GIRLS JUST WANNA HAVE FUN
As an American expat, I am always on the look-out for exciting ways to enjoy my Croatian experience. Well – I am happy to say – I found it. And what a jewel of a find. We attended the Rockabilly Party on the BOTEL – a boat / hotel docked on the Rijeka shore – and what a party it was!
Live music to hits from the 1950s and 1960s – which meant, of course, dancing and whimsical dress-up. The evening’s festivities also included pin-up girls, a game of chance, and a constantly replenished, complete smorgasbord of meats, cheeses, cold salads and desserts – with open bar – and free champagne at midnight. With such a great vibe in the air, smiling newcomers wandered in after 1 am to join in on the hey-daddy-o beat. If I had my chance, it was the kind of New Year’s Eve you could celebrate at least a few times a year.
WHY THE BOTEL IS – WELL – UNIQUE
The historical BOTEL Marina was built in Sweden back in 1936, and named after the newlywed crown princess of Sweden, Ingrid, who was later known for her courageous resistance during WWII.
Many years later, the vessel was used as an island-hopping ferry boat here in Croatia. After it was retired from its official duties, it was reincarnated as a fully functioning “pocket of joy” and for the past four years, has been a popular edition to the nightlife of central Rijeka. Completely reburbished, it is quite elegant, with rooms accomodating two to four persons, as well as a somewhat cheaper dorm option for travelling students and other frugal guests.
To this day, it is the ONLY boat-hotel combination on the Mediterranean Sea! (and that is covering quite a lot of territory).
HOW TO BOOK THE BOTEL
Located directly on the Rijeka Riva (shoreline), it is available for weddings, seminars and private events. Family owned and operated by Andrea and Jelena Kusheta , it has a level of customer service that is hard to find outside the USA. The smiling receptionist above is Alexandra – she was kind enough to show me around.
The book featured above explains the Botel’s history, written in both Croatian and English.
The Botel can be reached directly at +385.(0)51.410.162, alternatively http://www.botel-marina.com/
Not only is the location ideal, Breakfast is included 🙂
SOLD OUT – AGAIN!
Needless to say, this year’s New Year’s Eve Rockabilly Night was sold out – for the fourth year in a row!
For those who follow Croatian holidays, one of the funniest events of the year occurs between New Year in January and Easter in March or April. Better known by its French name as Mardi Gras, the Croatian version of the very same thing is called Maškarada – or Mascarade. It was one of the few opportunities for the Croatian peasants to be able to poke fun at their politicians without being severly reprimanded. People very cleverly learned how to make costumes from old clothes and it was more preposterous and silly than its scarier English cousin, Halloween.
Believe it or not, the best place to experience Maskerade is in Rijeka! I don’t know why this is so -but it is. It is an event that people prepare for and think about months in advance with an exorbitant parade and judging. It is on the news and lasts 2-3 weeks before Lent begins. Click here to see how people dress for it – group costumes are especially popular.
It is not a bad idea to consider booking a night in Rijeka for the wild and crazy festivities! This year, Maskarade starts on January 17 and ends on February 14, 2018. The hostels are booking up – and – there is always the BOTEL.
Here is a link to the Rijeka Tourist Board – and – in case I didn’t tell you before – Happy New Year 2018!