Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Hvala Hrvatska

A quiet night at the bar

My Second Port of call on my Conservation Travels was Croatia at the Eco Centar, Beli, Cres. Here is what I learnt on this trip.

1. The first and most important thing I learnt was that there is no alcohol allowed to be consumed on the premises! However there was a bar 50 metres up the street and you were allowed to drink there (infact I was virtually forced to by some people) and they were showing all the European Championship football games. Drink and footie is there anything better?

2. I learnt that I cannot speak Croatian. The very first word I had to learn was Hvala which means thank you. My attempts to pronounce this one little word caused nothing but confusion and mirth to the Croatian locals. Attempts included Ha-Va-La, Viola, Fa-la and even Koala. All failed - trying to say hv without a vowel in between is beyond my limited language comprehension. One word was very simple to say in Croatian -pivo (beer). I only ever attempted cheers once - Zivjeli as I nearly swallowed my tongue trying.

3. The health and safety used on Cres is slightly different from the National Trust. Whereas steel toe capped boots are required for manual labour on National Trust holidays in Croatia any footwear will do - especially when building stone walls. I believe they use the rule that if you drop a big rock on your foot then you are unlikely to do it again anyway. Also hard hats are not required when bringing cement up and down a mountainside as they may inhibit you hearing a rockslide heading your way. For all their limits on health and safety no one got hurt once. If you have no protection you tend to think more about what your doing. For example one day I thought to myself 'You know I'm a volunteer who actually paid to do this so why the hell am I holding on to the side of a cliffface looking for bird feathers?'

Me and my stone wall which I built myself (OK! Which I helped build!)

Mind the Gap!

4. If you are going to stall a minibus on a road with a 20 degree incline full of fat Italian pensioners try not to start rolling back towards the edge of the cliff. Also when hanging out the back of a Lada 4X4 being driven up the same road try to keep your feet off the ground!

Yum Yum!
5. Althought griffin vultures only eat carrion you cannot help but feel a bit apprehensive when going into their cage to feed them - especially one of them called Koleda who has a particular liking for sheeps eyes!

6. Vultures eat a lot - as seen from one old eating station on the island.

7. You get to appreciate how precious water is when you live somewhere where all your water has to be delivered by tanker every day. The old motto when going to the toilet applies:

If its Yellow, let it mellow. If it's Brown, wash it down.
Just as well I was not drinking Guinness then! If its black....?

Here are other images from my trip - in no particular order:

Shaun of the Dead?

Beli at night

Secluded Inlet

Eventually the Scotch revert to character

You want me to go up there!

Made it

Christelle shows Franz a new rugby move

Boat rides are great

Beli Harbour

Its tough work here in Croatia

Aaah! Kittens

We men! We drink!

I'll stick with the women

A final Pic

A great place - its just a pity Croatia lost the footie on the final night :(

1 comment:

Simon Timmis said...

Well Ray what can I say! The ferry looks a damn sight better than Strangford! No fog and the punters are certainly rather good to be with from my sofa here in London town.

The Scots guy looks a little scary but hey who wouldn't in a pile of bones! All in all the wall was a not a patch on the wire fence and the lack of safety gear a relief. After all who wants to see a Mike like person in a sun hat with a yellow hard hat on-top!

Oh by the way this bloody blog is bloomin hard work to post on :-)