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Every year in June, there is the same scenario in the home of my parents: they take their swim suit, towels, sun-cream and get on the car, heading to Croatia. This country is attractive for us – Czechs – since it offers something what we are missing in our own country – the sea. Last year there was more than 800 000 Czech on holiday in Croatia. My parents are its very faithfuls vistors. They go enjoy their Croatian summer holidays to the very same place since 16 years. Once in a while I also join them. What is it that makes us to love Croatia so much?
No language barriers
Let’s face it – we, Czechs are not all very well linguistically equipped for travelling abroad. People in the age of my parents had at school just one foreign language to learn – Russian. This language – in case they have not forgotten is already – is unfortunately almost useless at most of places where Czechs go on summer holiday (not mentioning that most of them forgot it already). When I was working in Italy for a tourist agency, I experienced that many Czech people felt nervous about the handicap of not being capable of communication with locals. Italian language, for those who are not used to its intonation, sometimes creates impression that ”those Italians” must be angry at you when they are shouting at you instead of normal taking. Compare to that, communication with Croats (whose language is as well as Czech from the Slavic family of languages) is like a relief. With Czech vocabulary and a bit of body language, you have high chances to transmit the message.
Stones, Not Sand
Being at the beach without annoying sand everywhere? Most of the beaches in Croatia are rather stone based, either with come cliffs or– what is my most favorite kind – pebble. The absence of sand grains lets the water to remain crystal clear. You can observe many small fishes and small shelves and other small sea creatures. It is true that you have to watch your steps as you do not want to step of sharp – edged cliffs or even one of sea urchins with spines, long enough to make your doctor busy. But don’t worry, actually, the ocean floor is often going down steeply, so soon the great ocean water is all over you so there are no more worries.
Hospitality of the Croats
My parents keep coming to Zaton, small village at the coast located 15 kilometers from city of Zadar, since 16 years. They always rent an apartment from Dragan and his wife Dragica. Over the years, the relationship between with them (and their two kinds) slowly deepened, we were more like friends and we started to be in touch also during the year. From the beginning I always remember Dragan and Dragica as people who work very hard (apart from their “normal jobs” they take care of wine yards and also fields with potatoes, olives and others), nevertheless, they always threat us with big smiles and enough had enough time to invite us for lunch or dinner. During our 10 days stay earlier this month, Dragan would bring us his wine two times and so he did with the potatoes.
True Love for Winnetou
Croatia means Winnetou, Winnetou means Croatia. It was nowhere else but in Croatia (for example the Paklenica, the Zrmanja River canyon, Tulove grede cliffs) where shooting of the legendary Winnetou movies based on the novels by the German author Karl May took the place. Although actor Pierre Brice, French actor who in the 1960s played Winnetou in several movies co-produced by German–Yugoslav producers, is 74 at the moment, his role of Winnetou remains in the hearts of people who fell in love both with the story and the locations.