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Conner's Big Adventure 2017

Croatia - The People

CROATIA | Wednesday, 17 May 2017 | Views [646]

A little game of hand slap to entertain Conner while on the ferry ride to Krka

A little game of hand slap to entertain Conner while on the ferry ride to Krka

THE PEOPLE

 The people in Croatia were a mystery to me at first. I had heard many people say that Croatian people were some of the friendliest they had ever met, but as we walked around Zadar there were very few people smiling and no one really said hello or even gave the head nod as they walked by. Waiters and store clerks were rather short and to the point. It didn’t seem rude at all, just strange to me. We did lots of people-watching as Conner played at parks, and as we began to meet people and make friends we found that underneath the rather somber exterior is a people who are kind, generous, and love to laugh. The older generation of grandmas and grandpas loved to pat Conner’s head and cradle his cute little face, and I also got my share of head patting and hair petting. The apartment where we stayed was above the apartment where our host’s mother lived. She spoke no English, but she always smiled and said hello (and other things that I didn’t understand) when we passed each other coming in or out. She even gave Conner a giant chocolate bar for Easter! Our host Ljubo was very friendly and helpful and always answered our questions with a big smile. The younger generations all spoke some degree of English, most very well (making me quite annoyed with myself at the fact that I only spoke one language), and were more than happy to help or answer any questions we had.

People in Zadar seemed to be generally a quieter people than we raucous Americans which was interesting to watch. It also had the side effect of making Conner seem like a walking air horn. Walking around, sitting at cafés, in grocery stores, conversations were still very animated and there was plenty of laughter, it was just that they all had the volume turned down. People rarely call out to each other, they just talk to each other when they meet. This sense of quiet even translated to the way parents dealt with their children. Leaving the park, they would walk over to their kids rather than calling out to them to say it’s time to go. With very few exceptions, when I saw a child upset, whether it was sad, angry, overwhelmed, or hurt, a parent would hold the child and quietly talk to them until the upset had passed and the child went merrily on their way again. It was very heartening to see.  

Walking around in the late afternoon we saw lots of groups of old men playing a sort of bocce ball game or sitting down playing cards at a picnic table by the sea. It felt as though the people, like the city, had that same sense of old blended with new. Zadar was a very cool place to sit and observe. Older people and children were both treated kindly and with respect. Kids weren’t tolerated, they were enjoyed. People’s faces would break into smiles when kids would run by chasing balls or on scooters or jumping from chairs or walls. No one seemed annoyed by normal childhood antics, rather they were looked on with fond memory maybe? I never once felt like I had to apologize for Conner being a kid. Croatia for us was the very definition of stress free living.

Tags: croatia, people, zadar

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