When Mom hit 87 she began to say: I don’t want to die without seeing home once more. We didn’t have the money to travel to Croatia from Spain then, but we wanted to fulfill her will. Then suddenly something never happened to me before (never after) arrived as a gift from heaven. I won a price in a Christmas lottery consistent in a two people trip to Cuba. I asked if I could change the destination and they said yes!
So we went to Croatia that year in an unorganized trip. I hate organized trips. We just wanted to get lost. Mom wanted to see home. She is from Senj, a little town North near the port of Rijeka, close to the Croatian biggest Island, Krk. The town was leveled in WWII and most of its ancient buildings have disappeared except the castle of Nehaj. But the town is still known because of its history and its strong winds: the “senjska bura” that sweeps the sea between the Island and the mainland and in winter use to form ice in the coast. In summer the water is clean, transparent, and beautiful.
We went to Krk to the town of Punat to visit a little island inside a bay of the big Island, Kosljun. This little Island has only a franciscan monastery in it and we went there to visit a friar who was my mom’s friend from youth. Father Mavro. We went to Kosljun in a little boat named St Anton. We spent several days there. It was the most peaceful site I remember. An island only for the franciscans and their guests in a beautiful scenario. Silence, nature, the monastery and nothing more.
Krk has a lot to historic and natural places to see and enjoy. It was great.
Then we headed south to Dubrovnik, a very known medieval city because we wanted to go to Kotor, in Montenegro, were my father was born. Again, Dubrovnik is a popular touristic destination, but is great being there with time to get lost when is not the hot season and you can walk freely through the main street stradun, sit down at the Onofrio’s fountain, go to some little restaurant in one of the narrow side streets, visit the ancient pharmacy of the franciscans or the ducal palace or if you can (we couldn’t because of the age of my mom) take the steps and go up to the walls of the city that fall down to the sea and give you astonishing views. We took a boat and surrounded the walls. It was great. Then back at the hotel a “Klapa” or group of men signing folk songs sang for us in an open air dinner close to the sea. In Dubrovnik the sea was also clean and transparent and beautiful.
Finally we cross the border with Montenegro and went to Kotor another medieval city with Croatian population where my father was born, which is at the end of a beautiful bay of the same name. We were able to visit my aunt and uncle and my cousins and we went with them again to get lost in the city and enjoy the bay surrounded by high mountains, the water calm, with its little islands inside.
Finally we went back to Dubrovnik and then the last day the “klapa” sang to my mom a song dedicated to her. Her name is Anna and the Lyrics goes “Anna, my little Ana, may soul, my heart”. With That song in our hearts we went back to Spain and that was her las visit home.
I would like to come back to get lost in the Croatian Adriatic coast again by myself, visit more cities and places we were dreaming to see, and remember those days with mom.