October 16, 2023 – The youngest resident is 65, the oldest is 90, and there are no more than 10 of them in total. They are permanent residents of the islet of Ošljak, the smallest inhabited Croatian island. It takes some 20 minutes to walk around the entire thing.
In the summer, writes Poslovni, they only have one restaurant, which is closed now in October. But the locals are enjoying it the most right now. There are no shops, post office or sewage system there. One resident goes to get groceries for the whole town to nearby Preko.
The idyllic atmosphere of the island of Ošljak is also maintained by Mr. Boris Malec. He vacuums his island every morning, especially in the summer. He spent his entire working life in Zagreb. In retirement, though, he returned to his škoj (island) and now works half-time as a maintenance worker. After tidying up the island of Ošljak, Mr. Malec usually goes on a spiza run for the whole island to nearby Preko. The list of orders usually includes a loaf of bread, but there are also other necessities.
He usually goes to the shop on neighbouring Ugljan on his own. Sometimes a fellow villager joins him. Malec has known Mr. Drago Valčić since an early age. And they often kill time on their trips by retelling childhood stories.
After shopping, it is time for lunch. It is being prepared for the whole island, all of its 10 residents now, and even fewer in winter.
“I feed them all, no exceptions, says Valter Valčić from Osijek.
The island cafe is simply a bench. Mr. Denis Valčić makes good coffee, but he prepares shark, crocodile and even kangaroo even better. He spent his life in Australia as a famous chef.
“I graduated from hospitality school in Dubrovnik in 1966. Then I went to improve my English, for a year with a relative in Sidney. And then that one year became more than 50”, Valčić recalls.
The beaches in Australia, he says, are fenced with wire, and you have to swim between two yellow flags. He admits that even then, he was afraid, because what if the shark broke through the wire?
However, he prefers beaches in Croatia and shark soaked in vinegar.
“Since the flavour is strong, there must be a little wine vinegar just to add spiciness and to soften its smell. A crocodile is, you could say, like chicken, and a kangaroo is like pork, explained Denis Valčić.
It seems that dangerous “beasts” also exist on Ošljak, though. Boris Malec retells how a donkey attacked him when he was four years old. He gave him bread with lard, but the donkey was a little wild. Fortunately, Jelica was there and saved his life.
In their decades of life, if something bad would happen, they would just say in unison: “It could have ended worse”.