Croatia

I recall the feeling whenever we talked about the trip before we left. People, from friends we know well, to the local hairdresser to the travel insurance rep, would all ask the same question, “Where are you going” and I always felt a bit sheepish answering. 5 of us visiting 6 countries in 6 weeks – it just seemed so opulent –  a trip of a lifetime. When we arrived at the unpretentious Zadar airport, I was overwhelmed by the idea that we get to visit yet another amazing culture. Croatia did not disappoint. It is a phenomenal place.

Croatia started with a bang in Munich Airport! We managed to connect for a few minutes with our friends the Donohoes, who were on their way to a church mission trip in Albania via Munich and Vienna. It was wonderful to see some friends after a month away:

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Then through the gate to meet Mum and Dad waiting on the other side of security.

We chose Biograd for our week in Croatia. Small, almost sleepy fishing village with enough tourism to keep things interesting, but not the huge crowds of the better known places.

Our apartment had a lovely large deck with sea views – perfect for meals, cards, chatting. The caretaker was an older gentleman who spoke almost no english, seemingly a common theme for our interaction with our house hosts, but he was an effective pointer, very jovial and offered to drive us around in his car for a “lookey lookey” to get our bearings for the local market and center of town.

A quick note about accommodations: it is amazing what a simple addition makes to set you apart from all the others. This place had a family of turtles that would zoom around the gardens and Kaylee became fast friends with “Wheels” and “Shelly” although we’re pretty sure she may have mixed their genders…

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But the real bonus of Croatia was getting to share it with my parents. Tuscany was enriched because we got to share it with Lisa’s folks and Croatia certainly became the same with my folks who we don’t get to see enough. I don’t know about “Misery loves company” but I sure do know that ‘fun’ loves company and we had a lot of fun in Croatia.

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Dad and I tried a face swap:

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When people ask the kids their favorite spot, they all say Croatia – I think it is because we did the most adventurous activities there. All of the kids got to scuba dive as well as jetski and parasail. We spent a delightful day on a boat tooling around the islands, dropping an anchor and swimming in the bay while Milan, the skipper cooked up a fresh fish meal. For the record, I could get used to that sort of life.

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The translucent looking fellow helping Andrew is me. I’m not one to tan, preferring to go straight from “translucent white” to “iridescent red.” IMG_1630IMG_1636

Croatia has it all: spectacular coast, mountains, waterfalls, but also ancient cities filled with history. Outstanding cuisine that is reasonably priced and a population keen to serve tourists. IMG_1662IMG_1593IMG_1616

I invite you to pause and reflect on the mighty beak that is the Cuss nose, pointing faithfully due west, out into the Adriatic.

Oh yeah, and in 6 weeks of travel, Lisa and I managed to sneak in a date! Mum and Dad took the kids for an evening and we feasted on the finest meal of our trip – fresh baked fish and veggies, and then we rented a small boat to enjoy the sunset out on the sea. This is about as good as it gets for me:

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Finally the obligatory car pics. A Citroen Cactus which obeys the rules of good car design: no matter how many you see, you always stop and say, “There’s a Cactus!” Below that, an old Renault 4 for the nostalgic among us:

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We recommend Croatia to anyone – it is truly a magical place. Next and final leg: Athens.

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