Did I tell you that my dad is super awesome? He is. Ok, now back to this blogging business. The week with my Pa and Margie was great. Being with them reminded me of home, and how nothing really changes. We spent the first two rainy days being easy around Cavtat (the c is said like an s), going for small walks along the harbour and peninsula, down and back up the hill to our apartment where we drank Rooibos tea sweetened with the honey I bought in Montenegro for Margie, read our books and napped a whole lot. Thankfully the sun came out on the Sunday and we could go out for the day before my Pa started crawling the walls – he has ants in his pants syndrome and can handle about five days of holiday before he wants to get back home.
Having my old toppies here – them to see the sights and sounds of the Dalmatian coast – meant we were all tourists for the week, and we fit right in with all the other middle-aged to retired couples holidaying along the Dubrovnik coast. Our first excursion out of Cavtat was to Cilipi to see some folk dancing. Little did we know that the whole excursion is a tourist trap, but once we were there what could we do but pay the entrance fee, look at all the souvenir shops and watch the folk dancing performance. I loved the hand-stitched detail on the traditional costumes, and the haunting melodies of this strange violin-like instrument played by an old man with a grand, bushy white moustache.
Our next touristic trip was to visit Dubrovnik, the cherry on the top of Dalmatia. First impressions can be lasting. My Pa was overwhelmed by how dense the Old City is, how many people can cram into such a small space. Margie will always remember the steps, oh so many steps, up and down steep alleyways. I was blown away by the number of tourists. As we walked into the Old City we became part of a crush of (cruise ship and tour bus) tourists following their respective umbrella guides. Wowza, if there are so many people here at the end of September I shudder to think how busy the city is during the season.
Tourists and steps aside, the city is a wonder (I mostly wondered how old people climb the stairs to their apartments and my Pa, the builder, was concerned about the sewerage system and messy electrical wiring). Pa and Margie had their camera fingers working overtime, all of us eyes agog at the grand stone buildings and cobbled roads leading up, up, up, only for us to climb back down again. Margie continued her souvenir shopping spree while Pa and I climbed the gazillion steep steps (they are always steep and there are always more than you’d actually like to climb) up the Old City walls and walked the few kilometre perimeter. Sweaty yes, but the views over the sea, harbor, greater city and into the Old City were totally worth the huffing and puffing.
After all the walking and climbing in Dubrovnik, the next day we opted for an excursion that was easy on the body: a boat trip to the three Elifiti islands (Kolocep, Sipan and Lopud). I only remembered once we were on the boat that I get a touch of sea sickness, but managed to keep my breakfast in my belly where it belongs and even caught a nap on the way. On Kolocep Margie and I wriggled our toes in real beach sand (it exists!). On Sipan I bought walnut rakija and olive oil from a woman weeding her garden. On Lopud I planted myself on the nearest patch of beach (this one with no sand) and napped in the sunshine.
Touristic excursions done, our last day together was just another normal day enjoying each other’s company. But by the time it came to say goodbye I had a small cry in my Pa’s shirt. It was so good to see my family, to be with the people who know me best and be reminded of what I will come home to. One day I asked my Pa when I would see him next, and in his ever pragmatic manner he replied: “Oh, when you come home angel.” Yes, my Pa is awesome.