Croatian Culture Shock

Hi Wonderers,

As you know, when you live somewhere for some time, you become accustomed to the norms. Then, you throw yourself into a new location and you start becoming unsure of how things work in the country.

Mr. Lumberjack and I noticed a handful of things when we were exploring Croatia. See below:

Restaurant Service

When we entered a restaurant, we stood at the door waiting for a hostess. However, we were never greeted by anyone and told where to sit. We would then approach someone to ask if we can sit anywhere, which was often the case.

Also, the waiter rarely stopped to check on us. This could be to give us time to enjoy our dinner. They would stop 3 times: once to give us the menu, another to take our order and then lastly give us our food. You have to flag the waiter when you are ready to pay.

Sunday = Rest Day

We were in Croatia for 3 Sundays, and a lot of shops didn’t open at all. Actually, some restaurants didn’t either. We knew Croatia had some religious influences, so we went to the open food market in case eateries weren’t available. Surprisingly, the major restaurants along the seaside were still open and they were open late too.

On top of that, we spent Christmas in Croatia. We asked the waiter if businesses will be open. There are some Christmas Eve events for the youth, but ultimately Christmas is for the family. Therefore, stores and restaurants won’t be open. Keep that in mind and stock up on food those days.

Tipping at Restaurants

The question of tipping always pops up when I travel. You never want to tip and be offensive. On the other hand, you don’t want to NOT tip and the waiter infers he did a bad job. Also, they are probably are underpaid and rely on tips.

This one we googled. In Croatia, you do/can tip. It isn’t as strong as in some countries like the USA. We read the general rule is to round up to the nearest 10. For example, if your meal was 165 hrk, then I would pay 170 hrk if I wanted to tip.

Strong Coffee Culture

There are a lot of opportunities for coffee in Croatia. You have cafés, restaurants and bakeries and coffee is served throughout the day. When we just wanted to enjoy the moment, we would grab a cup and hang out and people watch.

Here, if you want cream, you need to say “coffee with milk,” not “latte.” The milk here is thicker than the U.S., so it is oretty similar to cream. I don’t drink coffee, but I enjoyed the fragrant smell. Reminds me of home.

Neat/ Evening Dress

In the day, some people where sweats and jeans. It can be very casual. Some are very well-dressed too, but I think it is acceptable to wear comfy clothes. People are running errands and enjoying the outdoors, so it makes sense.

The evening is a different story. A lot of the women were dressed very nicely, almost like they were heading to a fine dining restaurant. I barely any clothes. The nicest thing I had was a pair of jeans, and I definitely felt underdressed.

Cold Tiles Superstition

On our first day, our host told us she supplied us with slippers. She said that the apartment is old, so it can get cold. Mr. Lumberjack and I thanked her but didn’t think much about it. I am Asian, so we just walk in our socks or barefoot. Don’t worry, those slippers later came in handy.

Later, we walked along the coast and see these two old men stand up and grab their cardboard cutouts. I did some research and it turns out there is a Croatian superstition, similar to a Mexican one. If you step or sit on cold tiles, you can easily get sick.

Overall, I had a fun time time learning so much about this culture. I really didn’t know much about its history, food and geography. Therefore, I felt the culture shock- more than usual for a European country.

There is a language barrier, even in the major tourists cities I went. However, the people are polite to everyone and everyone just minds their own business. I felt very welcomed in this country.



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