A Travellerspoint blog

Brdo

Susnjevica

sunny 35 °C

Well we all had to get up fairly early as Branko (handyman) was coming over to check over a couple problems such as a flickering kitchen light as well as a dripping hot water heater (that was also heating too hot). He paid a visit to the neighbors one house down so that delayed his arrival time here. Once he investigated and left, we went to visit the cemetary and church at the top of Brdo (which means Hill in english btw). Actually this is Brdo proper with only one family still residing there.

Here is the view of what you see as you come up the hill. There is a shrine that is attended to by the only remaining family in Brdo proper (Jolanda and her daughter Bruna). You can see the tower and yet look on the left at the beauty of the ruins of a time long past. I find this so beautiful and touches me somehow.

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The clock/bell tower was used as a main communications system for the villagers near and far. Of course it announced time (and still does). During the summer it starts to ring at 7 am and the last time rung in is at 9 pm. It rings one type of bell each quarter hour and on the hour a deeper sounding second bell rings to announce the hour. So in case that sounded confusing this is what happens. At 12 noon the clock will ring the first set of bells four times - then there is a pause and the second set of bells ring twelve times announcing the hour. At 12:15 the bell will ring once, at 12:30 it will ring twice - at 12:45 it will ring three times and at 1pm it will ring four times, then pause and then again ring once with another set of bells to announce 1pm. In the photo below you can see a little bit of the church on the right.

Brdo Bell/Clock Tower

Brdo Bell/Clock Tower

Of course the Bell Tower was used to announce other events as well. You knew when a marriage was taking place and when some loved one had departed this good earth. My father even recalls in times of great storms how the bells would ring in its danger. A last little note on this tower - it is the only one lit up at night in this area and for this often entices visitors to investigate the beauty of this otherwise unknown little special place. When I will take the picture I will show you how from the distance you can see the Tower and two houses on the mountainside - one of which is ours (the other is the neigbor below us).

The cemetary overlooks the valley and mountains - inlcuding Mount Ucka. It is estimated to be over 300 years old (one reason due to the roman numerals found inscribed in the area). It is well looked after and tidy and so .... peaceful.

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The parents (my grandparents) of my father, Irma and Laura are buried here as well. The first plot is of my grandmother and the second is of my grandfather.

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Once the visit was complete, the plan was that Irma and Laura were going into town to look for a washing machine and I was going to go over to a flat part of the land next to the house to suntan (I need the color ... heck it is summertime afterall ;0) This parcel of land is called Brajdice (roughly pronounced braditseh) and in the past this parcel of land was used for beekeeping and for drying clothes (they had a couple of lines). It was also used to collect and cut and dry grass for hay for the bulls, cows and donkey.

Well, even the best laid plans don't always work out. My dad wasn't feeling so hot today and spent some time in bed (but he is ok now - much too fatigued I think). Branko never showed up with the new water heater so going into town as planned did not come to pass. As for me, I no longer felt I wanted to suntan (sun is scorching and yeah I know --- it is only June and it will get worse by July .... but by then I will have adjusted better I'm sure - and the sea awaits my arrival any day now). Besides I am working up a tan just by walking around ;0)

So after a wonderful lunch of scrambled eggs and asparagus with a little of panceta tossed in (super yum - Laura is a wonderful cook I have to tell you) it was time for all of us to take a little fiesta. Dad sat partially in the sun warming up his feet, Irma and Laura took a little nap and I decided to update the blog and go around the property snooping to take more pictures (thank goodness for digital cameras as I can snap as many as I like).

So that is it for today. I feel more and more relaxed every day and knowing we have a reliable person looking after our house in Montreal while we are here takes off a lot of pressure. Thank you Tauja from the bottom of our hearts!!!!

The next two days are holidays (one is a state holiday and the other is a church holiday) so just about everything will be closed probably with exception of some grocery stores. This means a trip to Mount Ucka (pronounced oochka) - also known as Monte Majore - to fill up all our water reserves tomorrow. We do have running water, however, it is rainwater held in cisterns and we use it only for washing and cooking. This will be fun I am sure!

