Living Istria

What’s life really like for a foreigner in Istria? Well we’ve lived here for the past seven years. Here are tales of our experience, plus those of others who either live or have a holiday home here.

If an item is underlined but not clickable, it means an article is in preparation. I’ll add the proper link when it’s ready for you to read. Bear with me, this all takes time!

My Istrian garden awakens

Pink peony flower in early April

Istria lies on the edge of the Mediterranean climate belt. We get lovely warm summers, but we also get proper winters with sub-zero temperatures. Being relatively far south, though, our winters are short – often only December to February, and the temperatures rarely drop far below zero. But it’s still a true winter with...
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A cut above the rest – my hair-cutting solution

Scissor nightmare - long hair being hacked short

Expat life in Istria throws up many challenges. For me, one of the biggest has been finding a reliable hairdresser. Yes, I know it sounds crazy and trivial but, with my very limited Croatian, it’s something I’ve put off time and again. After seven years, this small matter had grown into something of an...
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Pray for rain!

Dried out field in Istria

Many countries in Europe – and especially the UK – might be having the wettest summer on record, but here in Istria it’s the opposite story. With soaring temperatures and hardly a drop of rain all year, water rationing’s started and it’s hitting everyone hard. And with everywhere tinder-dry, forest fires are making things...
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Gardening crazy

Little House bed after the replanting in Istria

For Christmas, my Mother-not-in-Law gave me a small wall plaque reading ‘A garden is a thing of beauty – and a job forever’. How well she knew me … and how right she was! Spring is now more than sprung and, despite being run off my feet with Kovaci, I took full advantage of...
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It all happened on Wednesday

JCB spreading gravel in our drive, Istria

Wednesday was one of those strange Croatian days. We had the pool fixed, the plumber came to repair the Little House boiler and a ton of gravel arrived in the drive. None of which we were expecting when the week started: all we’d expected were visitors. The holiday season was nearly upon us and...
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Kovaci – an Istrian history lesson

Mate Kovac's house in Kovaci, Istria

Istrian stone villages often look timeless – a slice of history, frozen in time. Any modern buildings appear intrusive, at odds with an otherwise historic atmosphere. When we bought our property in Kovaci, we soon discovered this is an overly romantic view. As Valter, the property’s previous owner, explained, these villages have rarely been...
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Restarting our Istrian life

Baggy & Tally curled up together

After twenty episodes, I’m taking my blog on our expat life in a new direction. Gone is the regular, day-to-day ‘diary’ format and weekly post. Instead, it’ll be a more free-wheeling, ‘as it happens’ affair. But don’t despair, my lone, dedicated reader, I’ll still be covering  those crazy events that make life in Istria...
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Houses, postings and kiwis

Nicky harvesting kiwis

In the last week before I sign off for our Christmas & New Year break, Autumn suddenly turns decidedly to Winter. We sign the pre-contract on Kaštelir (hooray!); my Autumnal, garden cutback programme drags on; a seemingly stalled Live Istria leaps forward; and we get our first really bumper kiwi harvest.   Monday 12...
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The Treaty, the Bishop, the house and a wood pile

Phil and his chopped wood pile

This week was a momentous week for Croatia as a whole, Istria in particular … and us too. Croatia finally signed the EU accession treaty on Friday and on Saturday, Istria got a new Bishop. All this happened unnoticed by us, as our house hunting took an unexpected turn. P also finished his wood...
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Two steps backwards and a zip line forwards

Nicky on zip line at Glavani Park, Istria

While keenly awaiting a building quote, I amuse myself with some high-wire antics. Then find I’ve not been as clever as I thought I was, having to solve the mystery of the ‘missing Updates’ … and go into battle, yet again, with Facebook.   Monday – Tuesday Quiet start to the week, pootling at...
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Have we found our rental house?

Nicky with barn & house in Kastelir, Istria

This week it seems our property hunt may be reaching its end, or it could equally be just another twist in the trail. I continue the Autumn clean-up and P chops yet more logs – there’s a lot of wood in that pile. Pip joins the Live Istria team, I try to catch up with...
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Picking up the threads again

Nicky digging the veg patch

Our first week back sees me making the most of beautiful sunshine in the garden and starting up Live Istria again, after a dormant few weeks while we were away. We evict a couple of animal interlopers, plan Christmas and try moving our latest property project forward. In other words, get life back to...
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Homecoming: after a long trip, it’s good to get home

Home in November

We left Istria on Monday, October 17th. After a 19-day journey involving ten countries, a 3500 km drive, and voyages by plane, ship and coach, we arrived home very satisfied, but exhausted. A weekend sorting ourselves out was in order, before heading back into the fray.   Friday, 4th November  At last we are...
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Short holiday becomes major road trip

Route on map from Matulini to Hethrow

It’s all very well moving to the boondocks, to live in the sun. But when you want to stretch your wings and see a bit more of the world, being so remote here in Istria often makes travelling rather complicated. On top of that, unless you completely sever ties with your previous existence, the...
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Countdown to a major trip

Fixed back bumper

Tying up loose ends, arranging cat-sitters, booking hotels, setting up meetings and generally making sure nothing’s forgotten: the week before any big trip is always hectic. I made this one doubly so, with last-minute house-hunting, car chaos and a haircut, all ahead of a three-week jaunt to the UK, New York and Belgium. It...
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