While Rava was in town (see my previous post – 5 lost years) I enjoyed playing tour guide and shopping in some of our many souvenir shops. I picked up a copy of Marco Polo’s Isle by Michael Donley for my Mum, I will read it then send it to her, perfect! I have been intending to write some blog posts about Korcula and this post is inspired by Mr Donley work. And the start of a new series on Korcula and island life;
The prologue to Marco Polo’s Isle contains this poem by Tartalja;
Mala kuca kamena
Sa tri mala prozora:
Zeleni im kapci,
Krov sav od plamena,
A na krovu vrapaci.
A little house of stone
With little windows three:
Green their shutters,
The roof all aflame
And on it, some sparrows.
I have always enjoyed poetry and this short poem paints a vivid picture for me that could be Dubrovnik, Korcula, Lumbarda, Orebic or any of our nearby villages or hamlets. The green shutters and orange tiles are very much a part of our landscape here. As you approach Korcula by road you look down on a town tiled in orange and walking the streets green is the dominant shutter colour.
The shutters catch my attention and remind me of travels in Italy and Switzerland, even without hearing the locals speak I know I am in an area far from my homeland of New Zealand where you seldom see shuttered windows. The stone houses here also remind me that I am far away from home, whilst we too have a tradition of stone masonry and a heritage that includes stone buildings the dominant building stone is a different colour and the NZ building style tends to reflect the Scottish and English heritage of our latter settlers.
The first chapter of Marco Polo’s Isle highlights a NZ – Korcula cultural similarity and this may be one of the reasons that I feel so comfortable here on this isle thousands of miles from home. Mr Donley’s book opens in the seaside village of Lumbarda,
and he starts with talking about the crystal clear Adriatic sea;
and goes on to talk about how everybody knows everybody, and everything that is going on in the village. Macandrew Bay where I grew up is a small suburb of Dunedin and as a child growing up there we too knew everybody in the street and many of those same residents are still living there as neighbours. For me this is a community that I will always belong to, while many of the families I grew up with have moved away there is still a lot of familiar faces and a strong sense of community. I get this same feeling here in Korcula, while the history and families here have a much longer connection to the land and region we are all from small communities and everybody knows everything!
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