Hello, dear reader.
Last week en Berlín, things chugged along and even felt…NORMAL. I started bribing myself to write again with cappuccinos from the coffee shop on the corner and, let me tell you, a little well-timed caffeine in the morning is almost as good as a second brain. So, while I didn’t make crazy [academic] progress last week, I did at least get a new thesis and a few introductory paragraphs on a page. And in personal progress, I didn’t jump as every person in the park passed me on my walk; no, no. Instead, when a jogger woman came up and motioned for a tissue, “Haben sie____?” I responded with tissue! It wasn’t exactly a conversation, but I was able to respond to something.
D., in his quest to take me to all four corners of the city, brought me to a new climbing gym, which was one of the coolest re-visionings of warehouse space I’ve ever seen. They’d turned a complex of two story warehouse buildings into lots of different sports buildings, one of which had loads of bouldering walls. I think what I’ve come to like about climbing is that both D. and I can go and work on our own things, at our own level, and stop and hang out in between. Also, because there are so many different levels, you can always find something that is “pleasantly” hard. I don’t care for hard hard, but pleasantly hard is nice.
Friday morning, we took what is probably the most efficient trip to the airport ever. D. wanted to arrive there less than an hour before the flight to avoid waiting and with three metro stops and one 10-or 15-minute bus ride, we were there! But, his plan was partially spoiled by our hour delay. Womp womp.
Arrival in Zagreb was easy enough. Even though it’s in the EU, it’s not on the Euro and you still get a passport stamp when you enter and exit. We picked up our rental car and headed to G.’s house, his Venezuelan friend who he met in Germany that now lives in Croatia. A delicious lunch awaited us, prepared (of course?) by G.’s lady. Our goal was to make it to the coast on Friday, but it felt like it took FOREVER to get out of the city because G. had to stop by, like, 3 banks and H. needed a pair of [dry] shoes and oh, by the way, let’s get some groceries here, too. Eventually, we were on our way. I took the opportunity to rest my eyes while the boyz caught up on their chitchat in the car (they do that. don’t think they don’t…)
Approaching Crikvenica. Note: Toblerone as co-pilot.
Crikvenica (the Cs are pronounced like Tz) is a cute little town, if unevenly developed. There is a hodgepodge of 1890s houses with a stone (what is the architectural word for this?) over the door that testifies to its centenarian stylings…and there are also some style-free buildings (newer, last 50 years) that really lack anything charming about them. The setting, however, is second-to-none. It is absolutely stunning. All around, you can see other mountainous islands and the sea is crystal clear.
Our first walk around the town.
Our first night was quite uneventful. The rain kept the locals in and I think we may have been the only tourists there…there’s still a week before high season starts. The next morning, I went for a walk in the misty rain and when I got back to the apartment, it was time for breakfast. The sky started to clear as we got in the car and drove over the bridge to the neighboring island Krk.
The rainy scene from my morning walk
The town of Krk was lovely and has a cute and hilly historical center. Really, the whole place just looked marvelous because the sun started to shine.
H., D., and G. celebrating the dis-use of the umbrella!
We like to keep things casual.
The port at Krk. And the real protagonist: the SUN!
Seen on one of the little streets of Krk.
Later, G. led us down winding island highways to Baška, which, scenery-wise, is one of the most spectacular places I’ve ever seen.
The Baška Port.
Ice cream with a view!
The sea is surrounded by mountains on all sides. While the landscape is a marvel, the ice cream of Baška, however, is slightly below average.
We headed back to Cricvenica and sat in the main (tiny) plaza for a beer and watched the town’s slightly unusual Greco-roman reenactments. People with helmets and loin cloths (which looked not so different from pasta colander and baggy boxers) dueled in faux-gladiator style to commemorate that the town was once inhabited by The Greats. To each their own…
On our drive home…
Fast forward to Sunday, we got the mini-tour of Zagreb before D.’s departure.
The historical center of Zagreb.
I stayed another night, which meant I got to sleep on the couch…and try some local Croatian food at Batak!. Picture hamburger meat, heavily seasoned, in shapes of fingers and balls. Tasty, if a leetle heavy.
Tata from Zagreb!
Gratitude for A: A place to stay in Barna that is totally in my budget. Someone picked me up at the airport in Berlin. (I felt totally surprised and spoiled. And he carried my bag.) A lovely dinner out last night at the corner near our flat here. A shower. A sunny morning to do some work (and blogging…)