Holiday House Božica, Gorski raj

If you dream of a mountain getaway near a mountain lake, you don’t have to go too far. The beautiful Lokve Lake is close to the Rijeka-Zagreb motorway and ideal for relaxed vacation in any time of the year. Surrounded by evergreen forests, this dream can be fulfilled in the Holiday House Božica in Gorski raj near Lokve.

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The name Gorski raj in fact translates “Mountain Paradise” and it truly is. You may find it as a very romantic spot, especially because the house is overlooking the lake and you may enjoy the magnificent sunsets.

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Interior of the house resembles the traditional Gorski kotar architecture, featuring wood. It gives great and warm atmosphere inside the house. The owners, family Rački, combined the colours of furniture with the wooden materials and sitting inside is a sheer enjoyment. Next to the kitchen and the living room, the upper floor offers accommodation for four people (two bedrooms, one with double bed and one with two separate beds).

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There are no immediate neighbours and anyone spending time here will have relaxed and quiet holiday. The house is surrounded by a mountain meadow and evergreen forest. A small veranda gives you a pleasure of spending cool evenings outside in the summer months, where you can also have barbecue.

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An easy walk down a path and you are on the Lokve Lake. This path joins the walking path around the whole lake, easy enough for family with small children. Apart from it, you can visit local Lokve sights or travel to the nearby nature destinations, such is the National Park Risnjak.

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Holiday House Božica
Gorski raj 11, Lokve
+385 99 222 0646
kucazaodmorbozica@gmail.com
https://www.facebook.com/kucazaodmorBozicaLokve

Ludbreg Fair

The City of Ludbreg invites you on traditional 24th Ludbreg Fair which will be organised within the Days of Ludbreg’s Holy Sunday. The Fair will took place between September 1st and 4th in the main square.

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The Ludbreg Fair brings various producers of souvenirs, handicrafts, children’s toys, books, flowers, honey products, blackberry wine, herbs, pumpkin seed oil, agricultural mechanisation, inox equipment, etc.

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Fair is part of the Ludbreg Holy Sunday, a manifestation with a long pilgrimage tradition. Ludbreg’s sanctuary was established in 1513 by Pope Leo X, whose certificate attests the miraculous emergence of the Christ’s blood in 1411 in the chapel of the Batthyany Castle.

Turistička zajednica grada Ludbrega
Trg Svetog Trojstva 14
+385 (0)42 810 690
info@tz-ludbreg.hr
http://visitludbreg.hr

Omišalj – Old Glagolitic Town

Omišalj is located in the north-western part of the island and is the first island town after crossing the Krk Bridge. The historic town centre is situated on a cliff 85 meters high and dominates this part of Kvarner. With the town of Krk, Omišalj is the oldest living town on the island with a tourist tradition more than 100 years old.

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Around 1000 B.C. the Illyrians lived in Omišalj, then the Romans, and in the 7th century the Croats arrived. In the 11th century Omišalj was an important centre of Glagolism and literacy, and in the 12th century it was referred to as Castri musculi (from the Latin Ad musculi – the place of shells), while in the 15th century the Frankopan family, lords of Krk, built one of their four castles in Omišalj. Because of this Omišalj today rightly bears the title of the town-monument.

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Cultural and architectural heritage of Omišalj is extremely rich. This fact is confirmed by the remains of a Roman town Fulfinum dated to the 1st century AD, an early Christian basilica Mirine dated to the 5th century, and many other historical monuments.

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By its “offer” of monuments Omišalj exceeds many of its better known island neighbours, and in some categories it is even unique in Kvarner. Omišalj is particularly abundant in more than a thousand-year-old early medieval relief which are numerous in coastal regions of Croatia, and in a small Omišalj there are more of these reliefs.

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Omišalj is place of Benedictine heritage, with Saint Nicholas monastery built in 1252, where the monks used Glagolitic script, the ancient Croatian script for which island of Krk is especially known. Breviars, such as those of Mikula Brozić, were written on this northernmost point of the island, inspired centuries of priests and laics, giving Krk a name of very pious island.

