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Croatia Coastal Time…

Friday, July 23rd, 2010
Good morning to you all, as I sip my lovely cappuccino delivered with a smile in the foam.  How can you not start the day off with a smile???  I am sitting in a lovely courtyard off this great little pension in the heart of Old Town Zagreb, Croatia.  I have beautiful flowers spilling out of their window boxes next to me and the waterfall just kicked into gear as did my coffee.  I am catching the 3:45 p.m. train to Vienna, Austria today and will be meeting up with a sweet TEFL classmate, Kathi, who just returned to her hometown of Vienna after living in Argentina the past year.  I’m sure we will have some fantastic catching up to do!!  But wait–I’m still in Croatia for the day and want to share about my time here in this country.

I arrived here after just a few days in Veronna and Venice, Italy.  It was a great way to begin my “water therapy” time after having spent the past 2 months or so in desert climates of Northern Africa and Israel.  I took the ferry from Venice to Pula, Croatia which is on the Istrian Peninsula area of northern Croatia.  The town is known for it’s old Roman colosseum ruins that overlook the harbor.  Nice point of entry and plenty of other ferry options to continue going south hopping into harbors of towns along the way. 

I must admit a bit of disappointment though when I got my first look at the “beaches” there….all rock.  Unique yes, it’s what the geography of the area is, that make up these islands, but for this tropical island gal it just was a bit of a let down.  On the positive side though the water was fabulous!  The Adriatic is a very inviting place to swim in.  I think I would have enjoyed it more if I had been diving in off of a sailing vessel instead!  Okay, I will state the obvious–spoiled to my island ways of life I’ve left behind just a little bit? =)

The towns were all gorgeous with cobblestone streets and fantastic ruins.  Arriving into the towns via water, on the ferries was a great way to get my perspective, along with a feel of the area before deciding to stay or move on.   I did this for Pula, Zadar, Split and then finally landed in Bol, where I stayed the longest.  It had just what this tired traveler was looking for, a village.  Not a town, nor a city.  And one of the most lovely stretches of beach these islands have to offer, Zlatni Rat.

Zlatni Rat Morning

I had met a really sweet couple on the ferry to Zadar who I ran into the morning I arrived in Bol, travelers from Ottawa, Canada, Lyne and Ghislain.  We made plans to meet up the next day for dinner and wound up spending another day going to Hvar Town together.  They heading on–me doing a day excursion and a “recon” investigation of Hvar Town, which after said inspection, this exhausted body said stay put!  Which I did.  I spent a couple more days on Bol,  from which I did another day excursion to Jelsa and Vabroska, beautiful little towns too.  I decided at that point to continue heading on south to more islands and towns which were beginning to look the same to this weary soul, that what I needed was to a change of scenery and to be with some friends that I could connect with beyond the chance travelers, even though those random folks you meet along the road is what this journey is about too.  

Pula Harbor

Lyne & GhislainBol Harbor View


Change of scenery is just what I got when I headed off to Plitvice National Park!  It’s forested, lush, waterfalls from travertine terraces forming beautiful lakes that are pristine in every sense of the word.  Visitors to the park are not allowed to swim in the waters and it’s fantastic to see lakes and marine life in an beautifully preserved environment.  I spent yesterday morning hiking through the park for several hours and did it ever give me the recharge I was so desperately needing and a chance to refocus.  I will miss the ocean for sure, I already do–wishing I could take a dive in the water again.  But good friends await me and new cities to explore.  In less than a month I will no longer be traveling the countryside of Eastern Europe’s great cities…I’ll begin two weeks in India finishing in Katmandu.  Wow!!

Plitvice Lake