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Bette’s Blog: Brela

I was looking at pictures today of our old stone house in Brela that looks out onto the Adriatic Sea and remembering how very beautiful the Dalmatian Coast is. Brela is approximately 25 miles south of Split in an area called ”The Makarska Riviera”. Makaska is the largest of the towns in this seaside paradise. When you see Brela you will surely know why Forbes Magazine has named Brela the most beautiful beach in Europe. The water is aqua and it looks like the water inside a pool. From our terrace we look out onto Brac and the islands. Even though we are located on Puget Sound here in Seattle, nothing can compare with the beauty of the Adriatic Sea. When Joe and I walk down to the sea, we walk through olive groves, past our neighbors’ fig trees, pomegranate bushes and a fantastic garden. Our neighbors’ garden looks like art with the vegetables carefully placed in straight rows and of course everything is organic. I call our neighbor’s garden the “secret garden”.

In June when the sour cherries are harvested we, along with our neighbors, make cherry brandy. In a very large jar –  approximately a gallon – we place sour cherries, sugar and this “white lightening” that is distilled from the remains of the grapes after the wine is made – similar to grappa. Joe’s sister along with Joe’s brothers and nephews make the wine for the entire family.  I believe that Joe’s portion is 300 gallons. Now, that is a lot of wine. We always have the guests from our tours to our old, stone house for drinks and munchies while they are with us. Everyone enjoys it and we sample the wine and the brandy.  I can hardly wait to get back to Croatia, the sunshine, the relaxed lifestyle and our homemade wine, our cherry brandy, our fig marmalade and our pomegranate juice from our very own pomegranates.