Starigrad is a UNESCO world heritage site, and more of a tourist stop off point for those coming from Split or other parts of Hvar or Croatia, which is a shame really as it risks becoming a town in aspic, there for the convenience of the tourist dollar dollar. It is improbably beautiful, dating back to Greek times, c385BC, with historical buildings every which way you turn down narrow pathways of stone worn smooth by tens of thousands of shoes.
Occasionally there are signs of life left outside a home, bikes, pushchairs or seats, or you’ll hear a radio coming from inside a home, behind an open door. So, not everything is in aspic. However most of the time, all you tend to see are other tourists wandering around taking photos or looking vaguely lost, wondering if this path was the one they’d already been down, or up.
I can imagine the little streets can get very congested extremely quickly, full of tourists in quick dry wick-away shorts, socks, and walking sandals, with mahoosively lensed cameras, bumbags and hats. Yes, I have been there done that, without wickaway or a sock/sandal combo but not, to the best of my knowledge, into a living, breathing town. You’re always mindful of whose home it is you’re noseying at, who’s door that is, and what is going on behind it.
Home made wine is made here, not sure what it’s made of at times, looks like wine, doesn’t always seem to taste of anything, except a mild alcohol hit at the back of the throat and then the hint of the taste of what it might have been if it had been wine. Mine tonight tastes of nuts, and trust me, I should know, even though it’s been a while since I’ve had anything vaguely nut-like near my lips.
It’s easy to fall into a routine of whiling away time. Breakfast at home, then out to the town for coffee, watching the world go by, along with the locals, particularly the men, who gather together to drink, smoke and gossip. Then it’s a meander off in one direction or another along the shoreline, through forests of pine that smell fresh and somehow comforting, to find small pebbly beaches where a few folk are laid out, catching the rays, and a few more hardy souls who have braved the chill of the adriatic and are swimming in the brilliant blue waters.
The colour of the water is something I haven’t seen in a long, long time. It’s dazzling in its intensity and the way it changes colour as it reaches depths further out. The other thing that hits you is the quiet. Even on a Friday or a Saturday, there is nothing to be heard except for the slap of the water on the shore, the wind in the trees, and the occasional bird. I wonder how it compares to the height of season. Although as it appears to be more of a day visit kind of a place, maybe not so much.
At the Alternative Tourist Board I talked to Kresimir, who told me that a lot of the property here is bought by Norwegians as second homes, consequently house prices are rocketing. Still, it doesn’t stop me having a nosey online at prices and momentarily dreaming of buying a house with a plot of land attached to turn into a retreat / B&B / home yoga spot.
If I were here longer, or if I were not having to juggle a project that’s midway through right now, I would have explored further afield. May have got on a bus to Hvar town for the day, gone to lay on the beach till I got stiff and uncomfortable on the pebbles or had a burnt arse. As it is, the ability to create routine of doing nothing, except decide on the ice cream flavour for the day or where to eat of an evening is quickly established and maintained. Starigrad is a saviour for the frazzled of mind in need of beauty and not much thinking or doing. I think I may have found my home.