Posted by purplebaptisia 04:20 Archived in Croatia Comments (0)

Doing Business

sunny

Today is the day - off to Labin to do some much needed chores. Sightseeing in Labin will wait for another day. First order of business was to go to the bank to exchange canadian dollars into Kunas so I could spend, spend, spend here in Croatia ;0) We arrived early enough that a line up was not an issue. Once that was taken care of then off to the electronics store to deal with getting me set up with internet access for my netbook and to secure a cell phone to keep on my person while I am here. This too will ensure there is communication between Irma and myself with Laura and my dad especially when we get set to tour the quaint towns and attend festivals etc.

We spent some time in there going over options of what was best suited to my needs while here. I now have a prepaid USB stick for the internet that will cover me for about one month - providing I do not use the internet for heavy duty things like watching videos or actually using skype for some reason. The sales clerk spoke beautiful english and set up everything for me and even tested the hardware to make sure there weren't any glitches. I purchased a phone for about Cdn $20.00 and took the tourist package which came with a certain amount of money prepaid into the phone. I added about another $10.00 cdn and that will be more than enough to sustain me while in Croatia. The clerk did inform me that Labin is offering free internet access (wireless I am guessing) for the tourists. He had even heard that now Rabac is doing the same. A nice thing these towns are doing as they realize that tourists (like myself) need our internet fix - LOL. Edit: It seems as if the free internet is regulated to either a 1/2 hour or one hour - but that is not bad if only checking e-mails :-)

Then it was off to do some semi-serious grocery shopping since only staples were bought the other day ;0)

On the way back to Brdo, we stopped in at a neighbor's (Guerino) and secured a dozen freshly laid eggs. He runs a nice little business raising chickens for their eggs in addition to raising rabbits. It was now back to the house for a well deserved lunch. We all ate on the patio as the sunshine was simply too inviting. The air is so unpolluted it is ridiculous - nothing like what we have in Montreal! It was quite hot in the direct sun, however, under the canopy of the lovely hanging grape vines it was simply divine.

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The rest of the afternoon was spent lazying about and just soaking in the fresh mountain air and enjoying the heat of the sun. Another neighbor stopped in to chat. He is the one who takes care of the dog that Irma and Laura own while here. Irma went to get her a little after he stopped by. Morica (pronounced Moritsa) is her name and she enjoys the freedom of running free and taking care of her temporary family by being a most wonderful watchdog. She is so friendly and loving. I have seen her be on guard and investigate any noise she doesn't think belongs in her adopted territroy.

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I went to indulge myself with more ripe mulberries - yummmm. Morica indulged as well - such a sweetie. Soon it was time for some homemade minestrone soup and then chit chat after supper under the stars (ugh - a bit too cool for me so I let the siblings enjoy each others company while I tried to figure out how to download photos to this blog). And so this ends another day in paradise - my kind of paradise that is - lol.

Posted by purplebaptisia 13:42 Archived in Croatia Comments (1)

Getting Adjusted

sunny

Talk about sleeping .... zzzzzzzzz - lol. I did not get out of bed till almost 2pm (Croatian time)!!!!!! I tossed and turned during the night - a lot I'm guessing since the bed sheets were wrapped tightly around me like a cocoon. There is six hours difference between Montreal and Croatia in case you did not know (Croatia is ahead 6 hrs). I could hear on and off during the morning Irma-Laura and my dad talking and laughing and not even that joviality could jolt me out of bed just yet. I woke refreshed and raring to go - NOT!!!! Refreshed yes but nyet on the raring to go :0)

I quickly prepared myself for what rest of the day was left. I dug out my camera and went around the property taking pictures. I have some memories of this place when I last visited as a preteen but not many. Irma and Laura had over the years modernized the house so it is up to date in modern plumbing and modern conveniences (yay).

Here is the original toilet - all you need is a bucket of water to 'flush' and you are all set ... it is still functional if anyone is willing to carry up the water! As for me - I prefer modernization in this area. Who wants to see a picture of a toilet in a blog ....not many I am guessing, however, it is part of the way things used to be so why not share it --- I have put it in thumbnail version so it won't offend sensibilities.

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My father wanted to investigate around and so we made our way slowly around the house and immediate surroundings. It is so lush here - like everywhere so far I have seen.

