Beautiful corn flowers in the Kumrovec museum*
Beautiful corn flowers in the Kumrovec museum

I must admit that I was not at all keen when friends suggested taking me to visit Kumrovec. My interest in viewing Tito's birthplace is so lukewarm you could use it as an ice-pack! It didn't perk up, either, when, shortly before we reached the place, we screeched to a halt by a tall stone monument to Anton someone-or-other who wrote the Croatian national anthem.

I quickly changed my mind when we reached there, however. The whole village has been kept exactly as it was when Tito was a kid, only considerably cleaner and neater, I should imagine. The houses still stand in their individual yards, many of them are thatched with plaited straw, the barns are hung with drying corn and the houses are still warmed with large tiled stoves (or would be if the stoves were lit). The place is just utterly charming.

What really fascinated me, however, was the building given over to a display of "corn dollies" - decorative objects made out of straw. These were absolutely beautiful and I just wish that there had been fewer photographs and more than the four small cases of the actual objects. They were so wonderful that I actually made a special trip out there from Zagreb when my wife arrived just to show them to her and she was delighted with the place too.