One year ago this weekend, I was sitting on the beach in Dubrovnik, Croatia, basking in the sunshine and admiring the beautiful water and the ancient, walled city. This was the only trip I took the entire year whose purpose was to relax, which is a good thing because it took almost an entire day to arrive.
My train left Salzburg mid-morning and took eight hours to arrive in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. I bought a bus ticket to Dubrovnik and checked my bag and then headed out to explore the town. Later that evening, I boarded my bus for an eight-hour trek through Croatia to its southernmost tip and arrived at one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. I also spent a night in Split, also on the coast, about halfway between Dubrovnik and Zagreb.
This trip, like no other, inspired me. I collected these inspirations in a notebook and I just rediscovered them before I left for Salzburg and Rome. They brought back so many memories that I hoped I could keep notes like these while on my most recent trip.
- Fanny packs are not cool, no matter what anyone says.
- Why do I always end up sitting near the weirdos who cause border control problems?
- Will it ever be bad to lie about being an English speaker and say German instead?
- New longest-bus-ride record.
- Not that I know what Monaco or Monte Carlo look like, but I think the Zagreb main train station belongs there.
- I didn’t know a Euro could buy so much – water for about 70 cents and the biggest and best pizza I’ve ever had for 3 something.
- It doesn’t matter if I smell or my hair is slimy. People here are worse.
- I’m glad this country believes in shorts; too bad I didn’t bring any.
- I don’t remember the last time I was so happy to sit in an air-conditioned restaurant.
- I was too full for ice cream.
- Best beach I’ve ever been on. Small pebbles much preferable to sand.
- The water was also incredible. I’m sure it rivals Santorini. (I didn’t get to go in the water at Santorini.)
- I felt ripped off paying 50 kn for dinner at the Serbian restaurant. It was good, but was it Euro7 good? I had sausage links in great bread, with a cream cheese spread.
- I don’t have a No. 14.
- I’m paying 32 kn for a .33 ml Ožujsko (Croatian beer) at Buža, which means “hole in the wall,” and you go through a hole in the wall to get to the seats. It’s the place to drink. The waiters are singing behind me. The sunset wasn’t good, and I think the sun was too far behind the rocks to be seen well anyway. The line between sky and sea has almost become indistinguishable. The sky near the sun is blue at the horizon, to grey, purple, orange and almost white. All of these colors are very subdued. There are no waves. The Adriatic is very calm, even though it is colliding with rocks that climb to here and then to the wall and ramparts. A couple just danced to a song; the waiters clapped.
Now, “what a wonderful world… skies are blue…” is playing. Everything is so romantic here.
There’s a slight breeze, the flaps on the table’s umbrellas are easily wafting in the breeze.
- With smaller cups, I’ll drink less with each sip and at a slower pace.
- I can jump off a cliff but I can’t walk on marble streets. Crazy.
- Never ride the train from Split to Zagreb in the summer.
- Croatia is the most tragically beautiful country I have ever seen.