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To learn more about life here, it is an excellent idea to visit the Memorial house of Krk folklore. Here you can see the most valuable exponents of Krk folklore, most visibly the folk costumes of Omišalj. Next to it are jewellery, music instruments, and other utensils. Everything is followed by audiovisual content about the Krk traditional music.

Learn more about this destination:

Municipality tourist board Omišalj
Ribarska obala 10, 51512 Njivice, Hrvatska
tel: +385 51 846 243, +385 51 846 735
fax: +385 51 847 662
e-mail: tzo-njivice@ri.t-com.hr
http://www.tz-njivice-omisalj.hr

Living from the Land – Homestead Stari Kal in Kras

To live from what land gives is sometimes old-fashioned, sometimes escapist, and sometimes just as Trudeau would want it. But to see a young man who decides to live from herding although his parents never did it, is truly a remarkable experience. Karlo Hren, owner of the Homestead Stari Kal in village of Kras, near Dobrinj on island of Krk, decided in his student days to dedicate himself to the work of his ancestors. As some sort of a modern physiocrat, Karlo nurtures autochthonic northern Adriatic beef (boškarin), goats, and sheep.

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Blended in the Krk’s tradition of husbandry, these domestic animals are long present on the island, perfectly adjusted to its rugged Mediterranean landscape. Karlo is having a fancy haircut, works in local pharmacy, plays accordion in local festivals, enjoys talking about anything, but his heart and mind are connected to the roots of Kras and his family. His father, a maritime engineer, shows us a picture of little Karlo with his grandpa and their two last cows. It was an oracle: now, Karlo has several cows that give milk, and three boškarins, used for high quality meat.

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Boškarin is a popular name for the Istrian cattle, but the same species can be found elsewhere in the northern Adriatic. They are slightly different, as they adjust to the local environment. In history, Krk had its own cattle, very alike its Istrian cousin. Now, all the boškarins are under strict control of Istrian development agency (AZRRI). Boškarin is the white grey long horned cattle in Istria, a symbol the region. It was used in agriculture, to plow the fields, for towing the stones for building the houses while its meat and milk were used by farmers as food. But when modernization took pace, the first tractors that were introduced to speed up the work on the land, the number of boškarin started to decline rapidly and were left at only 100 livestock in the 1990s.

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Today boškarin is hailed as a true gourmet delicacy in Istria, its meat is back into the gourmet cuisine of the region and the traditional cuisine and recipes are taking on a new note. Through AZRRI, Karlo gets his opportunity to place the high quality meat and especially good are the sausages, with full flavour, and often spiced with Istrian truffles. They enjoy local pastures, surrounded by ageing old houses of the Kras village. This village, in the Dobrinj Municipality, is decreed to be agricultural place, without touristic vision. This is a good choice, given the ever increasing demands and the negative outcomes of the tourist capacity on the island.

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Love for cattle didn’t omit regular cows. Husbandry is done predominantly for milk (although the Croatian farmers today are having troubles with cow milk prices) and veal meat. Karlo has a whole ranch for them, on the edge of the village. In a small grove there is a picturesque cowshed, and the ranch is expected to spread and include the rich pasturelands around. The Hren family tell us an anecdote. When the young calf just came, they were restless; the family’s neighbour once called them and told the calfs are drinking water in their swimming pool, just a day before the German guests arrived. Later, the calves done the same, and the guests were so surprised they wanted to take pictures with them in the pool! What a luxurious agritourism that would become!

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The scarcity of time didn’t allow Karlo to have more goats. They are known to wonder around and disappear in instance. Still, goats are natural inhabitants of Krk, cuddly white animals that browse the Mediterranean herbs and give excellent and healthy milk. Goat milk is gastronomic prime star, and the goat’s bleating is recognisable sound almost since the time of the mythical Pan and its satyrs. The only goat remaining is still giving the milk every day.

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Lastly, there are a few sheep in this animal kingdom of Stari Kal. It is yet another traditional animal on Croatian islands, a true source of food, milk, wool, and cheese, and thus a much loved animal among the Croats. Today, the gastronomy of Krk is unavoidably connected to the sheep cheese and lamb, full of energy and nutrition values and very specific in every island. Krk lamb is famous in history, rich in iodine and sea salt, brought by the heavy bura wind across the narrow strait between Krk and the mountainous mainland. Legend has it that lamb from the island of Krk was served during Nero’s famous banquets in Rome.

