Nothing, nothing, nothing.
I try to accept and apply this mantra to our time here in Croatia. The crossword puzzle, books, the hammock in the garden or the sun chaises on the rooftop will be our familiars over the next week or so. We are in the old town and the pealing from the old church bell on the hill is a recognizable reminder of where we are. Narrow slated walkways take you steeply up or down. Many tumbledown buildings with some neglected, overgrown gardens. Some tended houses have small kitchen gardens, their tomatoes and bay leaves and thyme producing bumper crops. There aren’t any major hotel chains here, just family run businesses that reap their successes during the heady summer months of Italian and German tourists. It almost seems like the unspoiled Greece of 15-20 years ago.
Everyday life is evident on the local lanes. We can hear the cries of the baby across the small lane outside our bedroom window. Newborn kittens grab the attention of passersbys, old men silently police the lanes from their hard, wooden benches. The aged women of the old town, scarves, and stockings of black make the pilgrimage up, up to the church cemetery, visiting loved ones long since gone. It is difficult to catch the eye or even a smile from these silent ladies. The last forty or fifty years of their lives have been incredibly difficult. I wonder how they must feel now as the German, Italian and other chubby, sleek, under-dressed and sun-burnt tourists invade their town and take over the fleeting summer months. We connect with some email at the Tourist Bureau, the only internet in town and receive two emails from Eric in Sydney and Derek in Berlin, asking if we were still in Prague and commenting on the small bomb that had gone off in Wenceslas Square. We reply that we were well out of harm’s way at that point and look for a Herald Tribune to get caught up on the news.