Limestone oases

Reason #132: get yourself a sinkhole and plant a crop

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Deserts have their oases and karst topography has sinkholes where fertile soil is found. Soil is otherwise scarce on Brač, as it’s mostly made of limestone.

If your land plot has one, you’re lucky because you don’t have to dig up too many rocks to find soil. And the soil found in sinkholes is usually very fertile, too.

To give you a bigger picture, a large part of Croatia is made up of karst topography. The most notable area is Plitvice Lakes, a National park that’s on the UNESCO Heritage listing for this particular reason.

No thyme for Scarborough Fair

Reason #127: parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme

Hiking or cycling on Brač in April and May you feel like you’re in flower heaven. Colors and smells are fantastic. Sage and rosemary are practically everywhere you look. And with parsley in your garden, you know what that means… you can’t help but hum Scarborough Fair as you go ;)

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Sage in the wild

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Growing out of a rock

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Sage planted to decorate public spaces 

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Rosemary. This was taken back in February when it was in bloom.

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Parsley in our garden

Now all we’re missing is some thyme. Obviously we can’t show up at the Scarborough Fair until we have all four. The guidebook tells us it’s definitely here somewhere, so off I go:

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Scarborough Fair by Simon & Garfunkel

Guidebook to 103 wild plants on Brač

Reason #126: now you can use a guidebook to find all the amazing plants in the wild

Dalmatia is bursting with amazing flora, tons of plants, flowers and herbs. Islands, such as Brač, are especially rich and relatively untouched ecosystems.

Now there’s a fantastic pocket guidebook available to us nouveau-locals and visitors. “Vodič za šetnju prirodom – 103 samonikle biljke otoka Brača” (Hiker’s guidebook – 103 wild plants of Brač)

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Kudos to the authors Tija Mlinac and Marisa Škaljac. Here they are promoting the book at the public library in Selca:

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Photos courtesy of knjižnica Hrvatski sastanak 1888, Selca

You can buy the guidebook at public libraries on Brač, or online: Purchase info @ super affordable 50kn

Fickle March

Reason#85: you can expect just about any type of weather in March

March on Brač is awesome for people who like surprises and change. One day you could be wearing a t-shirt, enjoying a perfect sunny day such as this one…

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… and the next day you could be freezing, or even worse, running for cover from hail (like they did in Pučišća Monday morning). Yes, hail!

tuca_puciscaPhoto by Karmen Koljatić, thanks to Pučišća facebook page.

Check out the wind column in this 7-day forecast. Just about every possible wind direction Nature could come up with! At least I know which day is good for badminton.

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Source: meteo.hr

 

 

Snow in Selca

Reason #83: if it snows, you don’t have to go to school

Spring is here and days are only going to get warmer from now on. I feel like paying a tribute to the winter of 2011/12 when it snowed for the first time in forever. Towns and villages in Dalmatia are so unused to snow that life was almost completely shut down because of it.

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As always, kids had most fun with it :)

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Photo sources: braconline and selca.hr

It’s not all fun & games, though. When it snows as bad as this time, many people get injured, there are power outages and related issues, old people in scattered villages get cut off and need assistance, there’s loss to the local economy, etc., etc.

Also, I should point out that in the highest parts of the island (alt. 700m) it snows every winter, but it’s very rare for snow to come down to sea level where most of the settlements are.

Sunset over Selca

Reason #51: just sunset

Instructions for good living:

  1. Sit on your porch or balcony
  2. Be quiet
  3. Enjoy the view

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Sorry for the crappy camera.  It just doesn’t do this sunset justice.

Oh, well… you’ll just have to come and see it for yourselves ;)

Jugo (the wind)

Reason #6: jugo weather is damp, dreary and makes you coo-coo

Jugo (you-go) wind blows from the southeast. It’s strong, rather warm and moist. In other parts of the Mediterranean Jugo is called Sirocco and it originates in Africa.

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The Makarska-Sumartin ferry braving the Jugo weather in January.

Jugo is one of the two most important winds in Dalmatia. The other one being Bura. You can’t live here without knowing everything about them and how they affect your life. And affect your life they DO :)

Jugo and Bura are in total contrast. I will be writing a separate post about that.

Jugo is part of folklore in Dalmatia. Similar to California’s Santa Ana winds, Jugo too has a reputation of making people go nuts. Not sure if official statistics support this, but people will tell you that suicide rates go up, as well as domestic violence incidents.

My Dutch friend Diana will tell you that if you’re having a bad day, or just not feeling like yourself, it’s probably the Jugo. And so she’ll just wave off and say, „Ah, Jugo!“. Even if she’s back home in Holland :).

Strictly speaking, there are two types of Jugo. There is also a less moist, less dreary version. This post is about the typical kind.

Pros of Jugo:

  • it’s a good excuse for not doing something properly,
  • or for picking a fight with your spouse,
  • the air is relatively warm (compared to the cold Bura air).

Cons of Jugo:

  • clothes won’t dry outside (Croatians don’t have dryers),
  • it’s cloudy and grey,
  • it’s likely to rain,
  • the sea is turbulent,
  • it can affect your mood and mental clarity,
  • it reminds you of old wounds, bad joints and many other ailments.

My first experience of proper Jugo weather since I’ve come to Brač has been worse than I expected. Apparently I’ve inherited this from my mom and her mom, Nona Jube – it’s a particular susceptibility to Jugo. I’ve been feeling almost flu-like symptoms: achy body, joints, headache, lightheaded, weak muscles. Yay!

Song Jugo by Guliano and Marijan Ban: