Over Pentecost Break, I had the opportunity to travel to Croatia. We spent time in Zagreb, Dubrovnik, and Split and had a wonderful time.
Coming abroad, Croatia was not even on my radar of places to visit. While I had heard it was beautiful, I hadn't considered it a spot to go for Pentecost Break. When someone in my program suggested it, I did some research and saw just how beautiful it looked. None of us had ever been and it was an exciting opportunity to step outside of our comfort zone.
Zagreb, Croatia was our first stop on the trip. It is the capital of Croatia and unlike the other towns we visited, not located on a coast. Zagreb has many beautiful buildings including churches and government buildings. When we first arrived, we took a trip to the top of the observation tower in Zagreb. It gave us a great overview of the city and a look onto the roofs of the buildings. It was important to get this viewpoint as many of the churches in Zagreb has beuatiful designs on their roofs that you couldn't see from any other vantagepoint. We got to go into some of these churches and see the ornate Catholic decorations that had survived for hundreds of years.
- Zagreb highlight was the Musuem of Broken Relationships. Now a worldwide exhibition, the museum started in Zagreb. People were asked to donate items and stories of their past relationships that did not work out. Some of them were really sad as people submitted stories about how they could not be together for various reasons. Others were very funny - a reminder that not all relationships end in heartbreak. One of my favorites was a toaster that had been taken when someone left angry after a breakup. The only caption read, "How are you going to toast without a toaster?" The entries that stood out to me the most were the ones that were not romantic relationships, but parent-child relationships. These were the saddest ones to me as they included the perspectives of both parents and children. We left the museum feeling a bit somber but really happy that we went.
Our next stop on our Croatian tour was Dubrovnik, which was my favorite city of the week. It is located right on the coast of the Adriatic. The teal blue seas stretch out in contrast to the bright red of the houses' roofs, creating a vibrant landscape. Dubrovnik's Old Town feels like something out of a movie (which makes sense as they film Game of Thrones and Starwars there). The ancient fortifications of the city are still intact and you can walk on the city walls that were used to guard the city hundreds of years ago. The old buildings are all made of sandstone and have elaborate designs carved into the rock. We saw more churches here.
My favorite part of Dubrovnik was sea kayaking and exploring some underwater caves with snorkles. The water was so blue and clear that you could see extremely far down to the bottom of the caves. We saw starfish and other animals buried in the sand. The water was a bit choppy, making it a bit difficult to get back into our boats, but it was well worth it. It was definitely an adventure I will never forget.
The third stop on the trip was Split, Croatia. It is also located on the coast, but further west than Dubrovnik. It was also a beautiful area, but the bigger size gave it a completely different vibe. Here, we spent time exploring the ancient castle that remains in the middle of the city. We saw one of the most ornate chapels I have ever seen. It was built by old Croatian loyalty and remains as beuatiful now as it was when it was built. It's no surprise that they also film movies in this location. Split had some beautiful beaches as well, although the water was not as clear as in Dubrovnik.
My favorite evening in Split was one where the group stayed in the Air BNB we had rented. Our host gave us access to their back gardens and large grills. We decided to have a cookout and spent the evening talking and grilling together. We stayed up way too late with our early flight the next morning, but it was worth all of the yawns in the morning. It was a perfect cumlulation to a wonderful Pentecost break and a great representation of the freindships formed over the course of study abroad.
Overall, Croatia was a beautiful country with so many diverse landscapes and the friendlist people. I reccomend it to anyone who is looking for a country that is a bit off the main tourism path. You won't be disappointed, I promise.
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<p>My name is Sarah and I am studying environmental studies and journalism. Although born and raised in upstate New York, I now go to college in Washington, DC. My perfect day involves eating lots of good food and getting lost on a hike.</p>