Opatija (edited)

28th September 2010,

I have this over riding feeling that Croatian’s are very sad. Their national music is really very sombre  Every one of them is a torture to the heart.

And I’ve heard way too much of U2 while on tour.

Positive news is I can get to Trieste from Opatija for less than it would’ve cost me to get there from Rijeka. Ticket bought. Some days to relax out my Croatian odyssey on this Riviera while the last of my Kuna flits away.

The sun is coming out. Although it is rural the campsite is simply as nature intended. If you can cope with many flying things you’re aright and I feel more relaxed here than in the big cities. The big but is that some times the loneliness takes over.

Ičići
I think pronounced Itch-i-chi?

I went out for a relaxed scout about after a shower, to recompose me from the overnight journey. I got some nice local rye bread, sir/cream cheese and sat down on the sea front waiting for the sun to hopefully/finally force the mesmerizing clouds away: No such luck. Flirted in an expensive café on the front, but in the end it feels pointless as the grey colours win. It’s been raining since 1230pm. I got back to the tent just prior to what I thought must be the main event and went to sleep; knackered after the long journey up the coast on the ferry, and with increasing frequency rainfall drops fall heavily on the delicate tent. As I awake it has slowed to a steady drumming beat; my iPhone says 3pm, maybe it is ceasing? So I need to venture to the local shops for more cheese and more proteins: additional meat.

All along the waterfront a torrent is gushing from outlets that bring the streams off the Kvarner. Heavy rain on top of the range of hills/mountains that sprout straight up behind the thin settlement and ominous clouds west of here, towards a peninsula, make me ponder my decision to leave the tent of dryness, but I can hear the birds calling each other so maybe it is passed and I will carry on.

Ha, I’ve waited for two hours for a bus that is none existent; to be told by a driver going the other way that the next one for me was in another 2 hours! 4 flaming hours waiting for a bus. Fuck that. Why don’t I just walk back?

Now I can hear thunder…
Back on the waterfront I have decided to walk and galeb call around me like screaming babies tossed by the sea into the oppressive air. From here it is very difficult to differentiate the horizon from the sea. The colour is only a couple of swatches different. I am walking into the thin band; home.

Got back via the Komzum, picking up some bread, salami and cheese, and now the heavens have truly opened. I am wet to the skin. I am hoping my tent it still in situ and will protect me through the night without getting washed away into the Adriatic; the lightning is getting closer now.

Once it got dark I was terrified that it was going to hit me. The lightning was striking from behind my eyes. I felt somehow warmed by it’s closeness. I could taste the earthly tension on my primal tears. I had no defence against it if it struck. I accepted the reality that this was it – to end my days frazzled in a burnt out tent in a remote part of Istria. It was my willingness to accept it as the final summation of my existence that moved it on. I felt the planet was to finally rend me and take me, a brief cadence of burning flesh, then the rain would pelt out my remnant flame. I was terrified and then at peace. Perhaps my spiritual acceptance of its providence was enough cause for it to move on to less appeasing individuals along the coast. Phew!

It has moved so now I can sleep peacefully. I hope the rain will lessen and I’ll have some reasonable days before heave-hoe back to Trieste and England

I woke twice in the night convinced that I had a leech like creature on my face. I stared in to the night blackness in the tent and could make out a smudge on the lining. I put a light on and that mark became the screw top on the bottle wine.

By the morning I had a 4 dozen flies and an assortment of other flying insects between the inner and outer lining. And one solitary snail dragging itself towards the toppermost of the poppermost. A large Escargot snail.

I had loads of fears in that tent last night, irrational and uncomprehending. Now I can collect myself and gallop towards the eastern part of Opatija.

I know I don’t speak any Croatian, but some of the locals have the expression of the grave. Especially those in service industries. On buses, ships, in bars, restaurants even in tourist info. I don’t like Croats with that oppression/expression: it makes the clouded and rainy days seem doubly insidious.

As I come back up north from the Dalmatian islands, and get further into a solitary zone, I am beginning to miss Nina in Trieste and Rene, Lena and Michelle in Piran more than I care to admit.

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