Croatia Day 6: Down Time

Okay, so I get that all of vacation should be down time, but we love the hustle and bustle of cities. That’s why we chose San Francisco and Paris as homes. Bug and I both thrive in a faster paced lifestyle. 

However, there comes a point where you need an action time-out, and today was ours. We woke up late, lazed around, ate breakfast, and finally walked downtown for lunch. 

Yesterday, we dealt with frightening wind gusts, today it was run for the shade heat. 

This should bode well for our time sailing. The water is supposed to be calm and the temperatures in the low-80’s. Speaking of water, we did walk down to the beach today, rented an umbrella and chair, and sent the boys off to play. While Bug and the boys splashed around, I people watched. Actually, in my judge-y way I observed the women. Like in Nice, everyone wore bikinis regardless of age, shape, or size. Everyone looked comfortable in their skin. Normal – that’s the word I’m looking for – and age appropriate body-wise. Mothers had tummys and the elderly sagged. I felt silly in the one piece I selected to hide my stomach – normally, I gravitate toward bikinis, but this season I’ve gained some weight due to medication I’m on and am self-conscious. However, after our beach time today, I’m busting out the bikinis I brought with me 😄

Next, we went to the grocery store around the corner. I LOVE grocery shopping in foreign countries (hate it at home though, go figure). The products amaze me, and I often guess as to what I’m buying. Not getting too crazy tonight, Bug bought steak hache, potatoes, and more water. Having an apartment is a nice luxury – we can cook, wash laundry, and not worry about house keeping. If anyone is interested, message me, and I’ll give you my rental info. 

I asked Bug how he’d describe the Croatian people. He said: fiercely proud. I agree, and I bet a lot of it comes from being fought over, and part of other empires, for centuries. I added happy, helpful, welcoming, and warm to the list. Our youngest son gets all kinds of pats on the head, smiles, and jokes, which shows me how treasured children are here. It probably helps he’s been wearing his soccer jersey everywhere.

Croatia is the perfect place for families to visit. Wine for mom and dad; soccer for everyone; interesting history; the beach and islands; cities and country; and amazing natural beauty. 

I almost don’t want to write anymore about it. I want to keep this treasure a secret. But I want you to see what an incredible place this is too. 

xoxo ~dawn

Croatia Day 5: Split Personality

Today, we met with Stella, our guide through old town Split. I thought our tour might not happen though, because on our way there, the wind whipped up and it began to pour. Fortunately, it quickly stopped, and we found Stella waiting for us outside the southern gates of Diocletian’s Palace.

Built 4th century AD as a retirement palace for the emperor Diocletian, modern day homes and shops have sprung up inside, preserving much of the complex. These new buildings give the whole thing a jumbled up feeling. New and old clash in a subtle way in most cases. Can you guess what’s old and what’s “new” below?

The rock used to make the walls was quarried on the island of Brac. To my surprise, the stone used to build the White House and Palais Garnier Opera House in Paris also came from Brac. 

Below is the “new” bell tower juxtaposed against these ancient stone walls. 

Every one of boone’s dreams came true when he got to do battle with a real sword against real Romans 😉

This sculpture was made by Ivan Meštrović. He also did the Nickola Tesla statue in Zagreb, the bowman and the spearman in Chicago, St. Jerome the Priest DC, and Gregory of Nin in split (seen here. Rub his big toe for good luck). After fleeing communism, he died at Notre Dame where he was an artist in residence. 

With Stella as our guide, we moved from the Roman part of the city, through the Venetian, and into the Jewish area. We climbed a gradual yet steep hill to find all of Split spread before us.

And a family pictures in the gusting wind. 

On the way down, Stella showed us a tiny “fast” food place that makes these rolled up hamburger type things called cevapi. That is, the meat looks like little rolls and the bread like a cross of pita and foccia. Perfect street food and delicious – especially with the sauce. 

Of course we bought more things: lavender chocolate, wine (Ivan in Zagreb was right. The cost is nearly double here), and soccer kits. 

The weather is still overcast with gusting winds, so we’re staying in playing games. Plus, I think everyone needs a little downtime. 

Interestingly, Croatians in general think we are either German or Canadian which to me means Americans aren’t coming in throngs yet. There are HUGE tour groups of Europeans and Asians, however, and at times they prevented us from moving forward with our tour. With this being the shoulder season, I’d hate to see high season. 

Tomorrow is more Split. But more importantly, Croatia plays Czech Republic in the Euro Cup tomorrow. Good thing the boys are ready with their jerseys!

xoxo ~dawn 

Croatia day 1: SCORE! 

We arrived in Croatia at 2pm local time after a layover at Heathrow. The boys did great, and Keegan was offered beer in flight because the attendant thought he was 16 (he’s only 14).

Upon arriving at the spacious apartment we’re renting in Zagreb (Airbnb is THE BEST), we dumped out stuff and ventured out into the main square where everyone was watching the Croatia v Turkey soccer game. We grabbed a table, got some drinks, and joined in. Keegan and David, being huge soccer fans, were in heaven. Boone and Finn took picture of pigeons. 

If you care, Croatia won 1-0.  And the crowd went wild! 

It’s now 5:30pm and we’re going to venture out to eat. Should be interesting since we know nothing about Croatian food. 

A few pictures:

xoxo ~dawn