Board.........................................Croatia............... Rakovica 6....................................................................Rakovica, center Rakovica Tourist Board.........................................Croatia...............Grabovac....................................................................................Grabovac Slunj Tourist Board.................................................Croatia...............Ulica braće Radić 7............................................................................Slunj Slunj Tourist Board.................................................Croatia...............Rastoke bb..........................................................................................Slunj Slunj Tourist Board.................................................Croatia...............Braće Radić bb...................................................................................Slunj Lika-Senj County Tourist Board...........................Croatia...............Budačka 12......................................................................................Gospić Plitvice Lakes Tourist Board.................................Croatia...............Trg sv. Jurja 6.............................................................................. Korenica Plitvice Lakes Tourist Board.................................Croatia...............Korenica (center).......................................................... Korenica, center Karlobag Tourist Board..........................................Croatia...............Trg Dr. Franje Tuđmana 2........................................................ Karlobag Gospić Tourist Board.............................................Croatia...............Bana I. Karlovića 1..........................................................................Gospić Otočac Tourist Board ............................................Croatia...............Kralja Zvonimira 17....................................................................... Otočac Otočac Tourist Board ............................................Croatia...............Trg Dražena Bobinca..................................................... Otočac, center Senj Tourist Board..................................................Croatia...............Stara cesta 2........................................................................................Senj Vrhovine Tourist Board .........................................Croatia...............Senjska 48................................................................................... Vrhovine Brinje Tourist Board................................................Croatia...............Frankopanska 62............................................................................ Brinje Church of Croatian Martyrs Udbina...................Croatia...............Trg Svetog Nikole 1....................................................................... Udbina UNA National Park.................................................BiH......................Kulen Vakuf - entrance to NP Una....................................Kulen Vakuf Memorial Center Nikola Tesla.............................Croatia...............Smiljan 87/1.................................................................................... Smiljan Cave park Grabovača............................................Croatia...............Trg popa Marka Mesića 2 .......................................................... Perušić Souvenir shop - Hotel Westin .............................Croatia...............Izidora Kršnjavog 1....................................................................... Zagreb Souvenir shop - Hotel Sheraton.........................Croatia...............Kneza Borne 2............................................................................... Zagreb Hotel Degenija........................................................Croatia...............Selište Drežničko 59................................................................Rakovica Lyra Hotel Plitvice...................................................Croatia...............Ličko Petrovo Selo 52............................................Ličko Petrovo Selo Big Bear Plitvice Resort.........................................Croatia...............Donji Babin potok 107b............................................................ Vrhovine House Karakaš........................................................Croatia...............Kompolje Koreničko 6.............................................................. Korenica House Jerković.......................................................Croatia...............Vranovača 72/3.......................................................................... Korenica Plitvice Retreat Apartments.................................Croatia...............Rudanovac 63........................................ Plitvička jezera - Rudanovac Apartments Nekić...................................................Croatia...............Kovačka 5..........................................................................................Zadar Apartment Sabina...................................................Croatia...............Gornja Dubrava 17........................................................................ Otočac Apartments Milković ............................................Croatia...............Kaniška 105a...................................................................................Gospić Apartments Fuma ..................................................Croatia...............Stjepana Radića 87...................................................................... Otočac Linden Tree Retreat & Ranch...............................Croatia...............Velika Plana 5....................................................................... Velika Plana Apartments Plitvice forest ...................................Croatia ..............Rudanovac 116/1.....................................................................Rudanovac “Velebit Aktivnosti”................................................Croatia...............Prozor 257a................................................................................... Otočac “Hana Tours” ...........................................................Croatia...............Kaniška 105a...................................................................................Gospić “Lika Travel”.............................................................Croatia...............Budačka 12......................................................................................Gospić Caffe bar - night bar “Zags”..................................Croatia...............Selska 215...................................................................................... Zagreb Bistro and caffe “Plum”.........................................Croatia...............Selište Drežničko 59................................................................Rakovica Caffe bar “Kava i to”...............................................Croatia...............Park Kate Šoljić 2.......................................................................... Zagreb Book cafe “Paradiso”.............................................Croatia...............Kralja Zvonimira 14....................................................................... Otočac The Highlander´s pub............................................Croatia...............Bana I. Karlovića 2.........................................................................Gospić Caffe bar Harvester................................................Croatia...............Vila Velebita 14...............................................................................Gospić “Autoprijevoz Knežević” / Split - Plitvice...........Croatia...............line................................................................................................... bus line “Autoprijevoz Knežević” /Split - Zadar...............Croatia...............line................................................................................................... bus line “Autoprijevoz Knežević” / Split - Frankfurt........Cro - Ger............line................................................................................................... bus line Flixbus.......................................................................Croatia...............Ante Starčevića 1 ....................................................... Zadar bus station Recreation Center Cvituša...................................Croatia...............Cvituša 1a....................................................................................... Lovinac

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The Plitvice Times - Number 3 - Spring 2019  

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