Alas, my two weeks in Croatia have come to an end. I really hate it when time goes by fast like that! (Except when I’m counting down to something awesome – then time can go really fast!) But it’s only going to be a few weeks before I come back for another visit, so I’m trying to keep on the bright side.
Since my apartment agreement in Vienna wasn’t starting until February, I came to Europe two weeks early to spend that time with Miloš in his hometown of Crikvenica, Croatia. You may recall my first visit there was back in March of this previous year. I was really looking forward to going back (it had been since the summer,) and to experiencing more of the day to day routine there.
As I said in my earlier entry, I arrived the day before my birthday. I really hate birthdays anymore. I think once you get past a certain age, they’re the one day of the year filled with the most sense of foreboding. So my general philosophy is to make sure that you are somewhere or doing something really great on that dreaded day. And I couldn’t think of a better way to spend my B-day than in Croatia with my handsome Croatian!
Miloš took me out to dinner to celebrate that evening to a fabulous restaurant in town called Burin. Since the town is a coastal town that does much of its “business” during the summer season, not everything is open during the winter, and the places that are open are not very busy. We were the only guests at the restaurant when we got there, but nothing was lacking as a result. Service was impeccable, and we had such an amazing meal. We shared some calamari as an appetizer: it was flavorful, tender, and cooked just right. I got a pasta/scampi dish for my main course, and Miloš got the steak. I can’t rave enough about the food – it was simply wonderful. The pasta itself was almost like a cross between regular pasta and gnocchi, as far as its texture, with an amazing garlic white sauce and pieces of scampi (crayfish) throughout. And Miloš couldn’t stop raving about his steak.
During my visit, we were staying at an apartment that Miloš lined up through friends of the family. Again, because of it being a resort town, many people have rental apartments for tourists that sit empty during the winter. Staying with his grandmother (where he is spending the off-season away from his river ship job), was not an option, as it’s simply not big enough for such a long period of time. It was fine for one night this past summer before heading to Zadar, but not for two weeks straight. This temporary place was very close to the middle of town, and only about a two block walk to his grandmother’s apartment, where we ate most of our meals.
Unfortunately, we didn’t have the best of weather during my stay – maybe three sunny days? It rained a lot and was overcast most of the time. It kind of squashed our day trip idea to head out to the Pula area on the northern peninsula of Croatia. (It was an idea we were thinking about – that or going to a national park or something.) But to me, it really didn’t matter; I was just happy to have time together, just the two of us.
When the weather was okay, we tried to get out walking as much as we could. We also made several visits to the one cafe there just to relax and have a Coke or some tea.
We also got out on the weekends I was there so I could experience the Croatian night life experience. (Separate blog post on that topic coming really soon!) Crikvenica is just a bit south of Rijeka, which is more of a major city, so it has many bars and clubs to visit. In addition to that, we got to the movies one night, AND I was able to have my first Maškare experiences. (Again, separate blog post coming for that soon too.)
The second to last day of my time there, we did our first Skype chat with my parents and my nieces back home. I thought it would be cool for them to see Miloš’ town and for them to say hello to him again. There is a public wifi signal in town, so we headed there despite the rain and were able to chat with them using my iPhone.
That same evening, Miloš took me back to Burin for another great dinner. I have to admit, I got the pasta and scampi dish again, and it was just as good as the last time!
While walking to dinner, there had been a light rain, but the temperature was mild. However, by the time we were finished eating, the weather had completely changed. The temperature dropped at least 15 degrees and the wind gusts were insane! Miloš said that this weather was known as ‘Black Bura,’ which is cold windy rain – but to an immense extreme. Fortunately, Miloš saw someone he knew (it’s a small town where everybody knows everyone else), and we were able to hitch a ride back to the area where the apartment was located. (Yay!) The winds that night sounded like a freight train. And while walking to the Maškare tent later in the evening, we looked like reporters on the Weather Channel doing on-location hurricane coverage. One gust of wind literally almost blew me over, and Miloš had to hold me up to keep me from being blown away.
Despite the lack of great weather, it was such a good trip, and I was so sad for it to be over. Just like my last visit, Miloš’ mom drove us to the bus station in Rijeka so I could catch the bus to the capital city of Zagreb where the airport is located. Miloš stayed there with me until the bus was ready to pull away, and I had to board. I did shed me some tears, but not as many as last time, since I knew it was only a few weeks away from our next visit. Although it was pretty obvious how sad we both were.
But here in the airport writing this, I have to admit I’m still quite bummed out and sad. Quite a lot actually. (And thumbs down to Zagreb airport for not providing free wifi!) I won’t bore you with excessive heart-felt schlocky sentiments, but I will say that I miss him so much already and it’s only been a few hours.
I’ll be posting many more entries about some interesting topics that came to mind while I was in Croatia this time – more specifically, some of the cultural differences and stuff having to do with language.