Here I sit on my couch….having just arrived back in the United States after a whirlwind trip of sailing and sightseeing in Croatia! I can hardly believe that the trip is over and I am back home again. We have been planning and saving and preparing for this journey for a long time and now it is over – It has slipped into the past already.
The trip was wonderful! We sailed the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia visiting small towns with interesting names like Vis, Stari Grad and Komiza. We walked narrow streets whose cobbles had been worn smooth over the centuries and tasted seafood fresh from the Adriatic Sea. We visited churches and fruit markets, sailed over the inky purple/blue ocean and learned how to moor our boat backwards!
Most of the towns we visited seemed mostly empty of people – except for the tourists. These tiny fishing villages have been abandoned by the young people in the country. They moved in to the bigger cities on the mainland (or to the U.S.) leaving behind their parents and grandparents who know that there is nothing better than being able to walk to the bakery in the morning to buy a loaf of bread. That sipping espresso leisurely while watching the tourists pass by is a treat. That life is better slower and calmer.
The history of these places is amazing. You can see the worn and weathered paint on the doors, rub your hands against the stone walls that make up the majority of their homes, feel the smooth cobbles underfoot.
History is ever present here. You can’t escape it. You see it and feel it every where you go. The people there are living in homes that were built in the 16th and 17th centuries. They have been passed down through the families to the present time. Past and Present so close – touching even. It feels strange to walk the streets of a place that is so old. I could imaging the people living here centuries ago, how simple their lives were. I felt almost as if I were trespassing.
Here is a photo I took standing up above one of the towns:
See the white house with the red roof on the left? Its a little hard to tell in this photo but this new house is attached to an ancient one. They share a supporting wall. The one on the right is gray, has a slate roof and is crumbling down slowly but surely….the present rubbing up against the past. Who lived in that older home? Where are they now?
In Vienna, a town that is equally historic…..we walked down a crowded outdoor thoroughfare with any type of shopping you could possibly want. One block over sits St. Stephens Cathedral with it’s monumental columns and stained glass windows, cherubs carved from stone and marble floors. Again, the past right next door to the present.
I don’t know……maybe this is something you are all aware of……maybe it’s something you’ve thought about before. We have historic buildings here in America but nothing as old as the places I saw this past week. Maybe it’s just my Jet Lag but I think it’s cool. History is right next door. We are leaning up against it or it’s just a block over. Can you feel it?
I know that my history includes ancestors leaving Europe to come to America, Mennonites on the Oregon Trail, generations of Boeing employees and Mormon families from Spanish Fork Utah. I am where I am because of all the people who have loved and supported me. I can only move one way on this time continuum and that is forward……so forward I go but my past, my history is supporting me all the way and I am grateful for it. Now for some more sleep to fix this jet lag.