Thursday, September 22, 2005

Balkane, balkane moj

Budi mi silan i dobro mi stoj

Croatia part 1

..our fearful trip is done. Of all former Yugoslavic nations I think Croatia has the best start for normality. Or maybe it was just historical luck. Since the 1991 proclaimed independence it has thrived (maybe because of the great touristic opportunities), despite the wars which left sad vestiges in some areas – abandoned houses looking like swiss cheese from bullet holes, a sight not completely unfamiliar to me, since I can still see the same thing on the walls in the midst of Bucharest, but our holes were the result of a 5-day regime changing revolution, not the consequence of 4-5 years of nation to nation armed disputes.

Anyway, historical facts left aside (as if…), this brand new country is a slap in the pimpled face of our 2000 years of so-called independence. Keywords of the past 8 days: good spirits (of mind and alcoholic), hospitality, forests, green lakes and blue sea , Mediterranean life. They applied for membership in the EU 2 years ago and they would probably go through the negotiation chapters in a jiff if it weren’t for the war chains, still holding them back : “Zagreb had not fully cooperated with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia with regards to the apprehension of the fugitive alleged war criminal and former General, Ante Gotovina.” So they are on hold. Indefinitely.

Highlights of the trip (see stars on map coming from the north down):

Zagreb is nice, small, crowded, colorful, trams go near the sidewalk and you park your car in the middle of the street. Good hotels are expensive, cheap hotels are bad. There are no men (I think it’s a nation of girls- post-war effect ?), but the lack can be compensated with 2-3 scoops of great icecream.

The Plitvicka Jezera (Lakes)is an amazing natural park (on the UNESCO herritage list) with 20 lakes cascading over limestone and chalk barriers. Poor fauna – no other sign of vertebrate life except for the fish, which don’t count, (because the fish don’t think, the fish know everything), and strange live formations, around 60 y/o, with at least 100 limbs and 25 heads, plus one guide on high heels holding up an umbrella, trotting happilly on the wooden paths.

To my genuine surprise, no yellow prefabricate smiles, no stroboscopic flashes, only European visitors. I walked around for 5-6 hours, desperately trying to resist the urge to jump in the azure of the ponds and float in the sun, feeling the fish swarming beneath and tickeling with their fins. I resisted - but I still regret it :)

I constantly expected to see fairies humming gently over the still waters, or leprechauns running from one tree stump to another… banshees turning into hideous reflections, imps and succubus lurking in the half-flooded caves and under the wooden steps. I left leaden hearted and permeated with turquoise.


  1. Am vazut candva o emisiune pe TVR despre Croatia, implicit despre "lantul" acela de lacuri ... am ramas profund impresionat! Apa 99% potabila (!!!) - cel putin asa spuneau in documentar - iar la dispozitia turistilor stateau numai vaporase electrice! Prima persoana care vorbeste deste aceste lacuri ... desi o colega a mea a fost si ea in Croatia si nu a ajuns acolo!
    Si ce as mai vrea sa te intreb ... :D ... da' mi-e rusine!
    In orasul ala ai ajuns? ;))

  2. :)))) nu, era un picut cam departe.. si cica se pronunta [pola] ;) .. as fi vrut sa vad vestigile romane de acolo.. next time. e atat de frumos ca trebuie sa ma duc sa fac acolo 15shpe SD-uri de 1 Gb! - regim de austeritate acum.. doar 512 :(

    btw, feel free to ask anything. am always willing to tell stories :)

  3. what beautiful pictures! This post was enough to make me add Croatia to my list of countries I want to visit (if I ever manage to save up the money and the vacation time). Thanks for the informative post.