Istria is one of Croatia’s most popular destinations, but there are surprisingly few bloggers based there who are writing about Istrian life. Continuing the TCN series on the bloggers of Croatia, we caught up with one of them on April 25, 2016 – Isabel from Istria Outside My Window. Born in Canada to Croatian parents, Isabel has more than one passport but no fixed identity.
1.Why did you start the blog and what were you hoping to achieve?
Before moving to Istria, I was living in India and wrote a weekly blog for over six years. Since I was in the habit of blogging every week and had a faithful readership, I decided to start a new blog after the move to Croatia. I liked the name of my original blog, so I recycled its name: India Outside My Window became Istria Outside My Window. I’m not really trying to achieve anything with my blog. I simply want to share a little bit of the world around me through the words and images I publish on my blog.
2. Moving to rural Istria. How did locals, react and how was reality different to expectations?
Of course the locals don’t understand why anyone would move here. They think Istria is a beautiful place to visit, but complain about Croatian bureaucracy, corruption, the economic situation, the fact there is no work, and assume that life is better anywhere but here. They also don’t understand why we chose to renovate an old stone house instead of building a shiny brand new one, because ‘old’ things are not valued. As for my expectations, I actually enjoy living here more than I had imagined and appreciate the simple things: clean air, clean water, healthy food, walks in the hills, the sea being so accessible, nature.
3. Are you happy with the way Istria is promoted as a tourist destination? Would would you do to improve things?
I have the impression the regional tourist office is doing a good job of promoting different aspects of Istria, like its cultural and natural attractions, gastronomy, and opportunities for activities like cycling and hiking, and not just as a beach destination.
4. Take us to a place in Istria off the beaten track, and explain why it is special?
There are so many places in Istria that are special. I love exploring them, and though I’ve been to many, many places, there’s still so much to see. I’m going to be partial and say the off-the-beaten-track village I live in is special. Gračišće is a medieval hilltop village in central Istria surrounded by rolling hills. You can still see some of the village’s original fortifications, six of its seven original churches, medieval frescoes, and examples of Venetian architecture. The view from behind the main church is one of the most picturesque in Istria, and the post office is the smallest I’ve ever seen!
5. Introduce us to three of your favourite blogs on Istria Outside My Window.
6. What advice do you have for someone considering moving to Istria.
I would say come and spend some significant time here first. Rent a place for at least a month, make connections and get to know the people and the way of life, and explore the surroundings.
7. Tell us a little of your impressions of the blogging scene in Croatia.
The blogging scene in Croatia seems very diverse. Some blog to share their experiences, tips and views, others do it to collect visitors and followers, and some to make money. People are blogging from different regions and about different aspects: daily life, expat experiences, tourist attractions, insider tips, food. There seems to be a little bit of everything!
To learn more about Isabel’s Istrian adventure, check out Istria Outside My Window. If you have a quality blog about Croatia that you would like featured on the site, please contact us on [email protected]