Today was a day of much needed relaxation. We started off this morning with a nice breakfast in the hotel, enjoying the beautiful view of the Adriatic Sea from our seats. After we finished eating, it was time to start working on our final pieces of writing for the trip. We brainstormed, discussed and began to write. We worked for about 3 hours, before heading off for a much needed break.
We head down to the beach for the first time, the water crystal clear and inviting. One by one we entered the water, which was cold and refreshing, though some of us needed more encouragement then others. The water was very salty, and we were able to float with ease as we enjoyed our escape from the heat. After lying on the beach and drying off for a bit, we went off to lunch.
For lunch, we had the most exotic Croatian meal of all, known as “pizza.”
After lunch, we head back to our hotel to take showers, and then proceeded to write for 2 more hours (what fun!). After we finished this momentous task, we head down to the marina to be picked up for dinner. On the way there, the driver and his son were fascinated by Mason’s skill with the Rubik’s Cube, with the child trying it out himself, him and Mason having found a way to communicate without a common language.
For dinner, we had an (actual) Croatian meal called “peka.” The meal consisted of meat cooked under a bell for several hours, and it was delicious. The most interesting part of our day took place during dinner. It turned out that all of the waiters were from Mostar, and one came over and asked Adam what parts of Mostar we were in. After Adam explained where we were, the waiter began to question him about the exact details of our location, and we realized that he was trying to find out where in the divided city we had been. Our waiter – a Catholic who identified as a ethnic Croat – was born in Mostar and told us about his Croatian passport. He began to say how people lied about what really happened in Mostar, that the Wikipedia pages told different stories of what went down depending on the language you read it in; he even showed Adam a document that he said was proof the Bosniaks really blew up the Old Bridge. While our group was on our walk, he showed one of Adam’s friends alleged video evidence for an hour. This waiter was the first example of strong nationalistic pride we had come across face to face, and showed that some of our most important learning moments happen unexpectedly.
After our big meal, we decided to explore the island a bit. We started to move towards a monastery that was hundreds of years old. During the 50s, it had been turned into a sports center by the Yugoslav government, and it was only given back in the 00s. We walked through the sports center for a bit, seeing how nature had taken back the once-used basketball court and mini golf course. We walked a loop around the monastery, before heading back to the boat to return to Korčula. We walked around the city for a little while, and then walked back to our hotel to get a good night’s sleep.
By James R. Photos by Dr. Jones.