Ancient Roman culture was known to be quite ahead of their time in many aspects, from science and technology to philosophy and art. Travel was no exception and though that’s not exactly how the saying goes, Jean Spoljaric shows us why we should do as the Romans did… in Croatia!
“Croatia: The Roman’s Favorite Holiday
After a day of roaming the streets of Old Town, I worked up a thirst for a cold beverage. Inside the castle walls, I spied an old, hand carved, crooked, hanging wooden sign reading, “Cold Refreshments.” I followed the handmade signs, climbing the white marble stones while navigating the seemingly endless rugged walls towards a vibrant blue sky and the beautiful view of the Adriatic Sea.
There it was in front of me dangling from a rock ledge, “Buza,” an oasis on top of the world! I ordered a Karlovaco beer, or ‘Pivo,’ as they say in Croatia. I found a seat among the twenty-plus other imbibers, took a deep breath, and gazed out over one of the most beautiful views of the Adriatic. The warm sun, the cold beer, and the beauty of the moment all converged in my senses.
Back at sea level on my last day in Croatia, I was determined to make it to a beach. The beaches in Dubrovnik are modest. You won’t find vast sweeps of white sand, but you will find crystal clear water and clean stretches of rocks and pebbles or gravel to throw down your towel. I tucked my towel in my bag and took the short walk down to Banje Beach, a popular choice amongst tourists and locals as its located closest to Old Town.
After pressing the lumps out of my sandy bed and getting my area situated, I followed the sounds of the crashing waves. As the refreshing 70-degree current was pulling me to the sea, I felt a baby octopus scurrying under my feet and I headed for shore.
I struggled a little while trying to make my exit from the water; the sand giving way to the rocky ocean floor below made it hard on my bare feet. Where were my water shoes when I needed them!
As I lay on the beach, I sifted the grainy sand through my finger tips, picking out pieces of colorful sea glass to bring home with me. The warm sun heated my body and I reflected on having been able to experience such beauty.
Like the Romans, my visit to Croatia would not be complete without heading northeast to the hills of Croatia. Of the eight national parks in Croatia, I chose to visit the largest and the smallest. They provide an ideal vacation experiences for active travelers; rock climbing, hiking, biking, or even spelunking. Admission prices are reasonable and, in the spring and winter, the crowds are diminished.”
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