The World Discovers Petrovo Field Tourism Pioneers

Total Croatia News

Fancy picking fruit, tomatoes, paprika, salad, eating fresh eggs, wandering an estate of 15.000 square metres, 80 walnut trees and 120 fruit trees? Look beyond the coastline!

“If someone had told me fifteen years ago that I would be renting my family home to tourists, I would say they are crazy,” began Rajka Mikelić her story of tourism in her native Ružić village, in the heart of Petrovo Field near Drniš Town in the Dalmatian hinterland. She points out right awa she has her late father Ante to thank, as well as her hard-working mother Milica, an 83-year-old from Sinj who came to Ružić to be married and of course, her husband Pero who embraced her ‘crazy’ idea, Šibenski List wrote on November 3, 2017.

“Father left me the property and this is why we named it Tonko after him, and mother Milica is still here, my right hand and brand of the estate. None of the guests left without taking a group picture with her. And Pero accepted my idea and here we are. We have a home in Split too, but Ružić is in first place now,” said Rajka. Her father worked in The Netherlands, invested and acquired plenty.

“We lived in Split for forty of my sixty years and when mother was left alone when my father died, she said she was not leaving her home. When she told us she would die in a cage, meaning an apartment, Pero and I spoke and decided to come live here. I retired in 2000, after Mesopromet company went under. Our son and daughter have their own families, I helped raise their children and there was no need to stay in Split. In the winter of 2010 I sat here on the balcony and pondered what to do. I have no hobbies, and I spent 30 years in handball and athletics… Renting the house was on my mind from before and then I said: Pero, let’s go into tourism,” said Rajka.

Pero supported her, and then she did something not many would choose.
“We didn’t have a pool then and I told Pero I would rent the house for one kuna daily. Why one kuna, he asked, and I explained. You see, everything Croatian gets sold for one kuna, so I’ll try too. Let someone come for one kuna and meet Ružić, Drniš and Croatia. I took some pictures of the property, published it on Facebook and… it happened! In July of 2011 came some Italians from Udine for three weeks… and that’s how it began,” explained Rajka.

They enjoyed three weeks of nature, beauty, ate with them, toured Krka, Šibenik, Split, Dubrovnik and returned to Ružić. They said their house is the best place to sleep. They could pluck fruit, tomatoes, paprika, salad, get a fresh egg, wander the estate of 15.000 square metres, 80 walnut trees and 120 fruit trees. And when they left they didn’t leave just 21 kunas! Rajka found an envelope under the pillow with a thank you and a hefty amount of money.

“I was moved and then I definitely decided – I’m going into tourism,” said Rajka. Since that summer until today, 12 persons can find accommodation on the first floor of the 170 square metres house. In two connected apartments with three stars, a total of three rooms, two giant living rooms with a kitchen, two bathrooms and a large balcony, so far her guests were Germans, Norwegians, Belgians, Turks, French, English… Of course, the price was no longer one kuna. The estate is now expanded with an outdoor pool of 60 square metres, built with a donation from the Tourism Ministry.

“Our last guests this seasons were Indians from the town of Goa and for next year they booked ten days for their friends, and they will return in 2019 for ten days. We host mostly families, often with children. They can relax, not worry where their child will run off to or get lost in a crowd,” says Rajka. As a hostess she doesn’t have to prepare food for guests, but she greets ever group with a welcome meal. Homemade prosciutto, cheese and wine. Sometimes they will have dinner or lunch together: grilled fish and meat or baked under the bell. And they sit around the fireplace and enjoy.

“The Indians enjoyed everything and we are very similar in mentality. They are Catholic so they first asked where the church is. It so happened they visited during a Catholic holiday and wanted to join mass. I called the priest and notified him seven Indians would be coming to mass, so people would not be surprised. That day was also District Day with a cultural and entertainment programme. They were thrilled with folk costumes, song and dance. The loved Croatia so much they bought an apartment in Split,” recalled Rajka.

“People feel like they were born here. As for other guests, they mostly have breakfast at the house, always something in the fridge to eat, and have dinner or lunch where they travel that day,” added Rajka.

“These are all well-off people who have travelled the world and visit a different countr each year. On average they stay 10 to 15 days, spend the first two-three on the estate, resting from the trip, enjoying nature, and then they tour Dalmatia. There were professors, engineers, doctors… We had a group from Turkey this summer. They have a different mentality, are of a different religion, women entered the pool dressed,” said Rajka.

“We are satisfied. No use in being a megalomaniac, but take it step by step. Whatever is left over from the season we invest. For now we are full for July and August, booking is through an agency or directly, and now that we have a pool we believe there will be guests in the pre- and post-season,” noted Rajka.

Translated from Šibenski List.


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