Heart-Warming Honesty in Stari Grad

Total Croatia News

OUtside seating area at the Caffe North. Photo Vivian Grisogono

Honest waiters at the Caffe Bar North Port save a stressed traveller from potential disaster. A tale to gladden the heart.

The Caffe Bar North Port next to the Jadrolinija ticket office in Stari Grad harbour is highly frequented, especially when the ferries are arriving or departing, when crowds of people mill around and general confusion reigns. When Susan realized she had left her handbag in the cafe at Stari Grad port, it was one of those moments of heart-stopping panic followed by quick-thinking. She was on the ferry heading for Split in readiness for her flight home. Her handbag had remained on an outside table at the cafe, vulnerable to any dishonest passer-by.

Anyone could pick up an unattended handbag without arousing suspicion in that situation. Everyone familiar with the logistics of getting to and from Hvar will know that planning to get off the island in good time to get to the airport at Trogir is a matter of fine timing. There certainly isn’t any leeway for darting back and forth in search of lost handbags…


As Susan described in an e-mail to me a couple of days later: “our taxi was late and I desperately needed to use the wifi at the ferry café, as I had a really urgent email that I had to send before the ferry left (we had had no internet connection at our house).
In the end, I could not get my iPhone to stay connected to the app, so I had to give up and rush to the ferry before they closed the doors.  It was only whilst I was trying to access the ferry wifi (also unsuccessful) that I realised I had rushed from the café without my handbag – containing money, credit cards, passport, ticket, local phone – everything, really!   What a disaster, as then I thought that if it was stolen, I would be greatly delayed getting new travel documents, and would be unable to get new documents in time for my flight. So I was in a total panic…”

Quick thinking came to the rescue. Susan has the highest praise for the captain of the ferry who “very gallantly leapt into action and spent ages telephoning his colleagues to see if he could organize a private taxiboat for me (could not, and the expense would have been enormous – although perhaps cheaper than a new air ticket) or another means of sea travel..” Meanwhile, Susan rang her good friends and neighbours Anne Maria and Ratko, knowing them to be “ever-resourceful”, and they came to the rescue. They discovered that the waiters at the cafe had spotted the bag and removed it from the table for safe keeping.

They also ascertained that they could get to the high-speed boat, the Krilo, which was sailing to Split from Hvar Town later that day, a solution also suggested by the ferry captain. They dropped all their activities to collect the bag and drove halfway across the island to deliver it to the Krilo, so that Susan was able to pick it up when the boat docked at Split. The Krilo has been an excellent addition to the transport options for Hvar, and on this occasion it saved the day.
The Caffe Bar North Port has a resident cat who is much loved and cared for by all the staff. Perhaps it is this beautiful lucky black creature who inspires the exemplary level of service offered by the cafe. In Croatia, black cats are not considered lucky as they are in the UK. Perhaps this one proves which belief is right!
The waiters who saved the handbag are deserving of the highest praise. Firstly because they were diligent and noticed the bag probably very quickly after Susan had left; and secondly for their honesty in putting the bag into safe keeping. Ivan Ivanović-Samac and Ante Bandić both come from the inland town of Sinj, as does their manager Ante Šošo. They told me that they often find  valuables of various kinds left behind by travellers in a hurry.
Manager Ante Šošo told me that they would normally inform the police when they found items of value, although Susan’s handbag had been collected before they had had time to do so. The cafe is obviously a place that inspires trust in its regular customers, and I was amused to see a money belt left unattended on an outside table by a local guest who had gone off for a while. He was obviously confident that it would be looked after by the staff, and it was clear his trust was well placed.
The Caffe Bar North Port is a popular, welcoming place at all times. It is heartening to know that it is being run with such a high level of integrity and goodwill. Many thanks from us all!


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