Things that seem weird when you go to Europe

When we left Canada to travel full-time 4 years ago we didn’t think that most of our travels would be in Europe. It’s a continent we’ve fallen in love with. There are many reasons for that which I’ll write about sometime.

Arriving in Europe there are many little things that are very different than in North America. Other differences are very subtle. I decided to write about some of the things that have stood out for us along the way. Note: I’m not bothering with the glaringly obvious like that Europe is a much smaller continent, that countries are small, that people speak a lot of languages etc, etc. Most people know all that. I’m sticking to particularities that foreigners (especially North Americans) might consider weird, or just different, when coming to Europe. [Read more…]

Tourism…and when the locals hate you

We were at our local pizzeria in Split, talking to our favorite waitress. She always has stories of tourists, most told while laughing. She recounted a story of an Indian family who had walked in, wanting to use the bathroom. The restaurant charges 5 kuna ($1 Canadian, or about $0.75 US) for non-customers wanting to use the facilities. There were 4 of them and they wanted a volume discount to use the toilet. She laughed “it was so crazy, what am I supposed to do?”.

There was a story of a French couple who wanted a discount taken off the bill because they had not finished their meal, tales of groups of Englishmen getting drunk and obnoxious “so loud and I have no idea what they are saying”, and stories of South Koreans who wanted fish “but not the local kind of fish”. Throughout she laughed, there was no malice in her recounting of these stories, just a kind of wonder and amusement at the different people from around the world that come through the restaurant. [Read more…]

Working towards Permanent Residency in Croatia as Non EU Citizens. And why we decided to give up on the idea.

I’ve previously written about how we obtained a 1 year Temporary Stay in Croatia. It was relatively easy and when the time came to renew the stay for a 2nd year we were optimistic. Consulting with several lawyers however, it became clearer that things would be more complicated the second time around. Looking even further ahead at the prospect of Permanent Residency gave us even more reasons for wonder if it was all worth it. [Read more…]

Our 11 Favorite Places in Croatia (that you should visit)

We get a lot of private emails asking us “we are coming to Croatia in ____. What places do you recommend we visit during our stay?

We haven’t been everywhere in Croatia. For one, there are over 1,000 islands in Croatia. It would take us years to visit them all. BUT we’ve visited most of the major tourist spots in Croatia as well as many of the lesser known ones. So we have a bunch of favorite places that we would recommend to anyone. [Read more…]

Looking back at 2017…and forward to 2018 (it will be a year of changes)

2017 was not outwardly the most exciting year on the blog. We spent most of the year in Split (Croatia) setting up a base and getting temporary residency for a year. In all I spent 13 weeks out of Croatia during the year, going to Canada (to clean up some affairs), Mexico, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Bosnia and Hercegovina. Lissette travelled even less, the only time she left Croatia were the 5 weeks we spent in Prague.

2018 will be different. We won’t be renewing our temporary residency and will be leaving Croatia on March 1st. We will be out of Croatia until at least the end of September. So we will be getting back to travelling full-time. A bit more on that decision further below. [Read more…]

A Visit to Sarajevo. A Microcosm of everything that’s wrong with the Balkans.

I just got back from Sarajevo. I’d like to be able to say that Sarajevo is a beautiful and interesting place, marvel at its history of being the “Jerusalem of Europe”, talk about how the people are welcoming and what gracious hosts they are. All of that is true.  But to stop right there would be to give you a glib, half-assed version of what I felt spending a week in the city. The truth is that the more time I spent in Sarajevo the more depressed I became about the current history not only of Sarajevo and Bosnia and Herzegovina, but of the Balkans as a whole. [Read more…]

Incredibly photogenic Korčula Town through Spanky’s eyes (Croatia)

I have an admission to make:  Lissette is the better photographer than I am. I do the selection/editing of photos that I’ll use for the blog and on any given post she can she probably take credit for about 60% of the photos. Then I looked at our recent photos from Korčula. Well, I’ve ended up using all her photos because mine stink in comparison. Hence the title above.

Korčula Town is nicknamed “Little Dubrovnik” – like Dubrovnik it has fortress walls and towers lining the exterior of the town, with palaces, churches, and beautiful squares in the interior. With the backdrop of sea and mountains it is incredibly photogenic.We stayed there for a long weekend (3 night, 2 full days) but honestly you don’t need more than a full day maximum to see Korčula town (I’ll have more information at the bottom of this post). But even at that it’s worth a visit for its history and beauty. [Read more…]

Why Bol (Brač Island) should be on your list of places to visit in Croatia

Bol, on Brač island, is one of our favorite island towns in Croatia.

So what makes Bol so special?

Unlike Hvar town or Korčula town, Bol doesn’t have much in the way of historical attractions. It’s a small and pretty town – but there are lots of small, pretty places in Croatia. What makes Bol special are a couple of Croatia’s most famous natural attractions:

– the beach of Zlatni Rat (the most photographed beach in Croatia)
– the peak of Vidova Gora (the highest peak in the Adriatic Sea) [Read more…]

Split to Makarska by bike. And why Croatia has made me fall in love with biking again

This post won’t interest many readers. But if you’ve ever thought about riding your bike along the beautiful coastline between Split and Makarska then you might find it valuable (I could find absolutely nothing on this ride on the internet).

Last summer we shipped all our belongings from Canada to Croatia, including my 35 year old bike. Since then I’d been looking forward to doing a long distance bike ride. When I mentioned going to Makarska to my friend Vedran he jumped on board with the idea. [Read more…]

Photo Essay showing you why you HAVE to visit Makarska (Croatia)

I love the nature in Croatia. But I don’t think any place in Croatia has a natural setting as spectacular as Makarska’s.

I hadn’t expected to explore Makarska. The idea on this day was to cycle from Split to Makarska and back. My friend Vedran decided he wanted to come along. 65 km (and 5 hours later) we found ourselves in Markarska. Then some funny things happened and we ended up spending the night there (I’ll write about that as well as the bike ride in the next post). What it meant was a fantastic afternoon exploring Makarska. [Read more…]