May 11 – Rome
One of the most important things when traveling, maybe the most important, is being able to adapt to situations as they develop. The proverbial doo-doo does occasionally happen (see entry on herd-following), and if you can roll with it you’re likely to have a much better time in the end. But beyond that, some people just have a sense for when to pull the trigger and move on.
I had originally planned to spend three nights in Dubrovnik and even arrived a day earlier than I had anticipated, but after two nights I decided to catch an overnight ferry back to Italy. So, I’m now holed up in the same hotel where Gina and I were booked for the 13th (only they don’t have any rooms tomorrow so I’ll need to find something else for one night–arrgh. This isn’t hostelling, is it?)
The change of plans arose from a confluence of factors. First, let me stipulate that Dubrovnik is amazing, especially the old town. However, even in May it’s overrun with tourists from the cruise ships that pull up and disgorge thousands of people who then infest the old town in slow moving herds. I don’t have anything against cruising–it’s just not my cup of tea–but these ships are huge and when even a couple of them dock at the same time, it’s a mob scene.
Anyway, the rest of the story is that I didn’t want to overstay my welcome at Di’s cousin’s apartment, and the idea of having a couple of days to myself in Rome sounded pretty good. Yanni left yesterday, too, so it just seemed like it was time to go.
It was sad saying good bye to him and Di. Both of them have been my friends over the last two weeks, and as you can tell by how much he appears in these dispatches, Yanni and I have spent a great deal of that time together. I’ve met a lot of people on this trip, but he’s one I will definitely try to keep in touch with.
He’s also someone I regard as a kind of master traveler in that he has developed that ability to sense when the winds change and alters course accordingly rather than fight it. Maybe it has something to do with being a pilot …or an Aussie, who knows? At various times, he talked about going to Greece, Budapest, Montenegro, Munich, and Rijeka (northern Croatia) for his next stop. As it happened, he got a cheap flight to Athens, so Greece it was.
There was a time when I would have said I was envious of someone who could play the vagabond like that, but not now. I admire Yanni for his travel ethos but I don’t envy him.
Truth is, I am very much looking forward to the more “conventional” half of this trip. Obviously I’m very excited about seeing Gina, but I’m also ready to park my butt in one place for more than two or three nights, maybe actually unpack. I think I need some time to reflect on my little Croatian adventure, and I can’t think of a better place than Cinque Terre–with my wife across the table from me and a big plate of pesto between us.
Hvala, Hrvatska–thanks, Croatia–it’s been real.