Travel does not set rules. It sets you into a trance mood. I have had people asking me for the last three months how have I made time to travel, write, and read in synchronisation with my work life. The answer is easy. Love and passion for travel and writing, and most of all priority. I make work priority when I have deadlines to meet and project focus on certain activities, other tasks are planned. I utilise my weekends fully, I sometimes work extra hours on the week days from Tuesday to Thursday which gives me flexibility over Monday and Friday, I can leave early and come late. Also I plan my travel by road during the night to save up on travelling time so that the it gives me ample of time to be in the location destined. Also the myth that you need to leave your job to travel the world, does not work for me, I have found a very good if not perfect balance between my work life and leisure life. I adhere to certain decisions I make and believe in the power of dreams and faith, so it works big time. In the last 18 months I have travelled to over 14 exotic locations, which need time and lots of patience to explore. Not only the city life, nature and treks, but even experienced the culture. 7 countries covered so far and more planned give me happiness that with a decent corporate job that I surely like, fulfilling dreams is not a cakewalk but a journey to behold. Croatia became a beautiful milestone in that journey, it will be special, because as soon as I came back from this pristine country, the date I get hitched to my love Kris was announced. Very special!
Coming back to Croatia, I have three words, blue, azul and pristine. Blue is the colour for Croatia, the waters of the Adriatic Sea make Croatia a stunner. A pristine and natural location with crystal clear waters, dense forests, lush green meadows, colourful and myriad houses, an astonishing countryside and deep gorges in the young fold mountains. Anyone will fall in love at the first sight. My journey started from Stuttgart with Trupti, Sanjay, Rohan and Rohish organized by Eureka trips. We started on Friday night to wake up to a beautiful and marvellous countryside of Croatia on Saturday morning. First destination arrived much before time, Plitvice Lake National Park, a UNESCO heritage site, and the crown of Croatia. We exchanged some Euro for Kuna, the currency in Croatia, and felt so rich, 1 Euro is equal to 7 Kunas, not a bad deal. This park is natural and is a home to such a variety of species, aquamarine life thrives in the blue, chilly and pleasant waters of the Plitvice lake. This water against your feet is no less than a Thai spa taken at an expensive urbane salon. We walked 8km for the whole day inside the park through caves and gorges, through little cascades and gigantic waterfalls, through different hues and shades of blue, through the fresh greenery that made the water feel so relaxing, it was no more less than a trek through this national park, along the mountains, in between the valley and from above the waterfall, limestone rocks and young fold mountains, welcoming you, water everywhere at each view, a glimpse of a different shade, not a dearth of filthiness or dirt, air fresh as the smell of a blooming flower, lavenders across, frogs croaking and ducks quacking, a serene forest life at its best. I found my spot pretty early and did spend a good 2 hours pondering over just nothing and doing nothing. Observing the fishes was my favourite pastime for the whole day. They were tiny, cute and some were so nano. I wanted to dive in this water, I felt it was calling me, but that was forbidden in the park, even the dragonflies on the light green leaves felt as if I was walking through the shows of National Geographic and Discovery channel, everything that I saw on TV as a child came to life in the national park. My friends and me had some ice cream on our journey, before taking a boat ride on the lake and it was yummy chocobar for the treat. Pictures were being clicked at every nook and corner, as everything seemed special and incredible. More than selfies we clicked nature, my photography skills have bettered a lot with this journey, there was lot of trial and error.
After a tiresome day, yet such a mind boggling experience, we set off to Zadar, a port city ruled by the Romans, and now an unexplored tourist location, very few tourists were thronging in this city, it was a win-win situation since it turned out to be peaceful and with time in hand, we could see everything properly and also enjoy it. Zadar is surrounded with Adriatic waters, the speciality over here is that the waters have white sand and less of it, there are more of rocky beaches, which are clean, untouched and pure traces of sand and grey rocks make it a view that will be etched in our memories forever. We had one private beach for our hotel too, and I enjoyed all the leisurely activities here on the beach, I swam, I got a sun tan, had beer, enjoyed the beach night life with the special Croatian beer, it was not at all bitter, the best beer I have had after the Weissen Beer I tried at the Spring fest in Germany, coming to Croatia and eating icecreams is a must, because they melt in your mouth like ice. Also the beer is a must try for all the people who drink. Many hot chicks on the beach for bird watching activity as well. The best moment on the beach was when I stood against the edge of a tiny bridge that led to the sea and felt the wind gushing against my face. Never did I feel free like a bird on the verge of a bridge, the blue sky above me and the aquamarine water below me, it was a dream come true. We did some shopping at Zadar, got some local cherry brandy and Croatian souvenirs after which we left for the hotel. Worth mentioning is the sea organ in Zadar, the architect who built this sea organ was so intelligent, that he used basic physics as a base to build the sea organ. There are holes on the road or the path you walk underneath which there is place for the waves to enter, the back and forth movement of the waves and the air on the top function on the principle of how a mouth organ is played when we pump in air through the holes, the waves makes the noise and the air through the holes gives it tune, truly brilliant! On our way back we played Antakshari on the bus, you would not believe in seven different languages, it was craziness to the next level, singing old melodies with a happy bunch of people, also I made many new friends on this trip.
The impromptu countryside road through Slovenia was a landscape drawing, with snow capped mountains, meadows engulfed with pines and oaks, wooden houses with roofs, and yes multicoloured, fog across the tip of the mountains, a chilly gush of wind flowing and making the clouds fly along, at times we could not see what lay ahead because of the fog, but isn´t that the typical romantic weather, we all wish for, I missed Kris a lot at this point of time in Slovenia. We had a brief stop and had some coffee and pizza near the tanking station, and set sail. Make sure you carry passports with you always when going to these countries, strict checking is done at the borders and stamped too :), to avoid illegal entry of refugees and unauthorised persons.
Coming to the food we had in Croatia, it is not at all bad, in fact it was a treat for the non vegetarians, exotic fishes are a delicacy here, so many types and freshly fried, since Croatia has many port cities, fish is eaten by most people. I also enjoyed some scrambled eggs and salad here. It was really different in taste than the other salads that I have tried and tasted in Europe. I loved the mushroom soup and spiced up rice. Vegetarian options exist!
The most peculiar and something laudable was that the people here are multi lingual unlike some other countries in Europe. A huge chunk of the population will speak Croatian, Slovenian, English, German and may be one more European Language. Sign boards are displayed in Croatian, English and German. A very environment friendly and clean nation.
Eureka Trips took us to some exotic places and the stay was planned well too, this trip has been so special and wonderful in many ways. Blue is the word.
Next time for another travel experience. Keep travelling and exploring to learn!
Rucha Sudhir Khot.