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What I Love About Croatian Summers

By Sara Z

Summer is a very special season for me. Besides the constant sticky feeling and the occasional mental breakdown because you just can’t seem to cool down, summer always brings back memories of my childhood…

I remember the good old times when my only responsibility was passing all my classes in school so I can have a carefree summer. These years have gone by so fast. Time really does fly. Every year on the last day of school I would run home and start packing for my perfect two month summer holiday with my grandparents in Rijeka, my native town.

My summers were filled with long days on the beach, spending hours in the water with friends until the chatter of our teeth became unbearable and our lips turned blue, eating ice cream in the evenings, and laughing about the same old jokes. Even though I always thought that carefree summers like these would last forever, I never took the feeling of warm summer nights with loud conversations and laughter in the background for granted.

Now, being 26 and working a full-time job, this exact feeling is what reminds me of my childhood. Even though I don’t get to spend two months on the beach with no single care in the world, I try to pack all my mandatory „to dos“ into two weeks, temporarily making me forget about the „real world“. Although Rijeka might not be the number one summer destination for a lot of people, I couldn’t imagine my summer without visiting for at least a few days.

Even though I like exploring new things and try to switch up my summer routine, there are a few things that I love to do every year.

1. Drinking coffee on the terrace first thing in the morning, observing people passing by

Oh I know this person…“hi, how are you?“ / wait…who is that? Should I say hi? No…I’ll ask grandma, maybe she knows who that. Who am I kidding…grandma knows everyone.

2. Going to that one beach you hate but miss when summer is over

Ugh…it’s either the nearest beach, the least spacious beach, or the one with the worst view, there’s always this one beach you’d rather not go to. Somehow I still manage to go to that beach every time.

3. Watching reruns on tv when the weather is bad

Who doesn’t like to practice lines watching the same Two and a Half Men episodes for the 100th time? And if you don’t watch reruns on boring/rainy days you’re a liar.

4. Going to the beach and promising yourself to swim as much as possible but ending up wasting your time in the café
Sometime it’s even harder to find a good table at the café by the beach, than finding a good spot on the beach. And maybe I should’t call it wasting time.

5. Going for Cevapcici or Calamari before going home after a long beach day

THE BEST. Feels like I haven’t eaten anything in 3 months, every time. Amazing.

6. Going to local festivals/events (Ribarske Feste) and suddenly becoming the biggest fan of local music because „oh my god I LOVE this song“

It amazes me everytime how I know all the lyrics.

7. Running into all your relatives at those festivals

I mean…do I even need to elaborate?

8. Spending warm summer nights strolling along the beach and enjoying a cocktail or two (or three)

These kinds of nights are my favourite. Talking, laughing, dancing.

9. Exploring little galleries and learning about local artists

This is something I always look forward to. Especially in the old cities on the islands you can find amazing art. I always buy a little something as a souvenir.

10. Starting to hate your life at 3 am because it’s hot, you can’t fall asleep and MOSQUITOS

Ok, I don’t like this…at all, but what would summer be without a few desperate attempts trying to fall asleep and wishing for snow;)

What do you love about summer? Let me know in the comments below.

Ever since leaving her birthplace of Rijeka on Croatia’s Adriatic coast to live in the Austrian capital Vienna, Sara has been observing with interest the idiosyncrasies in Croatian and Austrian customs and culture.

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