Stari Grad (literally means Old Town) grabbed our attention straight away. It is one of the oldest towns in Europe and 2016 will see it celebrate its 2,400 year anniversary of it being a settlement with a festival and is a Unesco-protected World Heritage Site.
This is impressive enough, but it was the feeling we got as we walked through the tiny winding streets, carless and quiet, as if stepping back in time. The smooth well-worn pavements seemed to be telling us stories and every corner you turn, some friendly smiling face would say ‘dobar dan’ (good day) to us. Mind you, with all this sunshine and the most beautiful island to live on I knew we would be happy and smiley too.
We met up with a local estate agent and the first house we looked at we fell in love with – an old 4-story house situated on Duolnjo Kola, meaning First Street, just off the harbour with its many small fishing boats. It was in need of a lot of love and renovation but we both knew as we walked through the door that this was going to be home.
To be honest we didn’t know how or what we would do with it and we also didn’t expect to wait 11 years to find out, but in May 2004 the future Hidden House was ours (well kind of, but that is another story and a stressful one at that).
To cut a long story short (thank you Spandau Ballet), we didn’t lose our minds, although when we came back to Brighton and told everyone what we had done, many people thought we had. Croatia was not as well-known as it is now as a hot holiday destination and had just come out of a terrible war. But we saw something very special and knew it was going to be a great adventure.