Rounding narrow turns, European cars pointing in different directions and yet on the same side of the street. Twenty miles and hour feels more like a hundred as we twist and turn down the decent. Beautifully gated palaces in colors from beige to salmon, vibrant flowers and very small cars parked in every space available. Down the hill we go and into the old town, excitement grows.
The center of town offers even less room to maneuver, purposely swerving left and right to move around pedestrians who show no fear. Buildings line both sides of the narrow streets in bright yellow, orange and pink, intermingled with beige and peach. I know that there’s a theme somewhere, however, even within one building you will find the bottom floor with curved arches and the second floor will have triangular and the top a straight line that running . The most common theme that I see are mostly square windows except perhaps for the first floor, intricate detail carved from stone easily found from any mountain or hill next by. Reminiscent also of a Roman time where columns line the front of arched doors usually adorned with carved pictures of Croatian flags or saints. Men and women watch over the crowds that enter the square and the doors to the National Theatre.
While we are still in the car searching to squeeze the larger than typical 4 door car into any space that we could find, I cannot help but snap away. Since I do not know my way around this new area, I am always afraid that I will miss out on something good to share and remember for later.
When traveling by yourself, take a picture of where you are parked so that you have a reminder for later.
Our friend finally decides to play it safe and search for a spot in a parking garage. Watching carefully, turn the corner. There it is. Between two white lines painted on the ground, he finds just enough room. Caution used while opening the doors as to not dent the car on loan. We narrowly escape without harm and begin to unpack the arsenal for the one child that tagged along for a beautiful day in town. I am so very thankful for the stroller at this point, because even with an 8yr old there to help, a two year old in a crowded town on foot can be a dangerous proposal.
One thing that I have noticed in much of Europe is that when a pedestrian would like to cross the street, the cars will almost always oblige. You must take the initiate though first by placing at least one foot into the street. I find a mutual respect as I will stay behind and wait if I think that the cars are having a difficult time passing with too many visitors trying to walk across and yet the driver’s always seem to stop if I want them too. One need only to gesture.
The church bells ring beckoning me to come inside. I am of course, wearing a dress that I am afraid is not appropriate for a traditional Catholic Cathedral. Signs on the wall just as you enter the first hall, clearly show that shoulders must be covered and short garments on men or women is disrespectful. I pull it down as far as possible (already to my knees) and gesture shyly that I mean no disrespect. The woman inside bows her head as if to say it’s okay.
The details in the Cathedral could bring anyone with a heart to tears of joy at the mere thought of the time and craftsmanship involved, as if the angels themselves blew the glass and carved the wood themselves. Jesus hangs on the cross over again as the Lord’s Angels watch over all who enter the walls. It comes at the perfect time to pray for my friend’s family just losing a father and grandfather and all those who suffer.
Leaving the Cathedral, a few more pictures by the fountain watched over by golden angels. We walk away all just a little bit more relaxed and happy. Back on the bricked streets to the center of town where the little shops of shoes and herbal remedies entice me. Unfortunately it’s time to return home for dinner and a baby’s nap. Where did the time go? There’s always tomorrow.