There is nothing like an evening meander through an ancient village; watch out for the little wine shop and a rough flight of stairs to your right. Head up there through people’s gardens, and keep climbing. You’ll eventually see a brown sign pointing to a viewpoint and the church of Sv. Trojstvo (Holy Trinity). Look out for the rocky path underfoot, but keep an eye on the view behind you as you rise above the trees.
You’ll finally reach the tiny stone church and a view of the island that will leave you gasping for what’s left of your breath. This isn’t the highest point on the island of Šipan, but it certainly competes for the most accessible and most beautiful. The fields are far below, but listen and you can hear a pheasant warn that the day is coming to a close. Sitting on the precipitous wall, I was watching the sun go down spectacularly over Mljet, beyond even the majestic Pelješac Peninsular, and down into the Adriatic Sea.
The silent evidence of the passage of time left me considering who else had observed this everyday phenomenon. The abbess’s grave with its lichen encrusted cross gives a clue. Fragments of Renaissance latin text is carved into stone and built into later developments. You can touch the history here, tracing the letters with your fingers. Being a curious type I later asked a local for more information about this place.
“Nothing special or interesting”, she replied.
From the 16th century onwards a community of nuns used to take care of the islanders. They didn’t just do this in the usual pastoral or religious sense, but they acted as the early warning system for when pirates used to carry out regular raids along the coast. From their vantage point, they could see the other churches below, the Benedictines on the Island of Sv Andrija (5 miles away), as well as the towers of Sipanska Luka’s Rectors Palace. In this way they would communicate with everyone, and news would spread.
For those of a romantic disposition, and lover of historical fiction, imagine richly embroidered stories of castaway pirates and young novitiates. Or read about the legend of undying love between a woman from Lopud and a wealthy aristocrat from Dubrovnik, who gave her up to become a monk on Sv Andrija. In a place like this, watching the sun go down, your mind is filled with possible dreams, and living romance. And it is most certainly special and interesting.
For those people who long to connect with history and a sense of place, the city of Split is perfect. However some people yearn to escape to rural island bliss. Part of the essence of the symbolic wedding, is the expression of a partnership in a different, more meaningful way. It can be individually crafted to your needs.
I’m currently exploring a remote island an hour and half away from the pearl of the Adriatic – Dubrovnik. There is more to be said about both this island AND the city of Dubrovnik, but that is to follow. I’ve been inspired by the wildflowers which currently litter the unspoilt country paths and natural beach side foliage. Like tiny jewels, they could adorn any bridal outfit.
Despite the recent cold bura wind, all the evergreen shrubs, olive and bay trees are shining with new growth. The lavender bushes are waking up and stretching in the April sunshine. They will soon be reaching towards the blue sky, looking forward to the June scent harvest. The soothing and homely scent of the purple and grey flower, is a popular floral request at my weddings.
But I’m imagining adding hedgerow colours; vibrant pinks from herb robert, rockrose, and mallow bindweek. Sapphire periwinkles and blue pimpernels to match the sky and sea. Then yellows of buttercup and horseshoe vetch. And to match the sunlight twinkling off the water, add tiny white wild garlic flowers, and a sprinkle of daisies. There are greens of all shades, from pale grasses to golden sunspurge.
Unlike cut cultivated flowers like my favourite, the rose, or rusula, these delicate blooms may not make it through the day. But why not pay homage to some of our wild flowers in your all-natural arrangements. And embrace a romantic view of nature, to become the ultimate flower child!
Easter marks a change in atmosphere here, as it is a time of new awakenings. The City is celebrating the end of Lent and the associated religious festivals. The communal Easter breakfast on Prokurative is a recent addition to our Easter tradition, and eating together is always a joyous experience.
But whilst the church calendar turns from dark to light, so does our world of hospitality. The Easter market on Riva gives an atmosphere of business and colour, with an inviting scent of frying fritule (mini doughnuts). We are busy getting everything tidy, and ready to welcome our Summer guests to our beautiful city.
Everyone in Varoš is rushing around with damp laundry, new cleaning materials, or even opening restaurants which haven’t been seen since late last year. It’s good to see familiar faces and catch up during a brief pauza whilst walking up the hill.
As I add the finishing touches to my little house, I stand back and appreciate the effect anew, just as a guest might. The sun shines in through the glistening windows, the comforting smell of lavender and vanilla permeates through the space, and the golden wood glows with happiness. And the trip to Pazar for flowers was well worth the bicycle ride this morning.
Perfection. You are all welcome.