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  • Writer's pictureEva

Beautiful Croatia: Bright Blue Waters, Blitva, and Narrow Streets

Hi friends - welcome back to Into the Forests I Go!

So, what's on your bucket list?

We're jumping right in with the big questions today, y'all.

Because Croatia has been on my list for a few years now - and recently, I got to make that dream a reality.

With some good friends, The Scientist and I took an early morning flight out of Vilnius and got spit out in Dubrovnik, with its busy, narrow, winding Old Town. If I'm honest, I felt a little overwhelmed in Dubrovnik's bustling Old Town, but after an "easy hike," - Narrator: it was not easy - I was rewarded with crystal clear blue waters and beaches to swim in, salt water, and lounging. (And of course, The Scientist found a cliff to jump off of!) While my friends and husband drank all the beer they could get their pretty little hands on, I spent my coins on Croatia's sparkling water - my favorite thing in the heat. I guess I'm easy to please that way!

But with only one night in Dubrovnik, we made the most of it before heading to Split via a five-hour ferry. If you're considering traveling from Dubrovnik to Split, I highly recommend the ferry over a bus. Let's face it, the view is way better and it's a solid memory maker. If you have work to complete during those five hours, keep in mind the ferries may or may not have working WiFi so you'll likely have to use a hot spot. Other than that, I spent a good chunk of time listening to my Not-So-Nice Jewish Girl favorite Hillsong album. ;)

Once we got to Split, we explored the nearby beaches, beach bars, and finally, for me, some frozen peach margaritas to go with my sparkling water. In comparison with Dubrovnik, Split felt more grounded and spacious. I enjoyed it way more. Getting some time to myself, I treated myself to a walking tour around Diocletian's palace - really, his retirement home. During this tour, we wandered in the narrowest corners of Split, walked past the Temple of Jupiter, and got a treat of a traditional Klapa performance in the palace's vestibule. The harmonies sounded amazing in the space, and it remains one of my favorite moments of my trip.

But I also was treated to traditional Croatian cuisine from a local I met in an online community: grilled sardines with blitva (chard with potatoes, onions, and garlic). When I tell you I loved those grilled sardines so much that I came back on my last day and shared the restaurant with my friends - that's how you know I loved it. The trip wouldn't have been complete without a trip to Froggyland, one of the weirdest museums we've been to yet. Taxidermied frogs in realistic poses? It raised a few eyebrows, but I'd be lying if I didn't say we were excited to get there all week. Split's quirkiness was officially unlocked.

Being me, I even managed to happen upon an old Jewish cemetery on my way back to my hotel. (How does this always happen to me? Answer: ancestors.) This cemetery on a forest's edge was beautiful: it overlooked the city like a postcard. I later learned it was established in 1573 and has over 700 visible graves. I didn't have too long to explore it, but walking right into it unexpectedly reminded me of my 2022 bus trip from Vienna to Bratislava. Here's what I wrote at the time:

Right off the bus, we walked into the Old Town to see an extensive outdoor exhibit on the huge former synagogue that used to stand in that exact spot. I understand the synthesis and cohesion it must have taken the Bratislava Jewish community to create this exhibit - it viscerally touched me in a deep way. In a world of antisemitism and dark corners, I felt proud for something I didn't even do. I can't say why I didn't expect any Jewish history, but here we were in Slovakia, and I was completely surrounded by it. It remains one of my favorite unexpected moments within this move to Europe.

Moments like these remind me that I did the brave thing and took the leap to move around the world - and these are my meaningful benefits.

Here's the point of this whole post, if you haven't figured it out: don't forget about your bucket list! Taking one item off mine means it's time to add a new one, and who knows what that will be?

I have a feeling it'll be an adventure.

So thank you, Croatia - let's meet again soon!

Feel free to share your own with me in the comments, on the Connect page, or over on my Instagram.

Until next time - iki!


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