I love flying into a small airport of Split – an hour and thirty minute flight from Switzerland, where every hectare of land is carefully cultivated with cascading flower boxes, to Croatia where the first impression is if barren, rock covered hills, weeds, and rubble on the roadside, in yards and abandoned buildings or projects as we drive north along the coast in the direction of Zadar. My impressions include poor, empty hills, no yards or landscaping, and a general struggle to survive. In this place, 90% of the economy is based on tourism (four months of the year) and the remaining 10% falls to fishing.
What a change from the countryside in Switzerland, Northern Italy and Slovenia, where we have been the last three weeks. Driving each day from the ancient city of Udine to the stable through rich fields of grain and corn and hay – a rural delight! Slovenia is like a a country in a fairytale. Each house in the country has a functioning vegetable and flower garden between green hayfields, small herds of sheep and cows. And every house is garlanded with flowerboxes..
Croatia has more than 1100 islands, 60 of which are inhabited. It is awesome how many small protected bays there are along the coast, chock full of motor and sailboats. No wonder Croatia has become a country for tourism, with its pristine waters. There is very little industry to pollute the waters compared to other sea coasts.