“Mark this down, Jonathan. You will need this for your blog,” I told myself.
I sat there in stunned amazement at all my eyes beheld. Never before had I been able to breathe in a place, a history, a culture such as this. There I was—Jonathan Dryer—the guy with big hopes and dreams to share my travels with the world, but I was almost speechless. The emotions that flooded through me were not familiar. This was a sight to behold, and I desperately wanted to share it with all of you!
But how could I possibly describe all my eyes beheld? How could I begin to express the feelings that overwhelmed my soul? How could I help you see through my eyes, hear through my ears, smell what I smelled, or taste the deliciousness in the air?
I had a camera, pen and paper, and the emotions flowing through me. I would do my best to capture these moments as I explored yet another amazing destination on this planet: Croatia.
I hope you enjoy this taste of heaven on earth.
Croatia is home to the most amazing sights and sounds, surrounded by stunning coastal waters and ancient times of centric coliseums; I did not anticipate this wonder to be so breathtaking! I am still amazed that I was able to visit such a place.
“Croatia (Hrvatska) is an ancient nation, yet a very young nation state. Once a formidable kingdom under Tomislav in the tenth century, a naval power in the sixteenth and seventeenth, and an awakening national entity in the nineteenth, it had to endure a thousand years of foreign meddling, subjugation, incursions, and outright wars before being recognized in 1992 as a distinct entity.” – Encyclopedia Britannica
Over the past few years, it has become a rising star among top travel destinations and is now really starting to make a name for itself.
My First Stop in Croatia: Pula
Pula happens to house one of the world’s largest surviving Roman amphitheaters, Arena di Pula.
Although smaller in size, it looks like the Roman Colosseum, and with a close and personal point of view, I was able to gain a better understanding of what these marvelous structures were used for.
As I toured the tunnels below the arena, I could feel the intense energy of the gladiators. It was like I could hear the crowds cheering as the metal helmets clashed and swords sliced through the air and made contact. Was this all for the love of a king, love of a country, or the thrill of battle? I could not be certain. So close to the rumble and shudders of my soul, I could almost see the crowds going wild as one more opponent fell to his own demise. I could not help but wonder why the option to tour the tunnels in the Roman Colosseum was not made available to travelers such as myself. Oh, to feel this power amplified there! This would have certainly been a wonder to behold. It was truly astonishing to be within arm’s reach of what was once alive and thriving thousands of years ago.
Pottery, even these ancient artifacts, remained untouched. Astonishing!
I could walk around, enjoying Arena Di Pula completely unbothered. There was a rather small number of people touring the site, which improved this experience considerably!
I view the entire city of Pula as one large museum full of arches, temples and ancient Greek architecture, interwoven throughout the city. It boasts amazing, secluded beaches and places to explore by way of kayak, including the infamous blue caves. Featuring a plethora of hiking trails and cliffs for locals to fish and cliff dive, this is a place of majesty worth exploring.
Boasting a bountiful amount of seafood from every city along the coast of Croatia, the smell of the spices enticed my palate; each of these seafood havens had its own fresh and amazing delectable selections. Think of Creole cooking from deep within the swamps of Louisiana; think of the gumbo you smell in the depths of New Orleans, and the scent of seared fish fresh from the market; think of all of these things and you will be able to come close to the delicious savory air. This actually surprised me, considering that Pula isn’t even the largest or most popular city.
This was truly an experience of a lifetime! Next, I visited some tiny villages and majestic waterfalls.
(To be continued…)
Jonathan Dryer: The Unofficial Traveler.