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Old Town Korcula - A City In Wait

CROATIA | Wednesday, 27 May 2015 | Views [733] | Scholarship Entry

In the true spirit of travel, I disembarked the Kapetan Luka ferry one stop before my intended destination of Dubrovnik, Croatia’s “crown jewel.” And found myself, for no particular reason, on the island of – “Wait, what island is this, again?”

“Korcula!”

What can I say? I just had a REALLY good feeling about this place.

My traveler’s intuition was right on!

As a smattering of other passengers dispersed down the curved, narrow alleys of this medieval town, I got the distinct feeling that something was about to happen here – the streets were too empty. Too quiet. A city in wait.

I found my way to an empty, seafront promenade and watched the sunset while my hair whipped in the wind. And then –

BANG! CRASH!

A marching band dressed in blazing orange poured out of an alleyway into the square. All around, huge crowds pushed through the narrow streets and into the promenade. And suddenly, the empty square was alive with fire, music and colors. The smell of Crni Rizot, Fritule and the freshest olive oil I’ve ever tasted filled the air.

But the best sight was the people. Women in elaborate evening gowns! Children in pirate costumes. And – a group of men wearing nothing but diapers, bonnets and pacifiers.

I couldn’t help but chuckle at the contrast of their hairy chests against their bibs – until one of them grabbed me by the hand and said, “Come dance with us!”

I’m not normally a dancer – but that night, my arms flailed wildly to the beat of local music. I couldn’t translate the lyrics, but I knew exactly what they meant. As I danced, I shouted to one of the babymen, “What is this?”

“It’s Half New Year’s!” he cried joyously.

When we were too hot to dance anymore, Antonio said he knew a way to cool off. He led me away from the festival, toward the sea. I found myself standing on the city wall.

“This is my favorite spot,” he confided. “Look down.”

The sea was calm below me, and I could see all the way to the bottom in the moonlight. Blues and greens sparkled up at me – a feast of colors I’d never seen before.

“Now jump!”

I looked back at Antonio for a moment. His eyebrows lifted – barely perceptibly. Without counting out loud, we bent our knees and leapt out into the Adriatic in perfect synchrony.

The water was refreshing, but warm. We floated below the stars, sharing stories, sharing silences.

By listening to my intuition and throwing my plans into the wind, I had accidentally stumbled upon the most magical night of my life.

Tags: 2015 Writing Scholarship

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