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Rab/Arba is a small island, 22 km long and located in the northwestern part of the Adriatic Sea/Croatia, very easy accessible from Rijeka or Zagreb. When you reach the ferry port Stinica, it’s a ten minutes ferry ride to Rab. When you approach the island, first what you see is mostly barren terrain -karst on the northeastern side of the island, while the southwestern side is covered by one of the last oak forests of the Mediterranean, justifying its name: the Illyrian-Liburnian word Arb meant „dark, obscure, green, forested“.

I have been visiting the island of Rab every year for the last five years, always at the same time: the end of June. I always look forward to this short retreat, four days refuge from busy everyday life. This is my friends- time, me-time: my bestie owns a house in Banjol, and she hosts our „Ladies Weekends“.

We read books, meditate, take long walks, discuss various subjects, cook, sunbathe, swim, talk a lot and sometimes just sit in silence or coach each other. Everything we do moves in flow, effortlessly and with ease. Oh yes, our weekend lasts four to five days!

I love islands, that much you already know about me. Why? Well, because most of them – when you move away from the busy ports and bigger cities – are still wild at heart, still without any light-pollution and never overcrowded.

What to I feel first when I step out of the car on Rab?
The scent of immortelle. Fields and fields of immortelle in karst. By the end of June, its blooming time is almost over, it’s the scent is not overly dense and overpowering. Warning: if you go picking immortelle flowers, do not pull. Cut. If you pull, you might pull out the whole plant with roots. Collecting immortelle is regulated by law, be kind to Nature and protect it!

Lavender. It is in full bloom. The scent of sea and pine trees rolling in gently with an evening breeze. Scorched red earth at noon. Laurel, olive, lemon and fig trees. The scent of palm trunks in the afternoon, suntan lotions and creams on the beach.

Oleander flowers, bright pink and deep red mostly. Sage, rosemary, and basil in the garden. A pitcher of lemonade on the table. Freshly baked cheesecake my friend just took out of the oven. My own skin, salty after swimming in the sea, hair becoming more and more curly after each swim…

While you are visiting the island, do try „Rapska torta“ – yes, this island has its own cake, made with almonds and Maraschino liqueur. There are many small shops offering chocolate with lavender, immortelle oil, lavender oil and differents products, olive oil, dried figs etc.

Visit the city of Rab: the town has a long history that dates back to 360BC. There are many churches and historical sights, Gothic and Renaissance palaces and the town itself is in the form of a ship. I personally do prefer to go there before June 15th (an unofficial start of the full tourist season…) but if you like big fieras, do not miss the medieval Festival (Fiera), held from 25th to 27th July, when Rab celebrates its patron St Cristopher.

Rab is called „The happy island“: it is perfect for a family holiday, hiking or biking trips, or lovers escape…as it is recorded that on the 11th of August 1936. King Edward and his future bride arrived at the island of Rab, anchoring right in front of Banjola beach.

They took a boat ashore where they were met with various dignitaries of the town of Rab and visited the sights. After the official part of the visit, King Edward and Lady Simpson got naked and dived into the sea in the bay of Kandarola on the Frkanj peninsula.

Naked swimming is still so much fun. On beaches marked “Nudists beach”, of course.

In the western part of the island, there are beaches with cliffs, in the southern part gravel shores and in the northern part there are many sandy beaches. The most famous one: Paradise Beach.

Summer, sea, sand and…Scents, scents, what were you thinking! 😀

And perfumes. I took with me one of my Acqua dell’Elba perfumes: Elba is a little bigger than Rab but really very similar. The Mediterranean climate, plants, trees and Nature tie these two islands more than either will ever confess 😀

Essenza di un isola – Acqua is a fragrance for women and men, great for hot weather and so compliant with surroundings on the island of Rab: salt and citruses, myrtle and jasmine with red algae, summery bright, light blue… It really smells exactly like my days on Rab! It’s kind of more Adriatic Sea related perfume than the rest in their collection…and during cold winter days it serves as a reminder of summer…for me, but my husband and son spray-on abundantly too 😀

I am a fan of Acqua dell’Elba perfumes ever since I visited Elba, you can read more about their perfumes and an interview with one of the owners here.

Since Croatia has more than 1000 islands, I don’t really think that I will report from each and every one I visit(ed): if you do, do let me know where did you go and what olfactory impressions did you take home!

The Plum Girl
Photos: The Plum Girl
Samples provided by: Acqua dell’Elba
Opinions of my own.

Every time I think about Barcelona I hear Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballe (Barcelona! It was the first time that we met…Barcelona! How can I forget!), see broken pieces of colorful ceramic tiles forming a big lizard, I feel sea salt touching fingertips of Christopher Colombo high up on his monument and hear parrots nesting on a palm tree.

Freddie’s song sparkles and echoes on Placa d’Espana. The Magic Fountain is a free music and light show that is not to be missed, a fantastic display of water, light, and music.

