Lost and found

Published in Highlights

Lost! A visitor's money belt, containing passport, money, credit cards, airline ticket.... Found! by a miracle. An uplifting tale.

Patricio reunited with his money belt Patricio reunited with his money belt

Patricio, from Chile, has Dalmatian roots, as his forebears were from the Island of Brač. His 2017 trip almost turned into a disaster on Tuesday May 30th, when he realised his money belt containing not only all his means for day-to-day survival, but also his ticket home, had gone missing. There was no telling exactly where he had lost it. The chances of recovery looked slim. But help was at hand. Here is the story as recounted by Patricio:

"It was a sunny and beautiful day when I decided to hitch-hike and go climbing to Sveta Nedljelja, a unique place where you can climb in the middle of the Adriatic sea.  When I arrived on the road two kind fishermen who had worked all night in Hvar and were now going home to Jelsa stopped. They went out of their way to drop me on the road to Pitve. The moment I got out of the car, immediately another car stopped. An English gentleman and his wife, who were heading to their house in Pitve, were very kind and drove further to drop me at the entrance of the tunnel which goes to the south side of the island. Minutes later I found a pair of Germans who were going to the Zavala beach. After they dropped me off, a Croatian woman who was going to Jagoda drove me further along the road. Then I had a lift in another car to arrive in Svjeta Nedjelja. When I was preparing my things for climbing I noticed that my money belt wasn’t with me. This was a moment of desperation. I went to the sea to think about what to do. I decided I had to find each person I had hitch-hiked with, to ask them if I had left the money-belt in their car.

I walked the two kilometres to Jagoda, and I found the last woman who had stopped for me, I explained the situation and she helped me a lot, offered me something to eat, to drink some juice and then she drove me to Zavala. I walked all along the beach looking for the Germans and at last found them, right at the end of the beach. They checked in their car, but with no success. I said to myself that all is not lost yet, and  I hitch-hiked basck to Pitve to try to find the car of the English couple. The man who drove me to Pitve told me that there were no foreign cars there and that I would not have any success. Those words motivated me to stay and keep searching for them. I came across a German lady, Renata, and asked her if she knew some English people in the village. She led me to Vivian. Like everyone else, she was very kind. She knew the English couple, Rod and Nuala, but they were not at home. She called them, and they searched their car, and later, on their way home, they stopped on the road where they had picked me up to see if the money-belt had fallen out there. No luck. Vivian then made a lot of calls trying to help me identify the fishermen.

I was offered all kinds of help, and I decided to hitch-hike back to Jelsa, very optimistically convinced that I will find my property. A young lady who was driving to Jelsa dropped me in the town. I spent the evening looking for the car and asking the local people if they knew these two fishermen who lived in Jelsa and worked in Hvar, but this was not enough to find them. When it was late in the evening I met a young lady with her husband and sons, who invited me to have a beer with them, and then said I could stay in their place for the night, I was really surprised at how Croatian people are so nice and helpful. The next morning around 5am I went to the Jelsa fish market and asked everybody about my fishermen, but again without success. So I went back to Hvar and I asked all the people I met and visited every restaurant  in case my fishermen had sold them fish the day before. In the end, I met a guy in one of the restaurants who told me that it would be better to try to look at the video records of all the cars that had passed towards Jelsa from Hvar at the time I got the lift. He went with me to the police station, and a police officer was able to identify the fisherman once I had described the car. Then my new friend drove me to Jelsa, where the fisherman was very happy, because he wanted to locate me to return my money-belt. We had some wine at his place and then we drove back to Hvar.

This story made me think a lot. Each step that I needed to pass for finding my things was an adventure. It all gave me a really good feeling about Hvar. The experience has taught me that everything you want to find in life is possible to find. And I learned that the people who live on this island have a very good soul. I was due to go back to Chile in 5 days, but I decided to stay longer. And I will certainly be coming back as soon as I can."

Patricio was obviously blessed with good luck. There is a saying: "you get what you require, desire and deserve". Patricio was resolute and patient in his search, and his positive thinking led to a positive result. One key person in the saga was Žare Zagorac, head of the crime unit in the local police force. He was one of the people I telephoned when Patricio appeared on my doorstep, as he is always ready to help out in a crisis, even when he has finished his shift and is heading home dog-tired, as was the case here. Žare alerted his colleagues, and it is a tribute to the police efficiency that they were able to find the car Patricio was looking for. It is by no means the first time that a visitor has lost precious belongings and found them again. Such incidents show up Hvar and its people at their best.

Vivian Grisogono MA(Oxon) 2017

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