Vacation Retrospective – Day #1, Part 2: Lovran, Croatia

I never ended up writing a follow up post about what happened once I finally touched down in Trieste, Italy at the end of almost 22 hours of flight/airport time. However, there were a few interesting bits I want to make sure not to forget or otherwise leave out.

I walked off of the plane in Trieste with the idea that I would get to the lobby and see my friend Katie (Bride) standing there. Instead, I walked out into the lobby and saw a sea of unfamiliar faces. Luckily, one of them was holding up a sign with my name on it. It was written in Katie’s handwriting, and though the guy was a fresh-faced 24 year old, I still felt a flash of pride and allowed myself to pretend that he was my limo driver! I’ve always loved that part in the movies where the limo driver is waiting with a sign, and the young author/artist/newly-minted bigwig gets to pick his own name out of the crowd. *sigh*

I hopped into a small car with two friendly Croatian brothers, friends of the Groom, and started the hour and a half ride through Italy, Slovenia, and into Croatia. We chatted about 80’s music, dancing, what was new on the radio in Croatia, and I learned a few words, like “hvala” (thank you). Once we got to Lovran, the driver, Mario, drove me straight to my apartment house, which is kind of like a bed & breakfast, but without the breakfast. They’re very common in Croatia, and this one cost me 21 Euro a night. I had thought that I would be sharing a room with Bestie and her husband, but instead I had my own private room, with my own bathroom and a cute little balcony. It was very homey and cheery, with a big painting of Marilyn Monroe over the bed. I loved it.

Apartman1

First was a very necessary shower and a very short nap, followed getting all of my things out of the pack and into the closet. While I was unpacking, Bestie knocked on the door. We hugged excitedly, and talked about the plan for the evening, then she told me her big news – she’s pregnant!

I was both happy and a bit crestfallen. This was supposed to be the last big adventure for the three of us, and now she wouldn’t be able to steer the party, like always. I didn’t tell anyone while I was on vacation, but it weighed on me for the next couple of days; my own fault for placing so much emotional power on the thought of this vacation, and also for not giving myself the permission to step up to the plate and just have fun for my own damn self.

One thing I learned over the course of this vacation is that I often feel powerless and unable to change life’s course, and I also always think of all the possible ways that people could dislike what I have to say. I often throw myself off course before even starting just because I come to a decision for other people without giving them a chance to react or respond. I assume people won’t like me, or will think my ideas are stupid, or will want to do better/bigger/more fun things, and ascribe these imagined faults to the people, without any real proof that they’d ever actually be that way. It’s unfair of me, and it’s bigoted in its own way, and what’s weird is that I never just assume that strangers will do or say X, Y, and Z. I trust strangers and often reach out to them in ways I’d never reach out to people I actually know and love. Instead, I assign imaginary roles to the real people in my life, and confine them to these boundaries without much proof that they wouldn’t rise above my assumptions if I just gave them time, space, and opportunity to prove themselves bigger than my judgmental thoughts will allow. It’s weird. But it’s me, and it’s something I’ve got to work with.

Anyway, moving back to vacation notes…that evening Bestie, her husband and I caught a ride with the groom up some very steep mountain roads to the little guest house that Katie and her family were inhabiting for the week leading up to the vacation. Groom’s family owns the house and a large plot of land around it, and they grow grapes, cherries, peaches, chestnuts, and other lovely edible things there. Groom and his brother run a sailing company, and often the tourists that take the sailboat out will stay in the guest house for a few days, too. The house is broken up into two apartments and lots of basement space for storing the wine the family makes with its grapes.

Bestie, her husband, and our friend Karl, brother-of-the-bride. Notice the bowl of cherry pits – this was a tiny fraction of the cherries we ingested over the course of the vacation. They’re just so good!

Bestie, Katie and I spent the evening walking around in the garden, getting reacquainted, eating too many cherries, and playing with Katie’s cute nephew. Then around 9pm, Bestie, her husband and I caught a ride back down the mountain to the center of town, where they had found a great gelato place the night before.

One of the many beautiful villas in Lovran, Croatia.

We walked through this adorable little seaside town, admiring the lovely late 19th century villas that lined the roads, breathing in the incredible salty sea air, then met up with another newly arrived wedding guest at the gelato place. After gelato and coffee, we walked along the promenade, then decided to see if we could find Katie’s extended family at the restaurant they had said they were going to. After a couple of wrong turns, we found the family, then ended up having a late dinner (the second one that evening – we had eaten earlier at the guest house, as well) and more wine with Katie’s parents, her sister’s inlaws, her uncle, and friends of the family. Finally, around midnight we wandered back to the apartment house for a well-deserved slumber. Tomorrow was the big day!

 

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