In this season’s last episode, and the very last episode in this first year of Croatia Underrated, I’m bringing you an end-of-the-year special. An overview: the best of this podcast in 2021.
This podcast covers a variety of topics. I’m hoping this episode will help you understand better what to expect, in case you haven’t listened to it carefully yet. Maybe you bumped into just some of the episodes that weren’t really your thing. For those of you who enjoy listening to it regularly, I’m hoping to bring back some fun moments.
Listen to the entire episode, or scroll down to read about it:
TOP 5 MOST POPULAR EPISODES
Let’s get straight to the point with a list of the all-time favorite, most-listened-to, most popular episodes!
Shout-out episodes are meant to recommend certain experiences. If you’re looking for things to do in Croatia, search for the Shout Out episodes. This episode recommends Haunted Dubrovnik, and you seemed to have enjoyed it a lot:
Episodes marked as Castlebusters uncover the secrets of numerous Croatian castles. One of those ceremonially opened this podcast – the first story is dedicated to the unusual castle of Valpovo.
The whole idea about this podcast started with me spending an entire afternoon going through poor reviews of Croatian attractions. That’s where the name comes from, too. Croatia Underrated, both in ratings and in places or tales that are not in the big picture. I found it so amusing that I wanted to share the laughs with the world and, at first I thought that would be the whole concept of the show. People giving 1 star reviews to UNESCO heritage sights, criticizing the natural sights, so funny! The 1 Star Croatia episodes are trying to work as a comical overview of actual terrible reviews left online by real tourists, reviews of places that I personally love. I’m glad you seemed to like those episodes, too. One of your favorite episodes is full of poor reviews of Zagreb:
No 2 – S01 Ep14 – Nature – The City and Its River
It would be better if I filed this episode under Train of Thought because it’s a contemplation about the relation between the city of Zagreb and its river. There’s also a lot of history and curiosities included. I was super unhappy with this episode when I recorded it because I really think I sound like I’m on my deathbed. But hey, it’s the second most-listened-to episode! I’d love to reproduce that voice if that’s what works, but I don’t know where did I find it in the first place:)
No 1 – S01 Ep08 Quick Croatian Class – Hrvatska
The most-listened-to episode is a part of the Quick Croatian Class series. I recorded as many as 4 Quick Croatian Classes, and I have been enjoying working on them, thinking about the possible confusion for someone who doesn’t speak Croatian when they try to learn it. I’m glad that some of you thought they were fun, too. I’m going to talk about this episode some more a bit later because it also happens to be one of my personal favorites.
TOP 5 MOST POPULAR IN THEIR FIRST WEEK AFTER BEING PUBLISHED
Now, most of these episodes are from S01, the first part of the year, and obviously, they had more time to get more listeners. Why don’t we then check out the list of Top 5 when it comes to the most listeners in the first week after going live.
Here’s a quick list of top 5 episodes based on the number of listeners in their first week, without any additional explanations.
No 5 – S02 Ep16 – Quick Croatian Class – Holiday Greetings
No 4 – S02 Ep 01 – Train of Thought – What’s in a Name
No 3 – S02 Ep10 – Legends & Mysteries – Witches
No 2 – S02 Ep02 – 1 Star Croatia – Churches
No 1 – S02 Ep14 – Folk Customs – St Nicholas Day Joys and Scares
MY PERSONAL TOP 5
I thought it would be fun to add just one more short list – my personal Top 5 favorite episodes:
Why? There are so many ancient traditions in Croatia, and a lot of them are close to extinction. Precisely because they are rooted in pre-Christian times, they cease to be popular. Croatia still has a rather big portion of the population that considers themselves Roman Catholics and many people find these links with the distant past almost offensive.
It doesn’t help that the proofs of ancient beliefs are so intangible. We often have nothing but placenames and folk songs to decipher them.
I honestly feel like I’m contributing to their preservation just by talking about them. That’s why I love working on the Folk Customs series, and sharing traditions, believes, superstitions of old. St George’s day customs are an example. Also, St George stands as a symbol of the mysticism of my own hometown.
Why? I have been Working on a project based in the town of Valpovo throughout this year, and I first visited the town at the beginning of the year. I didn’t expect to find the dragon tower, and that left me in awe, I simply wanted to share the fascination. I am glad the story about Valpovo castle opened Croatia Underrated. It was a good sign, that the podcasting will put me on a quest to find more of these fascinating histories. That’s still my hope for the future of this podcasting journey. That it will bring unexpected discoveries my way, and hopefully inspire someone else to discover those places.
