I do judge a place by its first impression.
After a 7-hour train ride, I arrived in Zagreb, Croatia on a Friday night in July. It was raining a bit, just like Medellín, and it was especially refreshing in the summer heat. I smiled immediately – that’s usually an indicator of how much I like the place.
In Zagreb, I established a little routine with going to the coworking space (Impact Hub) every morning and cooking dinner every night. It felt like a rather quiet, peaceful month, but it wasn’t. I went on at least 4 side trips in August — that’s a LOT of traveling for me in a month! I met quite a few amazing women traveling in Croatia, all of whom were stewardesses from top-notched airlines. At one point, I felt like I was living the fantasy of a traveling bachelor. These brief encounters definitely created some beautiful memories for me in Croatia. 🙂
Croatia also taught me how to sip on an espresso for two hours. “Sit down. Order a coffee. Smoke a cigarette. Smoke a pack of cigarettes. Just don’t – ever – rush your coffee,” I was told. Is coffee in Croatia that great? Not really, but it’s not about the coffee. It’s about having a pointless conversation, enjoying the afternoon, and experiencing the abundance of time. If you live in a busy city, can you even sit down for a cup of coffee and do nothing for a few hours without feeling anxious? It sounds silly and simple, but it’s difficult for many people including myself. Although some Croatian locals jokingly blame their “slow coffee” culture for the country’s poor economy, they’re probably not that worried in reality. What’s there to worry about if you own half of the Adriatic coastline, countless UNESCO sites, and most important of all — King’s Landing?!
Summer is usually a fleeting season, but I was able to pause time for a little bit in Croatia. This gorgeous Mediterranean country is now my second favorite country… after Colombia.