Firstly a big hello to everyone! Here we are back in Oz. After all those months of anticipation and excitement it’s all over. So over in fact that with no jet lag and a looong to-do list it almost feels like we never left. Almost. Thankfully I’m running on post-holiday-buzz adrenaline.
Where to start? I already shared with you all how much I love the place. Over nearly twenty years we have managed to see the whole of Croatia. But for me (and the rest of Europe) it’s all about the sea. Zadar, Split, Dubrovnik, Pula, Opatija, Makarska, the list goes on and on. Such a small country but so amazingly rich with natural beauty.
For us as a family (and especially my husband who has had one short getaway in five years) it was a chance to soak up the sun, enjoy the company of beloved relations, and eat all the delicious food. Which we did. Greedily. Can I just say that the food is SO tasty and super fresh. Eating out is a joy. The Australian dollar currently buys six Croatian Kune, and with prices already a lot cheaper than here in Oz, we could order with abandon. I also didn’t drive for two months so I could enjoy the fine wines on offer. Which I did. Very much. Apertif, digestif, wine with dinner, beer with lunch… You get the idea. In fact I might still be over the limit.
It’s also a good test of how well you get on as a family on trips like these. No work, no school. Where one goes we all do. No time apart. (Except once when hubby went to watch a soccer match. I stayed home and somehow managed to buy a dress on Asos). We managed to get along pretty well considering we had a toddler AND a teenager in tow. In fact it was shopping with the husband that was the least fun. You know: “why do you need that?”, “how much longer?”, and my favourite “you need to buy groceries again?! You just went a week ago!”.
Like on every good holiday there were those truly special moments that you know you will always remember. Like the restaurant in the center of Istra, on the top of a hill in the middle of nowhere. A place that serves only what they grow and raise themselves, down to the wheat used to make the bread and pasta and the dish of wild boar that the owner/chef killed two days earlier. The truffles on the pasta come courtesy of the owners prized truffle-hunting dog. The cheese in the ravioli filling is made using sheep’s milk from the sheep which later end up on the plate. Only homemade wine and apple juice to drink. All around you in every direction are the fields where he grows his vegetables, grapes, and wheat. Rolling green hills, jasmine in the air, and fresh clean mountain air. And you know what? No photograph could ever do it justice nor take the place of those kind of memories.
There was the night we made pizza’s outside in the “kumin”, similar to a pizza oven but with a large opening big enough to spit roast a whole lamb. The fact that it was a forty degree day while we stood in front of a roaring fire might not have been ideal, but enjoying the fruits of our (sweaty) labour and downing copious amounts of cold beer more than made up for it.
The week spent in the beautiful Kvarner town of Lovran, a throwback to the heady glamorous days of the Adriatic Riviera a century ago.
A walk through the fields all around our house, where the silver olive trees sway in the breeze and the vines are heavy with grapes, just days away from picking to make the wine. The stone walls built centuries ago which have stood strong through the times of many different rulers, owners, and invaders.
My husband celebrating his fortieth surrounded by so much family, joy, and love. A man who usually wants no fuss on this day ordered two spit roasted lambs and didn’t stop laughing all day. Then a few days later (on his actual birthday) we had a memorable lunch in his absolute favourite restaurant topped off with his favourite dessert of panacotta. Even though we got caught in a brief rainstorm as we walked there, there was no other place we would rather have been.
So on Monday night we were feeling the hot weather and having one last swim, while Wednesday saw us here in Sydney with our parents, kids, and siblings. Thursday my husband already had work to take care of, while my sons had a list of matters that needed my attention. By Friday night, after grocery shopping (yep, again), cooking dinner, hanging out washing, and vacuuming the floor, it almost seems that I dreamt a really good dream.
Just as well summer is on it’s way again.