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Our time with Karlo, his family, and his animals, was ennobled by the classic Krk prosciutto and their own sheep cheese, a magnificent product of a magnificent animal, full of taste and rich in fragrance.

OPG Stari Kal
Kras 111/b, 51514 Dobrinj
00 385 99 309 2010
https://www.facebook.com/OPG-Stari-kal-Kras-192183521149241

Text by: Vedran Obućina
Photos: Bruno Vignjević

Krk Home Food under the Morus – Restaurant Pod Murvu

Sometime in 17th or 18th century a small cooking book emerged under the title “Gastronomy of the sinful friar Karlo from Dubašnica” (Gaštronomija grišnoga fra Karla z Dubašnice), written in local dialect. At the time, the European monasteries already had elaborative kitchen recipes, and many Catholic orders were competing in making more divine foods. Friar Karlo wrote a small piece, where ingredients are few, resembling always difficult life on an island.

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Dubašnica was once a village and Glagolitic parish in the north-western part of the Krk Island, but because of the malaria and the pirate raids, it was deserted sometime in 18th century. Today, the name is preserved in the Malinska-Dubašnica Municipality, and contains several smaller places, such as Radići,Žgombići, Zidarići, Sveti Anton, Bogovići, Oštrobradići, and Milovčići. Besides modern adapted rural villas, in Milovčići is one of the best traditional taverns on the island, Pod Murvu (Under the Morus/Mullberry Tree). Although the restaurant works eleven years, the homestead is older, and was praised for the goat and sheep cheese production.

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Nowadays, experience of living and farming in Dubašnica region is transferred to the delicious and voluminous old-fashioned Krk dishes. The place offers some dishes that cannot be found elsewhere on Krk, or you have to try your best do discover these secret temples of flavours. Indeed, it is astonishing to find on menu lamb stew with homemade noodles, steer goulash, polenta with lamb liver sauce, homemade port and goat sausages, savoy cabbage, and similar old dishes reminiscent of the best from the grandma’s kitchen!

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The food is mainly seasonal, as it is homemade, from the ingredients often produced on the Filipić homestead in the village itself. The spirit of Friar Karlo is thus evident, especially in many lamb dishes. Croatian coastal area and islands have long tradition of sheep herding and producing meat, milk, cheese, and wool. Karst and stone terrain are ideal for sheep and goats, who roam the island in search for quality grass and Mediterranean herbs, and especially the richness of iodine.

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Besides traditional entree consisting of Krk prosciutto and cheese, Krk is famous for its pasta, which we already had the opportunity to try and write about. Thus, we tried a typical Krk dish, šurlice with dried meat goulash and gnocchi with chicken goulash. There are other varieties with šurlice, gnocchi and macaroni, usually with asparagus in spring, and famous Krk prosciutto, or in a more elaborate way with sea fruits.

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Our food experience was great. The gnocchi were excellently cooked, which gives an idea of the cook’s expertise. Too many times occurs that gnocchi and other pasta are made without essence of time and water temperature. Because of it, we can say that we ate gnocchi with chicken goulash and not the other way round. A note of language: while goulash might instantly invoke memories on the celebrated Hungarian dish, this is more like a thick stew than a thick soup of its northern variety. The sauce was mild, with a pinch of pepper, just enough to add another flavour to the ordinary chicken.

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Homemade šurlice were followed with unmistaken aroma of veal goulash. They should be a bit more al dente, and it may be that these šurlice were too soft on the edges, but still it is as traditionally good as it gets. The stew was mild, cooked with onions, carrots, parsley, and wine, blending all the ingredients into a classic Krk šugo.

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Mrs Ivana Filipić, the owner of the place, branded with Kvarner Food Quality, was proud to give us the sage brandy (rakija) in the end. Beautiful colour of this rakija enhances the pure enjoyment of its taste. Everything was served in a beautifully arranged restaurant with handcrafted furniture. The restaurant gives a homely atmosphere, like stepping in a centuries old island household, featuring a large open fireplace, where you can order lamb or veal under the baking lead. Wood and stone are traditionally present, as is the well constructed in 1825.

