Insular self-isolating for beginners

The world looks a lot different this month. I look back at my photos of the Vrboska karneval and am shocked at the sight of such a large crowd. Was it truly only 4 weeks ago? We are now, like much of the rest of the world, staying at home keeping ourselves to ourselves. Croatian restrictions mean that we need to stay in the place where we are registered. In a city, it’s pretty clear that would mean you don’t go to the next town unless you have an urgent need. But in small villages and on an island it’s less certain where our limits are. We appear to be able to drive to the big supermarket at the ferry terminal, and visit a couple of close towns for essential supplies, but a drive to Hvar town 20 minutes away on the south shore? Probably not.

Vrboska boat

Vrboska boat

Some of our local restaurants have started to offer a pickup service, or even delivery in some cases, which is a rare luxury on the island! We can also order fresh vegetables directly from the growers, and the tapetar in Stari Grad is offering free masks. Life is picking up a new rhythm, as we learn to cope with the situation and keep ourselves safe. We’re more distanced from the people around us – so, no meeting up with friends and neighbourly conversations must be held from at least 2 metres away. Yet thanks to the internet we’re more closely connected than ever with others around the world. We “attended” a fun online ceilidh given by friends in Scotland, and I’m participating in a 30 day Croatian language challenge with far-flung fellow students in such places as Australia, America, Peru and Argentina!

Maslinica cove

Maslinica cove

Hvar’s connecting ferries to the mainland are reduced to two a day, and only islanders and emergency  or delivery workers are allowed. That restriction was put in place to check the numbers of people who thought this would be a better place to self-isolate than the city. They seemed to be thinking of it as a holiday. Thankfully, we have had only one confirmed case on the island, and that a local man returning from working in Austria. I’m happy to say he’s doing well in hospital in Split and his family are fine. The experience of Murter, an island 100 kilometers or so to the north of us has been sadly different. Connected to the mainland by a bridge, it was all too easy for those with holiday homes to remove there as a safer place. Not now, though, as they’ve had around 30 confirmed cases, and the entire island is under strict quarantine.

Rusty bolt

Rusty bolt

Outside, the weather is turning warmer, and the wildflowers are in bloom. With our experience from last year, we managed to find a new orchid along the shady paths amongst the bright cyclamen flowers. Similar to the bee orchid but without the pink petals, it turned out to be the Ophrys liburnica or Early spider orchid (many thanks to Frank Verhart for the id!). We also spotted a couple of shy violets lurking  in the undergrowth. I’ll be updating the GoHvar wildflower page with the new entries!

The first house martins have arrived, though we’ve not yet seen any swallows. Summer is coming, but not yet. As we turn from March into April, let’s hope this isolation is not too long lasting. Stay safe wherever you are and if you can, enjoy some quiet time. Here’s a few links to explore from your sofa…

LAG Škoj – community page with links to things you can get delivered on Hvar

Total Croatia News on facebook for the latest situation across Croatia

Bo’ness Dance online ceilidh video

The Toilet Roll Reel by the RSCDS Lyon Branch

The Game Gal: COVID-19 survival – games to play during self-isolation

Frank Verhart’s Orchid observations in Croatia 2019

We Stay Home facebook group Nikolina’s 30 Day learn Croatian Challenge

Gadjo Manouche facebook page  self-isolation music sessions