To continue the story of our trip through the Balkan countries this Christmas, we go on to Croatia, a land rich in natural beauty and history. We hit two highlights with our visits to two main cities, but honestly one of my favorite parts of Croatia was the view from the car as we drove through it. It has such fresh, barely touched natural beauty, from the dazzling blue seas to the towering snowy peaks. I highly recommend a visit.
We started in Zagreb, the capital, on a crisp winter morning right before the new year.
We discovered a Christmas market near our hotel. Vendors sold soap, sweets, jewelry, and other handicrafts. These two motorcycle dudes were waiting for cups of steaming mulled wine to sip while listening to a band play Christmas music from a gazebo.
We moved on to a main market square and discovered a bustling fruit and vegetable market. There were some handmade toys, including these cute dolls bobbing on wire springs.
All at once, while peacefully perusing this market...
We jumped about a foot and stared at each other.
Crackle POP crackle crackle BOOM!!!
Fireworks? Gunshots? Celebrations for the day before the New Year? Someone trying to spook us because we were the only foreigners there?
We never figured it out, although every few minutes a sound like a gun going off cracked through the air and we jumped about 6 inches in the air and stared at each other. Strange background noise for market day, but what do we know about how things are done in Croatia?
Get your sauerkraut right here! The acid in the air in this underground market burned our eyes. I've never seen so much fermented food in my life.
Lena and I wanted to go for a ride in the old Army truck, but we settled for the swing instead.
Elliott and my sister went for a wild ride on the seesaw. You can see the grass between Julia and her seat!
Free mulled wine back at the hotel... um, don't mind if we do.
Emily fed Lena some yogurt for dinner.
Later we journeyed down the coast to Dubrovnik, the city I said before was one of the loveliest places I'd ever seen. The old city of Dubrovnik is surrounded by thick stone walls; gleaming limestone buildings and cheerful orange roofs complete the charming picture. We spent several hours with a tour guide and then sipped coffee in the main piazza of the old city.
The harbor was so beautiful. We could see the rocks on the sea floor through crystal clear blue water.
Paddington in every language!