I know more about Italy's culture and hiking than I do about my own backyard. So, I am heading north: drive to Tobermory, take the two hour Chicheemaun ferry to Manitoulin Island then Killarney Park to hike two "difficult" trails: The Crack (6km) and Proulx Lake (12km).
But more than that I am jumping into Tom Thomson turf. Thomson is an iconic Canadian landscape painter--who was never a member of the famous Group of Seven--little tid bit I learned. Thomson died a mysterious death in Algonquin Park. He drowned, but the circumstances surrounding it are still undiscovered. Just began reading, Tom Thomson, Artist of the North, by Wayne Larsen.
In the next week, I will post pictures of my adventure up north; as well, I will outline where to find info if you're considering the same Canadian voyage.
I love the cafe culture in Bosnia and nowhere is this more alive than the old town in Sarajevo. I went back to the same pizza place two nights in a row to people watch. As I finished off my second glass of red, the blond waitress brought me over a third: "this is on us."
I found out she was from Zagreb-- in my opinion already a really cool city. "This city is so alive and creative," she says.
I was feeling a bit lost when I returned to Kalpic in Croatia. Travelling alone for almost two and a half months gets to a girl after a while. I had already gathered enough research in Istria, northern Croatia, for a few stories so the last week was open. "Sarajevo is such a mix of cultures," says Ivana. I booked one night; it turned into three.
I have never been to a place that has effected me more. I will try to explain why.
The Old Town called Bascarsija.
ok--sorry for delay. Having too much fun. Forgive me.
Since I last posted, I have biked the highest mountain in southern Croatia (St. Juve 1,700 meters in Biovoko Park);
Along the paved road 23 kilometers of steep switchbacks, which took me THREE HOURS, there are stone homes from about 1,000 years ago--farmers. Amazing.
ok, after the eight hours on the mountain, Emma and I decide for something more subdued the next day. Closer to Zagreb, Plitvice Lakes is beautiful, but with souvenir shops, buses and hoards of tourists,...
Ok, that is an ominous title, but yes, myself and a Welsh girl I met were certainly stuck on a mountain rock face in Croatía's Paklenica National Park (southern end of the Velebit massif above town of Starigrad). Long story short, and I will provide details, but we took a wrong turn and started climbing the rock climbing trail --not the hiking trail.
We climbed three rock faces, teetered on rock ledges, up hand width crevices and flat rock using only wire rope attached to the rock. It was the third one, when Emma's legs were shaking, that she decided to call the police. "Mel, I can't do it. I can't go any farther." I looked down, at the rock face and rope --attached to the rock we just climbed. I thought to myself, well we certainly can't go back. So, there we were, on a rock ledge facing the ocean. Stuck. The conversation played out something like this:
I am staying at an agroturism place off a gazillion side roads about 17 kilometers from Sibenik; closest pub is three kilometers down the road--horror.
Wonderful people. I emailed one of the daughters, Ivana, months before I came. I was so excited to finally meet her after so many emails, we hugged when we first met! www.kalpic.com
They even have a dog named Stella--fate!
I arrived, tired from driving for about five hours to a glass of wine and homemade cookies. Oh, and a flower on my plate. My room is in the background. Birds chirping, water flowing...ahh.
In Zagreb, Croatia's capital, I came across a museum so potent, it made me cry, laugh and think --more than any other museum I have ever visited. Now, to be fair, I am not a museum type person. For one, I don't like to walk slow.
But, this one is different. It is called the Museum of Broken Relationships . It began as a travelling exhibit and now has a permanent home in Zagreb. Each exhibit is a memento or piece of memorabilia, of sorts, from someone's relationship. Accompanying each item is a poignant explanation of its significance. Some ended in grief, others, it's obvious...www.brokenships.com
Ok, arrived very late and here is what I know about this city.
It is a mixture of Paris cafes (they are everywhere), and Slavic charm and history. Oddly enough, some cafes only serve drinks--absolutely no food. Hmm. And, it seems that everyone smokes. Saw a pregnant woman puffing away. Another thing: everyone speaks English. (everyone as in anyone I stopped for directions).