My First Getaway
I can’t believe that I escaped the traffic of Los Angeles to go to the lack-of-traffic in Croatia. I remember being at my 29th birthday party, a wine-tasting trip, and the excitement and anticipation of my friends. My boyfriend at the time wanted to go, but we decided that we wanted a trip with just us girls.
We arrived in the quaint country one tepid evening, flanked by hundreds of other young people from all over the world. The occasion was a week-long sailing excursion with plenty of time to explore during the day. We were lucky enough to hire a hostess, Sara, who cooked for us.
The experience of arriving in the airport of another country was surreal to me. I was taking in the shape, the sounds, and the set-up. I realized that any other airport I’ve seen has the same sort of security measures, sometimes more, sometimes less. It was much easier to get through security, both in Croatia, and in Russia, from whence we’d taken a connecting flight.
What followed was a week I won’t forget. I can’t claim to have been bitten by the travel bug as much as I honestly wanted to go with my friends. But the trip made me reconsider all of the travel plans I’d once had in my early 20s, mostly because this was the closest to Japan I’d ever been in my life.
Our vacation was a great option for someone who is inexperienced with traveling. I loved the option of having a home-cooked meal for nearly every meal. I also loved being able to wake up in the morning, knowing that I would be in a new part of this new country at the end of the day. I surprised myself by partying as much as I slept, and still having the time and energy to see the historical sites, and visit sweet little boutiques.
One of my favorite memories from my first trip to another continent is a short walk that I took with a close friend from college. We were caught by an intoxicating smell, following it into a pastry shop. Here, a round woman with a kind, child-like face invited us in, and showed us the magical pastry, hot and fresh from the over. We both regretted being so full (the whole purpose of the walk was to burn off a huge, home-cooked meal), but appreciated that encounter, and that heavenly smell.
Croatian sunsets must be the reason that people travel. The mountains are quite literally a blushing shade of purple in the dusk, and make for a stellar, bumpy background on the pinched-pink sky. The people of Croatia, I believe, are still getting used to the new wave of tourism, but it will be interesting to see the future of the cozy little country with a dynamic female president. Next stop: Alicante.