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Pod Murvu
Milovčići 20, 51 511 Malinska
tel: 00385 (0)51 843-032, 0912843032
http://www.podmurvu.com
Text by: Vedran Obućina
Photos by: Bruno Vignjević

Realm of Honey in the Northern Krk – OPG Almaši

In Ancient Greece, The Greek Great Mother was known as the Queen Bee, and her priestesses were called Mellisae, the Bees. The honey bee was a sacred symbol of Artemis (Roman Diana), goddess of chastity, virginity, the hunt, the moon, and the natural environment. Thus, the island of Krk is from the dawn of antiquity connected to the Greek deities. The Greeks were handling commerce with the Iapodian and Liburnian (Illyrian) tribes on the Apsyrdites and Elektrides islands (today the Kvarner islands), especially because these islands were place for amber selling.

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And as the amber has such a honey-like colour, so is the Krk island known as the „Golden Island“. We might say, as it is true for the olive oil, so it is for the honey production, especially in its northern part. The scenery on Krk may well be the same as in any other Mediterranean island, and it is very much possible to imagine Aristaeus and Dyonisus traversing the karstic slopes, hiding in macchia shrubland, with bees roaming around.

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In this northern Krk area diligently work the bees of Mr Mirko Almaši, one of Croatia’s top beekeepers and professional honey sensory analist. His beehives are located around Omišalj, and in cooptation with the bees Almaši makes honey, honeydew, beeswax, pollen, propolis and apitoxin. Main honey sort is sage (salvia), but there are other combinations, as the bees use the pasture full of medicinical Mediterranean herbs.

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The Greek writer Oppian of Apamea says in Cynegetica that Aristaeus was the first who closed the bees into a hive after he took them from an oak-tree. Ovid says that Dyonisus discovered the first natural beehive – a hollow tree. Bees were called “Birds of the Muses” because of their connection to the Muses, who were first nymphs of inspiring springs and then goddesses of poetry, arts and science. One old myth says the muses in the form of bees guided the ship of Ionians from Athens to their home. Sophocles, Plato, Vergil, Lucan are said to had their lips touched with honey as babies.

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Today, the hives are more modern, but they still have the same use – it is the place where magic happens. And while it does, bees are pollinating up to 80 per cent of our plants, fruits, and vegetables. Mr Almaši points to this fact, which scares us, as we hear more and more bees are dying all over the world, and no one knows why. He recommends us to watch a spectacular documentary, whose trailer we show here:

Not only that we cannot survive without bees, we can use their products for our health. It is believed that honey passed as therapeutic means from the Egyptians to the Assyrians and Babylonians. It was called ambrosia, the food of the gods! Early thinkers like Homer, Pythagoras, Ovid, Democritus, Hippocrates mentioned that people should eat honey to preserve their health and vigour. For example, the apitoxin, produced by Mr Almaši, is excellent product for the cardiovascular system and high pressure. Royal jelly is proved protection against cancer, and all the bee products are rich in minerals and the characteristics of the region where they grow. In Krk it is unmistakably the herbs which give the most flavour to the honey.

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But it is not only the honey for which Mr Almaši gets so many awards and prizes. It is the honeydew. Instead of taking nectar, bees can take honeydew, the sweet secretions of aphids or other plant sap-sucking insects. Honeydew honey is very dark brown in colour, and is sometimes called the forest honey. It has a rich and thick fragrance, with maximum of 15 per cent water inside.

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Almaši’s honeydew honey is labelled as the Croatian Island Product, a brand whose main objective is to identify and distribute quality island products which will be recognised as such both in Croatia and abroad. His honey products are featuring the Krk Glagolitic letters and Omišalj’s Rosetta on the place’s church. Guessing the tastes of Almaši’s honey is spectacular, especially when it is flavoured by the Mediterranean herbs.

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His products could be found on various fairs in Krk and Croatia, but the best way is to contact Mr. Almaši himself:

Almaši Mirko
Mali Kijec 35, 51 513 Omišalj
Tel:00385 (0)91 526 4934
mirko.almasi@ri.t-com.hr

Text by: Vedran Obućina
Photos by: Bruno Vignjević

Lopar Night

Lopar, August 13th

In order to preserve the local ways and traditions, pass them down to younger generations and present them to visitors as such, the manifestation “Lopar night – back to the roots” has been held at Lopar since 2007.

