Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Hello there: spring is Here!

I've only wanted to say hello to everyone, and that here in Pula last days weather is beautiful. Yesterday we took nice walk, looking for dolphins. Did you know that dolphins are sometimes called sea angels? The Answer May be yes or no, but there is a friend of mine who has dedicated most of her free time in exploring dolphins. She even says that can communicate with them. I’ve also head that there are places where people use to swim with dolphins for healing purposes. Amazing! So let’s save them, and let them remain a see angels.

This Sunday a time schema has change from winter to summer time. So, now we have one hour less for sleeping and one hour more for seaside walks…

Friday, March 26, 2004

Natural life devastation

Last day I was talking with my father and uncle. You know, my father is around 55 years old and he has seen things that when I was born were not possible. For example when he was a kid people were taking bath in port of Pula. Amazing! Today nobody dears to do this! And what's even more interesting there was plenty of fish, big quality fish swimming there! Today you can se this only in national park of Brijuni, about which we were taling before.

But the “world has change”, says the prologue of the lord of the rings trilogy… And for me this were only the stories. I remember other stories that were saying about abundance of sea life: lobsters, shells and other animals could be seen, found… Bt for me this was only stories. I was born in 1972, and till time I have grown enough to understand something more, this things were gone, and only the story remained.

I remember those stories with nostalgia, because this stories for me was, and are, something epic, something valuable, eternal, a memories from beginning of my life that will never fade out. It seamed to me that things should be like this.

But last day I have remained astonished, because of one thing. Every port has its breakwater, to protect it from big waves and wind. about 12 years ago we were going there to pick some mussels. On the walls of that breakwater there was so full of this shells, that you could collected them as many as you liked! 10, 20 Kg no problem: In half an our you’ve done! The question was only how big they are, so you could spend more time to collect only bigger pieces.

Since I was in university, army, working in Italy and have become a vegetarian, I was not going any more at fishing, or diving for shells and other things. So I remained astonished when my uncle said that on that breakwater is not even one mussel remained! Not even the smallest! The breakwater deep around 20 meters and long around 150m is clean as a mirror! I could not believe this thing!

Today the tears has come to my face when I remembered this, let’s pray that tomorrow we wont all cry for the world that we have ruined… What was only story for me yesterday, today has become the truth, one peace of my life, something that was a part of my memory has gone, and probably will not come back. Today we have cellular phones, nice cars, big TV’s (and lot's of stress), but I think that we’ve lost much, much more. The television may be flat, and true color, and Dolby, and digital and whatever but sight through the window will always be more true color, and more natural and less digital.

Sunday, March 21, 2004

Positive and negative impacts of tourism for domestic people II

There are lot’s of negative impacts of tourism too. I would like to accent only few here. The value of some properties are degrading significantly because of extensive apartment construction. Imagine you have a house on a nice place, and then all around you people build apartments for tourists.

Other thing, even worst, is if you live and work here. You must understand that in Croatia average salary is around 500 euro, and that Croatia has less that 5 million habitants. Western Europe has at least 300 million of habitants with much, much higher standard. So, now we have this situation: for now Croatian coast is still attractive, and so many European citizens wants to by real estate in Istria or Dalmatia.

We are in situation that domestic people hat to compete with many people, with lot’s of higher standard if they wants to by them self a house to live. Pay attention, domestic people needs a place to live, other some place to go during month or two in summer. This is unfair, very unfair, and local people has problems to find place to live and find them selves strangers in their own land.

Monday, March 15, 2004

Positive and negative impacts of tourism for domestic people

Related to previous post, we will continue in same direction for a while. Tourism, like any other industry has its positive and negative sides.
Positive sides are that places and regions where main industry is tourism, must be always nice and clean. They are usually void of heavy industries whit lots of green, parks… Usually this places are very nice to live, especially if you are financially well situated. The prices of real estate rise high, so if you own some property, you have good capital.

This thing has happened in Istria. 20 years ago the prices of land was very low. Who bought it in that time, today have many, many times multiplied value. It is not rare that a property near sea costs 200, 300, 400 EUR/m2 (just land), while 20 years ago you could buy same land for maybe 1 EUR/m2, or event get it for free from the state! Manny have built apartments on their properties, and they are earning to live by renting them to tourists. This is called private accommodation, and is very popular form of lodging in Croatia: some examples of private accommodation in Istria can be seen on our site.
Another positive thing is that domestic people can take advantage of offer, manifestations… prepared for tourists and have more fun during summer. That is the thing that everybody likes…

Negative sides are pollution (yes, tourism pollutes as any other industry… This summer I will take some photos and post them here so you can see, but I assure you that the sea looks much, much better out of tourist season), and many social moments mostly due to week and corruptive government, but more about this in next post. bye!

