Last night we sat in our third floor apartment, kind of a crow’s nest feel, and watched a thunderstorm blow into Zagreb. We finalized more trip details, car rental and the like, and caught up with family and friends over Face Time. The weather in Zagreb cooled down significantly this morning with the storm, and we opened the oversized windows to let in the breeze while we packed our things. We stopped on the road in Rastoke, a small town on the way to the Plitvice Lakes. Our host, Zvonko, recommended it. We had a Croatian pizza for lunch.
We have met the most interesting people on this trip. In every country, we have met soneone we could spend a few hours over coffee or a glass of wine, and the time would only seem like a few minutes. Each person had a story so intriguing and inspiring. Zvonko is one of these people. He is an AirBNB super host and I can understand why- friendly, outgoing and helpful. Very matter of fact in his opinions, especially about wine, but some of that comes with speaking in a second language. We thought we would impress him by saying we had tried wine from Slovonia- “What kind? white?”
No, we said – we tried the red. He managed to be charming while he reprimanded us. “Red wine from Slovonia- no good- that dirt is not good for red wine-but Istrian wine, you will never forget the red wine from Istria once you try it.”
Zvonko has sailed all over the world, just got back from Sardinia and Sicily, but admits the Croatian coast is the best. The food on the coast and the wine, he claims, are excellent. He is obviously proud of his country, and wants visitors to enjoy it. He laments that the Japanese tourists who have rented from him have 7 days of vacation a year and just race from place to place, seeing just the surface of Croatia, and not experiencing it. “This is not good travel- you need to take your time”. As we said goodbye, he said to us “slowly, but go take it!” A much better way of saying take it slowly. Seize the day, and savor it.
So today, John and I are slowing down, and enjoying the experience in Plitvice Lake National Park.