100 Days in Croatia - Week 7 - Roads and Relationships

Published on:
August 2, 2023
Iva Sladic Keco

Week 7 of our Croatian escapade has come and gone, marking my longest stay in old homeland in the last 18 years. This week was a mix of hammering away at the red house, catching up with relatives, indulging in afternoon dips to beat the heat, and couple of cultural excursions.

We journeyed to Dalmatia, down the Adriatic Highway, a road that deserves a grander title like "The Great Adriatic Road" (I'm channeling the epic vibes of the Great Pacific Road we conquered back in March in Australia). Sure, it's not the quickest route – that honor goes to the newfangled Highway A1 – but this scenic route has carved a cozy spot in my heart.

This road once taught me the art of conquering travel sickness. Back in the day, cruising along this path meant the beginning of a vacation fiesta, but it came with a side of motion-induced queasiness. Countless twists, the overpowering cigarette smoke and gasoline, along with the aroma of sun scorched asphalt that went on for 7 long hours – was like an assault on the senses. But hey, I was no fan of becoming the designated car puker, so I mastered the fine art of napping on command. Wake up here and there, take in the views, and then snooze my way through the rest. Navigating that travel sickness was my victory dance, and now, despite those childhood "traumas," I've come to adore this road.

Calling the Adriatic Highway just a road is like calling a symphony just a collection of notes. It's a coastal adventure that unfolds like a well-worn storybook, revealing charming towns, hidden coves, and beaches that whisper sweet nothings. With every twist and turn, the landscape reveals a majestic composition – the dazzling sea on one side, the rugged Velebit mountain on the other, and the islands and houses lined up like gemstones on the necklace. From my hometown Rijeka to the mesmerising Dubrovnik, each bend in the road paints a fresh stroke in Croatia's coastal masterpiece. It is worthwhile of sore and sweaty bottom.

Thankfully, our kids don't share my past battles with motion sickness. Negotiating a screen-free drive was the precursor to an epic road-trip game showdown. I spy, a collaborative Spotify playlist, and off-key sing-alongs – our in-car concert was worthy of a world tour.

Amidst renovation work and cooling down in sea and river, our stay in Dalmatia was graced by a familial tapestry woven tighter, and a heartwarming reunion with extended family members. These gatherings are fueled by an endless supply of mouthwatering feasts and spirited toasts. We devoured an entire lamb, drained liters of fine wine, and traded sleep for unforgettable nights filled with chatter. Amidst the revelry, we rekindled old bonds, uncovered hidden stories, and memorized the names of the latest batch of newborns (trust me, it's a challenge).

Adding to the highlight reel of the week was our attendance at the mesmerising dance show "Asylum" during the Sibenik Dance Festival. Set against the backdrop of the magnificent theater stage within the historic Sv. Mihovil Fortress, the show transformed the ancient stone walls into a canvas of kinetic artistry. "Asylum" weaved a tale of emotional complexity, combining captivating choreography and raw expressions leaving me moved and reflective.

After this emotional experience, we ventured through the lively stone streets of Sibenik. It was an enchanting sight to witness the historic town come alive with bustling energy. Medieval cobbled paths were awash with people, laughter, and music, showcasing the vibrant heartbeat of the summer. As we strolled through the ancient streets, we were surprised and delighted by the magic of Sibenik.

The reflections continued as we toasted to another milestone: our wedding anniversary on the first of August.

Meanwhile we drove back north, on A1 Highway this time so we celebrated in winyard house in Kutina. We were gifted by the universe with the super moon that accompanied us on our terrace for celebration dinner and with bottle of limited edition vine made by one of the best young winemakers in the region, my nephew. Not bragging, just sayin'.

The celebration continued next day in Zagreb, the city that saw us grow from clueless students to slightly less clueless sort of adults. This place holds a special spot in our hearts, a realm where beginnings and endings often dance a tango. So we decided to visit the Museum of Broken Relationships.

There, the relics of love stories gone awry spring back to life, each artifact lugging the weight of personal tales that span every human emotion. From heart-wrenching stories to quirky keepsakes, the museum presents a vivid collage of human connections, both their ecstasies and agonies. As we meandered through its evocative exhibits, we chuckled, shed a tear or two, and found ourselves embraced by the collective rollercoaster of human emotions.

An extraordinary way to toast our partnership. Our bond stands sturdy and resolute, yet over the past 14 years, countless other connections have met their demise. Our ties to past versions of ourselves, to others, to places, dreams, traumas, and things – they've all had their fair share of fractures and new beginnings. Just as I discovered there, relationships, much like this quirky museum, are ever-changing, ever-breaking, and ever-starting.

Here's to embracing the beautiful messiness of it all!

Until next week friends. May the new, or old roads, take you to the new, or old, relationships.



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