From Eastern Europe With Love

So I recently got back from taking a trip to Croatia for a wedding. The island of Hvar to be specific.

It’s a lovely place with a town (also named Hvar) spanning I’d say around a mile in diameter. Not large at all.

While I didn’t cope with the heat well at all, seeing as even here in the UK I find it hard to tolerate the very random and brief sunny spells that visit, I did adore the sights and culture.

The town itself is very picturesque with cobblestone streets, old stone buildings lined up, narrow alleys and stone steps for streets between the buildings. A welcome change from the wide busy streets filled with cars and red brick that I’m used to.

Compared to my previous trip to Paris however the atmosphere was very different and I noticed it straight away. There were tourists in Hvar as there was in Paris but the attitude of the locals were totally different. I suppose due to the size of the town itself it seemed like everyone knew everyone and seemed to get along really well. In Paris it was sort of like being alone in a large throng of people constantly moving. It made me feel very small and it was sort of exciting just exploring not knowing and knowing that no one would interfere or try to help. In Hvar everyone was the opposite. Friendly, outgoing and offering aid if it seemed like you needed it.

The town square in Hvar is the hub of activity with several food shops lined up side by side using an elevated square within the centre as a space for tables and chairs. I thought it was one massive restraunt at first before I realised the hedges between rows signified the boundaries of each separate establishment.

Aside from this the most noticable difference was at around 1-2PM.

The entire place just seemed to die off.

I remember walking up to a fort on the top of the hill which overlooks the town and coming back down to find pretty much every employee milling around outside their shop and simply taking in the sun. No one was bothering them either.

It was a strange sight to see pretty much the entire town on break as it were when back in the UK or even Paris someone seems to be on shift all the time.

Once the break was over though it was back to business as usual and it was strange to be standing observing the square as the employees went back to work and almost immediately tourists and locals came pouring out of their homes back into the streets to shop and dine.

The entire place is one of outstanding beauty, both in visuals and atmosphere. I do still prefer the business and more temperate climate of Paris however, where I hope to return later this year or early next year.

However, Croatia was definitely an eye opener though in many aspects and I can definitely see why some do love visiting these small and otherwise unknown places that fly under the radar for most people.

I’ve taken several photos along my journey that I’ve put below along with a video put together from footage I took while exploring during my spare time and not so spare time. Enjoy!

Hvar, Croatia – An Adventure In Three Minutes from Alex Holyoake on Vimeo.


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