Josip Turk: Due to the landslide and the narrowed road, guests will not be able to arrive, which threatens our existence

Author  Blanka Kufner

January 10, 2024

The Turk family is the only one living in Kupari in Risnjak National Park, not far from the enchanting source of the Kupa River. Josip and his wife Helena decided to raise their daughters in this paradise, on Josip's ancestral home. 

However, for years, their life has been made difficult by numerous adversities, of which this is the last in a series impossibility of access by car to your own home.

Namely, because of the landslide that opened a few months ago, the road was narrowed and their car was parked about 300 meters away.

Rural tourism near Josip 

The family works through the tourism and catering business Daisy deals with the provision of household services - they rent out rooms, a Robinson's house is also planned, and offer home-cooked meals to guests. They called the autochthonous rural household Rural tourism Kod Josip.

They focused on organic farming because home-made, healthy and quality food is increasingly appreciated. 

"The fish that ends up on our guests' plates is from local ponds, and we offer quality cheeses and other products from the surrounding OPGs. In the future, we plan to further strengthen the offer", say the Turk spouses.

Josip has always been attracted to life in nature, working on the land and with animals, so he wanted to create "something of his own" in the long run.

His parents renovated a traditional house, and he started a tourist rental with the help of his wife. Most guests come in summer, he has no significant interest for the winter period, but he has various other work, he says.

Wherever he lived abroad, he always lacked something, so he returned to his homeland, from which he no longer wants to be separated. Over the years, in addition to French, he has mastered Italian and English, which is extremely useful to him today.

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Photo: Željko Raukar
Rural tourism near Josip
Photo: Željko Raukar

Fly fishing

Their guests are mostly foreigners - French, Germans, Austrians and Italians - who are attracted by sport fishing on the Kupa. Namely, the source area is one of the most attractive areas on a European scale, and their house is located only a 40-minute walk from the source.

Therefore, visitors can come on foot from the village of Hrvatsko in one day, and then walk to the spring, a hydrogeomorphological monument of nature. They often stop on the way back to refresh themselves with a drink and homemade strudel or cheese, and some decide to have a hearty lunch.

Fly fishing is popular in many European countries. It is sport fishing, which implies that the catch is returned. This is very important because it is the only way to preserve biological diversity and protect rivers. 

The fishing season starts in mid-May and lasts until October 15. It is allowed to fish with a fly rod and one artificial fly, and it is possible to buy fishing licenses and tickets at the Turk family.

"We are very satisfied with the structure of our guests, and they often return to us, which is a great sign. On average, they stay for a few days, and that's something we want to work on to make them stay longer. The quality food we offer is a big plus", they describe.

Source coupe photo by mario jurina gorski kotar
Photo: Mario Jurina

They offer their guests their own vegetables, seasonal fruits and forest fruits. Of the animals, they keep sheep, which, they admit, are mostly used for lawn maintenance, but they also provide quality meat.

"The best feeling after leaving is to receive a positive and honest review accompanied by beautiful photos. Our motto is - every client is important. Tourism in Gorski kotar makes a lot of sense, but you need to be ready for dedicated work", says Josip.

Josip lived and worked all over Europe, but he was never happier anywhere than now in Kupari with his young family. He recalls how during his entire stay he only dreamed of Kupa, every stone and every tree.

"I want to work eight hours a day and spend the rest of the time with my loved ones", he says and adds that they have no plans to expand, but only to increase the quality of the offer.

Impossibility of access by car

However, Josip found himself in a problem and wonders if he will be able to continue doing the business they started, considering that for more than two months he has not been able to drive to his own home due to the unrepaired road.

Namely, there is a no-passing sign on the road, which he respects, but he would not even dare to drive his car through it because it is narrow and life-threatening. Therefore, the car is parked a few hundred meters from the house, which greatly complicates their life.

Rural tourism near Josip
Photo: Željko Raukar
Rural tourism near Josip
Photo: Željko Raukar

If something is not done, soon the consequences for the existence of the family could be catastrophic. We should also think about the animals, they currently have enough food, but what if hay and other food need to be delivered to them, how will the tractor get to them, if it can't even be passed by car?

"The problem is when we have to go to the doctor with sick children because in bad weather we have to walk to the car", complains Josip. He also feels sorry for his wife who is afraid to walk in the dark because they live in a national park where there are many wild animals.

It is not easy for him to carry groceries several times from the car to the house. The severe weather conditions at this time of the year should also be taken into account.

What he is asking the authorities to do is widen that part of the road, which only requires a few hours of machine work so that when it snows, he can get a plow and move freely like any other free citizen of the Republic of Croatia.

Josip points out that he does not plan to leave the house because this is his home. His parents and later he and his family invested in the property for decades. They have developed a business they live on. 

As with any other job, it takes 3 to 5 years and if everything stops now, you won't be able to start again one day.

"I have worked around the world for years and such a life is no longer an option for me. I have decided to live here with my family, and I expect that it will be possible for me”, Turk is very clear. He adds that the last few years have not been easy, from corona, to mouse fever, and now this too.

By the way, their house used to be accessible via a bridge that was swept away by a flood in 2022, and there is still no solution to this issue.

Author  Blanka Kufner

January 10, 2024