Tuesday, April 11, 2017

I is for Island of Brac #atozchallenge

The penultimate day of our week long holiday in Croatia turned out to be dark, cloudy and moody. I'd set the alarm for 4.30 am to write about 'D' for this challenge. By the time the rest of the family woke up, I was on my third cup of coffee and the sky had turned grey.

Upon waking up, the husband announced his desire to go shopping (extremely out of character) instead of exploring an island nearby (my desire) which we had planned to do before going to bed the previous night.

We reached a compromise over bowls of muesli and decided to explore first, shop later.

The boat was scheduled to depart at 11. So we bought some good coffee (coffee is great everywhere in Split) and sandwiches and ate on board. Brac bound...(btw, the c is Brac sounds like ch)
Forty-five minutes later, we arrived at Supetar. The husband disclosed his plan to head back on the 2.30 ferry. I wasn't too pleased. His practical brain was looking at the weather forecast. My romantic heart wanted to stay longer.

What to do? 
The lady at the tourist information office thought like my husband and advised very wisely that we should take the heritage tour she was handing us a leaflet for. It would take about an hour and leave us plenty of time to have a coffee or garb some lunch before taking the 2:30 ferry back to Split.

Why do I find it easier to see reason shown by strangers?  

Come along then. We don't have all day...let's explore Supetar.
No silly,  not on this fancy red scooter, we're gonna walk...
Spring wasn't hiding.
I wasn't seeking.

Cherry blossoms nodded.
But Iris stood quite still.
Baby figs are waiting to fatten up before Summer arrives.
Wisteria cooled air conditioners
and a stone full of yellow flowers (I don't know the name of) held up a stormy sky.
It didn't rain while we were out.
 Pots and pans, a bird in a cage and a colourful curtain alluded to human history:





Apart from the restaurants and coffee/ice-cream shops on the main street, not much else was open. Drilling sounds and whiffs of paint told us that the island was getting ready for summer or for May, when the tourist season starts.

A stall selling things made out of the white stone, Brac is famous for, was open. I walked up. The lady owner of the stall (whose name I forgot to ask) is a local who was selling things made by her son-in-law. 

"He graduated from the stone masonry school up here." She sounded proud."It's not easy to get in or to graduate from this school, you know."

I nodded. (I googled after getting back home and realised why she sounded so proud)

She had an impressive selection of pestle and mortars, candle holders, beads made of stone and lots more.

"Do you know the White House is white because of our stone?"

"Really?" I asked.

She took out a newspaper cutting slid inside a plastic pocket. I couldn't read it but she carried on..."Yes, of course, they didn't want to acknowledge it but a piece of paper was discovered a few years ago and now it's official. Our stone was used to build the White House."

She counted a few other important buildings in Austria and Georgia where the white stone from Brac has been used.

I chose a pestle and mortar to take back with me.

She explained the different names the stones are given. 

"This one is called happiness." She pointed to the one I was holding. "It's softer and the little grey specks you see are sea shells and fossils." 

"And this one is called vinito , you see the grey veins? That's a bit of volcanic stone."

I was fascinated.

"This stone is very special. Its antiseptic quality makes it perfect to grind herbs and medicinal plants." she offered as I paid for my purchase.

"I'll use it for ginger and cardamom for my tea." 

She smiled.

We continued chatting.

"You know they think we have Scottish blood in us. And like all the jokes in England are about the Scottish, all the jokes in Croatia are about us. I used to get very angry about it when I was younger, but now I don't mind. I feel that's who I am. I'm happy here."
 It did rain that day, but only after we had reached our apartment in Split. Shopping didn't happen!
If you like history, then check out Stone from Brac.
This short extract is from the link above (an article in the Herald)
"The ancient hilltop hamlet of Skrip on Brac was the home two centuries before Christ for the Illyrians, who settled atop hills to defend themselves against Greek invaders. Romans arrived in 167 BC to begin quarrying stone for the mansions they built.
Roman and Illyrian artifacts now are showcased in a small hilltop museum there.
The museum curator tells us islanders on Brac consider themselves Highlanders, in much the same way that proudly independent mountain-dwelling Scots see themselves as different from their countrymen. "We're very independent and we even speak with something of a brogue," she told us."
en-Joy your day and I shall join you tomorrow:)

20 comments:

  1. I was in Croatia , on holidays, some years ago. Your post brought me sweet memories!

    ----------
    Eva - Mail Adventures

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  2. Beautiful pictures! Definitely adding Croatia to my list of places to visit!


    ¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*¨)
    (¸.•´ (¸.•` ¤ Good luck on the rest of your A to Z challenge

    Sylvia @ The Creative Life

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    1. Thank you Sylvia:) You'll love Croatia.

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  3. I just love the way you're able to blend history and present-day and throw in such fabulous pictures too .
    Interesting facts about the various materials used for making the mortar-and-pestles - makes for good reading .
    Don't think I'd refer to any other source if ever we were to travel to these countries.
    A job well-done Arti.

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    1. Thank you Sharmila:) I'd love to be your travel guide...don't mind coming along if you like... wanderlust is incurable!

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  4. You know, I sigh an awful lot when I look at your pictures...
    (Don't worry, happy-type.)
    I'm sorry there was no shopping, tho'...

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    1. Happy sighs are good.
      Thank you.
      I had bought my mortar and pestle, so I was good. Poor husband didn't get to shop...well, I'm sure he got over it rather rapidly at the Library Bar:)

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  5. Beautiful images. I had no idea the stone from Croatia was used to build the White House! What a fun tidbit!

    With Love,
    Mandy

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  6. I love your photos and the stories. They truly paint a picture of your experiences. Thanks for looking me up again!

    ~Mary
    Jingle Jangle Jungle
    #AtoZChallenge 1970's Billboard Hits

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    1. Good to see you Mary and thank you:)

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  7. Visiting from A to Z. Loved those flowers, and the history of the white stone. I would have purchased one of those mortars and pestles for my husband. How unique!

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    1. Thank you Alana. I hope you're able to one day.

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  8. Lovely story....beautiful images! Thanks for taking us on a tour of Brac. I love the human element you always bring in your stories.

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  9. Hello from Idaha and found your blog Alana. Sure looks like a pretty place. Wow Iris and our won't be bloom usual the end of May.
    Coffee is on

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    1. Cheers Dora.
      Will be visiting you soon.

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  10. Looks beautiful, I especially like the old stone walls. Glad you and hubby reached a compromise. Maui Jungalow

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    1. Thank you for visiting Courtney:) 23 years of marriage does that--one learns to make the most of the time together.

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