A few weeks ago our beloved youngest daughter called (my step-daughter actually, but I claim her and her wonderful husband as my own), and said, “Guess what! We’re going to Croatia in two weeks. And you’re coming with us! We’ve booked hotels, picked some great restaurants, and we’ve found a good flight for you from Lyon”.
Do we have great kids or WHAT! So off we went, just like that.
If you’ve been to the Cote d’Azur, you know how drop-dead gorgeous it is, and how tightly developed. Croatia is like that, but minus the modern condo developments. Historic towns perched above the sea with happy red tile roofs, small islands everywhere, and water that is a shade of blue that can only be described as dazzling. It’s gorgeous, and it has an authentic air.
It is impossible to imagine, in this paradise, that there was a brutal war here that ended in 1995. Chatting with one of the restaurant owners in Dubrovnik brought it home. “We were trapped here for three months with no supplies coming from the outside—no food, nothing,” he told me. “I was 24, but I remember it like it was yesterday.”
Now, however, life is good. Highlights of the trip: walking over a mile around the high rampants of the old town of Dubrovnik and looking out over the ocean and the rosy roofs and steeples of the town--where, as an added bonus, they were busy filming "Game of Thrones" (you can see a bit of the ramparts to the right in the above photo). Strolling the promenade in Split, with palm trees snaking along the water, and passing under the many arches of the old castle that once dominated the town. Cruising out to intimate islands with lazy bars and sandy beaches. Dining in the warm twilight at surprisingly sophisticated restaurants.
Case in point: I was taking a photo of an over-the-top bakery, and one of the workers popped her head into the shot with a cheerful “Coucou!” as she leaned in. I asked to take her proper picture; she grabbed a co-worker, and they posed, beaming. They didn’t speak English (though almost all Croatians do), but that didn’t stop us from having a fine time.
I hope the photos below will entice you to put Croatia on your travel list as well. Or maybe you've been, what did you think?
Evening on the main square in Dubrovnik, with the famous Orlando's Column
On a Croatian island, selling sea shells instead of lemonade. This photo cost me a shell, well worth it for that smile.
Strolling the seaside promenade in Split
Inside the ruins of the castle that form the old town in Split
A market vendor roping in daughter Suzanne with his magic kitchen tools. I bought some too! This charming Croatian has a future on the Home Shopping Network.
Waterfalls at the Plitvice National Park. There are 16 lakes and too many waterfalls to count.
Gelato was everywhere! That's my kind of country.
Salut from Croatia!
In the COMMENTS last week: Vicky, I was so touched by the story of your breakfast club, thank you! Of course the lovely Loulou, distant relative of our cat Domino, checked in. (Loulou is currently in Rome, you can follow this divine cat at Living with Loulou). Suzanne, gros bises to Sassy, and Ellie I shall say hello to Chippie for you. MM asks if there are shelters in France. It's complicated: there is an ASPA-like shelter, but they don't believe in neutering which they think it's unnatural, and it's very small--hence, pretty useless. So small local organizations (I work with two of them) try to take up the slack. But we are overwhelmed. French villages often have many feral cats unless someone in the village is into capturing and neutering them.
House notes: one of our readers has a beautifully restored house for sale in the Lot-et-Garonne in the Aquitaine. A riverside house with a tobacco barn and pool, at an amazing price! You can check it out here.
Favorite Reads: Our country had a terrible, bloody, and scary week. Our hearts go out to the police, and to the victims of a few bad cops. Here are two really good articles I read this week which helped to make sense of it: Frank Bruni's Divided by Race, United by Pain and A Week from Hell by Charles M. Blow. And this one was really thought-provoking: David Brooks asks, Are We on the Path to National Ruin? Readers, you may have more readings to contribute.
In the comments Susan mentions that her favorite childhood book was Millions of Cats . It's still around, got to get it for my grandkids!
I'm currently reading a very quirky little mystery which is great fun: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, first in the Flavia de Luce series.