I keep returning to this city, each and every time discovering it all over again. The most photogenic city in the World, they say? It certainly is! When you look at the sandy beech of Barcelonetta (just a walking distance from Plaza Catalunya)

or Rambla with its distinctive pavement, the almost finished Cathedral Sagrada Familia

Barri Gotic

or Parc Guell

you will find this true. These are must-see spots but there are so many hidden streets and corners, palaces and old Roman ruins, gardens brimmed with lush flowers and amazing fountains.

I’ve always had a soft spot for cities located at any sea or ocean coastline, I can’t imagine living far far away from the sea. The Mediterranean culture is a strong connection for me: I feel at home in Barcelona!

Just take a look at numbers: more than 270000 people living there are – foreigners. Roughly 1 million tourists visit Barcelona per week and this is the largest metropolis on the Mediterranean sea!

The scents and sounds of Barcelona…mornings are slow until 10 AM but nights are lively after 10 PM!

I think it’s a great city for art and history lovers but foodies and hedonists as well. Like when you sit down in a restaurant with your friends after sunset, order amb tomàquet (toasts smeared with tomato, salt, olive oil, and garlic), a pitcher of Sangria or any other fine wine from this region and nibble on so many varieties of – tapas.

Or when you enter the famous Bouqueria Market, where you can find the essence of Barcelona’s food culture – meat and poultry, local hams and sausages, an amazing assortment of fish, baked goods, condiments, cheeses, olive oils, fruits, vegetables and jamon jamon hanging everywhere!

Yet, this city is full of contrasts: you might want to visit the Picasso Museum and get lost deep in the Gothic Quarter of the city (my favorite part of Barcelona), where a maze of winding streets leads to pretty squares and beautiful buildings.

Don’t look at the map too often: the beauty of this part of the city is in wandering the backstreets and discovering the hidden museums, churches, markets, and landmarks for yourself…and it does remind me of Carner’s new perfume Megalium (read my full review Carner Barcelona – the new collection), when I take a closer look at these remains of an ancient Roman temple:

Carner Barcelona, definitely. You get the precise feeling and full meaning of their perfumes here. Just as you can easily connect with Ramon Monegal and Rosendo Mateu, together with Santi Burgas proudly exhibited in the spotlight of niche perfumeries. Don’t miss stopping and shop at La Basílica Galería, located between the ancient walls of a building in the historic Jewish quarter of Barcelona or Perfumerías Regia, related to the Museum of Perfumes. The Regia boutique goes back to 1928. when a young perfumer Josep Giralt decided to participate in the World Exhibition of 1929. In Barcelona. His small shop became a sensation and a quite exquisite perfumery.

There are many other olfactory connections to Barcelona. Let’s not forget that the mighty Puig is also based here, with owned brands such as Carolina Herrera, Nina Ricci, Paco Rabanne, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Penhaligon’s and L’Artisan Parfumeur; licenses such as Prada, Valentino, Christian Louboutin and Comme des Garçons and revenues of €1,935 million in 2017!

Some new brands emerged as well: during my stay I had an opportunity to meet Romy Kowalewsky, the founder of 27_87 („I gave the World the date and year of my birth, won’t tell you the month, you don’t need to know my horoscope sign!“, she laughs…).

It took her five years to start from a written project: determination and passion combined created unconventional perfumes. She invited perfumers Max Buxton (with countless niche projects behind him), Daniela Andrier (many Prada creations) and Shyamala Maisondieu (worked for Diesel, Lanvin, Tom Ford etc.) to create something – completely different. Bold and ah! so Millennial? Her story is very inspiring.

So here we are, talking about Wanderlust, Elixir de Bombe, Hamaca and #hashtag perfumes:


My more detailed review of 27_87 will follow, and I am certainly looking forward to something that’s Romy now working on, soon to be revealed (psssst!).

When you start walking the wide sidewalk of boulevard Passeig de Gracia, very near to Gaudi’s Casa Milà and Casa Batllo there is a small niche perfumery close to those magnificent buildings:

Perfumerías Regia. On its entrance only those who are searching for it will notice this sign:

Museum of Perfumes or Museu del Perfum in Catalan!

You have to walk through the perfumery and at its end is a narrow hallway leading to an ordinary door, locked and so ordinary looking. The entrance ticket is 5EUR and just me and my friend were there at the time, although crowds of tourists swarmed this street.

At the first glimpse, I was overwhelmed! This collection holds more than five thousand perfume related artifacts and it is a must-see place for any perfume lover!

Well, for the next two hours all you could hear coming from that direction were my oooh’s and aaaah’s: I was in heaven!

Let me show you just small bits and pieces of this amazing collection: the first part of the collection features Egyptian, Etruscan, Greek and Roman containers for fragrance:

Then you can move on to the second part, with creations of Guerlain, L.T. Piver, Roger & Gallet, Jean-Marie Farina, and others:

Further on, various brands from different parts of the World are displayed, vintage beauties:

I even found this display featuring vintage Neva perfumes from Croatia (Croacia), fragrances my grandmother used on everyday basis:

And so much more!

When you visit Barcelona, take it easy. Slow down. Look around you and enjoy!

Start your day with a cup of coffee with milk (cafe con leche), get used to crowds of tourists and try to siesta.