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Architecture and legal/illegal construction in Istria

This post has to deal with legal and illegal building construction on Croatian and Istrian coast. Today, all the news and newspapers in Croatia and Istria writes about it. Why? Because the Croatian coast has been kept from devastation for long time, thanks to communistic regime in the past. But today, we are in danger that our coast gets destroyed because of peoples greed and interests of various lobbies. There is no quality plan that respects environment, culture and tradition, needs of local people in satisfying manner, and what is maybe even more important, that is respected. Seems that lot’s of things has been subject to profit that little will make, and many will lost: their heritage in land (which is sold), sun, sea culture and tradition, which was left to them by their ancestors. Some are promising more working places, more wealth, but what we can see is less wealthy people and more poor and stressed people in fear for their basic needs.

So, there are waste number of constructions built illegally, they are in most cases ugly, and violates the environment. According to Croatian law, nobody can own the coast. So you can buy a land near coast, but you have not right to deny access to anyone who want to take bath. That people are so arrogant, that not only they have built without authorization, but they also board the coast forcing other people to go around to pass to other side. And in many cases, they don’t even own that peace of coast, it is only near their possession.

To make things more interesting in many cases this people are foreign citizens! So, I hope the picture of urge is becoming more clear now. The Istrian coast is very attractive, not only for their beauty, but also because it is not overcrowded. But things will change in the future if we continue in this direction. Building expansion is terrific and under pressure of building lobbies which want to sell apartments, in most cases they are not respecting ethical, esthetical, environmental or other criteria: taking advantage over hesitation of local authorities(who are often incompetent and easily corrupted), complexity of Croatian law in this area, slow jurisdiction system, social momentum, economical situation…

New Croatian government has promised to take control over this subject, that will strike on illegally built constructions, they have formed special expert group, so we put our hope that they may be successfully in resolving this problem. We also hope that consciousness of ordinary people will raise, that they will develop more faith in them selves, and that way be able to bring positive change to the community. This and other articles serves for that purpose.
At the end I would like to indicate an excellent article(In Croatian) on the Istra – OnLine about this topic.

Sunday, March 07, 2004

Giro d'Italia in Istria

You have probably heard about one of the most famous bike races... So, this year Giro d'Italia comes to Istria. According to the present route as part of the 14th stage, on Sunday 23 May , the cyclists will start in Trieste, pass through Slovenia, where one of the passing finishes will be posted, enter Croatia at the border passage Pozane.

After that they will pass through many Istrian places. So you can see the route and check more about Giro d'Italia in Istria on our site.

Thursday, March 04, 2004

Premantura, park of nature

Premantura is one of the most beautiful places in Istria... There is a place called "kamenjak" where you can have wanderful sight at the stars. Place premantura is very nice, but "kamenjak", natural park is most famous.
Premantura is the most southern point of Istra, placed on a long and narrow peninsula. The climate is hot - the hottest month is July. Relatively popular, Premantura has its main characteristic in the extension of the coast and in the beauty of rocks and pebbles beaches.
Unfortunately, there are not so manny good web pages about this place, but you can find something on
Premantura on the official pages of tourist association of Medulin.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

National park Brijuni

Istria is place of beautiful nature... So there is one National park and few protected parks of nature. Here I will point to
National park Brijuni (there is English an Croatian version). This park is an archipelago which form fourteen larger and smaller islands with beautiful nature.

The park was used by former president of Yugoslavia Josip Broz Tito as his presidential residence, so for long time this park was closed for public. In roman times, when Istria was a part of roman empire, Roman nobles used brijuni as their holiday residence. And because of this there are many traces of roman presence.

So if so many important people liked this islands there must be some reason... They are still an exclusive destination, where you can lodge in old villas, and spend time in intact nature. You will be amazed to see fishes of 4 kg swimming, deers runnig around free, other animals in zoo, roman rests... This is possible because Brijuni were closed for so many years, for exclusive use by high Yugoslav politicians. But times are changing (like in the "lord of the rings movie"). There is a master plan for Istrian tourism, and it seams that Brijuni has to undergo big changes. So this days when you can enjoy nature alone will probably be the days of the past. This thing is certainly bad, good thing is that the project will probably bring some money to the region and country. Wee will see. You can visit page about National Park Brijuni on our site also with few pictures in photo gallery...

Istra online

There is a nice new portal for istrians (online for about month or two)
Istra online, unfortunately it is only in Croatian, but by his informative nature it is intent for domestic people. Contains news, useful informations and resources, pictures, and more. See you soon...

Monday, March 01, 2004

Istria and ecology

In this blog I want to put big emphasis on the ecology. Why? In this moment it is very important that people act in the way to preserve the nature, and because the istria can still be considered clean. There is not heavy industry or agriculture, all over the istria you can see traces of traditional culture... Take a look at this pictures and you'll understand what I meant.

Off course, there are also modern cities, but most of economy is based on tourism. Because the Istria was part of communistic Yugoslavia till 1991, we haven't developed massive tourism like Spain or France for example, but things are changing.

So, a friend of mine has put up an organization for ecology and culture, and in this post I've wanted to let you know about his site:
EIA (eia is the Istrian goodies of nature). He is currently building an ecologic center, with ecologic programs, and tries to protect nature, and one of the last complete natural camps in istria.... So have fun.