The very fact you’re on vacation may well be enough to keep you wearing a grin. Don’t worry if the novelty wears off though. Croatia is loaded with things that will make you smile. Here are a random six.
1. Chatty cabbies
They’re cute. They’ll talk to you in English if they can. They’ll talk to you in Croatian even if you can’t. Croatian cabbies are as convivial as they come. Take, for example, Miro, who after picking up Guillermo and his wife at the Zagreb airport proceeded to give them a free tour of the city, just because he’s a Croatian cabbie, and that’s the kind of thing they do – surprise you.
2. Vienna School gentlemen
Debonnaire and sprightly, these old-school gentlemen make pleasantries inviting and compliments sincere. You’ll see them opening doors and pulling out chairs and note they’re polished to perfection. They’re called Vienna School gentlemen (Becka skola), and they’re guaranteed to charm a smile to your face.
3. Fashion forever
There’s just something nice about seeing people put care into what they wear. Not a country of sweatpants and curlers for the public, in Croatia people love to strut their stuff in their finest duds even when it’s to do nothing more glamorous than pick up some veggies at the market. Esthetes will be pleased.
You can find it wherever in the world you decide to travel, but that makes it no less entertaining to hear English misused while here. Though as a whole the nation does brilliantly with foreign languages – English in particular – you still might find yourself ordering at a restaurant, according to the Engrish menu, chicken chest, rather than chicken breast, or adverbs instead of a side (prilozi).
5. Donkey races
An event that can only happen in a village, they make one wonder if it’s fair to say it’s donkeys that are stubborn. Still, from the pre-race walk ushering in the mood on, these affairs are loads of small-town fun. They’re usually part of a festival with food, music and drinks. Wonderfully ridiculous, donkey races are bound create the lightest of moods conducive to the most casual smiles (don’t worry – the dashing donkeys are treated humanely).
6. Street performers
They’re everywhere! Students with violins, South Americans with pan pipes and drums. One-man-bands and illusionists, fire eaters and knife throwers, the list goes on and on. Croatia – particularly Split in the summer and Zagreb in May and June (during Cest is d’Best) is crawling with these outdoor artists. Be sure to drop them a coin or two before you snap a shot and you can be sure they’ll be smiling with you.
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