Dalmatian shutters – stylish and so practical!

Where I grew up, in Edinburgh, only the older stone houses had working shutters, and those were on the inside of the windows to keep out the cold in winter. In much of southern Europe, houses are shuttered in the summer to keep out the heat. I also really enjoy the ability to close out the world when it gets cold, dark and wet in winter, especially when there’s a bura blowing! It’s all terribly convenient, and so much cheaper than extra heating or air conditioning.

Total National Defense Tunnel

If you look carefully at the head of the Cabal Peninsula as the ferry passes by, you’ll see a lighthouse. And to the left of the lighthouse are tunnels and gun emplacements for the defense of the shipping lanes. The tunnels date from 1969, one year on from the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet-led…

Glavica Hill – Watching out over Stari Grad

There’s a large stone cross on Glavica, the hill overlooking Stari Grad on the north shore. It makes a very useful marker, as it can be seen from miles around. Conversely, of course, from the top of Glavica, you have great views over the surrounding countryside, and the approach into Stari Grad harbour. The cross…

The fine art of making lace from agave leaves

Legend has it that the skill of making lace from agave leaves arrived from the Canary Islands around the mid-nineteenth century. A seaman brought back a sample of Tenerife lace from his latest trip, you could imagine as a gift for his sister, who may have been a nun, or attended convent school. The sister…

Rosmarinus Officinalis

Rosemary and lavender – Hvar’s essential oils

One of the delights of Hvar is the variety of aromatic plants that grow naturally here. The island is well-known for its lavender (lavanda), but for many centuries, rosemary (ružmarin) was more important to the island’s economy. Rosemary is actually a close relative of lavender, both belonging to the Lamiaceae (mint) family of plants. The…

The waterfront at Stari Grad

Going back in time – the old town of Stari Grad

Stari Grad is an old town. If you wind back time by a couple of thousand years to the turn of the millenium, you’d find that settlements on the island consisted of Illyrian hillforts, mostly away from the coast, though the castle at Hvar town directly overlooked the harbour. And then there was Stari Grad,…

Fortica – Hvar’s Spanish fortress

The hill overlooking the town of Hvar is a magnificent viewpoint. From there, you can look down on the town itself, watch the comings and goings in the harbour, see the Pakleni islands and the sea beyond. On a clear day (which they mostly are), you can see right over to Vis. The benefits of…