How about a mulberry bush --- errrr ahem ... excuse me - Mulberry Tree! And boy are they ripe and juicy and leave your hands sticky after handling - it is the only way to go = fresh from the tree as nature intended ... we gorged ourselves. Do you know that this tree is over 100 years old? No? - Now you do! Tony and Lina have a white Mulberry tree on their property - I will pay them a visit soon :-)

Mulberry Tree

Mulberry Tree

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Irma went to Labin to do a small shopping and asked if I wanted to go and I declined as I wanted to continue exploring a bit this house where they all were born and is part of my heritage. I want to know - period!

Here is the wall of what used to be the barn. After all it has been over 50 years since it has been used and it has fallen down and has fallen prey to nature.

Barn Wall

Barn Wall

I do have such a distinct memorable memory of both my brother and myself sitting on this ledge that was next to the door of the barn. When the cows came home on their own from the pasture at the end of the day they would pass us and we would pet them --- mostly on their wet velvety noses! Some even licked my brother's knee with their raspy tongues. I only have the memory but cannot recall the structure and as you see, only one wall remains.

Figs anyone? These are just about ready - give it another few days till they are a bit more purple. They are quite soft right now.

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How about peaches - they will not be ready for us to enjoy during our time here.

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What about this lush Bay leaf bush? Laura made most wonderful ministrone using these leaves - nothing beats fresh!

Bay Leaves

Bay Leaves

There will be other pictures to show but suffice to say my father and myself enjoyed touring the immediate property. Tomorrow it will be my turn to go into Labin to see about getting internet connection while here and a second phone so that while Irma and I travel around - Laura and my father will also have telecommunications and not be stranded.

Posted by purplebaptisia 05:52 Archived in Croatia Comments (0)

The Trip

I found out that I am not connected to the internet here at the house in Brdo Croatia, so I will wait for someone to show me how to connect and if that is not possible then I will wait till I get to an internet cafe or some similar spot and download what I have written.
To start off the airlines changed the plane type so the seats we slected and paid for were no longer available. This meant a little negotiating in order that what seats we would get would be accomodating for my father (visually impaired + lack of mobility). AirTransat was more than generous and decided to give us a row of three seats just for my father and myself = heaven! This allowed enough movement so that I could easily help him with his food and basic comfort needs.
The staff was incredible from beginning to end and we had phenominal service. He was aided into the plane in Montreal, explained and shown the emergency equipment, aided off the plane in Venice, Italy and into a special bus only for handicapped people (it was similar to a double decker bus with a mini lift that lowered us to ground level once we reached the terminal). From there another staff member took us directly to passport control then to luggage pickup and then all the way to the van and hired driver that was waiting to drive us the approximate three hours to brdo, croatia.
We did stop on the way for some staples to carry us through the weekend before properly stocking up. The scenery was lush and plentiful. Mountains galore and the farmlands healthy looking. There were many trees planted in groups spread across the country side. These trees are reforested for paper production. They look like matchsticks with foliage at the top. Sorry I do not have a picture to show this but I did not take out my camera for the ride to Brdo.
Once we arrived at Keko (house name) then work began - lol. Unpack and open the house to air it, although very little needed to be done as the lady who looks after the place while Irma and Laura (aunts) are away did a clean up in preparation of our arrival. We still needed to prepare the beds and make supper - it's a good thing we all packed food items to bring with us to tide us over till we could do a real shopping.
We stopped briefly stopped at the neighbors who had our house key and bumped into Lina and Tony (from NY USA) who are from this area and live almost next door. They too come every summer and are here for a month. As we all were still unpacking they came up to the house bearing goods .... food! They figured we would be too pooped to cook and brought us supper. A lovely penne pasta with a most fantabulous sauce ... oh boy = yummmm :0) I found out later on that he was a cook in New York ... geeez no wonder I was raving about this sauce .... note to self - get the recipe before they leave (they go back to America before we do).
After this, none of us could keep our eyes opened anymore and one by one we crashed for the night. I decided to leave one window partially open as I like it cooler in the evening for sleeping. I did a scorpion check (a common creature in these parts I'm told - so I am prepared to spot them with my built in scorpion sensor .... btw I have a built in spider sensor too - lol). I didn't see any so felt safe for the moment BUT I did bring my flashnight in case nature called in the middle of the night ---- I did not want to step on one of the things. And that is is for day 1.

Posted by purplebaptisia 13:04 Archived in Croatia Comments (1)

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