There’s probably no more obnoxious a phrase than “I need a vacation from my vacation,” but there are moments when I understand the sentiment. When I travel, I am usually close to consumed with the thought that I will likely not see a place again and sometimes find myself rushing to see as many things and have as many experiences as I can in a place that I will see just one time.
Croatia, for the most part, has been a different experience for me. There have been fewer museums that seemed hugely interesting to me and far more beaches that seemed to invite a bit of time wandering along the coast or wading in the warm waters. I haven’t spent very much time at all in my life reading a book on a beach, but after spending three hours on a secluded beach on the Istrian coast, I understand the appeal quite a bit more.
While Dubrovnik lent itself to a number of more involved excursions ranging from day trips in Montenegro to walking the massive Old City walls, much of the experience of Croatia has been wandering in cities without an agenda, resting on balconies and beaches, and enjoying great food at maybe the most relaxed pace I’ve ever experienced.
One of the enduring memories of this trip will certainly be my three nights in Zadar. While I spent one day on an excursion to the Plitvice Lakes National Park, I spent the two days in the very small old city just soaking in the climate, whether that meant the people or the sun. I took a boat ride, sampled more than my fair share of cherry liqueur, ate street corn, and climbed a bell tower or two, but more than anything, I just experienced Zadar, which will certainly be one of the most memorable places I’ve visited.
I suspect I’ll have some more thoughts about Dubrovnik specifically and Croatia in general later, but, for now, off to Sarajevo on a six-hour bus ride.
One bus trip and five flights until home.