The crunch of limestone rocks underfoot, the emerald green of spring framed against the twinkling Adriatic and real (not virtual) people greeting me with a wave. Yes, I’m out of self-isolation and as a mini-celebration headed to the hills of Župa for some much needed exercise and lung filling fresh air. The world felt big again.
Thank you for all your well-wishes, Mrs. T basically recovered from Covid-19 in two days, and we then spent the next eight days locked up obeying the law.
Touch wood no strain of the virus invaded me, not even the British strain which you would have thought would have sought me out like a hoovering eagle looking for prey.
The day before our home prison ended we were flicking through the channels and came across the film “Put” starring Martin Sheen. Briefly, the film revolves around Sheen who walks the “El camino de Santiago” after his son died walking the route, so he decided to take the pilgrimage himself. This was the starter or appetiser for the following day – freedom.
If there is one plus that has come out of this global pandemic then that must be that we have, or at least should have, taken the opportunity to explore our own backyards. Leave the road, take the trails.
I for one am a little sick of being bombarded by so-called “influencers” on social media parading their backsides and boobs in a desperate plea for attention. I can only assume that these social trolls were starved of attention as children and now have the “look at me, look at me” syndrome.
Unfortunately, I have met quite a few of these influencers and have yet to meet one who was even vaguely interesting. They are basically digital prostitutes. Throw a few bucks in their direction and they will write, say and photo anything, just as long as the photo includes them in the foreground. If you are influenced by an influencer, then you are as shallow as a puddle!
So, back to real life and the crunch of limestone under my feet, sorry slightly sore feet. Croatia in general is an incredibly beautiful country, that can’t be denied. But what fascinates me is the diversity. So as we clambered up the mountains over my home I was struck by the panorama. Sea, green nature, soaring rock faces, olive groves, islands, colourful wild flowers and a multitude of wildlife, this was nature is HD with surround sound. And this is just one tiny piece of the country, literally tiny as I can see from one side of the Croatia border to the other.
And credit where credit is due the local tourist board seem to have spent time, effort and money to clear the mountain paths.
“Keep your eyes open for asparagus,” said my wife as we climbed above sea level. I think there was a hint of sarcasm in her voice, for in all the time I have lived in Zupa I have yet to find a wild asparagus. Whilst my wife can go in the field next to us and come back with a handful in a few minutes I am either the blindest asparagus hunter or incredibly unlucky.
“There will be plenty, it’s the season, and after the rain they grow like crazy,” she added. Again an asparagus could grow the size of an oak and I wouldn’t find it. Although, I did once come back with what I hoped and guessed was asparagus once, only to find out that I had actually just picked grass.
Whilst scanning the path for the elusive head of an asparagus I did however notice something that has is another side-effect of the Covid-19 lockdown – coffee-to-go paper cups and plastic lids. Why on earth someone would just throw their used coffee cup on the floor staggers me. You’ve got to be dumber than an influencer to do that! Please do enjoy your coffee-to go but we don’t want your plastic-to-stay!
We are spoilt with such untouched nature so please leave it just as you saw it – untouched. We crunched back down the mountain, our legs feeling a little like jelly after ten days of being couch potatoes. My wife had the green heads of asparagus waving from the back pocket of her rucksack, whereas mine was empty.
“Just living is not enough... one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower,” Hans Christian Andersen.
Read more Englishman in Dubrovnik…well, if you really want to