Saturday, June 9, 2018

Family Travel/Couple Travel, Croatian Island Style. . .


If you've been looking at my Instagram feed, you'll know that we've hugged and kissed family good-bye, shed a few tears, and left the island of Hvar -- I hope to write more later about sharing a travel destination with (several generations of) family -- and about my priorities for getting the most out of the expense of such a commitment. Hint: those priorities do NOT include seeing all the major monuments. . . . But dinner together at a Konoba in the country while darkness falls and church bells ring out a competition across the valley, while cousins chatter and share tastes from their plates and coax different aunts and uncles to take them down the hill to run in the field nearby before all return to the table for dessert? That was high on the list. . . .

That's not to say that I don't like to visit some of the historical and archaeological highlights. But often my approach to these -- and luckily, it's an approach Pater's happy to share -- is simply to wander.  And the wandering was a good way for us to carve out some easy couple time for ourselves. In fact, part of what made this family week work, I think, was that we spent parcels of time together, but we also went off in different smaller groups, and several mornings Pater and I walked to a nearby small town or, in the case of Jelsa, as pictured in a panoramic hilltop view above, we drove. . . 

(First, shall I tell you that in one of those less-than-idyllic situations that are also part of travel, the intention that particular morning had been to visit StariGrad, but Pater wanted to fill the gas tank before we did anything else. Turned out he was wrong, though, and there wasn't a gas station where he thought there was. Some trial-and-error ensued, and I happened to glance at the gas gauge and realize that there wasn't much room for trial-and-error mileage. . . If I'm going to be honest, I might as well tell you that Pater found my response to the situation less than helpful (okay, okay, I got a bit tense when GoogleMaps showed me how far the nearest gas station was, especially when Pater took a wrong turn on the way to what was actually just a Marine Gas Station. . . . ). He told me pretty clearly just how much less than helpful he thought I was being, and I think I did a damn good job of not telling him how much less than helpful it was for the one who'd been put in charge of car transportation for the trip to almost run out of gas ("I gave you ONE job" -- were words that never passed my lips. I'm rather proud of that, I tell you. . . 

At any rate, there was crossness; there might have been tears; there were sincere and thoughtful apologies, accepted eventually. . . .and we agreed to explore the small town that hosted the gas station and leave Stari Grad for some future visit (that, realistically, will probably never happen). . .  then there was gelato and the climb up to the hilltop for a panoramic view, and all the way, this wandering I mentioned, through narrow, cobbled lanes, noticing that all the other tourists got thinned out as we left the restaurants and the lavender-oil vendors behind. . . . 

There were so few other tourists around, in fact, that I didn't mind when Pater suggested taking my photo for the blog (see? He thinks of you when we're on vacation as well). . .

You'll note that linen does wrinkle, just as rumour has it, but I have to say that I couldn't care less given its comfort factor in the almost unremitting heat we've been (mostly) enjoying.
Just one more view so that you can see the high-low hem more clearly -- sometimes I like having that shorter length in front, and sometimes I'm not so sure. Pater's a fan, though, and I'll admit it tickles me that he still likes my legs after spending 45 years around them. . . ;-)
That's probably as much marital info as anyone needs. Let's get back on those narrow back lanes of Jelsa and see what the Wandering Couple saw. . .







We packed up the next morning, did that hugging and kissing and crying I told you about, took that now-full gas tank down some harrowing curves on some narrow roads with two-to-ten-foot drops six inches from our front tire. . . took a ferry, drove some more -- entered and left another country without (sadly) having to get our passports stamped -- and found ourselves in the sweetest little Studio Cottage. . . . Perhaps you can imagine that I'm wandering here as well. . . and that I will probably share images from that wandering with you soon.

xo,
Mater.. .

34 comments:

  1. I too am a fan of linen, even though I have to iron it before wearing it and almost instantly acquiring the inevitable wrinkles. Your account of your wanderings is particularly delightful because you do not omit the struggles, and it makes me laugh because I often find myself feeling proud of keeping my mouth shut (something I probably need to do more).

