I remember the first time I saw them, at Hotel Adriana in Hvar Town. I had just started the Total Hvar portal and had been invited to an event where Croatian Masterchef Zdravko Kalabric was training young Croatian chefs for the Culinary Olympics in Germany.
I was introduced to Maja and Jura from Hvar TV, a relatively new YouTube channel that was reporting on various aspects of life on Hvar. Within minutes, I found myself being interviewed on camera about the event. I remember saying “The wine’s not bad” (which in British English is a compliment, only to be castigated on social media when the video came out. Who was this British asshole being so critical of our wine…
A friendship – and a cooperation – was born, and Jura and Maja were a large part of my life in 2012, as we collaborated on some projects, as they allowed me to give my readers a unique insider view of life on the island. Ten years later, it is a real trip down memory lane to see some of these videos again, as well as a chance to thank them for their excellent work in permanently preserving a snapshot of life on Hvar at a certain moment in time. Our cooperation extended to adding English subtitles to some (but not all) of these videos. Here is a year of magic on Hvar as It Once Was a decade ago through the lens of Maja Zrnic and Jura Vodanovic from Hvar TV.
Did you know that Hvar has its own island football league with ten teams who play each other home and away? And that in 2012, the champions were from Velo Grablje with a full-time population of just five. Maja and Jura followed them the whole season and produced a fantastic documentary, Lavender Smells from the Top – Velo Grablje is the lavender village on Hvar, complete with its own aromatic festival.
A winter postcard from Stari Grad.
New Year in Hvar Town.
There is life in winter. Billiard tournament at the Gariful Sport Centre.
Days of Hvar Cuisine, a fantastic initiative that bought the kitchen of Kod Kapetana to Zemun in Belgrade each year, the first initiative to reconnect Belgrade’s huge Hvar fan club with the island after the war. It is a wonderful event.
Secret Hvar and their original and (back then) very innovative off-road tour.
Hvar restaurateurs gather in Jelsa to taste the new Tomic vintages.
Za Krizen – the UNESCO ‘Behind the Cross’ procession. What is it like to carry the cross and take part in this 500-year-old tradition. This is probably the best of any media on this incredible procession, and with English subtitles.
Renaissance Dinner. A superb step back in time to 1612, as Ante Lacman of Hvar Tours brought 150 guests on a teambuilding to Hvar and put on a spectacular Renaissance dinner event, which included the Mayor of Hvar and I dressing up in tights.
Fishing without complaints. Life as a fisherman on Hvar.
Luxury Dom Perignon night at Restaurant Gariful.
The King of Meat – Djordje Tudor of Djordjota Vartal.
Bogdanusa Wine Festival in Svirce.
Days of Honey in Stari Grad.
Levonda Kids play the Levonda Blues.
A Californian couple gets married in a Jelsa vineyard.
The Puhijada edible dormouse festival in Dol.
Kids Day in Hvar Town.
Hvar Open Tour, one of the finest (and most short-lived) tourism products on the island, killed by those with an interest in not making it work. It was a wonderful hop on, hop off service from Jelsa, Vrboska, Stari Grad, the ferry, Hvar Town, and Agroturizam Faros, on a 2-hour cycle, with tickets at just 75 kuna a day.
Grape Harvest on the Pakleni Islands.
Peskafondo squid fishing championship.
Stari Grad Wine Festival.
Veljko Barbieri cooks risotto at the Tomic winery.
What a fabulous year!
The first Hvar TV video I ever saw is still one I enjoy watching from time to time – life in the Hvar harbour with the camera speeded up.
Hvar Harbour Fast Forward.
Hvar TV still exists, but Maja and Jura have progressed with their careers, filming much of the feature content for national television, including this superb piece on digital nomad life on a Dalmatian island
Thank you, Maja and Jura, for all your fabulous work to document life on this special island. If you want to browse some more, you can visit the Hvar TV YouTube channel.
Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners is now available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.