FUNNY…. HOW THINGS EVOLVE…..
If you have already read, “The Chronicles of Sharon”, then you know we visited Europe in 2019. It was another first for me, certainly not for Jumbo. Before embarking on this adventure, we made 3 decisions to enrich our experiences. First, we were only going to stay in B&B’s. Secondly, we only booked our first and last stay in Croatia. Finally we travelled without cell phones, but with a computer to book our next destinations and to communicate with family. Certainly lots can happen when making these choices and through it all, evolving matters brought us to a place, where we chose to pay it forward in our rich experiences.
When we arrived in Dubrovnik our host arranged an Uber to pick us up from the airport by holding a card with our names on it. How cool is that? He knew where the keys were to our B&B and he let us in and said his good byes. Our B&B was a half bombed out, stone house that was only half redone (visualize, the other half). Our side was beautifully refinished and our host arrived shortly after with all sorts of amazing advice for us. This advice included things like riding the bus, grocery stores and restaurants nearby. She spoke perfect English and was happy to assist us in any way. What an absolute delight she was.
During our 2 night stay we managed to take the wrong bus home which landed us on the other side of town. Luckily we did not have cell phones, so running up a hill in 40-degree weather to flag down a taxi driver to give us a ride home worked just fine. He actually gave us the name of the fellow who drove us 4 hours to our next destination, complete with a history lesson along the way.
. Dubrovnik was an eye opening, tourist heavy, little city. The streets are so narrow and they all drive so fast, bumper to bumper. Our next destination was not easy to find, as is was a tiny island whose entrance had been blown away by the last storm. Good thing our driver”s cell phone did not tell him that, as he still managed to deliver us into the hands of our next host on the island of Nin. Thank you, Anthony for your amazing historical stories.
The culture is rich and Croatians love their Country with a fierceness, that I have never felt before. They light right up, speaking about legends and folk lore. I had the wonderful experience of not believing a legend that Ante was enjoying telling us and that night my master card stopped working. Oh no, I am not a world traveller like Jumbo, I panicked. Thankfully we contacted who we needed to and that was that. Lesson learned. I embraced a respect I did not know I lived without.
By the way, the legend was about a valuable statue of Mary holding Jesus. 500 Years ago it was stolen and the next day it was back in its original spot in its church on this very island of Nin. We visited the church and I entered, I asked the solid gold statue permission to take their picture. Permission was denied, my camera would not work. Chills overcame me, and I left immediately. It was that night my card was rendered useless.
Back to our amazing hosts, who all enjoyed assisting their guests in any which way that they can. Jumbo and I started talking about how cool it would be to do this exact thing same thing. Open a B&B and be amazing hosts.
We carried on to Perusic, which is far away from the Roman influence you find along the coast of the Dalmatian Islands. But you will still find 500-year-old churches and a culture so rich, the locals say, there is no crime. It was here, spending time on the farm land that I really made the decision and I wanted to become a B&B host. Sometimes our uncomfortable experiences can jolt us into seeing another path. We hired a boat ride that was a total rip off and not at all what we expected, but it sure got me thinking about possibilities we could offer as hosts. Vancouver Island is as rich with experience waiting to happen as Croatia is in all its beauty and rich history.
Playing soccer with the local Gypsy kids will definitely teach you a thing or two about how much they love their Country. Wearing their Croatian Jerseys they wanted to teach, superstar, Jumbo a thing or two about soccer. But when they realized she held more talent in her pinkie finger, they turned on us. Luckily, we had no cell phone so Jumbo showed these kids what it looks like to kick a soccer ball a km into the farmers’ field. We all watched the ball with wide eyes and that ended that.
Our farm hosts could not speak a lick of English. So I panicked again. How can we possibly get to our next destination without the help of our hosts? Oh no…. who do we turn to? Well, we thought we were walking into a school, but it turned out to be Perusic’s municipal hall, and they spoke English. We met our new friend Mihoviol and clinched our next ride to Pula, our last destination in Croatia. Our 3 hour ride, provided more history and a friendship building conversation. Mihoviol is our friend to this day and we are excited to pay his generosity forward.
Pula has more Roman ruins then I had seen anywhere else is Croatia. The coliseum was getting some renovations, but still allowed visitors to enter and look around. This busy, beautiful city was a bustle of activity. A bus to down town allows for a day of walking around and really soaking in the sites. We visited a church we called the church of tears. Both Jumbo and I, lost control of our emotions. We both went in different directions to look around, then suddenly it hit me. Tears. By the time I reached her, near the back of the church, I was in full blown tears streaming down my face and so was she. With no need to explain to each other we got the heck out of there. So much to see and feel.
Thankfully it was easy to get around and everyone is so friendly and curious and really happy to help. In fact, our hosts arranged our Uber to take us to the airport early in the a.m. The end of one Country in all its glory and onto the next adventure in Switzerland….
Three planes later we arrived in the Zurich airport where our Uber is to pick us up. We waited, watched, anticipated, wished, hoped, lost hope, and looked for an alternative. The train it is, ZOOM…..we’re here! 3 Planes, 3 trains and a bus took us to our destination in Pontresina ,Switzerland.
Where a wedding is going to take place. Our anticipation seeing our friends made our hearts burst when we found their hotel, but where are they? Oh boy, that cell phone sure would come in handy right now, thankfully our computer can do just the same, so we messaged and waited. We had not had anything to eat for hours; we were exhausted and needed to refuel. This is where we met our next forever friend who saw a need in us and acted on it. A waitress working to set up for the evening but not open for service yet. Francesca realized we needed help so she sat us down, brought us water, then beer, then a menu. She said she cannot serve us food until 6pm, another 45 minutes away, but look at the menu just the same. It was so nice to sit and refuel with cold Swiss water. The beer was strong and felt like it nourished me down to my toes. Exactly what we needed. We had lost contact with our B&B host, for a short time, and we chatted about our options and how we would actually find our home for the next week. OMG, She did it, Francesca brought out our food 30 minutes before they even opened. I wanted to cry, no, I did cry.
Another example of humans, taking care of humans, just because they can. We finished eating and decided to go back to Joel and Alan’s hotel to see if they can help find our B&B. They had not received our message so we were stumped and their hotel did not want to hold our luggage, much longer. Just when panic could have set in, Jumbo hears Alan’s’ voice. Now, Jumbo does some fancy sprinting and thank god, she caught up to him just before he closes his door. What a reunion! Alan speaks many languages and he managed to speak to and find our hosts and keys to our amazing B&B. Now we can focus on the wedding.
The hills really are alive with the sound of music because cows and goats wear cow bells and roam the very steep hills everywhere. Not that we walked up any steep hills because our friends arranged rides up all the super cool places. Trains or cable cars called Funiculars are used to pull us up one mountain. A spot so high, that the spring flowers I found at the top, were a fraction of their normal size down in the valley. A gondola took us up to see glaciers and a chair lift took us up to the wedding ceremony. Riding high, with burning legs and lungs. Our little village was just less than 2000 metres in elevation. Even the Lear jets flew below you.
The events that took place in the next week in the Engadin valley really had our emotions in a state of love, love and more love. The wedding was amazing, the events leading up to the ceremony were so well thought out and thoroughly tended to our hearts were ready to burst again. So many new friends and family to embrace. From strangers to family, in one night.
Being on top of the world for these events, really do make you feel rich. Now we want to pay it forward. On Vancouver Island, on our little farm we call Friendly Foods Farm. Matters' have evolved.