This past Sunday we got to Skype with my husband’s family who live in a village just outside of Čitluk in Bosnia i Herzegovina. Seeing them and hearing their voices made me miss them and the beauty of the country they call home. My husband’s father built a wonderful house there and now all I can think about is the time we spent there and how much I want to go back.
My father-in-law passed away in November of 2013, and his wishes were for his children to bring him home to be laid to rest in the family vault. Because of the timing of his passing my husband and his siblings thought it was best to wait until the summer to make the arrangements and travel to Europe to honour his request. So in July 2014 my husband and I with one of my sisters-in-law boarded a British Airways plane with WAY too much luggage and began our journey to Europe with a 1 year old…on my lap. It was a tough journey, but after 2 stopovers – one in London* which I will NEVER do again and the other in Finland – we finally touched down in Dubrovnik. From door to tarmac it was a 24 hour journey, but the moment I stepped off that plane it didn’t matter, I fell in love.
Even at the airport I knew I was in a breathtakingly beautiful place. I could smell the sea, and I was surrounded by mountains. The air was so clean, the sky so clear and blue and you could actually see the shadows of the fluffy white clouds as the passed over the mountains.
It was like I stepped into a world that I thought only existed in my head.
As our very friendly cab driver wound her way around the mountain to our hotel, each turn took my breath away. I had never physically seen anything so beautiful in my life; the pictures we were shown never came close to doing this place justice. I was even more blown away when we arrived at our hotel. It was situated right across from the Port of Dubrovnik and our room was facing the sea. We got to our room just before sunset, and I have never seen a sunset like it. I think I took 100 pictures that night.
And the food! Oh my, the cheese, the wine and the meat! And the price! So cheap! (Konzum puts grocery stores here to shame.)
The next day we piled into another cab and took the hour and 45 minute journey to the village my Father-in-Law was from. I was so tired from the flight, but I couldn’t stop staring out the window at the gorgeous, mountainous countryside. And the roads were terrifyingly exhilarating! We were literally driving with no rails on cliffs!
When we arrived at the house in the village it was non-stop love and family. We were hugged, kissed and given more food than we could eat. Fresh fruits and vegetables grown right there, bread that was just baked and homemade delicious wine served with prosciutto and cheese. And as we gathered on the back porch I realized instantly why my Father in Law wanted to come home and why he wanted so badly for us to visit his home there. It was peace. It was beauty. It was serene.
Sitting on that back porch with my café every morning while my son peacefully slept inside our home away from home; in those quiet moments with that view and feeling the love that radiated from the people who built their lives in that village, I honestly found my faith again.
*Please Note: I have nothing against London, I will visit London again, hopefully soon. But I will never do a stopover there. Their customs agents were HORRIBLE and rude. One said that because they were so thorough in Hethrow Customs and I quote “We don’t have planes flying into our buildings”. When I told him we don’t have that issue in Canada either he replied with Canada and the U.S. were “The same thing” my response probably made things worse as I said to him “just like England and Ireland…same thing” I need to learn to shut my mouth sometimes.