Hitching Europe Blog #5 Team Plovkip : Croatian mediterranean fusion paradise
Dodging raindrops like bullets sizzling fireworks swirling in our wake. We get in the car waiting for us, with Ivan Luka’s cousin and his mother Myra who holds our hands in greeting, in a warm welcoming Mediterrenean way that the english language cannot express. This was only a hint of the hospitality to come. First we get a meal of bream, lime, potatoes, parsley and garlic, with Bevanda, in the abode of Ivan Grozny/Dobre. Next we get a holiday appartment because of the rain, plus a delicious watermelon.
After a refreshing sleep and taking a nice morning stroll showing us the clear blue Adriatic, we are treated to another masterminded meal, scrap that, a meal which is the product of hundreds or maybe thousands of years of enjoying the finer things in life. We start with welcoming smiles and hugs, then a rakhia aperitivo (at 11:30 am!), a soup, bread. Stories, laughter, lamb raised on island-meadow-herbs sunshine and freedom, succulent, soft, tender, juicy and sprinkled with local traditional sea-salt. Fresh potatoes, roasted garlic, rosemary, tomato sauce, tomato salad. “Seriously none of these ingredients you’re gonna taste was bought in a store!” Luka ensures us. Hands to mouth, eyes sparkling mirth. Bewanda, dessert wine, sheep’s cheese, sage honey, different kinds of melon. unfuckingreal.
Off to a bay with no tourists for turkish coffee, a place where poets and philosophers reside to discuss and enjoy everything. A farm with almonds, olives and tomatoes.
Watching the coral and the brooding fish from above. We climb onto the boat moored nearby, just as the sun comes over and under the clouds. Resting on the boat, letting our tiredness drip into the crystalline water, soaking warmth, the happiness. In paradise, feeling the future not in thoughts, but in the potential of the now. Why want anything else? Who wants to come to paradise with us?
At night we are treated to an ethnic Bosnian dinner of pide and boregi, too many cousins and uncles at the table to name, also one belgian family What we find striking is that the majority of the dinner participants don’t live in Croatia at all, but are part of the diaspora as a result of the Balkan war of the nineties. Switerzerland, germany, you name it. In the summertime they all go back to their fatherland, the warm fusion of slavic and medditerenean vibes. And there we find ourselves sitting in the midst of all this greatness, the sun slowly descending behind the adriatic peninsulas, recycled into a thousand shining lights by the calm evening sea. In the local bar we pound ridiculous amounds of beers and shots with lukas cousins, swallowed by the night.
The next day it’s time to hit the road. Luka’s mum gives us a ride out of the island, to a tiny gasstation. She storms out and approaches this huge man with a black tank top, an enormous belly and a thick grey moustache. After what looks like a fierce discussion, she heads back cheering like a little happy girl in a candy store. We board our new vessel, that sails thru the winding roads making us feel like seasick pirates getting us on the verge of vomiting, only aggravating our horrible hangovers. Our driver has no interest in trying to overcome the obvious language barrier. No German, no English, period. Like little babies we fall asleep, all the way to Zagreb. Reaching the tollstation, he shouts: ‘Fini Fini!’. Reluctantly we wake up, walking out on the road, ready for a new adventure.