Two years ago I visited my daughter, Lauren, in northern Spain. I hadn’t been to Europe for nearly 40 years so anticipating that trip was exciting but I was a bit nervous too as I would be getting out of my comfort zone in many ways. The two-week trip traveling to Basque cities and to Madrid was thrilling of course and afterwards Lauren and I agreed to travel together every couple of years.
When it came time to decide where to go on our second trip Lauren pretty much left the itinerary up to me with the preference that we go someplace she hadn’t been. Wow, the entire world to choose from, where would I start? I knew that I wanted to see more of Europe, and since Lauren had visited many European cities, that helped to narrow it down. At first we focused on the southern tip of Italy, the boot, because Lauren had heard they have food tours there, and neither of us had been to that part of Italy. The area at first intrigued me too because most of the towns were small, quaint and located on the Adriatic sea.
But as I researched further I kept finding myself attracted to the other side of the Adriatic, to Croatia and it’s walled-in city called Dubrovnik. Croatia was also attractive because no one I knew had been there, which made it seem even more like an adventure, and that it probably wasn’t overcrowded with tourists yet.
It was inexpensive too compared to northern Europe which is always a plus.
Lauren was fine with the change even though I couldn’t promise her 5-star foodie experiences, she was content that we would be near the sea. She didn’t know where Croatia was either until a week before we boarded our 11-hour flight to Frankfurt, but neither did I until I began to create our itinerary.
Croatia it would be. I ordered Rick Steve’s guidebook for me and Lonely Planet for Lauren because as a seasoned traveler she wanted nothing to do with Mr. Steve’s whom she perceived to be written for mature and inexperienced travelers. Hmmm. In the end, both books would be quite helpful. After reading the two guide books, and plenty of travel blogs on Croatia, I came up with the following itinerary:
Fly into Zagreb, the capitol city of Croatia. I wanted to visit a city where the locals lived even though many bloggers suggested skipping Zagreb (or a few hours was sufficient) and heading right to the coast. In our two weeks we’d be seeing plenty of coast.
Plitvice Lakes National Park
Zadar or Pag Island
Either Korcula or Hvar Island
Fly out of Dubrovnik. Just about every blog and guidebook mentioned that Dubrovnik was the must-see city so I decided to save it for last not wanting other places to pale in comparison if Dubrovnik was to be our first stop.
Why Croatia? Why not?