A while ago I listened to a podcast about how kids and teenagers spend their time when they are alone, without adults. There were three stories: The Land, the Tracks and Heyoon. I could add another one to the list - the Haludovo Hotel on the island Krk in Croatia. It was built in the seventies, with considerate input from the Penthouse magazine owner who pursued the idea that peace between the east and the west can be achieved in more than one way. Think about bunny girls catering to people of power from both sides. Wide pools (one of them, apparently, filled with bubbly champagne), a casino, bars, lobsters and caviar, beautiful sea views, sun - the world could only become a better place like that.
Well, it didn’t really work. The project failed. In just a couple of years the hotel went bankrupt. It seems, the porn and peace approach doesn’t solve world’s problems. The hotel changed owners and purposes to end up a ruin. A ruin which I got the chance to see and wander through. I didn’t even know that I was trespassing. I was alone: I took a detour on my morning run and simply went in. Each step was crunching shards. Each step was almost an adventure in itself: the ceilings were busted, wires were hanging out like guts, there were broken windows everywhere, tonnes of glass and ceramic tiles on the floors, wooden beams like scaffoldings for chaos, smashed chairs and dust and graffiti… As I ducked under the remains of an iron gate whose purpose was once to block the entrance to the upper floors, I tried to keep my balance getting up the concrete stairs which didn’t have a railing and were even missing steps. I was afraid but curious. I felt like a kid, going to places one is not supposed to be, driven by inquisitiveness and rebelliousness. It felt weird being there. So weird that even the birds singing outside, in the woods, only added to the creepiness of the place.
There is an audio illusion called the Shepard tone in which three sine waves separated by octaves are played simultaneously, producing a tone that continuously ascends (or descends) without actually ever getting there. That’s what being in Haludovo Hotel felt like. You could feel both the luxury and the decay at once, the champagne pool and the charred remains of the bar chairs, the blue of the sea and the green of the woods contrasting with the grey of the concrete and the black doors of the hotel rooms.