Thursday, June 21, 2012

Who knew it could possibly get any better?

As I stepped out of the entryway of the 10th floor of our ship, I knew today was going to be a good day. It was about 6:30 am and the sun was just coming up over the mountain to shine down on the beautiful turquoise Adriatic Sea. Sailboats and yachts were passing us on both sides as we pulled into a beautiful cove with boats docked and darling white stucco houses with red and orange tile roofs. There were palm trees everywhere. I giggled and said, “Welcome to Croatia” as I started running around the track on the top floor of the ship.

I wish I could say that I was energized by the beauty that surrounded me during my workout, but my muscles are having a tough time here in Europe. I ran 6 miles yesterday on the treadmill... and that was fine! *It helped that I was staring out a wall of windows watching dolphins dance through the sea, watching the Heat/Thunder game, AND playing solitaire on my treadmill. HOW cool is that? But point is my poor muscles are losing strength disgustingly fast... oh well.

Anyway, I could not wait to get out into the city of Dubrovnik. Dallin, my high school boyfriend, wrote me every week of his mission telling me how beautiful Croatia was. I was so excited to finally see what he was bragging about. I felt like writing him on facebook today just to say, “You were right. It was everything you said and more.” But I remember him telling me how much the people hated Americans. He was spit on, rocks thrown at him, and even cars tried to hit him. So I was a bit scared.... which I was quick to find was COMPLETELY unfounded. In all of our stops, the people of Croatia were hands down the nicest to tourists.

Our first stop was to the city travel center. (I can't think of what we would call it) While we were standing in line the lady in front of me asked me what I needed help with. I told her we didn't exactly know what we should do while in Dubrovnik. Comes to find out she is a tour guide. She said she's way too expensive though so she told us exactly what to do. It was so so so nice. Then we went to an audio station to get head sets to learn about the Old City. The girl working there was beautiful. It seemed every girl I talked to from Croatia had beautiful blonde hair with tan skin. She spoke English perfectly. Of course I asked her how she learned so well. She said, “Grey's Anatomy and Sex in the City.” Hilarious. I asked how many languages she knew. She said 4. I said, “Croatian, French?” She interrupted me, “Oh I don't don't count Croatian. And I hate French!” (Why do I love everyone that hates France now? How did a couple of rude people make me such a hater?) Anyways she speaks Croatian, English, German, Italian, and Spanish. But here was my favorite part. She said, “When I was young my grandpa told me the learn as many languages as I could because the more languagers you know the more money you'll make.” I wish someone would have given me that advice! I wish I could speak another language. But oh well. Back to Croatia. There is a huge wall that surrounds the Old City of Dubrovnik. (If you asked Danielle she could tell you a lot more about the history of the city because while she was actually listening to the tour, I was taking pictures, lots of pictures... and trying to facetime Jason, poor guy... it was maybe 2 am.) Anyway, the city was unreal. It is what I would think that Jerusalem would be like. White stone creates the whole city (I'm talking about inside the old city.) There was a drawbridge and 30 feet walls surrounding it. No cars inside the city, the streets were tiny with stairs everywhere because it was not level at all. There were a few churches and even a synagogue. But it was hot hot hot. Especially in the Old City because there were no trees just plants but it caused it really

Interrupt my normal Croatia writing. The intercom just came on. Italy is on strike tomorrow. The entire country is on strike. The entire country. All transportation is on strike. I don't know if that means that all shops and restaurants are closed. But I am supposed to be going to Venice. We'll see how that works out for us. Hilarious.

Ok back to Croatia. It was really hot. Probably the hottest I've been since Chicago when my entire body was drenched in sweat this one time my mum and I did an architecture tour on the river in the heat of the day.

Anyway, after we did our audio tour, Erin and I took a tour walking around the old city wall. It was beautiful! The water color. I can not get over the water color. (Go ahead and google Dubrovnik since I can't upload my pictures) And sail boats. Remember how I am such a sucker for sail boats. Maybe someday I'll have a sailboat in the Mediterranean. After the city wall we went to the beach. The water was crystal clear, perfect temperature... but it was pebbles. If it was white sands it would be perfect, but I can't complain!

