After our amazing wedding and spending some time travelling with Meagan’s family was done, we headed back to Croatia for some R&R and to celebrate my cousin, Anita’s wedding. We did the difficult drive from Lake Como to Volosko in Istra. The drive in this stretch of Italy was daunting as there are so many trucks driving this route. There are also many irritable drivers and in our case, a crazy Austrian driver who followed us and hurled abuse for kilometres after I had cut him off.
It was pleasing to arrive in Volosko, Istra for 1 night of relaxation. Our experience on AirBnB has been mixed but we were succeesful this time. We found a cute little apartment above the restaurants on the water in Volosko, only a short walk from Opatija. We checked in and then quickly made a beeline for the walk along the Lungo Mare to Opatija town centre.
Our 1st night in Volosko was a mixed evening of fitness and indulgent food. We ran the few kilometres to Opatija and back and then checked out one of the local restaurants in Volosko for some delicious Ligne na Zaru, one of our favourite meals in Croatia. This meal consists of grilled calamari/octopus with potatoes and swiss chard. Yumm. Volosko is a scenic and pretty town very close to Opatija without the huge prices. We recommend staying here if you head to this part of Croatia.
The next day we headed to Zagreb. Meagan had some stomach pain so we checked out what the reason could be. We found a clinic in Zagreb who did an ultrasound on her. The $350 diagnosis was basically that Meagan was getting older and her body was changing. No news but at least Meagan was slightly more relieved.
After the great diagnosis, we headed to Karlovac to get ready for my cousin, Anita’s wedding. We went to my cousin Damir’s house to get ready and drove to Anita’s house which is located higher up in our village. We could hear the noise coming from the house as we were driving, music playing and older people laughing and carrying on. This was our first wedding we were attending as husband and wife and Meagan was in for a shock.
The weather was hotter than normal this summer and we were sweating bullets in our clothes. Fanning did little to help, although the cold wine (gemist) was our saviour. The gathering was as expected at a Croatian wedding with plenty to eat, drink and talk about. The expected platter of cakes were also on show which we tried of course.
As happens at Croatian weddings, the groom arrives at the brides house and then begins to barter for the bride. The brides family had many surprises in store. Firstly, after paying over a little ransom, the groom thought the bride was walking down the stairs but in fact it was a man dressed as a bride. Next, the brides family placed a barrier so the groom could not come in. After some talking, shouting, drinking and firing up a chainsaw to cut down the tree trunk stalling there entry, the groom finally made it in and the bride came out.
After some more food and drink, it was time to go to church. The ceremony was wonderful and after the ceremony, we had more wine outside the church. This time the priest was also drinking with us.
Next stop was the reception, but getting there was difficult. We had to follow the lead car with the bride and groom, and their car was stopping constantly. A drive which would normally take 30 minutes took 1 hour 30. When I told Meagan that the reception can sometimes go to 6am in the morning, she was dumbfounded and couldn’t believe that we would be eating, drinking and dancing until such time. Food and wine were always present as was the band playing Croatian hits all night. By 4am, Meagan and I couldn’t handle it anymore and so we headed home. One the way home, we drove through the dark and came across wild deer on the side of the road. Driving tired and seeing a deer with its bright eyes and huge horns was a crazy sight to see.
The next day was a big day as it was St Ana feast day, and this is big in our village. We have a chapel in our village named after St Ana and we often celebrate with more food and drink. This year was slightly different as both Meagan and I were present along with my dad and his friend. The day started with a mass in the chapel before we made it back to the house for lots of food and drink. The night ended when we went down to the local school to see a band playing music and again more drinking. We ended the night early as the next day we had to leave early for our drive to Zadar so Meagan could start school.