Sunday, November 19, 2006

#78 Croatia is not a land of contrasts

Just as you’d be wrong to begin your next novel “It was a dark and stormy night…” you shouldn’t begin your description of any country “It was a land of contrasts.” Although India almost demands the “contrasts” introduction, Croatia does not. Croatia is not a land of contrasts. We spent 5 days driving and walking around a country slightly smaller in size than West Virginia. The Croatia we saw was a land of consistent pervasive natural beauty. Everywhere. All of it. Granted we did not visit Zagreb, the capital, in the area described as the “Iowa of Croatia.” But let’s ignore that disruptive detail for now.
5024f K at Makarska harbor

The entire Croatian coast is the most naturally beautiful landscape we’ve seen on our voyage. Combine southern California’s Mediterranean climate with Maine’s rocky coastal beauty, then remove almost all the people. That’s the Croatia we saw: quaint seaside villages, clean water and air, little traffic, no chain hotels or restaurants, mostly mom and pop stuff. We’re told it’s ‘hectic’ here in tourist season, but that’s relative. Most all the tourist hotels and shops are closed now because it’s the off season.
4943f M in Krka NP

We drove to the gorgeous Krka (buy me a vowel) National Park less than an hour from Split, the second largest city in Croatia, on a sparking new interstate highway, and had the park completely to ourselves. Other than Semester at Sea people, we did not see another soul for 2 hours there. All park facilities were closed for the season.
5010f Croatian coast
And did I mention it was sunny and 65 degrees all 5 days we were here?

Yours in enjoying natural Croatia’s consistency,


  1. So you are saying that you passed up the most beautiful part of Croatia by not going to Zagreb??

  2. Zagreb and the surrounding mountains and Sava River are wonderful too!

    I haven't heard it described as the "Iowa of Croatia" before, but I'd have to agree. In some places there are cornfields planted right up to high rise apartments right on the edge of the city. A beautiful place.

  3. One of the many benefits of our having traveled extensively in Iowa is we have a legitimate paradise with which to compare every other place.

    If you want to know the inside story about how we’ve been able to see so many wonderful places on this trip, here it is: When we arrive in each port, we ask the locals “Where’s the part of your country that’s most like Mt. Vernon, Iowa?”

  4. I am glad to see that my lessons have not gone to waste.