Posted by: viewfromtheriva | January 25, 2010

Our January Sightseeing Croatia Newsletter

SightseeingCroatia January 2010 Newsletter

Dear friends,

We hope you all had a wonderful holiday and are looking forward to your travel plans for 2010!

Our first full year living and working in Split was very exciting and now that we’re heading into our second season, we can really appreciate what local people go through each year–after the season ends, a huge sigh of relief after working 15 hours a day making sure every tourist is happy; then, a curious winding down as the summer crowds thin out and you begin doing a lot of things you just didn’t have time for during the season. Finally the winter kicks in with cool weather, rain (and then more rain!).  And all of a sudden it’s the New Year and everyone feels the tug of getting back into the tourist season.

But this year it’s very different.  The aftermath of the Great Recession has a lot of local people worried. Some hotels in Dubrovnik that never closed during the winter, decided to do so.  Grand plans for the new waterfront Hilton Marjan Hotel to open this year won’t happen.  The award-winning 5 star Le Meridien Lav Hotel announced pay cuts.

But on the bright side, there will be new direct flights from Stansted Airport in the UK to Split and Dubrovnik; Croatian wines took everyone by surprise at international competitions winning all sorts of impressive medals; and Croatia was touted as the “best place to go to in Europe” by the well-respected travel writer Rick Steves, author of many travel books and he even has his own TV show.

So while there is a palpable anxiety about this year, the mood, like our weather, is definitely getting more upbeat!

On a personal note….Natasha and I have started our search for an old stone house to fix up since the real estate prices are now more in line with what we can afford.  And Natasha has really picked up the language, which is akin to her native Russian.  So it’s great to see and hear her talking Croatian and getting all sorts of approving nods from the locals.  But me? Well, after relying on her when we lived in Russia, it’s hard not to do the same again.  So I just smile, say a few words and look like I know what is being said (not!) while she upholds the honor of the family with complete sentences in Croatian!

OK…so what do we have cooking this year?  Lots of new ideas, plans and programs:

1.  We have decided to expand our successful Diocletian’s Palace Map and publish Split’s first tourist newspaper, Discover Split (see the mock-up attached!).

It will be a full color, 16 page newspaper with a pull out map of the Palace.  And we will print 250,000 copies, making it the largest circulation tourist publication in Split! After it is published, we will put it on line as a PDF in May, so you can all get a look at it.

2.  Working with an agency partner, we have developed special tours just for cruise passengers who are here for the day  These will be 4-8 person tours to Solta (our olive tour, expanded this year to include a visit to the Solta honey farm where guests can even make their own honey), a wine tour to Hvar, and a chance to meet a chef in the Fish Market, pick your fish, take a Palace Tour and then go to the restaurant to enjoy what you “caught”!

A World’s Great Religions tour is another idea, since the third oldest Jewish synagogue in Europe, one of the oldest Christian churches, an Orthodox Christian church hidden inside a 14thC convent and a Muslim mosque are all within 100 meters of each other!  Having met the Jewish community, the imam of the local mosque and the leader of the Serbian Orthodox Church, all are very interested in doing this.

The other big news is that together with Alan Mandic, the owner of SecretDalmatia

we have created The Croatia Travel Network,

a group of affiliated websites that focus on Croatia, written and designed by people we know and trust.  The first Network site is one of 5 that we are creating with our partners, a hotel site of just Split area hotels.  What makes the site unique is that each hotel has a special offer and visitors will be able to book directly with the hotel, so there will be no commission involved.

In addition to the hotels of split, we will be creating a hotel site just for Dubrovnik, Zagreb and other places.  We will also be premiering a wine site, a gastronomy site and tour site that will all be linked to other sites within the Network.

So if you have the time, please go to:

and tell us what you think!

I’ve also been busy with my blog: and last week posted blog number 50!  Natasha has been keeping her English teaching skills sharp by working part time for an online school in Moscow that offers lessons on line via Skype.  (Clever idea and apparently there are lots of language schools all over the world now doing this!).

If any of your friends are planning a trip to Croatia this year—as part of a cruise or a tour, please tell them about and us so we can meet them and help make their trip here an authentic experience

Here's the sample cover

Each page will have limited advertising

Here are a few sites in the Network

Best regards,

Robert and Natasha Aronson


  1. […] See the rest here: Our January Sightseeing Croatia Newsletter « View from the Riva … […]

  2. Interesting new post. Even better than your previous ones IMHO 😉

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