While I was enjoying the cool off in the water, I ran into a few girls that ended up being from Ventura. Is it bad that I still tell people I am kinda from Pasadena? But they told us about the cable car that takes you up to the top with a beautiful view of the whole city. So we took the cable car up to the top and saw the whole walled city with all the newer development surrounding the old city.

After we went to find lunch. After some minor melt downs, I ended up wandering off by myself. I love wandering by myself. (Sorry mum) It was probably some of my favorite time of the entire trip. I think I love being by myself so much because I don't have to be concerned about making anyone else happy, I don't have to stick to any type of schedule, I get to just become a fly on the wall. I walked up to a darling little smoothie shop called, “Art Cafe” where the seats were old bath tubs with feet that they cut one side of the bathtub off so you sit in them life sofas. The chairs and tubs were all painted in vibrant colors... as soon as I walked in I thought of how much my sister Sara would love this place! I ordered the smoothie she recommended and sat down and just watched. I watched people walking by, I watched people interact in the cafe. I watched this man sitting by me with 4 packs of cigarettes staring at a computer screen. I think he was a writer. How fun. I checked my blog, uploaded a picture on instagram, and got on facebook. I'm FBO... did you see? (If you are wondering what FBO is, its okay I was out of the loop too, until yesterday when I was talking to Kenny. Kenny is a 21 year old Duke physician assistant student we met at the pool.) We were chatting about life asking the typical questions. He asked if I had a boyfriend. When I said yes he said, “Oh are you FBO?” I was like, “What the heck?” (I thought Utah Valley was bad with our DTR, NCMO, FHE) He said, “Facebook official?” Still confused.... he said, “Is he your boyfriend on facebook? Because if you aren't official on facebook, then you aren't really together.” I had to laugh. Just the night I had gotten an invite from Jason to be FBO. So as soon as I had this little heart to heart with Kenny I went down to my computer and accepted Jason's request. So now I am FBO. Kinda a big deal.

After the smoothie (which was equivalent to $6 for the size of our kiddie smoothie.) I wondered some more. I found a cute cafe that had a caprese salad for until 10 euro... so I sat, people watched, and ate a fancy caprese salad and dipped bread in delicious olive oil. The waiter came and sat with me and we chatted for a good hour. He was probably 40... lived in Germany for 6 years but the rest of his life he spent in Croatia. He started the whole conversation asking where I got my beautiful tan skin color from. I giggled like a school girl. I told him California. He asked me what California is like. I looked around. Honestly, Croatia looks a lot like Orange County. The same vegetation... a lot of the same flowers and trees, but just about 2 or 3 times more flowers (same flowers just a lot more). Croatia was very clean. He asked why such a beautiful girl was eating by herself. (I know it is probably getting obnoxious but Americans could learn a lot about flattery from the Europeans! Even if we know it's flattery we still like it!) I watched boats sail in and out of the dock. I watched kids play in the water. I watched birds soar through the perfectly clear sky. It was glorious.

Next (of course because the salad was small) I headed for the gelato shop. I decided to try something different. The whole trip I have been getting hazelnut and chocolatey gelato. In Sorrento I even got... oh I forgot what that chocolate is called... ya know the triangle shaped yellow box bar kind? Anyway, Igot that kind in Sorrento. But I was so so so hot today that I ventured out and got mandarin orange and strawberry. I felt like a little girl with my little sundress sitting on the bench with my legs dangling off with my sperry shoes swaying in the breezy lickin' my gelato ice cream cone waiting for my bus. It was absolutely blissful.

We had to be back on the ship by 3:30 because we are headed to Venice tomorrow, which could kinda be a disaster. Strike... what does that mean? Will there be riots? Will there be fights? But most importantly, will I get my caprese salad and wii-fi? (That was supposed to be funny) really I am worried about our gondola ride.... with 4 girls even if it was 100 euro it wouldn't be bad... and what an experience! But I guess that might not happen. Oh well.

As for Croatia. It was everything I could have possibly dreamed plus some. I remember the post cards that Dallin would send home every few months. I remember being shocked by the palm trees. When he got the call I thought of communism, ugly cement buildings, and bombed out towns.... who freakin' knew that Croatia is pretty much heaven.

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