Friday, 9 May 2014

5 things I enjoy most about living in Istria




People here often ask me if I like living in Istria. I’ve been here for nine months so far and I am enjoying life here. I reflected on what it is I like about living here and this is what I’ve come up with:

1. Quality of life. Locals often talk about how life is difficult here. It’s true that the economy is not in good shape, many young people are unemployed, there are few jobs available, pensions are impossible to live on, and those who are lucky to have a job sometimes don’t get paid on time – or for months at a stretch. But compared to other places I’ve lived in (always big cities), the quality of life is high here. What I mean by quality of life is the clean air, the clean water, wide open green spaces, and the availability of good quality food. Those who are able to make a decent living have a good quality of life which would not be possible in a big city (even with a big salary).



2. Nature. This is the first time I’m living in a rural setting and what I love most is being close to nature. I go on the most amazing walks and bicycle rides in the most beautiful landscapes. I can see (a sliver of) the sea from the village, and the Alps at a distance. The earth gives us delicacies like mushrooms, truffles and asparagus. We can grow our own food. On my walks I’ve seen deer, rabbits – and snakes! Oh, and I’ve found scorpions in the house – that’s a bit too close (to nature) for comfort!



3. The people. Istrians are generally friendly, down-to-earth and hospitable. They like to joke and laugh, eat and drink, and don’t take life too seriously. There’s a sense of community here; neighbours and family members are always coming by with something from their vegetable garden: lettuce, Swiss chard, potatoes, asparagus they’ve picked in the woods, or a bottle of homemade wine. People help each other out: the neighbour with a tractor will plough his neighbours’ fields, everyone pitches in during harvest season, and I see how company and support is offered to the people in the village who live alone. I also feel very safe here in a small community where everyone knows each other.



4. The architecture and landscape. I’ve visited almost 40 countries (39 to date) and Istria is for me one of the most beautiful regions I’ve seen. I love the landscape of rolling hills and beautiful medieval villages perched on hilltops dominated by a church spire. Then there are the scenic seaside towns jutting into the Adriatic sea with narrow, cobblestone streets and old stone houses framed with Venetian-style window shutters. There are so many places to explore in Istria, and though I’ve visited many, I feel like there’s still so much more to discover.



5. Number five. OK since I have four points, I may as well make it five. But I’m having trouble nailing the fifth… should I mention the light here which seems to have a golden tinge to it? Or the spectacular sunsets we see from the village even though we’re not on the coast (could it be because we’re at an altitude of 457 metres)? Or should I mention Istria's location at the crossroads of Europe, perched on the edge of east and west, making it easy to travel to Italy, just a hop, skip and jump away via Slovenia, another beautiful country on our doorstep. Or should I mention the laid-back Istrian lifestyle, where pomalo is a way of life?

There are many reasons why life is sweet in Istria! 

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12 comments:

  1. Isabel, this is something i would have liked to ask you about...so, it's great to read this! Istria seems like a lovely place...

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    1. Thanks Kiran! I hope you can visit sometime and experience it yourself!

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  2. At least in your pictures, the light does have a golden touch :-)

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    1. That's the magic light of Istria!

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  3. Too bad the ugly watermark signs are ruining the otherwise not bad pictures. By the way.
    Noticed this very long ago but it is very annoying now.

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    1. Thanks for your feedback. The reason why I watermark my photos is because I had a few photos from my India blog stolen and used without attribution. I don't think that's fair. Hence the ugly watermark. Sorry you find it annoying.

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  4. Such lovely Istrian scenes Isabel... your five points make Istria a dream location to live an abundantly simple life surrounded by naturally beautiful surroundings and people. Just wonderful...

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    1. Well said Catherine! Simple life and beautiful surroundings...

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  5. I'm so happy for you and glad you have found such a wonderful home! It does sound like a lovely place to live. I love the scenery and the fact that people are truly neighborly towards one another. And its location in Europe is a great perk, too!

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  6. Tick, tick and tick! You nailed it girl. Living on Istria, or just Croatia for that matter rocks.... minus a few negative points :)

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  7. I am trying to find out what are the negative points.HELP!!!

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  8. Anonymous, the first part of point #1 kind of sums up the negative points!

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