I found my way to the waters edge once again. The sea couldn’t be free of me even if it wanted.   By afternoon my salty matted hair was shooting out sideways in rope like strands. A wild child of the sea… just how I like it.

I pouted with feet dragging all the way back to my flat when I realized by afternoon that I had to get back as I had booked a cooking class days prior to arrival.  The class was in the country side and I unknowingly had to prearrange transportation.  Taxi was my only option at that point. I jumped in and around the first bend I asked how much it cost to get there. Best to ask these things first. As it would turn out, the fare was three times the cost of the class itself. I abruptly  asked him to pull over. This was a no go.

Plan B. Walking back to the gates, I remembered a kayaking group that left everyday at 4:00. I wasted no time to grab my swimsuit and without any hassle they let me join last minute. Before I knew it, I was paddling in tandem with a gal from Nebraska. We were fast friends. The unruly pair that we were, drifted outside the group pausing whenever we felt the urge to admire the sun as it started to slowly spill behind the grand walls of Dubrovnik, leaving remnants of golden streaks. We then paddled to a cave where we sat on the beach  and talked a little.

The other guide upon learning my passion for food expressed that much of what we eat in town is not the same as what they typically eat as locals-not surprising. I asked for an example of the differences. “Olives”. He added that the olive trees on his property are very old and declared them “better” as such. He tells me how he himself processes the olives. Slitting them…soaking them for weeks..then brining and adding herbs and oils to enhance the taste. At 25, he understood and participated  in this age old process. He also shared some political history before the formation of Yugoslavia and later when Croatia fought to gain independence in 1991. I appreciated his thoughts that were so clearly informed. 

Back in the kayaks, heading towards Dubrovnik, our paddles glided in synchronicity, gifting us with moments of ease to appreciate the beauty that captured our gaze at every angle. Our mouths opened but without words to accurately capture the moment.

One of guides paddled up beside us and asked what we thought of the sky.  “Brilliant” was all I could say. He explained that this was his first day and first time seeing the sunset from the water like that. He is from central croatia. We asked him what he himself thought of the sky. He looked towards the setting sun then back to us and shook his head slowly and emphatically exclaimed..”fuck”. That seemed to fit better. It was magic above us. 

Once on shore, our guides offered us some wonderful Croatian wine that we drank together over conversation. We each weighed in on everything from politics to sociology and ..the concepts of vulnerability and resiliency. My American friend, who had been travelling solo for three months, shared some of her trials thus far. She highlighted, however, the random gestures of kindness and support from the strangers that helped her along the way. Getting robbed in Spain..her passport and cards stolen, for example. Without any money to even get to the consulate, strangers  made calls, gave her money for a taxi, grabbed her hand when she collapsed in tears. The yin and yang. Those challenging moments, she says,  “restored my faith in humanity.”

The night continued with drinks at ‘The Irish Pub’-there’s one in every country. With a couple of pints to the backdrop of some John Fogerty,  we toasted to the magical evening that permeated our salty skin and left us all glowing..and perhaps a ‘lil tipsy. 

živjeli..life is beautiful!