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    1. I've been managing the linen with no ironing at all, this trip -- I guess I just pretend the wrinkles aren't there?! ;-)
      I did bring along a small spray bottle and will spritz the worst wrinkles with water, then hang to dry. Seems to help. . . (yes, we should pat ourselves on the back when we manage to bite our tongues ;-)

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  2. Oh, how many times have a shut my mouth in similar circumstances. Knowing that prolonging the "unhelpful accusations" would be counter-productive. Travel without the occasional squabble must be so smoothly running as to be downright boring, I say. What an interesting trip you are having, Frances. And, might I say... lovely views... legs included:)

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    1. I suppose it must be boring, the squabble-free travel -- I don't imagine I'll ever know for sure!
      It's a very interesting trip, different than I expected in many ways. . .

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  3. Oh yes , been there , done that & learnt when to take a deep breath & switch off . The important thing is not to sulk , especially in precious holiday time . I’m really enjoying your pics . Give me the little back streets of a small town or village anytime , rather than the grandiose monumental stuff . I know the craftsmanship of major architecture is wonderful but I prefer the glimpses of ordinary lives , past & present . Looking at your pictures , the area is just as beautiful as it was forty years ago .
    Wendy in York

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    1. So true, being able to switch gears before the sulking sets in is important when the travel days are speeding by. . . So glad you're enjoying the photos -- sounds as if we have a similar approach to our wandering. . . (I think that's what I really missed in Dubrovnik -- I couldn't get those glimpses of ordinary lives at all)

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  4. Oh Frances, I love your restrained description of that little squabble - very relatable!!!

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    1. As Sue suggests above, we won't ever be bored ;-)

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  5. Hi there Frances

    My husband too has driven around with the gauge registering empty. But I did learn that it is not down to the last drop of gas so I relax more now. Tho who really wants to chance it.

    My husband does not usually like me giving him directions so one day I didn't say anything and he didn't ask so I thought ok he knows the way out of here. Well it was so funny - 1 hr later we were now face to face with a brick wall. Oh he said I guess this wasn't the way out. I thought it was really funny. We did have enough gas in the car so the error was ok.

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    1. I'm usually pretty relaxed about gas (have taken advantage of our standard-transmission's Neutral many times to coast as many metres as possible!), but the stations on Hvar are fewer and further between than we'd assumed.
      Very cute anecdote, and perhaps your husband is more appreciative of your navigational help now ;-)

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  6. Smiling and chuckling softly as I relate to your "less-than-idyllic situations" on your trip. Thank you for being REAL.
    Just yesterday, I showed my husband the photos of your multi-generation gathering. Such sweet, sweet blessings and memories created! Thanks for sharing, Frances...
    Charlene H

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    1. BTW...I love your linen dress and the photo of you in the curving walkway. Colors/Lighting are great!
      Charlene H

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    2. I have to keep it real here, don't I? Not fair only to feature the glamourous side of travel. . . but it was a really sweet gathering with many happy memories made.
      Thanks re the linen dress -- I'll make sure to tell Pater his photo got a few thumbs-up.

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  7. Love your dress-it is beautiful (legs included :-)),suitable for all occasions during the hot summer day and it looks comfortable.
    I love and wear only natural materials:-cotton,silk,linen,viscose.... and all of them wrinkle,more or less. Linen is the best for summer (except maybe ramie).I didn't try bamboo.I'm not sure but I think I might once have italian hemp dress,when I was young
    The gas station situation-I feel a little bit guilty,I had to tell you-when you see the gas station (especially without too many cars waiting)-fill up the gas tank!
    So,actually ,I'm the one to blame :-)
    Nowdays,I tend to enjoy the atmosphere,people,the way they live....
    Dottoressa

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    1. It's true -- if you want wrinkle-free, that usually means synthetic, and I'd rather have the wrinkles!
      No way is it your fault that we didn't take more care with the gas -- and we've learned our lesson. We noted only one or two on the way to Dubrovnik yesterday (and then he forgot to stop on the way home, as he'd resolved!).

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  8. Cotton and linen and no waist are perfect for summer heat.
    Gas stations and restrooms should always be visited when seen because you never know when you'll find another.

