Bok Bok Croatia

The Balkans.the Dalmatians the Croatians. I don’t know how they identify themselves but as get ready to board a bus I say Hvala. Onward to Bosnia with an opportunity to see what has been going on since 1995. The Adriatic Sea holds its secrets and Croatian history is steep in comparison. Simply it’s a beautiful country and with the implications I felt safe.



Approaching eagerly I look out the bus window to see a town I only read about. Taxi drivers and locals ask “ where do you stay?” Old town or the city. I look directly to travel partner and she says “old….” Limestone steps often steep and not uniform. Honeymoons are celebrated and Special gifts like a diamond placed in the middle of a credit card as a souvenir. The Romans,the Ottomans and Venetians created fortresses and walls to withstand pounding waves. Bells are heard throughout day and evening. I stop and listen and it feels very special to me. Exploring The Old Town is best served by a walking tour. Anything you want to know can be answered during those 3 hours. Futbol can be heard playing in most bars on the Telly. Construction guys have a soft spot for cats and the cats here are phat. Antiquity at its finest is one of the best parts of being here. Next stop the Golden Bruce Lee. Bok Bok

Split Croatia

2nd Largest population, 200,000 out of 4 million live here Per walking tour Ivan points out the imperial palace along with military escort structures. The nuances of a developing language and discussion of who did what first. But it was Maritza who at 23 years old, told me her interpretation of both old and new. “ I was born after the War” . Free medicine for all but waiting for vision and dental you might choose private. The Kuna is now obsolete, so recent that stores still list both prices. “ I miss the kuna” the wallet was thicker and she saved some for sentimental value. “ You must have Burek in Bosnia it is not our dish” . “ you will like Bosnia there are Muslims, orthodox, different people living together….they are nice not like here” I disagree. She asked about Biden and smiled when she asked about Trump. A sheepish grin as though she knew what was happening in the states. “ It’s a big deal to go to Las Vegas and get married,maybe I’ll do that”. My teachers keep getting younger and Maritza you are Dobra!

Zadar Zadorable

Can’t recall last time I was on an isthmus. The Adriatic Sea and me have a connection, While in parochial school a kid used to call me “Adriatic”. And now we finally meet. Its low season here and historically the Romans, the Ottomans the Venetians all came and ruins remain. Walking tours provide a past present and future insightful interpretation of all that is Zadar. Predominately a Catholic country (Croatia) “92%” as stated by our host. Nikola Bašić designed the Sea Organ which makes the heart swoon. The Adriatic how I Zadore you!

Zsa Zsa Zagreb

Arrived day and half later than anticipated. Delays are part of the experience. Shuttle to downtown then a tram to hotel. Forget it I just wanna get to hotel. 57 euros didn’t sting but I knew taxi driver Alen was taking me literally and figuratively for a ride . Crisp cold bite of air 25 degrees greets your face. The city appears drab and austere. Then you discover 1 million people of Croatia 4 million population live here. I’ve changed my mind no facade I just needs to get out and walk around. Little fur babies with matching ensemble seem to outnumber larger dogs. Salty is the underlying base of most dishes and Croatia off season makes dining and getting around a cinch. First few days I enjoy the touristy stuff and miss knowing I’ve got six weeks of hikes ahead, instead of sleeping in and lounging.

Downtown Zagreb

Feeling 57

57 anything is a lot. I hit these birthdays with a soft punch reluctantly accepting that I am running out of time. But I am fortunate to have a lifelong friend who loves to seek plan and execute escapes I could not imagine for myself. This time it’ll be the The Hike. The Soumela Monastery in Northeast Turkey. 3900 ascent and I think I’m ready. It’s during these hikes I think about what I’ve become and where am I going. I’m wrestling with the fact that the earthquake in southern Turkey will continue to need help and maybe I can talk my friend into getting there. As I sit in hotel cafe and people watch I am amazed how kind we treat each other in the simplest manner. Next stop Zagreb Croatia. Hope you join me if in spirit and I will do my best not to cry.