(This is the first in a series of blogs on Europe and its banknotes by Robert’s daughter who recently travelled through Europe.)
It was early October, I sat in this beautiful café tucked away from the busy streets of old town. I was hidden in this cozy alcove surrounded by old stone walls and candle lights. It was my first night in Split after a beautiful three hour bus journey from Dubrovnik earlier that day. I was falling in love with Croatia. It was the kind of day where my biggest challenge was deciding if the water was turquoise blue, aqua blue, or green blue and my biggest decision was choosing red or white wine with dinner. I chose red.
The waiter was a lovely tall Croatian man, whose English was perfect (my Croatian vocabulary consisted of Havala, which I’m certain I pronounced wrong!) We got caught up in conversation and since it was a slow Tuesday evening he gladly engaged. I learned about the former Yugoslavia country, the somewhat recent wars, their fast growing tourism industry, and his daily life. When he brought up Croatia joining the EU in 2013, I had to ask him about their currency.
I was excited to see Croatia using the Kuna and not the Euro. (While traveling through so many Euro countries was convenient considering my math conversion skills, it was nice to see a country with their own currency.) I have seen banknotes from nearly every corner of the world and I am always looking for new stories or hidden art. (I’ll have to write a blog on the hidden picture on the Czech Republic’s Korun!)
The waiter found my interest in the banknotes peculiar but he indulged my curiosity. He asked me if I knew the history behind the Kuna, I did not. Smiling, he explained to me that the Croatian word “kuna” means marten (which is similar to a ferret, since I had to ask!) He explained that marten or kuna pelts where used in Medieval times as a form of value in trading and currency. It was only fitting that their banknote currency would be denoted in Kunas.
I loved this. I got to spend an amazing ten days exploring Croatia. I fell madly in love with the turquoise/aqua/green blue waters, gorgeous Romanesque ruins, scenery, people, food, and wine. I left full of happiness, with a couple hundred pictures, and great stories to share, such as this one.
I told my father this fun Kuna fact and he hoped some of you may find it interesting as I did.