Thursday, June 17, 2010

About soccer, light and Dalmatia

WARNING: This posting is boring for all my friends and family. You all know the story. But since I am asked quite often, what this Croatia thing is about, I write it down here and can from nowaday on just tell people "READ MY BLOG" ;)

The timing could not be better for a general Croatia posting: my country and me we are just celebrating our 8th anniversary around this time (June 26 is the day to be exact). How I know so exactly? Well ... I remember that the day I fell in love was the day of the semi final Brazil : Turkey at the soccer world cup 2002. And since we have soccer world cup again - it's anniversary time :)

So what happened? I'll try to make it short: A lot of it is my sister's fault ;)!

She was the one who travelled back in 1998 the very first time to Sarajevo to visit a Bosnian friend, who had spent during the war a couple of years in our boring German hometown. She fell in love with the place and finally lived there for five months back in 2000 and worked for the Goethe Institute.

My sister had for years tried to convince me to go with her at least for a vacation, but I said "No, thanks - not before they put vowels into their words." I had tried to help her learning vocabulary before, but gave up when I found out that these guys think that vrt, trg and Krk are actually complete words.
But finally in 2002 my sis graduated from university and my present was a vacation in Sarajevo .... and (drum roll) CROATIA - mostly because we wanted to have some beach days at the coast in addition to our city trip.

Before I tell you what happened to me in Dubrovnik I have to say that I loved Sarajevo. It is a beautiful, exciting, energy packed, crazy and totally lovely place. So if you ever have a chance to visit the city I can only recommend to DO IT!

About Dubrovnik in general you can read a lot everywhere and I won't make it long here. Just take it like that: all the nicknames like "The Adriatic Pearl" or "City of Stone and Light" fit pretty well. It is an amazing place.

Finally - during the Dubrovnik part of our vacation - on the morning of June 26th 2002 I decided I needed some quality time for myself and that I would go to visit Fort Lovrijenac (Fort St. Lawrence) right in front of the city gates of Dubrovnik all alone. I wanted to see the place where during the Dubrovnik Summer Festival "Hamlet" is traditionally performed every year. So I went there and I was really lucky: due to the soccer world cup semi final I was THE ONLY ONE visiting the place.

I climbed up to the roof deck and nearly forgot breathing because I found myself surrounded by all this beauty. It was like the adriatic sea was illuminated and the sun and the light would come from everywhere around me, from the sky, the sea and the stones. CRAZY!

It just hit my heart and from one moment to the next I felt that in a strange way I was belonging there. Not exactly to Dubrovnik or this fortress, but to this country and landscape of stone and water. That was MINE.I know this is not something you can explain rationally and I do not even try it. It was and still is a mystery even for me. But since then it's "Dalmacijo, dušo moja!"

The rest is "history":
A few weeks later a friend I had just met (I do not believe in coincidences btw) took me with her to her godparents to a small Dalmatian village called Rogoznica, which is located between Šibenik and Trogir. This place became the homebase for me and also for my sister and her family and our beloved summer residence.

Back in Munich right after my first trips to Croatia I started meeting more and more people with Croatian roots and a lot of them I am proud to call my friends now (you know who you are and you are THE BEST!).

I decided that vowels are overrated and learned the language (kind of ... life long process I am afraid) and started with my folks DVORI e.V. - our little but strong association, which is made to improve the friend- and partnership between Germany and Croatia on a cultural, ecological and economic level.

And here we are ... all Croatia / Dalmatia related stuff you will read here in the future is based on this story.

Oh right ... if you need travel recommendations and insider tips for your vacation in Croatia: Drop me a line - I am always happy to help!

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