Hvar, Croatia

Croatia’s Counter-intuitive Beauty

After spending 5 days on Greek islands, we made the logical choice to visit the island of Hvar and city of Split in stunning Croatia.

I struggled with explaining to my friends and family what Croatia is, where it is, and why I wanted to go. After pointing it out on a map, my mother nodded her head and said, “Ah, Yugoslavia!”  – which was ironically fitting description of Croatia. I then discussed the trip with a Bulgarian coworker, who assured me Croatia is a bad decision and stated in a thick Russian style accent, “It’s not even in EU, its the poor man’s vacation!”

Regardless of all the random comments we got about Croatia, Instagram pictures had us in love with Croatia. Every Croatia wanderlust hashtag was loaded with blue oceans, caves, and stunning waterfalls.

Krka Falls

The country was unlike America and Europe. English was sparsely spoke, and the locals seemed to be in a post war depression. Their humor was dark, and with the language barrier – the moments conversing were more awkward than not. But, Croatians were kind and generous to us. On a boat tour, our guide lent us money for food when we miscalculated how much to bring because of the conversion factor. On a night out, waiters escorted us to the club and disguised us as Croatians to avoid paying entry fees reserved for unassuming tourists.

Croatians are a recovering people – independent newly in 1991. It’s no wonder people are hesitant to understand their county and are unfamiliar with the country. During my trip, I learned they are recovering from years of oppression, from the Romans, from the Hungarians, and most recently and violently, Yugoslavia. The roads leading to the beaches are lined with minefields, and buildings are still bare with the scars of the war. The history is behind every soldier turned bartender’s smile – that we are new, we are here, and we are finally free.

Visit Croatia to experience budding happiness, embarking global presence, and most importantly, untainted natural beauty. As my tour guide stated, “Taste the wine, you could see it in an American store in a couple years.”

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