Everyone in Croatia is locked in. The Croatian outdoors has never been so free of humans as it is now. What does Croatian outdoors look like without people? What awaits you in Croatia? See our Croatian outdoor image collection. But before that we’ll jump in to some epic Monti Python moments in the middle of this crisis.
Half of the world in quarantine at the time of writing this. It’s tough. The worst is that we can’t put a finger on any date in the future and safely say when all this will end. It is an ideal environment for us to realize that the world is more complicated than we would like it to be or that we can handle.
I hope you guys are safe. We care about you dear travelers. I also understand that Coronavirus messaging is getting on your nerves. I just want to let you know that both the outdoors in Croatia and Malik Adventures are here to stay. We are just postponing the trips for awhile. We wait for the virus risk to be completely minimized so we can run safe trips again and for the airlines to start operating obviously.
As I was preparing this post I realized that as your Croatian adventure partner I can offer you two remedies that might ease this Covid-19 chaos and the unusual times that come out of it. They are very much in line with all that Malik Adventure stands for. The first is in the realm of Croatian contemporary culture and comes in the form of catharsis typical for tragical moments in ancient plays but with a Monty Python twist. The other is about Croatian nature and outdoor imagery and it is in the form of escapism (peak in the bright Croatian outdoor future that awaits you).
CROATIAN MONTY PYTHON
It is April 6th 2020. Pretty much everyone in Croatia is locked in. Or should be. Croatia has one of the strictest Covid-19 quarantines in Europe. It is bringing results – infected people are doubling every 3 days. Everyday life looks like this: we are not allowed to travel away from our residence towns. Police patrols big parks and blocks people from gathering together in groups. Everyone is ordered to work from home. Schools, kindergartens, restaurants, bars, gyms – closed. All kids’ parks are marked off with yellow security tape to keep people away.
Monti Python situation one. At the same time, I see 70-year-old ladies in my neighborhood sitting around on benches in kids’ parks in groups of four. Yes, they are sitting on the yellow tape that is there to keep people away from touching communal benches and spreading the virus. Some of my friends didn’t leave their house in 3 weeks so that we all collectively protect the elderly population from getting sick all at once. That very same population is out and about doing their mingling undisturbed by the yellow ‘keep away’ tape. You can’t say they are selfish – they can only hurt themselves. But scenes like this really defy the entire purpose of the quarantine. It is a running joke that Monty Python was conceptually born in the Balkans.
Monty Python situation two. Zagreb was hit by a 5.5 Richter scale earthquake two weeks ago damaging around 28.000 buildings. This was in the middle of the Covid-19 crisis when everyone was already in lockdown. Two weeks later the town looks like it’s falling apart with bricks laying all around the town. Fellow alpinists and climbers are volunteering on Zagreb roofs to clear the roof of damaged chimneys. Construction workers are donating their gear and time to clean up the priority buildings. Two hospitals had to evacuate entire sections of the hospitals after the earthquake because buildings were in such a dire state. It is suspected that the mayor depleted the entire 20mHRK budget intended for catastrophes on his populist gimmicks like paying for celebration dinner for different football teams. Not proven yet. The budgets and use of budgets are not really transparent. So the town is supposedly broke.
At the same time, the major continues construction of a 35mHRK statue! On top of that, day after the earthquake the mayor of Zagreb made a payment of 165.000HRK (20.000EUR) for Easter decorations to supposedly one of his buddies. This all comes on top of spending hundreds of millions on populist pet projects like building fountains and illuminating bridges in recent years. The major’s response after it all was that he opened up a bank account so that citizens can donate cash for helping the city. We’ve had the mayor for 20 years. As the quote from Balads of Buster Scruggs goes: ‘that’s just human material. He who finds it a cause for anger and dismay is just a fool for expecting better.’
I am writing about these situations because many of you are asking me about how we are doing. This is our reality. When you travel to Croatia you do so because of the outdoors and activities off the beaten path we organize. On top of that, big part of your trips (for many of you) is about going deeper and understanding the contemporary as well as historic Croatian society and culture. Since we won’t see you in the following months, we can only write about it.
I think it is so absurd that this is happening. I hope it will either give you a sense of how lucky you are to be wherever you are or at least to cheer you up as a joke.
Just to finish on a positive note – of course there are also great things happening. We’ve had an excellent team spearheaded by Health Minister Vili Beroš, that handled the epidemic, communication and everything around the situation brilliantly. Another bright light was a Croatian scientist working in Scotland – Igor Rudman, that has been spearheading conversation about the pandemic in a great way and his texts have been translated to English to get a wider reach. Final bright example of good things happening is that an association of small and medium-size entrepreneurs Glas Poduzetnika was founded. It aims to represent 100k members and this is the first time in Croatia that entrepreneurs have a common voice. First win was that the association has forced the government to actually help the companies in a meaningful way. Big thing was that the government fees and taxes will not be postponed but cancelled while the economy is pretty much shut down. No, that didn’t happen by default.
Now for the visually fun part.
CROATIAN OUTDOOR IMAGE COLLECTION
As we said, there should be no one in Croatian outdoors now. With roads and intercity communicating banned, you physically can’t get to the mountains, the islands, the rivers or lakes. Huts are closed in the mountains. Passenger boats stopped going to the islands – there are only 3 weekly car ferries bringing supplies. No one is allowed on the island (unless they live there). Police are monitoring every boat entering harbors on islands. Locals on islands only see each other when they come back to the harbor from their fishing trips. So far Zero COVID-19 cases on the islands.
In that situation, Croatian outdoors is now free of humans. As a tribute to that pristine outdoor environment, I have put together a selection of photos of islands and mountains from our kayaking, SUP touring, hiking and climbing trips with no people on them. When selecting the images I also realized that the trips we normally run are so much off the beaten path that most of the time it feels like you are on your own.
Either way, the selection of images below is a tribute to Croatian outdoors that are awaiting your return. One can only hope that more people will behave responsibly and treat nature with respect.
WHY ISLANDS AND MOUNTAINS?
Here is one interesting fact that explains why it makes sense to have both islands and mountains in the same collection of images (and adventure activities).
Geologically, islands are inseparable from mountains in Croatia as they form the same structural tectonic units. When you look at the photo above between Molat and Velebit, the sea is a maximum 70m deep (and on average around 45m) while the mountain peaks are around 1700m high. Sea is only 4% of the hight of the mountain. Big rivers like Zrmanja form estuaries as they enter the sea. However, big parts of the rivers work their way through the carbonate rock and seabed to form wells on islands or freshwater sources in the middle of the sea bed. That brackish water explains why we have so much shellfish on the coast and why sometimes when snorkeling water looks blurry
If you enjoyed this post, complement it with some thoughts on How did outdoor adventures prepare me for (Covid-19) crisis, or explore Best from our activity holidays in Croatia in 2019 and Best from holidays in Croatia in 2018.
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‘Conversations’ isn’t necessarily about the things that we talked about on our trips. It is about all the topics that you wanted to know about or ones that we promised we’ll look into. It’s about that constant pursuit of Croatia’s and region’s adventure secrets, insights, history, and lifestyle. It’s about enabling you to dive behind the obvious and get the best of your travels – challenging the status quo and celebrating cultural and natural diversity.