Inspired by 13 Things Italians Do Better than We Do
http://www.cntraveler.com/galleries/2015-09-25/10-things-we-wish-we-could-do-like-the-italians/amp ... we have read this recently and thought how life is not so bad on Hvar either.
Here are things that we think the people of Hvar do better than most!
Unlike most of the island’s tourist visitors, who work hard for the chance to enjoy their two-week summer vacation, relaxing is a Hvar way of life. Yes, we work hard during the tourist season, but Dalmatia is possibly the one place in the world where people work hard at the art of relaxing – we call it fjaka.
You will not be long on the island before you come into contact with its natural treasures. Hvar’s Mediterranean Diet is inscribed as intangible UNESCO heritage. Say goodbye to your lifeless frozen vegetables back in the supermarkets, and say hello to glorious seasonal freshness.
Olives, wine and rakija
Hvar’s olive oil has won medals all over the world, and its wines are exported all as far away as China and California. There are some islanders who produce wine and oil professionally, and the quality is exceptional, but the majority of families produce very drinkable wine and delicious olive oil for the needs of their families and guests. Just one world of warning – rakija is also produced domestically by most families, with the universal assertion that every producer claims there is the best rakija in Croatia. We have the headaches to prove that not everyone was correct in that assertion.
If you are looking for informed opinion about any world topic, forget using Google or reading the newspapers. There is no better source of the global world view than that which comes from The Bench, a wonderful Dalmatian institution which brings the wise village (always male) elders together to pontificate on the issues of the day. The fact that may have little actual knowledge about the topic in hand matters not.
Hvar loves a good party, and takes any excuse to have one. Come before Lent and see your favourite islanders in a new colourful light, letting their hair down at Carnival. Or at Easter, when the 500-year-old tradition of the Za Krizen procession is a spectacular highlight of this religious festival of joy. Festivals to celebrate the treasure of the island – wine, lavender, honey, the edible dormouse – Hvar islanders need little excuse to start a celebration.
Relationship with the sea
The sea of course dominates island life, and Hvar’s people take full advantage. Local kids swim like dolphins from the age of three, are often adept at fishing and sailing not long after, and many move on to sea-related tourism businesses, such as boat transfers, kayaking, sailing and other water sports.
Hvar Town’s Mayor Riki Novak recently told the New York Times that his people are "genetically disposed to tourism." A warm tourist welcome is not only the tradition on Hvar, it is also in its heritage, for here back in 1868, organised tourism in Europe began with the founding of the Hvar Health Society. This small Dalmatian island, the sunniest in Europe, with the most island UNESCO heritage in the world, and Europe’s oldest public theatre, will be celebrating 150 years of organised tourism in 2018.
Will you be there to join Hvar’s islanders and find out what else they do better?
*Author - Paul Bradbury
*Photo Credit - Vedran Šegvić