The motto learned today: "Slow down. There is no hurry."
This morning, we had an AMAZING breakfast prepared by Vanya's mom that set us on the right foot moving forward. These past few days, I have been quite gung-ho about really walking the whole day through, but today, I decided I wanted to take some time in the morning to have a chat with a fellow Peacewalker, Robert, our wonderful host and Accredo center owner, Vayna, and the EPW designated helper, Nikola.
First, let me start off by saying the Accredo center is an incredible place--Vanya originally started it because of his passion, paint balling, in which he played professionally and won 9 consecutive championships! Since then, the Accredo center has grown into a team-bonding center with dirt bikes, zip lines, etc. and everyone from the Croatian National Handball Team to Samsung to the Prime Minister has come through for its activities and "good emotion manufacturing". We had a really interesting discussion about the pace of life in Croatia, and how the people there were so incredibly present and patient, always making you feel like you were the most important person. It's really interesting to think about when contrasted to the goal-driven, very fast-paced life that surrounds me at home, where people are constantly moving from place to place and often don't have the time to just take an hour of their day to drink a cup of tea with someone and just talk. I really appreciated how Robert approached the EPW, which was interacting with locals and taking time to understand and talk with them and learn about cultures and not be in a rush--and not saying one way is better than another, but it was certainly a different perspective.
I ended up getting brought up 10 kilometers by Nikola (who is about to start his own company in pursuit of his passion, geocaching!), and somehow, by the fates, I ended up intercepting the rest of the group! We stopped for an ice cream together, and not long after, we were off towards Varazdin!
The day was very hot (32 C or 88 F) and so the walking was slow, but since Robert had actually paid to have our bags sent forward (thank you Robert 😊), we were definitely lighter on our feet! After a long dirt road, we stopped in the shade, talked U.K. politics (what an interesting time!), and went on our way towards our next accommodation! The path took us to through the city center which was beautiful, and we soon ended up at our accommodation, Hotel Turist.
I know I mentioned it in a previous blog post, but really, when you are traveling and don't have access to certain things or even have lowered expectations, everything just becomes that much more magical. The hotel was luxurious and the supermarket--oh the supermarket!--I have never loved a place more (check out the rows of Nutella in picture below)!
Fly and I *splurged* at the supermarket, grabbing fruit, chips, and beers, and headed towards the beautiful park to just enjoy a peaceful afternoon with Theresa and Bridget, where we simply appreciated each other's company and conversation :)
An interesting observation that we made when looking for a dinner place was that it seemed as if eating out for dinner is not necessarily something that is really big in the Croatian culture, since everywhere we looked was mostly served coffee/drinks or dessert. We settled at a wonderful restaurant called Angelo's, after a recommendation from local Croatians, and I had a beautiful squid salad. Afterwards, when looking for a bank (it seems as if most stores in Croatia only accept Kronas and not euros), I walked around a little bit more of downtown Varazdin before heading back to the hotel, where I am now settled in for the night :)
Today was truly a beautiful, slow, amazing, and present day--Croatia, you have truly been good to us walkers thus far :)
P.S. I am very intrigued that T-mobile is everywhere here, especially in smaller villages that we pass by. In another note, the EU is getting rid of data roaming charges on the 15th, so that's pretty dope.
P.P.S. The thread in my blister fell out today AND Fly taught me how to more efficiently dry my clothes by pressing a towel around them. #learningeveryday!!!