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Since its very beginnings, this manifestation has been a true attraction for both tourist and the people of Lopar and the island. The performers bring to life and present old crafts and skills of the people of Lopar, the tools they used, and what they ate in the old times. Interestingly, some of these are still used and still appreciated as a reminder of the old times.

The highlight of each manifestation is the send-off of St Marinus, according to the legend of this saint who descended from Lopar.

TOURIST BOARD OF LOPAR
Lopar bb, 51281 Lopar, CROATIA
Tel: +385 (0)51 775 508
Fax: +385 (0)51 775 487
lopar@lopar.com
www.lopar.com

The Biggest World Čobanac in Vukovar

Vukovar, August 19-21

Vukovar is hosting the Tamburica festival, but within the rich program a special manifestation takes place. The biggest čobanac in history should enter the Guinness Book of Records.

Čobanac is a traditional meat stew which was cooked in a cauldron hung over an open fire and is one of the signature dishes of Slavonia.

This stew was originally cooked by shepherds in a cauldron hung over an open fire. Not only is it an enjoyable meal but it will keep you going all day long.

 

Lokve – Above and Beneath the Horizon

Once, a vodenjak (vodnik or topielec, a name applied to Slavic spirits of water) was roaming the village of Lokve, and with its looks he scared away the children and adults, thus making people fear of the Big Water. At the same time, on the rooftops of local sawmills, lived Malik, a small dward in green coat and the red hat. He was keeping the sawmills’ fortune intact, while Pancikul, a small man with horns and goat legs kept safe the most precious thing in Lokve attics – dried pork meat.

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In Lokvarka creek, which was running through the village, little candles were visible when someone in Lokve died. They vanished when a Holy Mass in honour of deceased was served. Lokve has its own giant as well. Polnočnjak was 14 metres high, dressed in black coat, with hat, and lived in Golubinjak woods. If the children were not in the house after the evening bells from the Saint Catherine church, Polnočnjak would take the children and they were never to be seen again.

Among the fairytales, however, one stands out in Lokve:

Fairy Tale of Kotač

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Lokve is full of these mystic characters from the old times and folk tales. The place was mentioned first time in the beginning of 15th century, along the estate of the noble family Frankopan, on the way to the sea ports. The real revival of Lokve took place in 1805, when Louisiana Road connected Karlovac and Rijeka. Along this vital road people started to build houses, mills and sawmills, and the place was soon one of the major wood industry centres. Today, this municipality form places Lokve, Mrzla Vodica, Zelin Mrlovodički, Homer, Sopač, and once inhabited Podtisovac and Lazar Lokvarski.

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Louisiana Road was in its time one of the most modern paths in the country. It was named after the Napoleon’s wife Maria Louisa. It is 136 km long and was a real revival of all the highland villages. Part of the Louisiana, between Lokve and Mrzla Vodica, is now under the water – from 1952 until 1954 Lokve got its artificial Lokve Lake. Under the water went 69 houses, four sawmills, two inns, a patisserie, and a chapel.

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The nature in this part of Gorski kotar is simply stunningly beautiful. The locals say they offer tourism above and beneath the horizon. It means the beauty is not only visible on the ground, but also in the underground, in the vast number of caves, among which Lokvarka Cave stands out. This is one of the most beautiful and one of the biggest caves in Croatia, found by accident in 1911.

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The visitors can see four out of six underground galleries, and descent 75 metres. The cave is more than 270 metres deep. The galleries are full of stalactites and stalagmites, and especially appealing is the Cathedral Gallery, with height of 16 metres. The cave keeps its temperature on 8 degrees throughout the year. Apart from Lokvarka, Lokve has at least nine other caves, making it a superb day-out for speleologists.

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In Lokve you can enjoy the Lokvarsko Lake, relax in Golubinjak Park Forest, and try local specialties in several restaurants and inns. Above all else, this is a picturesque place for family relaxation in local-style wooden and stone houses.

Lokve Tourist Board
Tel. +385 51 831 250
tzo-lokve@ri.t-com.hr
http://tz-lokve.hr