A dive with a view

By |July 18, 2018|Categories: Croatia, Lifestyle|

Exploring the mysterious beauty of underwater plateaus in Bol, on the island of Brač, Croatia. I am sinking slowly … and immediately I feel … peace. The immensity and silence of the deep blue. My extreme tininess in the universe of the sea. My fragility and dependence on the plastic umbilical cord, the life line between my mouth and my oxygen tank. Apart from the sound of the bubbles from my breathing, rising towards the surface double time, I hear nothing. My view through the mask is restricted to a narrow frame; and I keep sinking, slowly. I’m entering a world of silence, a world no longer mine, in which I am no longer a pre­dator but closer to infirm. A world, where all the beings that inhabit it are dominant – far above me on the evolutionary scale. I calm my excited heartbeat and slow my breathing. I raise my eyes to check if my brother – my diving buddy – and I are still in contact. We nod to each other. Above us is a huge mass of seawater; only by the sunlight and the direct­ion of our bubbles can I tell which way is up. After a few moments, in the middle of the immense blue below, I notice an orange patch towards which we are falling. We have dived deep enough to see a plateau, growing from the bottom of the sea. This is Smočiguzica, one of the most co­m­­pelling undersea plateaus off the northern part
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Divine transcendence

By |June 10, 2018|Categories: Lifestyle, Slovenia|

Enjoying the mystical beauty of nature on the edge of the Alpes. While many, if not most, other offers of hospitality and accommodation are about an array of services, activities, facilities and more, the more often ends up being less; the whole ends up being less than its composite parts. Nebesa, however, is about less, and proves the familiar yet ill-applied maxim of ‘less is more’. Instead, the Nebesa experience (for that is what it surely is) is about two things: the place, and moreover, you.   Although the resort – a mere four cabins plus common building – sits perched precariously more than half-way up a lush green mountainside, it doesn’t so much command a view as opens up a hypnotic gaze both across and down into the magical green and turquoise Soča valley below. Because Nebesa isn’t about commanding anything – what you need and desire is there; the rest is yours for the creating. The roof over your head is simply that: a strikingly simple roof taking its form (as does the entire cottage) from traditional highland building motifs. You’re made well aware of it as you ascend the stairs to your bedroom loft, which has everything anyone on an escape needs: a bed. A bed with a view. Next morning you’ll awake to visions of wispy cloud sweeping slowly – and silently – across the mountains opposite, without leaving the thoughtful comfort of your sumptuous nest.     Returning from an invigorating walk – Italy is
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Amphora euphoria

By |May 18, 2018|Categories: Croatia, Lifestyle|

An amphora is many things to many people: it might be a large clay jug, a vessel in which to store liquids and foodstuffs, or the entire process of producing wine slowly, methodically; and it’s the oldest, very special wine from Kabola – Amfora. Producing wine from amphoras is almost unheard of today, but it’s actually nothing new: the early Greeks and Romans produced wine this “natural” way for hundreds of years long ago.     Marino Markežić, however, is an exception; he’s one of only a handful of vintners in Europe producing wine using the amphora method today – in Kremenje, a (very) small settlement in the northern reaches of the Croatian Istrian Peninsula, only a short drive from the Slovenian border. Amphoras – essentially giant terracotta casks or jugs – aren’t easy to get; Marino imports them all the way from the Republic of Georgia, where they still make wine according to the (very) old world ways. The largest of them, hauled for days strapped on the backs of flatbed trucks, hold 2,000 litres; the smallest, 500.     Once picked, the grapes – a hearty local variety of muscat – undergo a maceration period of a whole seven months, at temperatures of 12 to 20 degrees, in amphoras sunk a couple of metres into the ground. After sitting more than half a year in the cool dark of the amphora, the grapes are crushed and the liquid is stored in oak casks for an entire year, taking
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