Guest post by: Ms. E and Mr. C
Croatia compared to the UK
Each country and culture have its own ways of doing things, habits or customs, which sometimes can appear strange or quirky, or stand out as very different from the ones in your own country of residence.
We’ve now been going to our holiday home in Croatia for many years, and are used to the differences between the UK and Croatia, but often notice how family and friends who come to visit us on holiday, point things out to us, or ask us about this or that way of doing things or the ways people live.
How to have a Barbecue – Croatian style
Croatians live a much more outdoor life, every house big or small has a barbecue in the garden. Not just any tiny sad-looking metal bbq which in the UK you would get from B&Q or Homebase, oh no! Croatians have properly built barbecues in their garden or yard, very large, something which in the UK you would normally see only in a restaurant.
Often these bbq”s form part of what is called a “summer kitchen”, ie an outdoor space next to the house, where the family spends their summer days/evenings, cooking and grilling outdoors, as it is too hot to stay indoors.
You know how in the UK you can never plan a barbecue at the weekend because it IS going to rain???
Well, the weather in Croatia is so reliable, that you WILL have great barbecued meat over there, most times of the year!.
A trip to the bank to exchange your travel money
Although Croatia is now part of the EU, the local currency is not the Euro, and when traveling in Croatia you will probably visit a local bank to exchange your pounds or Euros into Kunas, the local currency.
In the UK people queue in an orderly fashion inside the bank for the next available till, but if you go to a bank in Croatia you must remember to take a numbered ticket from a ticket-dispenser, usually just inside the door of the bank.
This numbered ticket will show your turn to be served, there is usually a large digital display above the cashiers, showing whose turn (number) it is.
This is very useful if there are a lot of people waiting in the bank, and in such cases, don”t pop out as you will lose your turn, and if you come back with the same number you will be given some dirty looks by the local customers who might think you are trying to jump the queue!
No teatime in Croatia!
Croatia is a nation of COFFEE drinkers! forget about finding a cup of tea…. if you love your cuppa in the mornings whilst you are on holiday in Croatia, bring some teabags with you…you won”t regret it!
We’ve been told that Croatians only drink tea “when they are sick in bed with fever“.
So be warned, if you are a coffee person, you”ll be fine, but lovers of Earl Grey or PG tips should remember to pack their favorite brew in their suitcase…
Olive oil vs butter
You know doctors say that the “Mediterranean diet” is the best? well, that includes olive oil.
Look around Croatia, you”ll see olive trees everywhere… in every garden, in the countryside, even surrounding the airport in Split!. Olive trees equal… = plenty of extra-virgin olive oil, which is extensively used in Croatian cooking.
And forget about butter on bread, this is not the thing to do in Croatia. Once we asked for butter in a restaurant, the waitress did not speak much English so we mimicked spreading virtual butter on our bread, she went back to the kitchen and brought back to the table a whole 250gr packet of butter, on a plate.
Well we did ask for butter, didn’t we? …
Croatian lollipop ladies
In the UK, this job is usually filled by people of the older generation, retired ladies who become a feature of the local school or neighborhood, and are loved by children and parents alike.
You will notice the lollipop ladies in Croatia… we’ve seen them appearing everywhere, in main cities and at junctions where there are no traffic lights. They usually work in pairs, pretty young girls in a white uniform and tiny lollipops, some wearing mini-skirts, and we wouldn’t be surprised if some accidents happened because drivers were not concentrating on driving, but instead were looking at the pretty lollipop ladies in miniskirts, appearing in front of their car…
so enjoy your visit to Croatia and embrace the differences!
About the author:
Ms.E and Mr.C describe themselves as a “fifty-something couple” from the UK, looking for their very own “place in the Sun”. A few years ago they bought an old house in Croatia, which they lovingly restored and plan on renting next year.
They also write a lifestyle and travel blog, portraying their adventure at renovating their summer home in Croatia, and their experience at traveling and living in Croatia.