The Village – History, Family and Wild Mushrooms.

For most of you that know me, my background is half Croatian, half Polish. For this reason I am lucky enough to have family in both of these countries and for me this is my third time to visit both of these places. I was excited to bring Matt along to show him “where I come from”. My Croatian side are villagers, while the Polish side are from the city, so we will be visiting both extremes.

We are even luckier to have some of our Croatian relatives, from Australia, staying in the village where my grandfather came from. This means we have a place to stay and as I will describe, some wonderful hospitality. Of course if these relatives from Australia were not staying there I could almost stop into any of the houses from the village and say who I was and I would be welcomed in and looked after as long as I need, as they all seem to be related to my family in one way or another. My grandmother’s village is only a few kilometres away as well so everyone around that region is quite closely related, sometimes perhaps a little too close!?

So, we made our way to Karlovac, the main city close to the village, so my good friend Marijana & her husband Brett and child Oliver, along with her parents, Barica and Jure, & her niece, Grace, could pick us up from the bus station to go to the village. We had a few hours in Karlovac so took a quick look around. Nothing much has changed in this city since I was there 8 years ago. I guess since the war they have had bigger things to worry about than trying to make the city look pretty. The drive to the village takes about 20 minutes and the scenery became familiar quite quickly.

The King of Karlovac

The village is really quite beautiful to look at and visit, although I am sure it is not that easy to live in all year round. The summers are great and everyone has a little outdoor area where they sit and chat all evening, walking down the street greeting everyone, but the winters would be hard. They get a fair depth of snow and temperatures often reach way below zero.

We stayed in the house that Jure has renovated, on the land where he once lived and grew up with his family. His wife also grew up in this village and her childhood home was only a few hundred metres away. It still amazes me when any of the villagers walk by or pop in for a visit, that Jure & Barica can explain exactly who they are, how they are related to me but even more so, that they know who we all are by word of mouth over the years, or via photos from other visiting family form Australia. They have even watched videos over the years of us all at weddings etc, so they have seen us grow up without actually knowing us that well.

I do my best to communicate with them, with much help from Jure & Barica, and I wish I could talk more with them just about the simple things in life, but a few generous smiles, hugs and kisses I guess say it all.

So, as I mentioned we were very spoilt in our stay at the village. Barica was the hostess with the mostest, whipping up delicious meals from nothing. Out to someone’s garden to pick up some fresh vegies, out to the forest to gather some wild mushrooms, eggs from the village chickens and bread fresh from the van that comes through the village every morning. The food was awesome, home-made (which we had been missing after almost 5 weeks on the road) and the various tastings of local liqueurs were also keeping us well and happy! Sitting on the porch in the evening, having a shot of alcohol, watching the fireflies, having a chat and a rest, was just wonderful. We can’t thank Barica and Jure enough.

Ordering of groceries.

We were only meant to stay one night in the village but we decided to stay another night before we head to Plitvice National Park. This allowed us to also go for a drive with Marijana & Brett around the region a little to look at the local wine areas and nice scenery. We stopped at the top of the mountain drive for a wine and cheese (sort of like cottage cheese) this was just in time for the rainstorm to come and pass by. That night we arrived home and went for a mushroom hunt in the forest. We had already eaten so much that day but Barica whipped up some of the wild mushrooms with eggs and we snacked on that with some local smoked sausage and then went to bed…..to be continued.

Picking Wild Mushrooms in the forest

 

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Comments
One Response to “The Village – History, Family and Wild Mushrooms.”
  1. Kate says:

    Sounds like a wonderful time in the village. How awesome to be welcomed like that by people know of you, consider you family. Must give you such a feeling of belonging and knowning your roots, Connie. Sounds like wonderful memories

    Thinking of you and missing you. All good here. We love the vibe around the place, we love having a “yes man”

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