Welcome to Mljet population approximately seven hundred and decreasing. It seems like islanders are turning their seaside homes into summer retreats and moving to more urban mainland cities. As a vacation destination Mljet is a magical place to visit in the Mediterranean. This Adriatic island’s geography makes it breathtaking with its beaches, saltwater lakes, aquatic life, forests, caves, lookout spots, beautiful sunsets and rich cultural history. You can hike, bike, swim, scuba or just lounge around and bask in its natural beauty. There are thousands of web pages on the internet including Mljet’s own tourism page passionately and accurately describing the island as a must see place to visit. Like a siren song even though Mljet is beautiful at the same time it can be hazardous to your health. Natural and technical hazards such as heat waves, heavy rains, rock slides, narrow roads, earthquakes and high winds can pose a risk to anyone visiting Mljet.
Scooby-Doo, where are you!? Sometimes it’s hard to keep track of it but if my sister’s bike had a name I would call it Scooby-Doo. The bike disappears from the storage room and where it goes depends on its rider. My sister goes biking with her BFF for about an hour and a half once or twice a week. How much of that time is spent riding verses drinking coffee or tea somewhere I have yet to figure out and is the subject of continuous discussion between her husband and I. Ultimately it’s up to the rider to determine the bike’s purpose. For my sister, it’s a social ride. For me, this bike is a self-powered toy that I like to play with … until I got banned from riding it.
It was a nice mid-January jaunt over to Makarska, a small Croatian town fifty kilometres Southeast of Split. With a population of 13,000 the place was quiet since it was the off season. There were a noticeable number of cafes, restaurants and tourist kiosks boarded up. However, most places on the waterfront were open. On sunny days people came out of nowhere and flocked to the cafes along the promenade to bask in the sun and enjoy coffee and cappuccinos. Makarska is really a summertime destination. I would have loved to try out that beachfront waterslide into the bay; you’re never too old to try something fun and crazy.
Zagreb is the largest city in the Republic of Croatia and also its capital. This was the last stop on my Fall mini-Balkan tour. I arrived at night and I had enough time to freshen up and meet up with a friend for my first taste of the local food, pizza. It was yummy and it reminded me of Terroni’s pizzeria back in Toronto. And I think it’s becoming the norm when in a liquor store an employee tells me about a local drink called rakija that they figure that this Canadian has never heard of before. I smile at the thought. If they only knew the truth.