A couple of things. First, having now spent over two weeks in Croatia and done the top to the bottom (but not the interior, yet), I feel that I can provide some comment on the country as a destination. And I can’t get ‘two-dimensional’ out of my head. Two big positives: the weather; the coastline. The coast is just fabulous, more arid and not so mountainous in the north; greener and much precipitous in the south. The water is all that creamy to green to blue stuff that you dream of, and the little harbours and island towns are as good as they get.
And yet, something is missing.
Take Italy. Yes it’s filthy (especially in the south) and Croatia is remarkably clean, the beaches free from the plastic detritus you get all over the coastline in Italy and the towns have rubbish collection, a novelty in, say, Naples. Italians drive like they’re late for their own wedding. Two lanes surely mean three, and cyclists beware. In Croatia the speed limits are slow – and pretty much obeyed. I’ve been pottering along at 40 mph and nobody gives a damn. Italy has its fair share of beggars and road-side prostitutes – there are none here. But, and it’s a huge but, Italy has culture, tons of it, and the people are animated. They’re alive. Croatia has some pretty towns, but they lack art, huge cathedrals, palaces and Roman ruins. Etc.
Take Greece. Yes it’s hopelessly disorganised and riddled with corruption. Whereas Croatia isn’t: buses run on time. It has close links to Germany and that shines through. Greece is church mouse poor, where Croatia doesn’t seem to be. They don’t seem to be ploughing the fields with oxen here. I could make the culture comparison again, but let’s focus on the people. We loved the Greeks. They’re v English, or should I say we’re quite Greek. We have the same sense of humour and the same depth of history – we can laugh at ourselves. Croats are, well, charmless. They don’t smile a lot – they’re Slavic, with faces etched with a history of conflict. Don’t get me wrong, when you engage them they’re lovely. They’re helpful and kind. But they lack grace, whereas the Greeks have wells of it.
So, so far we love Croatia, but, other than to drive through to get to Greece, we’re not sure it’s a country we could visit again and again. Whereas in Greece I could see myself on the balcony of a small villa in a tiny harbour town sipping Ouzo, neither of us could see ourselves buying a home here and merging into the local scene.
The other thing…
My mate Rich asked me why I’m pressing ahead with self-publishing The Innocence of Trust when I’m waiting on whether or not anyone’s interested in my screenplay. It’s a good question. I guess, because, even if I publish, provided I own the rights then if a book publishing company want to take it on, then they can. All they’ve lost is, hopefully, a couple of thousand sales. Second I do want to get it out before the summer rush (and there are people waiting). And third I do want to start to write book 4 and part of me won’t let that happen with book 3 still unpublished.
And I forgot to mention from before… It’s blooming windy in Croatia. It’s all to do with the Bora wind. C has researched it all – it comes from the continent and blows a lot!