Helping Hand – stress-free Istria!

November 17, 2017
We all need a helping hand from time to time

Do you live in Istria or have a holiday home here? Need some help from time to time sorting things out, resolving intractable issues, or just understanding the way this complex country works? Look no further, Helping Hand is … well, it’s here to help! As Brits having lived and worked in Istria for...
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The Helping Hand team

November 17, 2017
Nicky-garden

We are Helping Hand – Nicky, Elbina and Phil. We all work closely together on projects but, in the simplest terms, Nicky is your first point of contact and in overall charge, Elbina gets things done and Phil provides financial expertise and technical support. Nicky I’m a Brit who’s lived and...
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Helping Hand practicalities

November 17, 2017

Helping Hand handles a wide range of projects of varying sizes, with our approach tailored to the specifics of each project and client requirements. For some projects we do all the work; for others we simply act as liaison and project manager, working with specialist, local contractors. In a nutshell: Helping Hand charges by...
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Money down the drain? Upgrading Istria’s sewerage system

November 17, 2017
Sewer line trench near Zbandaj on Porec-Pazin road

An update on the changing sewerage situation in Istria and its impact on home owners. So … let’s talk sewage! Trenches are being dug all over Istria: diggers are closing roads, delaying traffic and limiting house access. If this hasn’t affected you yet, it soon will as Croatia (with EU funding assistance), is installing...
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Sample Working Agreement

November 16, 2017

Example based on a working agreement for restoration of a 100-year old stone house in the old quarter of a historic town. Details for an agreement depend, of course, on the specifics of the project. Working agreement between Helping Hand (part of Anson-Bryant Usluge d.o.o.) (HH) of ADDRESS, Croatia AND CLIENT of ADDRESS for...
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Mushrooming knowledge

November 14, 2017
Basket with Istrian wild mushroom selection

It’s truffle season and Istria is famous for its truffles, but this is only a tiny fraction of its fungi offering. In autumn, when conditions are right, Istria’s woods are full of wild mushrooms: the weird and the wonderful, the tiny and the tremendous, the delicious and the deadly. And as the fungi appear,...
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What’s in a bottle of wine? Go grape picking to find out

September 29, 2017
Nicky empties bucket of gapes into trailer

My expat life in Istria takes me grape picking. In mid-September picking teams start to pop up in the Istrian vineyards, roads clog with tractors trailing mounds of grapes – and I get a phone call late one afternoon. It’s Marija: “Mico says, would you like to go grape picking tomorrow?” I’ve never been...
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Misal – sparkling delight

May 28, 2015
Misal bottles, Istria

Sparkling wine – the taste of summer! But, when you think of sparkling wines, Croatia doesn’t come naturally to mind, so I was surprised – and delighted – to be offered both white and rosé at Sv. Nikola, one of Porec’s top restaurants, both from Misal. They were delicious so, when I found they...
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Let’s go hunting … for Istrian asparagus!

April 8, 2015
Maria-pokes-the-hedges

Istrians love food and in Spring that means asparagus, picked wild from fields and hedgerows. With pickers popping up everywhere around me, this seems a good time to revisit the very first article I wrote for Live Istria in 2010. Moving abroad, living in a new country, is all about discovery: discovering new things...
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Avoiding the Slovenian motorway toll

March 19, 2015
local-map

Coming on holiday to Istria by car? A few years ago, the Slovenians introduced toll stickers (‘vignettes’) for their motorways, similar to the system in Austria. If you are only driving across Slovenia to Istria, this makes the short (10 km) motorway journey, from the Italian border at Trieste to Koper/Capodistria, very expensive. Obviously...
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Let renovation begin

January 21, 2015
Amir tunnelling out under the front wall

Renovating an old property can be challenging – even when you delegate all the hard work. So, doing it for the first time, with a builder who doesn’t speak your language, might be called fool-hardy. I guess I was about to find out – let the work begin!   Renovation projects in Istria come...
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Connecting costs

December 8, 2014

These examples from our experience are simply to give you ballpark figures. They show that it is the scale of the additional work beyond the simple connection itself that will impact your costs the most. They also show that costs for connecting to the mains drainage are likely to vary throughout Croatia and even...
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Understanding the paperwork

December 8, 2014
Installing main drains in Bonaci

While it’s probable each local council will approach their paperwork differently, no matter your area, it’s likely you will be required to sign a contract and pay a fee In our two cases, while arranged by the local council, the contracts were actually with the company handling the installation work, not the council. Each...
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Pazin: a castle, gorge and giant’s cave

August 1, 2014
Pazin Castle, seen from cafe across gorge, Istria

Pazin doesn’t feature highly in Croatian guidebooks, but hidden behind this apparently non-descript administrative town is a magnificent castle, perched on the edge of a dramatic gorge, with an enormous cave beneath. How this came to be depends on the tale you’re told. My favourite is that of the giant, Ban Dragonja.   The...
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Wrestling with risottos

May 12, 2014
Mushroom & red pepper risotto

Thanks to the Italian influence, risottos are a real Istrian speciality. But my attempts at risotto had always been disastrous (because I was always too lazy to stand over them, constantly stirring in more liquid, as you are supposed to do). So I had more or less given up on them … but since...
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