Posted by: viewfromtheriva | January 30, 2017

What would we do without Njuskalo (“Sniffer” in Croatian)

Natasha and I have lived in Croatia for almost 8 years and discovering the simple joys of everyday living here has been a constant warm surprise.  I think of all the things we both like to do, the places and the people–where we shop, who we talk to–looking for stuff on Njuskalo, the Croatian online marketplace equivalent to Amazon, e-bay and Alibaba all rolled into one, is way, way up there.

One of great Njkuskalo finds was our 1992 E class Mercedes for $1,200.

One of our great Njkuskalo finds was this 1992 jet black E class Mercedes for $1,200. Natasha’s first comment, being Russian, was wow, this is the same car that all the mafioso drove in Moscow back then!

From our first and only car bought here, a pristine 1992 Mercedes–just as shiny four years later, but with scratches and dings made possible by Split’s impossibly narrow garages, streets, being hit by motorcycles, etc.–to 5 meter wide sliding glass doors someone salvaged from a Dubrovnik hotel, Njuskalo has provided us countless hours of fun not to mention saving us a small fortune.

The house we are remodeling in Klis, soon to have its new roof put on, was a huge challenge for us. Pretty much a shell with a stupendous view over the city to the sea, it needed everything from new walls, floors, doors, windows, bathrooms–you name it.

Like all expectant home-owners, we hit the sales and sometimes did really well, but with a shopping list that includes a complete septic system, we found ourselves going back to Njuskalo and always coming up with something spectacular.

Gorgeous hand made door, $300.

Gorgeous hand made door, $300. Handle and lock included!

The gorgeous door above, shipped from hundreds of kilometers away (only 300kn because the guy had a friend driving to Split and “could we please pay for some of the gas?”) is completely hand made.  For the size we needed, the best price for an outside door like this, with its frame, was $1500, and that model was not exactly top of the line.

When it got here we were like kids jumping up and down…wow, it really is as fabulous as it looks! Couple days later we even got the key!

As our confidence grows in chatting up Njuskalo sellers in Rijeka, Pula and beyond (a 6 to 8 hour drive) figuring out to buy or not to buy becomes less and less stress and more and more fun.  For most people, ordering a wood floor without seeing it is downright scary.  Not for us!

Our latest coup, a monster Velux skylight whose retail price is $1,700 for less than $100.  Carefully removed and stored in its original box for 8 years, there it was waiting for us.  Loading it in the Mercedes, where most of it stuck out perilously close to the road, and hauling it to the house was brutal. But worth it!

In between all of this we have scored amazing bamboo pre-finished, parquet floors with 7 coats of lacquer for 1/3 of the price and again, getting it delivered practically free from Zagreb from another friend of a friend–“he drives Zagreb-Split empty, so just buy him lunch”.  We asked the seller to put some together and take a photo so we could get a look.  Wowser!

New, pre-finished bamboo parquet floors with 7 coats of lacquer!

New, pre-finished bamboo parquet floors with 7 coats of lacquer!

How about a top of the line Bosch black ceramic glass 4 burner gas stove top, used half a dozen times, original box, guarantee, perfect, half price.

Or our Calligaris Italian design enormous glass dining table and six designer chairs, also slightly used and not a scratch, 40% of the store price and they showed us the original papers.  Seeing they had a panel truck, we asked if it included delivery….nema problema they said!

The strangest item we got for the house was a custom-made all glass sink sitting pretty on top of an all glass cabinet with etched glass doors, complete with a handsome chrome faucet and all hoses….$40, less than the cost of the faucet!

Now that roof is about to go on, the window walls, doors, floors, bathrooms and other parts of the house that have been happy and waiting in our builder’s warehouse, are all ready to go.

The view from the kitchen of our soon to be finished house with Split, the sea and the islands in the distance.

The view from the kitchen of our soon to be finished house with Split, the sea and the islands in the distance.

As we move closer to getting our house finished, after 8 years of apartment living, we realize, wow, most of it comes from Njuskalo!

Now if we can only find that outdoor jacuzzi we saw last month for $400…..




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