Learn some Catalan: Bon dia or Bona tarda is not that hard to remember. I always ask: Com es diu en catala?/How do you say…in Catalan – because I genuinely do want to learn…and no n’hi ha prou amb una llengua! (One language is never enough…)

Barcelona – La musica vibró
Barcelona – Y ella nos unió
And if God willing we will meet again, someday…

The Plum Girl
Photos: The Plum Girl

„According to the legend, Venus lost her necklace during a sea bath and the pearls scattered in the waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea. It created a beautiful string of islands with Elba as the most beautiful of its jewels.”

This August I visited the island of Elba, during our summer road trip to Tuscany.

Here we go again, my son said in Piombino when we boarded a ferry: “Here we go again, a ferry&an island”. Because we have a summer cottage on the island of Brac, Croatia and his all childhood memories of summer vacations are tied mostly to that island, which he loves deeply. There are many similarities between the two! I felt at home. Yes, I am in love with seas, yes, my soul anchors in seas and yes! I need a vitamin sea often!

During the ride, I mostly enjoyed the scent of the Tyrrhenian sea. On your way you pass the island Palmaiola:


Upon arrival in Portoferraio, we started to explore the island, ancient and rich in history.

The legend says that Argonauts rested here, pirates invaded it now and then, it has had many rulers throughout its history. Napoleon was exiled to Elba in 1814. He fell in love with it and carried many reforms to improve the quality of life on the island. He did escape after 300 days spent there…This is a view from the outer wall of the garden of his former residence:



Of course, Napoleon is still present here 🙂 Take a look:


Every island is predetermined by the sea that surrounds it. The scent of the sea is ever-present and changing, it is not the same in the mornings, evenings or nights, it is not the same in January or August, it is not the same depending on from which direction wind blows. The scent of the sea mingles with flora on the island, fragrances of sunbathed low plants in the noon, fig-trees respiring in hot summer evenings, eucalyptus trees murmuring in the wind, citruses protruding every here and there…


When I walked the streets of Portoferraio after an afternoon spent on the beach, I searched for Acqua dell’Elba stores, knowing these perfumes are the only possible souvenirs I will take home with me:


Not only did I enjoy these perfumes in situ, I also bring you a short interview with one of the owners. I was so fascinated with their effort that I just had to find out more!

The heart of Acqua dell’Elba is in the laboratory in Marciana Marina, where the owners, Chiara, Fabio, and Marco have worked since 2000. Together with master craftsmen who gave life to their perfumes. It was also here that the first Acqua dell’ Elba shop was born. The story of how the company has been born is interesting as well: the three owners went sailing in their boat. They reached Paolina’s cliff, where an ancient ivory statue kept the secret of the essence in its top. So they decided to recreate that fragrance, the scent of the sea surrounding Elba…you can find more details on their web page, but this is what they told me, Q and A’s.


Q: Is there a difference between Italian and French perfumery?

A: The only difference in our sector is between mass and niche products. Even if we’re trying to expand our markets and enlarge the number of people how know and appreciate Acqua dell’Elba, we are a still small company, operating in a niche, who share with other niche companies the same values: authenticity, passions, uniqueness.

Q: How would you describe the style of your creations?

A: Acqua dell’Elba is the Essence of the Sea. Its uniqueness lies in the creation of artisan fragrances inspired by the sea in one of the most beautiful island of the Mediterranean Sea. Each product is created by expert Tuscan craftsmen using natural raw materials of the highest quality.

Q: What do you think is the biggest challenge in perfume production today?

A: Being authentic, meaning by that the capacity to maintain a link with your roots, your territory, and your background. As for the wine sector, the perfumery industry should work much more on the concept of “terroir”.

Q: Which one is your favorite in the collection?

A: As a man who likes nature and a wooden tone, my favorite is Arcipelago Uomo. (An aromatic and flowery fragrance for him with notes of -Spices: sage, pepper, and rosemary -Flowers: lily-of-the-valley and jasmine -Woods: Mediterranean shrubs, cedarwood, and cypress)

Q: Which one would you say represents the very soul of Elba?

A: All Acqua dell’Elba’s products bring to people a piece of Elba: The elegance of the landscapes with Classica; the adventure of the nature with Arcipelago; the deep of the sea with Blu; the energy of the wind with Sport; the essence of an island with Acqua, Smeraldo, and Altrove.

Q: I recently purchased three different Acqua dell’Elba perfumes. While visiting Elba I went for a swim on Portoferraio city beach and after that, sea salt still in my hair, I walked into one of your shops. Smeraldo was my first choice because my afternoon smelled just like that. Which one is for you is the scent of a romantic evening on Elba?

A: Acqua, the perfume for the couple, the perfume of love… (A fragrance for ladies and gentlemen with notes of – Fruits and Spices: citrus fruits, myrtle berries, and sea salt -Flowers: marine algae, sea moss, myrtle, and jasmine – Woods: cedarwood)

The perfume of love. For the sea…A sea lover I am and I find that simply beautiful. Now I have a dream: I would love to work on the creation of a perfume speaking in olfactory language about the island of Brac as well!

The Plum Girl

Photos: ThePlumGirl private collection and Acqua dell’ Elba 

Perfume notes: as stated by Acqua dell’Elba


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