Ava Grace's Closet: Things I Learned on Vacation : Part 1 {Croatia}
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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Things I Learned on Vacation : Part 1 {Croatia}

Aside from being back + beyond exhausted, it is also my birthday today. 
44. In case you were wondering. 
I still feel 27. In my head. 
Not sure when I plan on fully growing up but am hoping it's not anytime soon. 
I wouldn't mind it all going backwards from here. amen.
With that said, know that things that you remember as being just beyond amazing as a kid? May not hold the same love as an adult. Ah, the bliss of childhood ignorance, of not knowing better.

When travelling with a toddler? Do your very best to avoid any and all local newspaper kiosks. They sell little toys, kids magazines and candy. Lots of candy. You will never get away.

If you're a kid, any kid, you can watch Toy Story in full croatian and UNDERSTAND it. Brilliant.

You will be in Zagreb in a teeny, tiny grocery store that services just a few local blocks. And they will have chocolate {a la Kinder} Disney Frozen eggs wrapped in a box behind the counter. Shock and awe.
If you need to pee in Croatia and use a public restroom? You will likely be asked to pay. 
So not cool.

Taxi drivers? Just like everywhere else in the world, they will lie. They will say they take credit cards as payment only to take you to your destination and then want to watch your bags {and your child!} while you go to the bank machine. Ummm, no thank you.

Everyone still smokes. Even in cars with kids. And they drink an obscene amount of coffee. #cafeculture That said, my favourite was "kava sa mlekom" translated to coffee with milk. Strong but oh so good. 
I loved that a glass of water was automatically served alongside it. Ask for it or not.

Do yourself a favour. Carry a colouring book, paper + crayons EVERYWHERE you go. Not a single restaurant will have or offer them. 
Croatians in general are not overly-friendly in fact I might call them rude...short. Don't get me wrong, I did encounter some very kind people but overall, I struggled with my luggage, bags, stroller + child on more than one occasion without a single person opening a door for us let alone helping. 
I should say that a sweet older lady helped us with our bags when we were getting off the train. I was actually taken aback. So, so nice. 

Be prepared. The former Yugoslavia had one currency. Today, you need "kune" in Croatia. Euros in Slovenia. Some facilities will exchange Canadian dollars; others will not. 
And don't even get me started on London. Since we had a stopover in Heathrow and of course, they deal in pounds, I had to use my credit card to buy anything.
That said, I picked up some chewing gum and later figured out that I paid close to $5 Canadian dollars for it. And, it wasn't that good. #lessonlearned

Zagreb all but shuts down for the Easter holidays. If you're wondering why our photos look as though the city is almost deserted? It's because it was! 
From Good Friday through Easter Monday, many shops are closed early or altogether. 
It was rather nice. 

Lastly, do not miss a chance to enjoy Maksimir, Croatia's answer to Central Park. 
We spent the afternoon walking, enjoying the playground and people watching. 
I loved seeing so many dads out with their children. And loved listening to all of the children speaking croatian. It still gets me and takes a while to get used to.
Maksimir is so lush, with trees bigger than I have ever seen. It is also home to Zagreb's local zoo, amazing bike paths and a restaurant a la Tavern on the Green. 
As you can see by ms. Ava's smile above, she loved it too. 

I look forward to catching up on some blog reading this week + getting adjusted. 
I'll share more of our trip including photos of our time spent in Slovenia next week! 


  1. Dearest Susan,
    You named the differences quite right and it doesn't matter if you are in Croatia or in The Netherlands. Don't eve expect a helping hand out of courtesy. It is almost non-existing and it is striking if you get there from Canada or the USA. Here people are a lot more courteous!
    Oh, the smoking... yes, almost everybody is smoking and I do have a hard time taking it. The smell in clothes and everything hits you right away.
    Paying for the use of 'Toilette' or bathroom as we say here is ridiculous and very hard to juggle if you have only limited access to cash money! Those are the courtesies we enjoy here at every mall, every store etc.
    Glad you made it back and you sure have some great memories! As for Easter, yes, they do celebrate a long weekend in Europe, including SECOND EASTER DAY. That is a huge difference with North America.
    Happy birthday to you again! Pieter has his too...

  2. So glad you're back.. Missed you but looks like you had fun despite the lack of courteous people. xo

  3. I am so glad that you are back safe and sound! The pictures look wonderful -- and little Miss Ava looks so cute in her *bob* of curls. :) lots and lots to share with you my friend! I cant wait to see more pictures of your vacay.

  4. Looks like you had a fabulous time! Happy birthday to you - you are a gorgeous 44. :)

  5. Welcome home my friend. Sounds like a trip filled with adventure and for Miss A. seeing how things are different in another country. These memories will be treasured for a life time. Looking forward to your next post on your trip. Happy Birthday ...hugs, C.

  6. P.S. are those shorter curls on Miss A.???

  7. stunning photos!! looks like a lovely trip and and I am glad you back :)

  8. These pictures are so stunning. Everything is SOO green and lush! I love hearing about how to travel with children in different countries!
    xo Emma

  9. we went to germany when i was in intermediate (or was it elementary?). i still remember it. loved it. great experience for ms. ava.

  10. Its looks & sounds like a wonderful adventure Susan & looking at Avas little face shows she had an amazing time too! So sorry your wee stop in London wasn't so cool.....let me know when you over again & I shall proide you with a welcome pack on your stopover! ;) Good to have you back safe & sound! Happy Birthday Darl! May the Birthday Fairy grant all your wishes! <3 xx

  11. Happy Birthday, Susan. Great pics of your trip.

  12. Beautiful photos once again! A very happy belated birthday to you! I hope this year brings many more blessing that trials, and lots of laughter and smiles every day! :)

  13. I'm in love with all of your pictures. So glad you had such an amazing time!


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