What do I have in common with the Illyrias, Celts, Greeks, Romans, Goths, Huns, Vandals, Visigoths, Longbards, Avars, Byzantines, Slavs, Bulgars, Croats, Franks, Hungarians, Austrians, Turks and Venetians? An interest in Croatia. I just don’t plan to stay as long.
People ask me, “Why Croatia?”
As someone who loves to travel and wants to see the world, the short answer will always be “because I haven’t been there yet”. A journey to a destination unknown always starts with a shimmering, beckoning mirage, molded from the tales of those who have gone before, and shrouded in a mystical cloak of hope for undiscovered treasures. The reality can often be stark contrast to all expectations. And for a traveler, the adventure lies in discovering the difference.
My pre-visit image of Croatia is twisting, narrow streets meandering through ancient stone walled cities perched flamboyantly out into the Adriatic sea. The unhurried pace of café culture cultivated by a warm Mediterranean climate. Strong coffee, robust wines, fresh seafood and truffles. Improbably steep hill towns, and perfectly preserved Roman ruins. Coastal ferries plying the waters towards glistening off-shore islands. Forested hikes along a chain of sparkling azure lakes spilling into tumbling waterfalls. A mosaic of cultural influences blended into the architecture, language, culture and food. The allure of a strong, independent people rebuilding a vibrant identity and country representative of all the reasons why so many others have been interested in Croatia way before me.