A lot of people visit Croatia during the summer season, and leave with great impressions. But to some, that is not enough. They opt to permanently settle in the country and proclaim it their new home.
One of these expats is Jessica Filbrand, who decided to become a resident of charming Srima settlement in Dalmatia. As many other locals, she decided to join the blooming Croatian tourism, and plans to offer hospitality in her family’s studio apartment. We talked with Jessica about her path to becoming a Dalmatian girl, and why Srima managed to charm her in such embracing way.
Hi, Jessica! For starters, let’s go with something simple. Where were you actually born, and what are you doing in your life?
I was born in North Rhine Westphalia, Germany and I completed my studies in Germany, Belgium and England. During the course, I obtained two bachelor degrees in International Business and Multilingual Communications.
I have worked in the finance/corporate controlling department of a multinational enterprise until I decided to start my own company. My husband and I developed a business concept that we were able to sell a few years later. In the meantime, I became the mother of our wonderful daughter Carla who just turned 4 years old.
How did you end up in the middle of Croatia?
Through family ties. My parents-in-law own the apartment house located 250 meters from the Adriatic Sea. Of course, my husband and I have spent several holidays there. As my husband`s parents turned older, they have asked for support. As I love to throw myself into new projects, it was just a logical step!
What was your first impression of Srima?
I fell completely in love with it. Srima is the exact opposite of the busy city life my husband and I have lived in Cologne for over 10 years. It is a small town, laid-back and very sunny, which is so typical for the beautiful Dalmatian region.
For me, Srima offers the ideal mix for a perfect holiday. It has a beautiful beach with all sorts of water activities and a water-park for the kids. On the other hand, it is in walking distance of the city Vodice, which offers a wide range of restaurants, bars and clubs. So you can just shape your own individual holiday. Srima is also the perfect starting point for excursions to Zadar or Split, and for those who love sailing, there is a marina in Vodice.
What are the cultural differences between German and Croatian people?
Where do I start ? (laughs)
I have quickly learned the meaning of «polako» (slowly) and became accustomed to coffee breaks, loots of coffee breaks (laughs)…No, seriously, I guess, you have to combine the best of each culture`s approaches!
The hospitality of the Croatians is one of a kind which makes Croatia a great holiday destination, besides its dreamlike landscape, of course.
You are about to start renting studio apartments in Srima. What are they like, and what kind of guests would you like to host?
Like I said, my parents-in-law have been renting the studio-apartments in the past. But my husband and I see a lot of unutilized potential which is why we will change the concept step by step in the future. The first phase wast to modernize the accommodation facilities and implement online marketing.
I guess, we would like to attract guests who love to travel individually, and who are about our age (we are 34 and 35). Travelling for us means to experience a completely different culture and to become respectively aware of cultural differences. For example, Croats love to visit local markets to buy the freshest fruit and vegetables. They also buy tasty and organic olive oil from their first neighbors. It’s not like shopping in a large mall, with thousands of items on shelves.
What are your plans for the future?
Obviously, we’d like to attract more visitors to our Primasrima Apartments, especially in off-season period. May, June and September are my personal favorites, as temperatures are similar to the ones in Germany. The beaches are not crowded at this time, and flights to Zadar and Split are usually much cheaper.
Interested in becoming Jessica’s guest in Srima? In that case, book your stay in Primasrima Apartments and be assured you will receive an excellent service and have a fantastic vacation in Croatia. You can also see what Jessica’s studio apartments look like in the gallery below.