22 August, 2007

Road trips...

It turns out M was as campground claustrophobic as I was on Monday. Shortly after I posted we hopped into the car and drove to Grožnjan, which is in a hilly area inland to the east of here. The buildings in Grožnjan date back to the 1100's, but by the early 20th century it had fallen into ruin. In the 1960s many of the houses were given to artists who christened Grožnjan a "Town of Arts" and lovingly restored the buildings and the protective wall around the city.

The result is beautiful— it has a charm and an elegance that a lot of other villages in the area lack. It’s full of galleries and boutiques, but isn’t tacky in any way. The cobblestone streets are bordered by plants with fragrant flowers and soft cello music spilled out of an open window. We sat out on an open air terrace under some trees and enjoyed a very nice, simple supper.

Yesterday we traveled out east again and explored Krk, the largest island in the Adriatic region. The island itself is funny—when you cross over a bridge from the mainland you feel like you’ve landed on the moon. It’s covered in small beige pebbles and there are no trees—only a bit of scrubbrush dots the landscape.

There is more vegitation further inland, however, but local farmers have to build stone walls to keep the wind from destroying their vineyards. The main city is at the very southern tip of the island and the old center dates back to 1100 AD!

We also visited Punat, which is a pretty little town with an international Marina on the southern coast of Krk. Then we traveled briefly to Cres, a neighboring island, and then took a ferry back to the mainland. It was nice to be active and on a new adventure.

Today we had lunch at the local marina. Last week when we were there B was walking around looking at all of the interesting things that people were eating. At one point he came to a table where a man was eating a plate full of mussels. Despite his Belgian roots B had never seen mussels before! The guy saw him staring and said: “Would you like one?” and popped one into his mouth! He loved it!

Since then he cannot stop thinking about mussels. Today he was determined to eat a plate full of them. It was such a pleasure to watch him eat—he enjoyed it in a way only B can. He is our full-sensory kid. He examined them from all sides; smelled them with and without lemon; felt their texture with his fingers and tongue and commented on the nice sound the empty shells made when he dropped them into the bowl. He savored them with every fiber of his being in a way that I rarely take the time to do.

Now we’re back. The kids are out riding their bikes and I think I am going to go warm up my lawn chair. We have just heard that it’s 17°C in Köln. *shudder* I’m looking forward to getting back home but am really going to miss this weather!!! This is probably the first time in almost 15 years that I’ve missed anything about Florida!


Goofball said...

17C...it was 14C in Leuven and raining.

:( and I want to eat mussels too. Reminds me of a boy I used to babysit. His mom was preparing mussels and he had taken a raw one and was playing with it and his mom had shown the different parts of a mussel to him.

...a bit later she sees him walking through the house with a mussle close to his ear.

"what are you doing"
"I don't hear him talk", he replied very disappointedly

Africakid said...

I love your description of B eating mussels! Now I have to try and find me some of my own (on the Oregon coast)...

hezamarie said...

I second that! Great Description. Boys are funny. They don't get grossed out by ekelhaft things like mussels. I didn't attempt to eat them until I was allowed to drink beer!