March 11, 2020 – It is 25 years since Vinkovci got a rather unusual gift from the UK – a traditional British telephone box, which continues to receive love and attention.
I am not sure what surprised me more – finding out that the oldest continuously inhabited town in Europe, dating back some 8,400 years, was in Croatia – or finding out that there was a traditional British telephone box which functioned right in the middle of the historic centre.
As is often the case when you see something that makes no sense, such as a British telephone box in the middle of eastern Croatia, the explanation can be attributed to a Yorkshireman.
It took me some time to get the full story of how the telephone box came to be in Vinkovci, and rather than repeat it, you can find the full account in this feature story on how and why there is an English pub in a field in the middle of nowhere a few kilometres from Vinkovci – How I Came to Open an English Pub in a Field in Eastern Croatia.
Since coming to Croatia to volunteer in the Homeland War, Steve Gaunt has made an immense contribution to life in Vinkovci, and he is clearly a man who takes pride in his work and believes in keeping things tidy. A few weeks ago he posted on Facebook that he had finally found some gold leaf paint, and so was able to touch up the telephone box, which had been looking a little jaded.
And this week, a slightly bigger mission, to replace one of the panels. Team Gaunt went into action, with the results for all to see in the video above.
A quaint – and unusual – part of Vinkovci’s rich history, and nice to see it being preserved. Steve is a fascinating guy for a Yorkshireman, and if you do find yourself in that part of the world, a pint at The White Boar is a worthwhile eastern Croatian experience you had perhaps not bargained for. Learn more about The White Boar here.
To learn more about the oldest continuously inhabited town in Europe, here are 10 things to know about Vinkovci.