I mentioned the storm that raged on last night, yes? Well it’s still going strong this morning. The heavens it seems, have stored up the three days of rain we were threatened with and delivered it in one hit. I consult the Oracle. Rain all day, it says, bar a clear window betwixt noon and 2 pm. Sounds like the perfect day to have a lazy lunch, we decide. The historic section of Omis, full of seafood restaurants, is a mere kilometre away. Between coats and umbrellas, what could possibly go wrong? (If you listen really carefully, you can hear the weather gods sniggering at this point…).
Noon comes and we’re ready…but it rains still. No problem. I’m from Adelaide, the driest state in Australia. We celebrate rain when it comes. Himself, a Melbourne boy. Melbournites (from my observations) believe they will melt if hit by rain. I put my faith in the Oracle. It will stop, I say. Let’s go. And off we set.
Almost immediately, there’s a problem. The rain is heavy, yes, but what we hadn’t counted on is that Omis has flooded. Getting into town is a game of leapfrog, jumping from high ground to high ground in between avoiding walls of water from passing cars. It takes all of moments to step shin deep into floodwaters – there’s just no other way to cross. A third of the way there, there’s a deluge that makes the rain so far look like a test run. Puddles become lakes, walking becomes wading. Ducks splash about in carpark lakes, happy in their new environment. We’re both soaked entirely through by the time we make it into town and wade into a restaurant. So much for the Oracle’s prediction of clear skies. I only managed one photo – an ill timed application of hand cream made my fingers so slippery I feared for my phone.
I really wanted a shot of those happy ducks too.
Luckily once inside, humours are intact (the ducks helped) there’s plenty to distract us.
Local seafood is on the menu, local everything, actually. We start with a new favourite, the Dalmatian smoked ham and sheep’s milk cheese, followed by scampi for Chris and pasta with monkfish and a champagne truffle sauce for me. Yum!
An excellent white wine of the region is the perfect accompaniment. I’m loving the wines here, low tannin and very easy drinking. As the rains continue we apply last year’s maxim to good effect “when it rains, we lunch”.
Best adapted for today with an addendum: first we swim to the restaurant, then we lunch!
At some point in time we realise that the thundering deluge has ceased. Could there be blue skies outside? Indeed there are. Not only blue skies, but a gloriously rinsed clean Omis, sparkling in the sun. Incredibly, bar a few persistent newly formed lakes, most of the floodwaters have receded, leaving us free to explore.
It’s fair to say Omis has a gorgeous setting, river one side, sea the other and a stunning mountainous backdrop. There’s a small historic centre – we waded through it earlier!
High above us sit two fortifications.
We do a couple of laps of the historic centre, walk to the river, then the sea, glad for the sun and the opportunity to dry out a little. The contrast from this morning to now is a complete 180° swing.
Towards sea, a remnant of what was once a city wall is now a cafe. It’s a great spot for a forbidden afternoon coffee and a pat from a friendly kitty. Excellent coffee (I’m a sucker for it), a side of purr an added bonus.
There’s a bakery with a great selection of pita and burek: meat, cheese, potato, spinach and cheese. Doughnuts are another local specialty, filled with chocolate or marmalade. That’s dinner sorted. It’s been ages since we cooked – the food options here are endless.
Eventually we meander home the long way by the sea. One of the persistent new “lakes” can be seen in the first picture, below.
The mouth of the Cetina river creates two headlands, so it’s a good walk.
At home, another wedding is in progress. It’s the third we’ve seen today.
I can’t imagine the horror the brides’ would have experienced waking to the morning deluge.
Weddings here are rich in customs – the current one is at the traditional songs stage. It makes for a joyful background. I take the opportunity to read up on Croatian wedding customs – there are quite a number to observe from the bride being coaxed out of her parents’ house by song – the groomsmen and male relative sing these. The bridal party stops along the way to the church, at all the aunts uncles and grandparents houses. There’s this stage, where a band and the guests sing about growing up, past loves and leaving home. There’s the important role of flag bearer – he leads the guests to each stage of proceedings.
You know about the car horns blasting away. But my favourite tradition has to be the end of proceedings. At 3 am, guests are served goulash, and once that’s eaten, it’s time to go home. Isn’t that fabulous? They party hard here, and kids stay up too.
We have a quiet night in, enjoying the wedding continuing into the wee hours in the background.