The following entry was written last night about 10 PM local time/4 PM CST time.
My morning so far has been a restful sleep where I woke to Benjamin’s talking/squealing, then fell asleep, then woke up again about 6 AM. DH and I went for a long walk around Barbariga with R&M and T, M’s sister. Benjamin is T’s 2 yr old son. We hiked here and there, totally up about 5 miles before breakfast, which is good, as when I woke up – I believe I was still drunk from last night. Lesson learned and followed – do NOT empty your glass! If you do, refill it with WATER, or it will be refilled for you – with more alcohol. Rakija is a wicked drink… Moonshine, Fire Water… call it what you want, the effects are the same. Add to that wine… and you have the makings for a dizzy morning.
It’s about 9:15AM currently, and we’re sitting on a curb at the back of a dead-end street, using pilfered WIFI It’s good to know people who know people. T is very popular here in town, as is her husband Ri (shortened for the sake of this blog, and i already have an R… you all will just have to read and follow along closely).
This morning we have to head over to another town and alert the officials that we’re here for two weeks and pay our “tourist fees”. Once that’s out-of-the-way, it’s off to the beach. We’d walked across the beach this morning – entering onto the nude beach – so I’ve already seen a handful of large European men in the buff. Yeah, the shock didn’t even register… Enjoy last nights writing, and I’ll get some pics posted soon. Perhaps I’ll try to blog daily, but I make you no promises. Happy Traveling!
Madison, Wisconsin to Barbariga, Croatia
We began out vacation in a state of stress. I won’t go into detail, but we went to bed at a reasonable hour, and got up at 5 AM. Well, I did. I got up, showered and got myself ready for my first international flight. Speaking of flights, I can be a flighty person. I know this and have accepted this. I just jump right in with both feet, sometimes head-first even, and then squirm when things don’t go my way.
But, with the alarm I awoke, showered and got about packing up and readying the house for the day I would flee the country for two weeks. At the time of writing this, I will have been awake for nearly 47 hours, not including cat naps (which have equaled about 4 hours total), and two HUGE shots of rakija…. Which in and of themselves are like two hours of sleep. Jose is a bad influence.
We got to R & M’s house just before 8 AM, and T drove us to the Park & Ride where we would hop on the Van Galder bus to O’Hare Airport. I quipped that this was beginning to feel like National Lampoon’s European Vacation, and DH hushed me. “Look kids, Big Ben… The Tower of London.”
R & M had us take the bus to Terminal 5, International Flights, which we learned was the WRONG terminal for OUR flight. So it was onto the tram to Terminal 1 to catch the Lufthansa flight (run by United) to Frankfurt, Germany. We should have figured out that the tram ride from the wrong station was just the start of our Lampoons Vacay, but no, it progressed into the E-Ticket Machine not finding out tickets and having to check in at the counter with an actual person *GASP*.
Once tickets were arranged, abandoned R & M outside security so they could eat the lunches they brought with, and headed through security to our gate on Concourse C. We grabbed some lunch at the equivalent of a mall Chinese restaurant, and then made out way over to C10. Initially, our flight was on time… and then in rolled the storm. Thunder, lightning, rain… and then hail. Over an hour after our scheduled time, we were rolling out onto the tarmac and on our way to Frankfurt.
The flight overall, was just over 7 hours. Seven hours of sitting on a pelvic bone that I just found out was out of alignment nearly an entire ½”, and had been adjusted. OUCH! Needless to say, my ass hurt. And movement, even the most minute, caused waves of pain to radiate throughout my skeleton. Not fun. But, I sucked it up like a buttercup, and endured the flight to Frankfurt, landing at what was approximately 6 AM local time (we lost 7 hours on the way over). During the course of the flight, I watched two movies, the new “Arthur” remake and an independent film called “Catfish”. I highly recommend the latter to those who frequent online chat rooms.
We arrived in Frankfurt early, nearly 2 hours early, and then we caught a flight on Croatia Airlines to Zagreb (pronounced ZAH-greb), Croatia, arriving an hour later, about 11:45 AM local time. We picked up our rental, a compact 5-door, and headed off to Barbariga, via Pula. We took a wrong turn, stopped for directions, guessed at what those were, and found our way all the way to Rovinj, Croatia. Here is where it once again, took on the feel of National Lampoons, but after stopping for directions from two separate people, we ended up catching the right exit to Barbariga.
Then it became the matter of… which road to take. R was driving (he’d rented the car), and we were following the road signs when…. We spotted a sign for Barbariga pointing down a gravel back road. The rental car was pulled over and we pulled a 180. Back down the road 100 yards and into the gravel we turned. DH and I screaming “AhhHHhhhh!” with every curve we went around and were met with another vehicle; then of course, bursting into fits of laughter. We arrived save and sound at the Summer House, and were warming greeted by M’s mother, Rajna. Rajna told us the rest of the family was off to the beach and we headed off that direction to see if we could find them. We wandered the rocky shoreline searching, but with no luck after a good 45 mins, we headed back to the house, only to find that we’d missed them on their way back from the beach.
We enjoyed a traditional Swedish Appetizer of three varieties of pickled herring, hard-boiled eggs, pickles, onions and dressing on rye bread; leftover pork roast, cheese “pizza” and two varieties of salad… along with Macedonian wine, French wine, water, sparkling water and rakija (TWO shots)…. And then dessert. Apfel Strudle with more wine… and wine coolers and a few rounds of “The Game of Things”.
This was a good night. So, as I finish typing this up, it’s officially 4:07 AM at home in the states, my brain is fried on not enough sleep and too much rakija…. And tomorrow we’ve already planned. The day will start with a walk around the village, a drive to Vodnjan to “check in” to Croatia and pay our “visiting fees”, a tour of the town, back home for lunch and then an afternoon at the beach…. Probably the nude beach. Wish us luck