TuristarTV

Lazy Dalmatians and Kornati Olive Tree Devotion

There is a stereotype about Dalmatians that they are lazy. Perhaps it is true. Sitting in the sun over a coffee looking at the Adriatic and waiting for the tourists to come seems to be a reasonable way of life, much better than working all day in an office in Manchester for sure.

There is a stereotype about Dalmatians that they are lazy. Perhaps it is true. Sitting in the sun over a coffee looking at the Adriatic and waiting for the tourists to come seems to be a reasonable way of life, much better than working all day in an office in Manchester for sure.

So when the bloggers for Touristar on Day Two of Legends of Croatia heard that it took a young man ten years to plant 365 olive trees – one tree every ten days – the reaction was expected:

“Typical lazy Dalmatians.”

unnamed

“Not true,” said our excellent guide Sime. “Dalmatians only became lazy with the arrival of mass tourism in the 1970s. Before that life was hard, very hard. The land here is rocky, and clearing enough land to plant the tree on the island of Kornat was not easy. The owners were all in Murter. We came today by speedboat and it took us an hour. Life for Dalmatians before tourism was very hard, and they could not afford to be lazy.”

unnamed_2

After the rustic introduction of the island of Zirje to the Legends of Croatia series, it was nice to get a hotel room in Murter with hot water and other comforts. In a busy day of legends, we set sail for Kornat, the largest of the Kornati islands, to reenact the legend of the 365 olive trees.

Before we did that, however, we made a brief diversion into a small pretty bay to see a legendary shepherd, who still practices his craft and ekes out an existence in primitive conditions on Kornat. Sheep used to be big business here, with some 40,000 sheep on the islands, but that number today is much reduced, and the man we saw is one of a dying breed. Note the freshly sheared woolly coats hanging on the hillside in the picture above.

unnamed_3

Land on Kornat is parcelised in the only way Dalmatians know – dry stone walls. These are property boundaries, as well as deterrents for flocks of sheep to wander.

unnamed_4

Legend has it that when a young man wanted to take a wife, he would have to plant 50 olive trees in order to get the approval of his father-in-law to be. Not all prospective fathers-in-law were so easygoing, and one stated that he would only grant this wish if the young man planted a tree for every day of the year.

unnamed_5

As if on cue, in the sparse Kornati landscape, there appeared a stunning little plantation with (we were assured) exactly 365 olive trees on it. The stuff of legends!

unnamed_6

The young couple professed their love before the young man went on to successfully complete his task over a ten year period.

unnamed_7

A speedboat back from Kornat took us to the old Roman settlement of Colentum, which lies at the bottom of Gradina hill, and much of its remains lie underwater, a sign perhaps that global warming started a little earlier in these parts…

unnamed_8

There was a legend of a little boy who wanted to become a Roman solider, and then win his girl.

unnamed_9

And whatever you think of the legend, these two child actors won the hearts of everyone – very cute.

unnamed_190

Some legends were stronger than others, and some definitely had more legs – literally. Next stop was Jezera after a good fish lunch, which included my first culinary association with stingrays. In the first legend, a fisherman claimed he saw a mermaid, which the crew unanimously voted was due to too much rakija.

unnamed_11jpg

The second was more interesting, as some beautiful fairies kidnapped a local boy, keeping him for a year before releasing him. He spoke of nothing about what he ate or experienced, save that they had horse legs, but he seemed in reasonable health after a year with these beauties. The male bloggers found out what he went through, as we too were kidnapped, but I am not at liberty to reveal what happened next.

unnamed_12

From fairies to malarial monks, and the legend of the ridding of malaria from these parts. In years gone by when someone was infected with malaria, he would carry heavy stones to a location near Jezera where a church was built. It was believed that carrying the stones and building the church would rid the person of malaria. I am not sure about that, but perhaps it explains why there are so many hilltop churches in the country…

unnamed_13

And what would a day in Dalmatia be without a little klapa? These three ladies capped an intense but fabulous day with some fine singing.

Home by 22:30, just in time to catch up with the day’s blogging. In tomorrow’s edition, three weddings, dragons, fairies, some gruesome deaths and the wonderful Krka National Park. Stay tuned…

Paul

unnamed_14

Comments

comments