June 28, 2009
We’re on the train making our way back to Zurich, arriving tonight around 8 PM. Travel hiccups trumped our original plans to return via northern Italy, so we are retracing our path thru Austria, Slovenia, etc on the return.
It’s hard when an experience such as this is so fresh in your mind to see it with any real perspective, but I’d like to end with some impressions and remembrances, in no particular order:
• Probably the thing that stands out most in my memory is the Croatian people we met along the way. We did not encounter a disagreeable person in the entire 2 weeks. They were friendly, outgoing, personable and humorous. Everyone always tried to do a good job. ‘And they succeeded.
• Two examples. Our driver in Zagreb who met us at the airport close to midnight, too late to catch the train, so he made many calls on his cell trying to find us the best hotel deal he could within walking distance of the train station. Or the hotel in Dubrovnik where most of the fleet stayed Saturday night, needing to leave for the airport at 4 AM. The hotel has a breakfast included in the stay, but it didn’t open ‘til 6 AM. But special arrangements were to provide a continental breakfast for our friends starting at 3 AM Saturday morning.
• Sailing is one of the most sensory endeavors one could pursue. Of the new sailors on Libertas, the most common comment was how much more they enjoyed it when the engines turned off, leaving everyone to the sounds of the wind and water caressing the boat and our spirits. Add to that, the smell of the fresh air and open sea, and the feel of the wind in your face.
• You can let sailing be as low tech or gear-headed as you want it to be. You can get into the physics of setting the sails, navigating to our next destination, keeping up with the on board electronics and plumbing, ….. or not, and just enjoy the experience.
• Croatians, particularly the younger ones are a handsome people. Almost all were attractive. We saw little to no evidence of obesity among the younger adults, unlike the US.
• The Dalmatian coast of Croatia is some of the most beautiful sailing waters in the world.
• I was more attracted to the small rural towns/locations than the larger cities such as Dubrovnik and Split.