So it’s been a while since i’ve posted… for those who don’t know, my little cousin recently passed away. i’ve been struggling to come to terms with his death since it was sudden and unexpected. he was the most wonderful child in the world — a bright, inquisitive spirit who always wanted to know more.. he’d always pester me with questions but i never minded since i never had to really talk to him like a child… he just got it. i’m so upset he’ll never get to discover the world and see what else is out there. i know life can be short, but his was tragically and unfairly short. i don’t want to say something cliche like “now i’ll live for the both of us” because he should have been able to live his own life. the last thing message he wrote to me before i left was “good luck and be safe! hope to see you soon :)” i’ll love you forever…
here’s my original croatia post:
Greetings from beautiful Croatia aka HEAVEN ON EARTH! There’s so much sunshine, natural beauty, fresh seafood, and delicious wine aka all the things that make me happy. It’s friking amazing here..
I’ve been enjoying and indulging in it all, which unfortunately has not been so cheap. Luckily, my mom is still here which means she’s been willing to spend $$ on nicer things like fancy meals and fun excursions since it’s technically her vacation… which means i don’t have to eat pasta & tuna fish all day, everydayyyyyyy (though she did bring me my zucchini spiral from home so after she leaves its zooodles all day, everyday!!) See below for all the things I’ve ate & drank.. it’s mostly seafood and a little bit of lamb and of course, wine.. i’m all about that mediterranean diet to get me into summer shape (circle is a shape, you guys!) HAHA
So anywhose, our first stop in this little slice of paradise was the city of Split. We spent three days there and absolutely loved it. We toured around the Old Town, visited a few of the nearby islands on a speedboat (which was definitely the highlight of our stay!), and as previously noted above, we ateee… a lot. The cities on the Croatian coast have largely been influenced by Italy since they were once ruled by the Venetians so there’s been heaps of yummy pastas including risotto and gnocchi!!!
The Old Town had lots of ruins and old things including St Duje’s cathedral which is the oldest cathedral building in the world. It was originally built around 305 AD as a mausoleum for the Roman emperor Diocletian. He actually led the largest and bloodiest persecution of Christianity, thus why when the Christians took over the city, they desecrated his mausoleum and turned it into a church as a biggggg FUCK U. The Old Town was reallyyyy pretty, but TBH, I’ve seen so many old churches and ruins on my trip that they’re all starting to mesh together..and since I don’t watch GoT (I know!! Sorry dorks!!!!) I couldn’t fully appreciate the locations where the show was filmed. I did enjoy walking up the beautiful belltower though, which had a great panoramic view of Split :)
The boat trip was absolutely amazing… we visited the Blue Cave which had amazingly clear waters, snorkeled in the Green Lagoon and Vis, and relaxed in palmizana, before heading over to Hvar. I unfortunately did not get a chance to party in Hvar, which some people call “little Ibiza.” I wasn’t too sad though, since there were so many frat stars wearing boat shoes roaming around the island aka my mortal enemies (sorry if i just described u. I’m sure you’re a lovely person…) I did enjoy a few mojitos on the pier though with some of the fun/eclectic people on our boat though, including a hilarious Norwegian couple. The ride back was a little bumpy, though it was not nearly as bad as what I experienced in Playa Blanca (Colombia). We were all freezing since we were getting drenched in water, but the lovely boat crew literally started to give us the clothes off their backs.. they were incredible!!
After Split we headed to Dubrovnik. The weather was pretty gross when we got in, so we hung around our apartment in Lapad, which is a few kilometers outside of the Old Town. It had the prettiest balcony overlooking the beach, where I got to go standup paddle boarding a few times :) It reminded me of my old apartment in Cape Town :)
There was also a great bar right by our apartment called, Cave More, which is built into the caves and has a fantastic pier where you can watch sunset. My favorite bar was Buza, which is located right on the cliffs outside of the Old City wall. You can chill and lay out on the rocks and grab a drink (or two or three) before swimming in the sea. i’d recommend that you swim then drink since the seas can get pretty rough, but that’s just me :) If you’re lucky, you may even get to watch a couple of crazy Aussies cliff dive, like I did :)
In addition to drinking, we, of course, spent a day exploring the Old City, which included walking on the top of the Old City walls. It had really pretty views :)
We also visited a nearby island, Lokrum, which is only about 10 minutes away on a ferry. It was a nice escape from the hecticness of the Old City. Apparently Dubrovnik is now one of the top 10 travel destinations in the world, and while that’s greatttt for the people of Croatia who have been devastated by war as recently as 1991, it means hordes of people and selfie sticks crammed into a little space since the city is really not that big. (As a side note, they have an incredible exhibit at the War Photography Museum called Dubrovnik Under Siege.. it’s small, but very interesting, especially when you realize the places engulfed in flames are the same sights that are now major tourist attractions today. There's also a fantastic exhibit on the struggles going on in Ukraine today.)
ANYWAY, i sound like one of those stuffy, pretentious “travelers” (never call them tourists, they will bite your head off!!) so I’ll shut up.. Going back to my original point, Lokrum was lovely…. my mom and i sat in the sun all day. I even managed get moreeeee tan (50 shades of dre!) There were also peacocks roaming on the island, so of course i chased them around and kept humming Katy Perry in my head…
Since my mom and I got sick of the sun, we decided to take a day trip to Mostar in Bosnia to visit Stari Most aka the Old Bridge. In addition to being absolutely beautiful, the bridge is now a symbol of the thin line between peace and war. It was originally built in 1566 and stood for 427 years, until it was destroyed by Croat forces during the Bosnian war during November 1993. It was rebuilt and reopened in 2004 and connects the Christian side to the Muslim side of the city. I will shamefully admit, I'm extremely ignorant about the history of the Balkans, but I'm doing my best to educate myself. I'm in the middle of 2 books and one five hour BBC documentary, and I'll be visiting Bosnia properly in a few weeks, so hopefully I will get a better understanding of its complicated and rich history. So for now, let's just enjoy the beauty of the place and leave learning about the ugly, messy fighting for a bit later!
And just to make you smile a bit, many courageous young locals jumped over the historic bridge, and according to Bosnian tradition, in doing so, young men often proved their courage to their fiancées before their wedding day. Nowadays, money also works to get them to take the plunge which is about 22 meters...
After Dubrovnik, we headed to Zagreb, which took foreverrr on the bus.. they also barely turned on the AC so between the time and the heat, it felt like the bus ride from hell... and to top it all off, the guy who was handling my bag broke it... so instead of heading to Lake Plivitice the next day, I instead ran all around the city in search of a replacement bag, which was not cheap. But after 6 years, 5 continents, 13 countries, 40+ cities... well I guess it had a good run. SIGH. We then went to Lake Plivitice the next day which was stunning, but hot and crowded. we tried to buy tickets the day before for the 6AM bus but it was sold out, so we took the next available one, which was a 8:45AM so got there when everyone else was there. Oh well, what can you do?