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    1. No waist!! So very important!
      Very true about visiting restrooms when available, but we hadn't found that quite as necessary with gas stations before (and luckily, our rental is a very small car, not a guzzler at all). Lesson learned!

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  9. Oh gosh, the running out of fuel dramas! The severest test of a relationship behind navigation errors. I will try to rise to your example as we drive through France this autumn...
    Love the linen dress. The coolest thing in the heat is absence of a waistband. Got to feel sorry for the men sometimes.

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    1. I'd feel sorrier for them if they were wearing bras -- is there a more hideous holder of heat, creator sweat? Ugh!! (We climbed and walked along the Great Wall of Ston today and it was 25 degrees already at 9:30 when we started. I'm particularly vehement about bras after that ;-)

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  10. Hi Frances - Ioved this holiday tale - of course very familiar so I appreciate your honesty and restraint. Your pics and light capture are wonderful and I do love the dress.
    I think linen looks better crushed - or maybe that is my own justification for a careless attitude to grooming.
    very behind on blogging - reading and writing but very much enjoying your IG at the mo.
    Writing this on a rattling train London bound - my own travels a bit more of the prosaic variety right now but not without some observations
    Margaret

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    1. Yes! It looks so much better crushed! My story too, and I'm sticking to it ;-)
      Well, a London-bound train might be prosaic to you, but I'd like to be on one before too very long. Glad to travel it vicariously on your IG when you find a minute.

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  11. So real. Perfect, actually. :) Thank you for that sweet take on how pair-bonded mates sometimes behave on the road. Yes, travel is one of the best things we can do, but everyone who does it knows how stressful it can be at times.

    That linen dress looks absolutely perfect on you. In fact, I'm about to head to that neck of the woods and have just decided to take more linen and less not-linen.

    Ann in Missouri

    :)

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    1. It's so warm here now, and I've been living in my two linen dresses and jumpsuit with very little recourse to the rest of my travel wardrobe -- no regrets at all about not having brought along a jacket of any sort, although that may yet hit me in our last two weeks. . .

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  12. It's good to know we aren't the only couple who occasionally squabbles while traveling. (I had to crack up at that "you had ONE job" remark...) That town looks like a perfect place to just wander, and relish the moments. Your lightweight dresses seem to have been good choices for this trip.

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    1. Oh, I was so tempted to utter it. . . ;-)
      We've found a few of those little towns and they really recharge my creative batteries -- so many little details.
      And yes, so far, the packing choices are working well. . .

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  13. I can't imagine a better family vacation than one comprising both, as you describe, a dinner in a village with everyone, pods breaking off to do something else, and the time to have a fight with a loved one that is lovingly and fully resolved.

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    1. Exactly this! Paul used to shy away from the fights during travel, tightening his lips and trying to avoid the conflict by heading off on his own for a while. Sometimes that's a good approach, but I think there's something to be said about having the time to get the stuff out there-- respectfully, or at least following some basic rules, of course -- and then work it through.

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  14. There's an honesty to your blog that I appreciate.

    Luci

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    1. Thanks for saying that Luci! I try. . . ;-)

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  15. Well, it all seems very joyful in Croatia. Definitely somewhere I would like to explore more of in the future. Mr Green and I were talking about Split as a destination. As regards the marital discord...ask anyone who has ever driven with us abroad. For some reason he has an innate ability to muddle left and right. And to accuse me of being at fault. You might imagine how well that goes down. (Mental review of wedding vows)

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  16. Gelato, yum...almost worth the tiff. I have no faith this comment will show up but if it does..."oh ye, of little faith"...lol. Enjoy reading about your trip. Amelia

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    1. You're here, Amelia! Persistence rewarded 👏👏

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  17. I've been following your instagram, so I've seen some of the pictures. But apparently have been neglecting my mailbox so your postcards are arriving en masse. What a treat. Love the linen and the wrinkles don't really bother me, although I do iron, sometimes, when I am home. And what is travel without a few squabbles? I love the way you describe the ups and downs, in such a matter of fact and warm way, reinforcing through that act the ups and downs, yes, but overwhelming joys of a suitable companion, and all the complexities of humanity and relationships. Thank you.

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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