Diocletian: “Come back to Rome, are you crazy?!”

Reason #135: living on Brač makes you feel like a Roman emperor

The legend has it that after Diocletian retired from being a very successful Roman emperor and moved into his palace in Split, Rome was in trouble and so they asked him to come back and run the place again. To this Diocletian supposedly told them: “If you could see the raštika* growing in my Palace garden, you wouldn’t be asking me this.”

That pretty much sums up how I feel when someone calls to ask when I’m coming back to Zagreb. Without the part where anyone there needs me to run the place, though :D

The view of raštika from my Palace in Selca:

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As mentioned before, the credit for anything growing in our garden goes to my amazing Aunt Nada.

*raštika is collard greens in English. More on this yummy plant in this post: Planting your own multi-vitamin (raštika).

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

Working man’s beans

Reason #124: eat May 1st bean soup in great company

May 1st is a national holiday in Croatia – International Workers Day and it’s a custom to have a group outing or a picnic, cook a huge pot of bean soup and have fun. It’s an old socialist tradition that is slowly disappearing, but on Brač it’s still alive, luckily.

If you’re going to join one of these bean soup eating festivities, you can go for one of the urban, public events such as the one in Supetar where you could be served by the cool new mayor Ivana Marković…

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Photo source: Ivana Marković FB page

… or you can go old-school and have a picnic at 600 m above sea level, up on the Vidova gora mountain, with the great folks from the “Profunda” hiking club.

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Master Chef stirring the meat and the beans: Jurica a.k.a. “Lola”

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The line forms quickly :)

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The trick is to scoop out your ideal proportion of soup, beans, sausages and meat. 

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Second helpings are not at all frowned upon, but some room should be left for the dessert. Great news, there’s always dessert in Croatia :)

The hardest part of a May 1st outing is getting back home when you’re completely stuffed and relaxed. Fortunately, when you’re at Vidova gora you can always say: “It’s all down hill from here”.

Shopping center? What’s that?

Reason #123: there are no shopping centers on Brač

In an era of excessive consumerism and when family lifestyle in big cities often sadly centers around visits to shopping malls, it’s so refreshing to live in an area without any.

And to get to the nearest one in Split would take all day and two boat rides. Excellent!

Yes, I’m sure that many locals disagree with me and would love to have a shopping mall on the island, but fortunately enough Brač is too small of a market for investors to get any return of ka-ching. So, it’s highly unlikely we’ll see one. Phew!

Photo submitted in evidence of non-existence of shopping malls. I dare you to zoom in and find me one ;)

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Joking aside, if you do look closely, you’ll see a man building foundations for a very non-shoppingcentric structure there. 

Starry, starry night

Reason#112: you can see all the stars in the Brač sky

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Breathing the unpolluted air on a crisp, clear night and staring at the skies, it does really feel like you can see all the stars in the universe.

That still picture gets occasionally disturbed by a falling star (Make a wish!) or a passing airplane.

The latter is my mom’s favorite evening pastime. She can sit for hours on the porch and count the planes, imagining where they’re coming from and where they’re going.

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Photos courtesy of Tourist Board Selca, author Daniel Troha Photography

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 ;)