Crazy year – the final part!

21 12 2010

Well now that we are on our way back to Croatia, the weather has turned on us.  After a week of amazing sunny skies and hot temps, a massive – scarethepoopoutofyou- thunderstorm hit the night before we left.  Thankfully Isabella slept through it all, me on the other hand not so much!  The lighting was so bright that one flash turned off the street lights!  But with the storm going through the temperature must have dropped a good 10 degrees.  It was actually cold out.  But with the rain, also came the clouds and fog so our view of the sea wasn’t the best.   So the drive seemed longer then what it probably was. 

But soon we were back in Gospic and at my grandmother’s.  My grandfather was there pacing the street waiting for his Isabella to come home.  I don’t think I got her out of the car seat before he was grabbing her.   She of course just lapped up the attention!

During our last days there we did one more big trip to Plitvice National Park/Plitvička Jezera.   After a bit of a round about trip thanks to Penelope the GPS we arrived.  Now at first it didn’t seem like much, lots of trees, people, air, the sound of water… but then once we got through the main gate and on to the other side, this is what I saw…

The sight of the falls was just spectacular!!  But the climb down would be interesting.  Isabella in her wobbly little stroller, me with crap knees,  unstable ground beneath, lots of people, oh never mind… DAD!!!!   Here you do it!   So my dad took Isabella and he went for a stroll down the opposite path so Leigh Ann and I could go to the big falls and get some pictures.   I’m not going to say much more… I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.  Oh and yes the water really is that colour!

The park is just amazing and I guess we only went to one side.  The other side is much prettier but the trails are rougher and it’s too hard with Isabella in a stroller.  So I’m going to have to wait until she can walk on her own and take her back there.  I think this is one place everyone should put on their “to do” list.  Just remember, it’s a lot of walking and bring a snack and water.   And don’t forget your camera!  The cost seemed to be reasonable and the best part is outside the gates back on the streets, you have people selling their homemade goods.  Nothing like fresh honey, or strudel, or cheese.  The goat’s cheese was fantastic!  It was drier then most cheeses I’ve had and the seasoning was top.   I would just go back for the cheese!   I did bring back some honey from there, sadly it is all gone, but I enjoyed every last wonderful drop!  Since the war did hit that area we were again hit with destroyed houses and churches, fields where they are now unkept and you can’t venture in them for the fear of mines.    Towns where the buildings are still pockmarked from the bullets,  and some that should just be torn down but yet they still somehow manage to stand. 

Another trip we took was to go back to the sea so Isabella could dip her toes in again.   The day had turned right back to beautiful so the drive it’s self was amazing.  Such a drastic change from my dad’s side of the mountain to the coast side.  We also stopped at a little bar/restaurant/apartment place so we could grab a drink and a bite to eat.  Dad and I shared a grilled fish platter – ok… YUM!  Isabella sat quietly in her stroller/on my lap/on grandpa’s lap looking around and being nosy as usual.  Leigh Ann had headed down to the little beach on the other side of the street to try and get some sun.  The drive back was great as usual, since the sun was out the sea looked a brilliant blue.  We did stop to get some pictures along the way as we went up the mountain again.  

But sadly it was nearly time to head back and leave this beautiful country, the mountains and sea, the rolling hills and awesome pig roasts.  Oh did I forget to mention that?  It seems that every little bar and restaurant has a pig roasting or a lamb.  Growing up in a meat-eating family (PETA people I don’t need to hear it), pig roasts were always a great treat.  So the last night I was at my grandmother’s we had lamb and pig with the family and some of the neighbours.   My grandmother made an excess of coleslaw because she knows that I love it.  So it was a meat, slaw and bread meal…how perfect is that?  We did family pictures, and I made sure to get a bunch with the three of them.  Plus all of us together.   But in true style it was time to go to bed (around 9pm).

The next day we took more pictures and I had to get all my stuff together since we were heading to the airport for my 3:45 flight.  Isabella was a good girl all the way to the airport, at the restaurant in the airport and right up until we got to the waiting room…then she fussed.  But on the plane she slept the whole way again and was the perfect passenger.    We had such a great time, it was sad to leave especially since they loved having Isabella there with them.   I don’t know if/when I’ll get back to see my grandparents, but I do hope that it is in the near future. 

The final picture I took before leaving Croatia,  it was hard trying to take pictures and hold her at the same time.    

So all said and done, Isabella has managed to travel to 7 countries, travel on 2 plane trips, countless train rides, car rides, boat rides all before the age of one.   Her passport says it all!  Netherlands, Germany, Canada, The United States, Slovenia, Italy and Croatia.  I hope she gets the travel bug when she’s older!!