Julia Molden completes her series of blogs on this year’s Croatian Language and Culture Course as everyone says their goodbyes, and starts thinking ahead to next year’s trip to Vis, Lastovo and Palagruža. Thanks to Julia for finding the energy every day, after all that language learning and cultural immersion, to keep the rest of us informed and entertained.
In a change of direction, today, we abandoned our plans to go to Mount Učka and decided to organise a more ad hoc day. This was partly because the weather was threatening to take a turn for the worse, so being up in the mountains suddenly sounded less inviting. Also, after all the exertions of yesterday we felt a slightly less intense day would be preferable. We all started the day by walking along the Lungomare. Some, who had already walked some of its eight kilometre length, earlier in the week, were determined to cover the entire walk this time and reach Opatija in time to visit the market there. Others just wanted to walk some of the way as they hadn’t previously experienced the path, with its lovely views, at all. So off we all set together and soon we broke down into groups proceeding at different speeds. After a stop, about a third of the way along, for a coffee pause, the speedy ones marched on towards their more distant destination. Others of us decided to turn back and return to Lovran because we wanted to grab the opportunity of another dip in the clear blue waters of the Adriatic.
As we returned drops of rain were beginning to fall and, by the time we had returned to our villa and changed into our swimming gear, it was getting a little heavier. But as we were going to get wet anyway, there seemed absolutely no reason to change our plan. By the time we got into the sea, there was a steady patter of rain coming down and landing like little jewels on the water. We had a beautiful half hour just swimming around, floating and chatting with no-one else around. It was quite magical and we had been oblivious to the rain, which was busy making our towels and shoes pretty sodden. We finally appeared back at our villa looking like drowned rats, but who cares?!
After another afternoon of continuing our assault on the Croatian language, we added our own impromptu excursion to Mošćenica, which is a small mediaeval fortified hilltop town a few miles along the coast. It is one of a number of such towns, in Liburnia, which were built during the 12th and 13th centuries to form a defence system for Kvarner Bay. In 1968 it was entered into the Register of Cultural Heritage which has protected it from the ravages of touristic development enveloping its seaside sister, Mošćenica Draga. The entrance to the little town is protected on one side by the Kastel and on the other by the Stražnica town loggia and, within its perimeter, there are nine little churches in addition to the Parish Church of St Andrew. It was a delight to wander round the cobbled streets and gaze down on the coastline below in the evening light. We rounded off our evening in the Zijavica restaurant in Mošćenica Draga and, in spite of our over-indulgence of yesterday, we enjoyed yet another delicious meal.
And today is our last day of this year’s trip and, on cue, the weather has decided to prepare us for our return to the UK. It has been raining on and off all day and the temperature has fallen substantially but it hasn’t mattered at all. All of our excursions have been completed in beautiful sunshine and, throughout the morning, we were once more ensconced in our studies. After that, the height of delight was plodding through the rain to get our Covid tests in the town centre prior to our flights home tomorrow. The clouds did lift for a while in the afternoon and some of us took a drive up Mount Učka after all, where we were surprised to see the trees already donning their autumn colours. So another beautiful summer language and culture course is drawing to a close and it seems that the summer itself, too, is nearly at an end. But we will be able to spend our darker evenings thinking back over all the fun we have had and all the new intricacies to the Croatian language we have learned. This evening we gather one more time in a restaurant, in the centre of Lovran, before we all take our leave at the crack of dawn tomorrow to catch the midday flight back home from Zagreb.
Thank you, Linda, so much for yet another wonderful week and we go home with our heads full of wonderful memories – not to mention gerunds, genitives and lots of other joys from your beautiful language.