The Long Winter Ahead
As September turns to October and the local attention moves from tourism to grapes and then to olives, the island changes its feel completely. The season continues through October in Hvar Town at least, but there comes a moment when most businesses and restaurants call time on the season and close their doors until the following Spring.
Summer visitors who come in winter to Hvar are always suprised at how different things look. Gone are the awnings and outside tables and chairs, to be replaced by a stone facade of a closed restaurant or cafe. The towns are arguably more beautiful, and certainly more natural, out of season, as the commercial features of peak season tourism are vastly scaled back.
The pace of life is decidedly quieter too, and a lot more casual. Restaurant owners dressing smartly for their guests trade in their freshly ironed shirts for overalls for the field. The transition from luxury tourist destination to agricultural workers is one of the abiding charms of life on the island all year round.
And there is time. After months of running round catering to the needs of their respected guests, tourist workers congregate in cafes for coffee, in their fields to grill fish or meat, or perhaps a relaxed game of balote. The talk turns from tourism to olives and the natural life on one of the world's most beautiful islands.
And as the winter progresses, the new season gets closer, and attention and conversation become more focused on that. Preparations, ideas, plans. And suddenly the season begins, and there is no time to breathe until the following October, when the cycle repeats itself.
If you have never visited Hvar out of season, it is a rewarding and altogether different experience, which will enhance your love and understanding of this magical isle.
*Author - Paul Bradbury
*Photo Credit - Romulić & Stojčić multimedia studio