Why? I have been a member of Interpret Europe, the European association of heritage interpretation for a while; however, it has long been my wish to get to know the approach of another association for heritage interpretation – the American NAI (National Association for Interpretation). That wish was fulfilled amid the pandemic when NAI made their training available online. I instantly joined the education to become a certified interpretive guide; this episode is based on my final exam.
I am one of those weirdoes who never skips the cemetery when visiting a city. My first time in Paris included 4 cemeteries plus catacombs. I usually look for details that could be hiding some kind of a story or a mystery, sparking imagination. I know that, usually, an overall impression that I give away is that of a rather light attitude. That’s probably because I don’t always take everyday life too seriously.
But don’t be deceived. My first childhood crush was Dylan Dog, my favorite writer Edgar Allan Poe(whether you need to cancel-culture him or not), my favorite feeling is melancholia. I love dark arts, dark tales, and even dark places. It’s just that I have other fascinations, too, as you can tell from the variety of topics covered in this podcast alone. It all depends on which of my personalities takes over the mic for the particular episode 🙂 Well, the goth Iva gets curious about the cemeteries. Through this episode, I’m hoping to talk to people who can relate to that (I also hope I’m not successfully warding everyone else off.)
Why? When I was a kid, I wanted to become a paranormal investigator and this is still not completely out of the picture. For me, Rogoznica is a town where I can’t find anything common – a dream come true. Each corner is filled with crazy legends and mysteries. That’s just how I see it. Also, just like with the first episode about Valpovo, I hope that this episode could be useful for travelers if they decide to visit Rogoznica. I would like to create more similar episodes with concrete ideas on what to see, what to do in certain locations. They are also the ones that take the most research which I love to do.
END OF THE YEAR TOUGHTS
That’s it for this year’s last episode. I can’t believe the year has come to an end. Croatia Underrated has developed into my major project this year. Thank you all for your support and encouragement. As I mentioned so many times on this podcast, I didn’t really have big expectations, I wanted to do it because I hoped it would be fun to try it, plus it was a challenge that I took during an educational project I was working on. I would be happy if I just tried it, and stuck to it for a while until I lost interest. Which would probably happen without listeners.
But now, when I hear from you, when I see the numbers of downloads in different parts of the world… It’s an incredibly humbling and rewarding feeling. Each episode and each interaction with you makes me take the task more seriously, get more ideas, create bigger plans, and new benefits for all of us. I hope next year will bring more uplifting Croatian stories about all the underrated Croatian tales and destinations to your homes!
With this episode, we’re concluding this year. There will be no shows all the way till March. I hope that will give a lot of you some time to catch up with the podcast, get to know it a bit better, and hopefully, you grow to like it and we’ll spend more time together in 2022.
In the meantime, if you’re enjoying this show, please help out by subscribing to it on your favorite podcast service. Please, leave a review. You can review all your favorite podcasts, including Croatia Underrated, on iTunes or Podchaser. Let’s connect on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook! Here at croatiaunderrated.com you can read the stories if you by any chance prefer that over listening.
The good thing about the website is that you can easily find the topics you prefer. Plus, there are several fun personality quizzes available – two at the moment. The more popular one is Which Witch Are You? And you can also try out Which Underrated Croatian Destination Are You? There is another quiz coming up before next season, and that one should help you find the best episodes of Croatia Underrated that match your personality. You will be notified about such updates on social media, and there is an option to subscribe to the mailing list on the website.
Let me know what you liked about the podcast, is there any type of stories that you particularly enjoy or something you’d love to learn more about.
I wanted to start a podcast for a long while, it was just a little dream of mine. A dream that is not that hard to meet. I am honestly humbled by the interest and the support I keep getting. Thank you to everyone who reached out in these past months. I am aware that it’s hard to always like or agree with everything you hear on the show.
In the two months of a break when it comes to actual publishing of the shows, I will be working, preparing more stories, hopefully recording some interviews and I really hope that you will enjoy the next season of Croatia Underrated.
I’m going to do my best to start recording interviews. There are so many amazing people I’d love to invite on the show and my only worry right now is how this is going to sound. It took me a while to get a hold on a storytelling show like this, with just me as a host. But hey, isn’t new Year made for new challenges?
I can’t wait to get back! In the meantime, happy new year! Sretna nova godina!