...we made our way into the nearby village of Zadar -- a town over 3,000 years old, it is one of the oldest cities in Croatia. We peeked into the famous St. Donat Church, built in the 9th century, stepped over (and jumped off of) Roman ruins...
...(or climbed inside)...
...meandered our way down to the waterfront...
...where we watched with awe and fascination the goings on of the underwater world -- a world we could see to the bottom of in spite of the depth of the water. Our imaginations came up with entire stories for the numerous schools of fish down there.
Of course, there was an Olson Family school of fish -- at least the shadowy semblance of one.
And we were careful to mind all the rules...
Rule #341... If a large standing object exists which you can climb atop of, you are required to do so, with the intended goal of leaping off as far as you possibly can.
Rule #342... If a water levy exists, you must run out and explore to the end of it. No exceptions.
Eventually we ran out of waterfront to meander along, so we followed the ancient fortress wall into the small harbor, circling back through ancient city gates, looking for proper lunch food... or ice cream -- whichever came first.
Crossing over a large pedestrian bridge led us to this Fast Food stand around the corner where the children and LeRoy ordered Sprites, pommes frites (french fries in German and, apparently, Croatian too?) and regular American cheeseburgers. I ordered some funky orange drink with "9 vitamina" in it and a Mali Cevapi -- the Balkan specialty (to which LeRoy said that I actually ordered better than him this time. It's usually him that orders better and it's me eating half his order!).
We arrived home to this scene! So LeRoy took a late afternoon nap. The children played in the water, skipped rocks... and entertained a dog that adopted them. I took advantage of the peace, seizing the opportunity to soak up some Vitamin D, (just in case Vit. D wasn't part of the 9 vitamina in my drink earlier), and read a book.
Such peaceful, lazy, sunshiny days! I had to keep reminding myself it was okay to simply BE! It was wonderful being called every few seconds, "Mom! Watch this one!" as the rock skipping competition revved up another notch. To laugh with the children over the silly dog that refused to chase sticks but loved to retrieve and then chew on the rocks the children threw. The dog they lovingly named "Jerry." To admire cool rocks, sticks, and creatures found by my four treasure-hunters.
By the time LeRoy awoke from his nap and announced we were going to take a family walk to the Marina, we were ready.
The children tested each pier along the way.
I love this sign, "I AM HERE." As if boldly stating, "I am here. In this moment. Right now. Fully present. Fully alive. PROFOUNDLY GRATEFUL!"
Perhaps next time I make a toast I will clink my glass with yours and say, "TU SAM!" (Croatian for "I am here!")
The sun was setting as we set out for home -- a different way than we traveled the first time, making for an adventure with only a bit of misdirection.
Still, we made it home in time to take in the evening's sunset and relish the cool evening breeze. To lean into one another and be eternally grateful.