CROATIA.

Reen and I landed in Dubrovnik at noon on a Saturday, and when we stepped off the plane, there was a mob of screaming Croatians: they were chanting our names, wearing t-shirts with our faces on them, and trying to crawl over our body guards in order to get close to us. Actually there wasn’t a crowd and there wasn’t any yelling, but there was a little man named Mimo, who was the sixty-seven year-old-man that drove us down the mountain to the shores of the Adriatic sea, where he dropped us off at our “fun studio apartment” that we had rented on Air bnb months prior. On the second morning that we woke up in “fun studio!”, it was raining outside, and unfortunately it was also raining inside (fun!) and so we put the garbage can in the middle of the floor to catch the water rushing in and we put some towels down to slow the flow from under the door and we sat in bed, in the middle of rainy-ass Croatia. Thunder only happens when its raining, but apparently leaks only happen when it’s raining, too. That day was wet and we tried to walk around town, but I was wearing Tom’s and the streets are made of slick marble, and I was in danger with every step that I took in my tractionless shoes. My Tom’s got soaked and several days later, the mildew took over and I know that I should have burned them somewhere in the eastern european bush, but instead I lugged them around for seventeen days and brought them home, where they are still wrapped up in a plastic baggy in my suitcase (?!) Sometimes it’s just hard to let go. But in the end, my shoes didn’t matter because it was me and reen under an umbrella in the middle of an old town with high walls and pigeons that fly, even when it’s pouring. We walked around Dubrovnik for days, liking the orange rooftops and the way they contrasted with the blue of the Adriatic harbor and all of its turquoise boats. We liked the way gelato was sold on every corner and the way Croatian ladies wore nylons and short skirts and high heels, even in the rain. We liked the way the pizza tasted and the way they played Huey Lewis everywhere we went. We liked the stairways that led to alleyways; the groups of tourists in garbage-bag-rain-jackets; the clean laundry that hung from lines against the sky; the mangy little cats that slept in the sun and the men with eyebrows like caterpillars; the coffees in the afternoon on small white plates and the girls in their cheetah print dresses being led by small white dogs. Eventually, we picked up a hitchhiker named Angelika, and the three of us adventured together: we ate lemon gelato, insta-grammed each other and tried to sneak onto the set of a Croatian soap-opera being filmed in Old Town. When we kissed Dubrovnik goodbye and went north by bus to Split, I wasn’t prepared for the ache in my heart as we watched the white-walled city disappear from sight. In Split, we liked how the palm trees lined the streets and how there was an option to buy pizza every ten feet, but no matter how hard this city tried, it would never even compare to Dubrovnik.

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