your summer vacation
You’ll laugh at the absurdity of highway traffic and jams even when you travel before summer sunrise and afterward you’ll laugh to a TV bit where a dude is surprised by this and compares it to Mad Max and says “Stay out of the highway on Fridays” and you’ll comment how absurd it is that we no longer have traffic jams on some of the border crossings but we do have them near tollbooths just because everyone needs to pick a little paper that tells the people still employed in tollbooths how much they need to charge you.
You’ll hear crickets whose song switches your mind to vacation mode like some sort of hypnosis. You’ll realize that once again, one year more, you have forgotten how beautiful the coast is.
You’ll spend long days on the beach, your phone will be drained, you’ll have no tasks to mark complete. You’ll spend a day with friends who brought beer, and you won’t bring anything, so you’ll feel guilty either way: if you reject drinking beer for being a party breaker or for drinking beer that they brought because you didn’t bring anything in return.
You’ll realize that there are downsides to choosing an island this year: everything is even more expensive (like it isn’t already expensive enough on the coast), and you have to use a ferry (which is not only expensive but also slow and you always have to wait an hour for it like boarding a plane). You’ll realize that your car is not the optimum vehicle for island roads, and you would be much better off with something tiny since you’ll have to pass the narrowest passes you have ever seen (surrounded by houses, of course). You’ll enjoy the premium experience for the premium price of an apartment you rented in May (too late for renting anything good): ants in the bedroom and living room. You’ll leave no review as that would directly impact the livelihood of people who have a copy of your ID card, and this will pop into your head: I’m really glad that the EU cares so much about my privacy that I can’t visit a single website without having to click some obnoxious pop-up, but has no issues whatsoever about prostituting my ID card to any random Airbnb host.
You’ll walk and walk among the endless sights of lavender that smells like summer, rosemary that crawls down from the walls, aloe vera, and agave trees rising from the cliffs. You’ll clean the car every day of the pine tree needles, which snow from numberless pines inhabited by an infinite number of already mentioned crickets that wake up at 5 a.m. and then become silent half an hour later and then loud again when it gets hot. You’ll get lost in the crowds in the evenings, searching for a place to sit and drink the sporty gemišt.
You’ll appreciate your wife for cooking in such disastrous kitchens, kitchens where the entire sink heats up when something is cooked. You’ll eat in bed not out of luxury but because there is no table or really anything else in this single room of this alleged apartment and because as soon as you get out to the only table available on the balcony, the mosquitoes will murder you.
You’ll miss hanging out with other people. You’ll feel bad when trying to talk Croatian with a waitress because you have assumed she’s from around here since she said “Hello beautiful people” with a thick Slavic accent, so instead of thanking her for the compliment, you’ll produce an insane amount of cringe in return. You’ll decide you’ll strictly going to speak English from now on, in all cafes and restaurants, unless they address you in Croatian.
You’ll enjoy listening to a cappella group singing in random places in this small island town. You’ll attend a classical piano music concert for the first time in an old church, and you’ll see three pianists sitting at the piano for the first time as well, which will look a little weird to you. You’ll laugh at the standup comedy show where the performer imitates and makes fun of your accent and calls you out for being the only programmer in an audience.
You’ll be annoyed by how expensive everything is: 1.20 euros for an hour of parking, 4 euros for entry to an old house of a famous poet which only allows you to see the backyard, 10 euros ticket to visit the old fortress and you are naive enough to ask the question that has already become a meme due to the prices “Is there a discount if we are from around here?” and the woman will tell you that there is not because you are from Zagreb and not from around here.
You’ll finish the Kundera book you started, and you’ll enjoy it a lot. You’ll start and finish the Calvino book, and you’ll be confused by it. Your main activity will be reading. You’ll realize once again that you are not used to two-week-long vacations and confirm to yourself once more that ten days is the optimum vacation length, that not doing anything productive for such a long time doesn’t really bring joy and that you are the most fulfilled after a very productive day of work. You won’t write anything because you’ll be too lazy even for that.
You’ll visit a beach almost every day, but you won’t swim every day. You’ll remember the beaches of LA with endless sand and ocean that doesn’t invite swimmers, and that’s why you’ll appreciate this small sea, these small beaches, these pebbles everywhere. You’ll search for your kind of beach, the kind that locals despise because they are usually crowded and too mainstream for them, and when asked what beach they recommend, they’ll suggest some rocky, inaccessible place hidden somewhere. You’ll find your favorite, but sometimes it will annoy you because of people from the Balkans who are too loud but also too understandable to ignore as background noise, so you’d rather prefer some Hungarians.
You’ll get lost in charming, narrow, cobbled streets surrounded by old stone houses or churches. You’ll notice that all of the people are on the main square and as soon as you leave it there won’t be anybody except stray cats around. You’ll wonder what it’s like to live here during the winter if it’s like this during the high season. You’ll observe that every town has a place where the old locals sit and people-watch, throwing around comments assuming people don’t understand them because they are not from here. You’ll think that every street looks the same: street lamp, unsecured bike resting on a wall, and a narrow staircase to the apartment door.
You’ll get homesick, and you’ll realize that it’s pleasant to spend time in nature, to hear the pulse of this planet as waves crash on the rocks, as they retreat back from pebbles, as winds comb through the pines, as the sunsets produce the most magical skies reflecting in the sea, but you’ll miss the hustle and bustle of the city, the various dumb events, and happenings, the people that make life interesting and you’ll be very happy when you come back home.