A Fond Farewell to Croatia, Italy, & Scandinavia
Yesterday morning the sun was already quite intense by the time we had breakfast on the outdoor patio of our accommodation. With cushions in hand decorated with smiling seaside creatures, families headed off for a day at the beach. Many took the water taxi out to the island to go swimming while others lined the stone promenade just below the walls of the old town where pine tree branches bulging with pinecones provided shade.
We walked around the old town before noon, but again ended up at the cafe with the mist spraying fans. In the 100 degree heat, people looked absolutely wilted there. One man dumped a glass of water down his shirt while his wife actually removed her bra right at the table and draped it across her husband's lap.
The bus ride from Rab Island to Zagreb was both spectacular and miserable. The spectacular part was the scenery. After a short car ferry ride, the bus ascended into the hills on a series of switchbacks. All around us the landscape was astonishing with nothing except white barren rocks and low lying shrubs. This is because the bora winds which blow salty air and water prevent anything from growing. No one could live here, I thought to myself, and there wasn't a house in sight.
Soon we entered a more low lying mountainous area. Scattered here and there were small tidy farms or bungalows which showed no sign of life except for an occasional table set up selling honey.
All this beautiful scenery was in stark contrast to our seats on a crowded tour style bus, except it wasn't, it was a state run bus company. We were assigned the last row which had zero leg room. Picture yourself for five hours crammed into a little kiddy car and you've got the idea.
Our hotel in Zagreb was really nice and right in the heart of the city. We walked around and discovered a small pedestrian area with lively cafes in a neighborhood that was more like a small town.
At noon today we took a BritAir (Air France) flight from Zagreb to Paris. It was a small plane only holding 72 passengers. Once in Paris at the airport, we felt a little lost until we found a screen offering virtual assistance. A crystal clear image of a person appeared on a flat screen and gave us directions. It was the most high tech system I have ever seen.
It is now 5:00 pm and as I write this entry from the airport cafe, the sun will soon be setting on our holiday this summer. With lots of good memories it's time to go home.