Our readers share tales of their rambles around the world.
Who: Linda Miller (the author) and her husband, Elroy, of Harrisonburg, Va.; their eldest son and daughter-in-law, Weldon and Jenn Miller of Baltimore; and their son and daughter-in-law, Elliott and Ashley Miller of McLean, Va.
Where, when, why: We celebrated our 40th anniversary last year but could not work in a family vacation until this year. Google suggested Croatia as a good place to visit. We went May 31 through June 9.
Highlights and high points: We started in Zagreb, drove to Plitvice Lakes and then to Dubrovnik. From there, we went to Split and drove back up to Zagreb. The hundreds of waterfalls at Plitvice Lakes were more spectacular at every turn. And the Dubrovnik walls, with the beautiful Adriatic Sea beyond, were stunning. Ashley discovered that several “Game of Thrones” seasons were filmed in Dubrovnik, so we took a “Game of Thrones” tour with a very enthusiastic guide who had played an extra in Season 4. Our three-hour tour ended up being four hours. I have never climbed so many steps!
Cultural connection or disconnect: We booked our stays through Airbnb, which was really a plus. We got to meet real people and see their apartments with their individual decorating tastes. Almost everyone spoke English, and the people were very helpful and nice.
Biggest laugh or cry: The first evening in Zagreb we had trouble connecting with our Airbnb hostess. We had booked a van to hold the six of us and parked illegally while we got our bearings. We left it for only for a moment and were astonished to see a huge tow truck pulling up when we returned. It turned out to be a laugh, since we were able to persuade the driver to not tow our van with all our belongings inside.
How unexpected: We were enchanted by the wonderful, warm weather; the alfresco dining; and the absence of bugs — nary a fly or mosquito. None of the windows on our lodgings had screens, and brackets on the windows held two or three clotheslines. Laundry hung out of nearly every other window. One evening, as we walked along a stone wall in Dubrovnik, I heard voices above me and looked up to see a parent and a curly-haired child leaning far out to gather in the laundry. Also, Croatia was very clean, but the pervasive graffiti was somewhat disconcerting.
Fondest memento or memory: Only 20 years ago Croatia was in the midst of war and ethnic cleansing. Shelling damaged about 60 percent of the buildings in Dubrovnik. Yet most of the structures were repaired, including new bright orange roofs. The people were open and friendly, and I was impressed by their spirit and will to overcome the past.
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