OK, the only thing this post has to do with Real Estate is the fact that we were there to buy furniture, design a kitchen and finalize payments.
My brother-in-law, Mario, decided to join me for this trip as he wanted to "scope out" out the country in advance of both of our families vacationing at the condo next summer.
One day we'll write another post about the entire legal process we've been going through to own this as Canadians. But for now we're going to share the 10-day adventure that we went on...
To fly into Split, Croatia on the Dalmatian Coast you need to go via another European city. Although we often fly in through Frankfurt this time our Lufthansa flight went via Düsseldorf, Germany.
And what was supposed to by a 3 hour lay over turned into a 16 hour lay over as Croatia Airlines decided to have a 24-hour "work to rule" strike that we were caught in the middle of!
They were kind enough to put us up in an amazing 5-star hotel and we took the opportunity to check out Düsseldorf and all the cafes and bars that it had to offer.
Why not right? 🙂
The food, drinks were amazing and the people were super friendly - we were truly impressed. Great town.
So we had German beers, ate like champions, caught a little nap and continued our journey.
The next stop was Split. I found it very surprising that there were so many North American tourists on the flight into Croatia. As a kid we would visit regularly and there would only be locals or ex-locals coming home for a summer visit.
Split has a population of about 280,000 and the capital of the Dalmatian Coast in Croatia. It's a great city with more history and architecture than I remember as a kid (or even as a twenty-something back-packer).
During our trip we managed to tour the city and check out some of its cafes, open markets and we visited one of our cousins who lives in the city.
We even managed to squeeze in a soccer (football) game with the local team Hajduk against Hamburg, Germany.
Soccer in that town is more of a religion than a sport and the local fan club Torcida is organized, loud and leads the loudest singing and chanting that I've ever heard at any sporting event.
They also fire off fire cracker "bombs" that literally make your body shake.
I took a quick picture of their section of the stadium ... intense!
One of our cousins runs a cafe in Split and we managed to round up his son and another one of our cousins and his two sons to all go to the Hajduk soccer game together.
Here's a picture of us in his cafe ... it was a quick little family reunion!
My two cousins are right next to me and their kids are the three on the far right.
Two of their kids were missing for this picture. One works on the coast during the summer in a store very close to our condo and the other works on a cafe on the island of Hvar - which is an amazing place that we didn't have time to visit on this trip - but we'll be back ... I can't wait to show Carol (my wife) Hvar, it's beautiful.
Last year our entire family checked out one of the other islands, Brac, and its famous beach (Bol) that is literally peppered with Italians during the month of August.
One of our stops during this trip was to a Bull fight ... but not the type you're used to. No bull actually gets killed. Two bulls battle each other by ramming horns and the first bull to walk away loses.
The owner of the winning bull goes on to the next round.
Here's a picture of the event!
And because of my poor translation skills for this event I actually explained to my brother-in-law, Mario, that we were going to see a "bull mating session" where they tie a cow to a tree and pick a strong bull to impregnate her.
Yes, I'm serious ... and those images that I was exposed to as a child will live with me forever.
We also had an opportunity to visit the village where our father was born.
I've actually been there at least a dozen times and as a kid I would live in that village for weeks during summer vacation.
It had no running water and no toilets!
You drank out of the well and a wood burning stove cooked up meals. I farmed, took care of the cows, pigs, donkey's and chickens ... and had a blast.
After summer vacation as other kids were explaining how they saw Mickey Mouse and Epcot I shared how I saw a calf being born and farmed potatoes all summer. 🙂
Here's a picture of us with my 76 year-old Aunt who still lives on the farm (now with running water and toilets!) and a picture with the top local hunter, Nedo, who has a reputation for being one of the very best hunters of wild boars in the area.
That plaque we're holding is displaying the actual teeth of one of his largest conquests.
Next, we journeyed out to the coast which is about a 45 minute drive.
There's a long coastal road that goes from Split to Dubrovnik (a popular Cruise Ship destination for its stunning city walls and history).
The Adriatic coast is gorgeous and pictures don't do it any justice.
When we arrived the first few days were about 28 degrees Celsius but over the next few days the temperatures rose into the 39-42 degree range.
Here's a picture of our condo, it's the second highest building in this picture and overlooks the town of Mimice.
The views from the condo are amazing and the week before we arrived their were dolphins playing in the water right in front of us.
Apparently there was even a baby dolphin learning how to jump splashing around.
Here's a couple more shots of the condo and looking out from inside.
There are two balconies and you can either look straight out towards the island of Brac or if you look down you'll see the town of Mimice right up against the water.
There are several cafes and two separate beaches.
While we were there tourists from Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands that had rented up most of the apartments and little villas.
Some even towed their boats and were launching them at the Mimice boat launch ... in the middle of enjoying an espresso we helped a German family drop theirs in the water.
The gentleman we're buying the condo from owns the land and is building the two buildings ... and more importantly, he makes a local liquor called "Orahovac" (walnut based) that my brother-in-law loves.
So naturally we took a picture on one of the balconies where he's brewing a few batches of the stuff.
And we sampled some to ensure its quality 🙂
12 minutes away from our condo is Brela, Croatia.
A few years ago Forbes ranked one of Brela's beaches as the #1 Beach in Europe and #6 in the world!
So of course we made a few stops to Brela to enjoy the beach, restaurants and cafes. The water in this are of the Dalmatian Coast in Croatia is unbelievable.
We took some pictures but I don't think they reflect the true colour and beauty accurately...
You can't tell from these pictures but the water is completely clean. If you swim straight out 30 meters and look down, it's so clear that you'll see the bottom of the sea floor. Unlike anything we've seen before.
We also made a trip to Makarska, Croatia with is about 25 minutes from our condo. It's the center of the Makarska Riviera (which Brela is a part of).
The reason for the visit to Makarska?
Old high school friends of mine and now neighbors in Oakville, Ontario were doing a criss-cross tour of Europe and were in the area. So we managed to have a great dinner right next to the water with them...
We'll have to have a Rock Star event of some sort out there one day. We'll have to start pooling our cash for a monster yacht that we can cruise the islands in.
There are hundreds of islands along the coast and some are so small that you just anchor close by and swim ashore to enjoy fresh fish at the lone restaurant or cafe on that particular island.
And if you're ever in the area and we're there, let us know ... we'll enjoy a drink together!
In between the beaches and the food we managed to design a kitchen for the condo, buy appliances, set up a local bank account, buy beds, tables, chairs and light fixtures.
These finishing touches will be installed over the next few months making next summer the first time both our families will fully enjoy it all.
One more thing, if you ever find yourself driving through the southern part of Croatia and you come across this sign, you've found the village where our family is from. Stop in for a drink and tell them Tom & Nick sent you 😉
Until next time ... Your Life. Your Terms!