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From Hell to Paradise: From a Somali Rooftop to Hvar

Extract from Notes on A Small Island: Expat Living on Hvar.

It's over. It's finished. And now the rest of my life can really begin. I sipped once more from the glass of juniper, my mind relaxing more at the thought that I was finally free. To my right, the call to prayer from the local mosque, challenged only by some bleating goats and exuberant children.

For a country with a reputation as one of the world's most dangerous, the Somali rooftop calm at sunset was an unexpected bonus. A gin and tonic in isolated tranquillity was the perfect end to a demanding working day, and the news in the incoming email that our house in England had finally sold, so that I could finally stop dreaming and make some concrete plans as to where to base my books and future life, made the peacefulness more rewarding still.

Glass empty, I went downstairs for a refill, keen to put some solid thought into where I might move my permanent base. My colleagues - Kenyans, Sudanese, Ugandans - were engrossed in private conversation and games of Scrabble. In the background, the sound of CNN, the only foreign channel we could receive.

Having heard the news several times already, I didn't pay too much attention but, as I was pouring the tonic, an advert appeared that entranced me. Turquoise waters, stunning stone towns, great wine, awesome food.

Croatia: The Mediterranean as it Once Was.

My mind was made up. Croatia would be my new home, a cheeky stone cottage somewhere close to the sea. My remote piece of Paradise, somewhere to keep my books, a haven in between aid contracts, and a chance to start again, fresh from the painful divorce.

I returned to the rooftop, fortified by gin and a new resolve, to find the perfect pad in Croatia. Life begins at 32.

Read on

Last modified onThursday, 08 August 2013 22:41

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Paul Bradbury

About Paul Bradbury

Author of Lebanese Nuns Don't SkiLavender, Dormice and a Donkey Named Mercedes and the Hvar's first comprehensive guidebook, Hvar: An Insider's Guide to Croatia's Premier Island, I have lived in Dalmatia full time since 2003 and run various tourism information websites about Hvar, Split and Zagora, and am co-author of Split: An Insider's Guide with Mila Hvilshoj.

I also have various blogging clients, including the Central Dalmatia Tourist Board, Restaurant Gariful, Hvar Adventure, Villas Hvar and Andro Tomic Wines, and print clients include Qatar Airways inflight magazine, Out! magazine from New York, and Croatian Hotspots. 

I also provide website content services, including Agroturizam Pharos, Toto's Restaurant, European Coastal Airlines, Restaurant Gariful and Divota Aparthotel. Please contact me if you would like help with your website content.

I also write for Google News via Digital Journal - see my range of articles here

Ongoing writing projects:

A History of Hajduk Split, co-author with Frane Grgurevic

Around the World in 80 Disasters

Total Hvar in the Media:

Interview of the Month, Croatian Embassy in Washington (May 2013)

Special Feature in Globus Magazine (May 2013)

Featured on Croatian TV show, More (2012) - watch the report here

4-page special in Nedjelji Jutarnji, Croatia's leading paper (August 2014)

Interviews in Slobodna Dalmacija, Dalmacijanews, Radio Split

I am available for writing services. Please contact me on [email protected] 

Other websites:

Total Hvar - www.total-hvar.com 

Total Split - www.croatia-split.com

Total Inland Dalamtia - www.total-inland-dalmatia.com 

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