The island’s winter festivities begin on the eve of St Nicholas with the burning of a boat in Stari Grad. Starting around 6:30 in the evening, you can see the smoke rising from across town. That’s actually helpful, as we weren’t quite sure which was the church of Sv Nikola (St Nicholas).
Mind you, we were also guided by the noise of fire-crackers. This appears to be standard for winter festivities involving small boys. Thankfully, they (mostly) flung the fire-crackers into a field on the other side of the road, away from the crowds of young kids and folks enjoying the spectacle of the bonfire.
Of course, the kids are pretty excited, as they’ll be waking up to presents on St Nicholas day, December 6th. Unlike in the UK, where we all wait until December 25th to open our gifts! There’s a good crowd around the fire, and cars on the nearby road slow on the way past to look too! No roasting chestnuts, sadly, as that’s not a Dalmatian tradition.
I understand the boat this year was SG-25, one of the old wooden fishing boats. For me, it’s sad to see such boats destroyed, but it certainly burned brightly for a long time, and gave off a good heat!