Life in Lika: Varenike, basa, some kola and Lika poles from the oven

The village of Krbavica, about 13 kilometers from the town of Korenica. This mentality of people is difficult to explain. That habit of getting up around six, after which a quick breakfast of basa (homemade cheese), eggs, ham, bacon, and tea or coffee with homemade varenika is prepared. It moves on. Cattle are being grazed. They go to the surrounding hills and look after the sheep, and the cows have long been “independently”  in their own pastures.


After two or three hours, it returns home, and husbands, fathers, and brothers go to the field to mow hay and prepare fresh grass for drying. Mothers and grandmothers stay to make lunch, and when the “sun hits” we are all together.



Krbavica, basa, Korenica, varenika, kola, #homemade, Plitvice Lakes, Nikola Tesla, Lika

Lika, Photo: Jelena Mirić


Let’s go eat, “The devil is burning you, the lunch is getting cold” my grandmother often repeated while she was angry that they did not enter the house. “You’re running around, as if I have time to stand by the stove all day,” Mira often grumbled. There is always a cooked dish on the table together with homegrown onion, kola (the local name for homemade bread), and something sweet to get through the day. As the younger ones, we were spared to help further, while the adults continue with their work, until dark.


Krbavica, basa, Korenica, varenika, kola, #homemade, Plitvice Lakes, Nikola Tesla, Lika

Lika, Photo: Krešimir Sokčević Pixabay


Grandma knew how to make the best pole (potato halves) from the oven, with the addition of bacon, then, as a meat eater, I was happy to eat various specialties, but now as a vegetarian, I practice the same recipe, only without meat. I won’t even talk about her #homemade linden tea! Around nine, half past ten in the evening, we are all bathed and ready to go to bed.


I could describe days like this until tomorrow, precisely because they are no longer there. There is no carefreeness of me as a child, no escape from civilization, as well as the fulfillment of having a full house. I want to write about them! About people who cherish traditions, true values and live their lives regardless of what happens in the “real world”. How and why is green swimsuits with tassels or blonde hair IN this summer? Who cares, when they’re swimming in their underpants in the cold ravines, and it’s right there, on the way, while they rush to another job.


Krbavica, basa, Korenica, varenika, kola, #homemade, Plitvice Lakes, Nikola Tesla, Lika

Lika, Photo: Božica Uglešić Unsplash


I once asked my uncle, who returned after studying in Zagreb and still lives there, Ćićko, what keeps you from still living there alone, with so many animals and in your own planet.” Although, I never got the answer, I saw in his eyes that there was something in it and that not everyone can do it. Subordinate your life to nature, animals, fields and life outside the signal? You know, it’s not that bad actually.


There are very few people left in the local villages, many houses have been demolished since ancient times, many have left ‘to seek one’s fortune, and many are simply in the other world.


It makes me very sad how much more could be invested in Lika tourism, including the Plitvice Lakes, the birthplace and Nikola Tesla Memorial Centre, as well as, the highways to the sea, wow! All my life I fantasized about reading reports and articles about my roots, habits, lives, and “freelancers” who spent a day in the valley. You have no idea what kind of stories could be told by people who, apparently “uneducated”, know how to tell their life, war, and everyday topics.


Krbavica, basa, Korenica, varenika, kola, #homemade, Plitvice Lakes, Nikola Tesla, Lika

Lika in winter, Photo: Jelena Mirić


What’s also interesting is that in grandma’s old closets, some dresses and shirts are now IN, wow, what a paradox of “backward people” who are ahead of time.


In every yard, there is a well, a shack with wood that is ready for the big winters, as well as a guard dog. You will not pass an unpaved road without hearing the barking of the German shepherd Rocky or Bingo! There are no shops in the valley, and the first one is in the nearby town of Korenica, as well as cafes. Going to the shops is done once a week, of course for necessities, because they have everything else at home. Yes, I almost forgot that daily newspapers and crosswords are regularly bought. Also, old newspapers are picked up from the cafe to read what happened in the previous days. 


Domaćica (biscuits) and napolitanke (wafers) are something you cannot show up without if you are visiting guests. It’s simply GUŠT (pleasure). Now that you know the recipe to receive you as guests – you are welcome to come (to us).



I absorb the world, write my dreams.

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