Saturday, 17 October 2015


zadar i

First, there is the geography. Protected from the wilds of the open ocean by a concertinaed Earth, a Golgi body of long, thin islands that form natural defences, arranged as stepping stones for a giant, should he wish to bound from the city and belly flop into the Adriatic.

Second, there is the city behind, a fusion of Illyrian, Roman, Venetian and modern history; protected by its four guardian saints; a base for countless battles over centuries.

But most of all, there is what lies beneath. The historic city survived, but the promenade fell victim to the ravages of World War II under Italian rule, replaced unceremoniously by blunt concrete. In 2005, this changed with the construction of the Sea Organ, a design of architect Nikola Bašić - beneath your feet pipes of air meet columns of water controlled by the sea, and from holes in the ground an eerie music chimes.

In Zadar, you can hear Nature sing.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015


"That plane's silver!"
"It is. Do you remember what colour our plane is?"
"Um... purple!"
"That's right!"
"What are those people doing?"
"They're loading people's luggage into the plane. See they're putting the suitcases on to a conveyor belt that goes up into the plane."

We begin to taxi.

"Where's the silver plane gone? I can't see it!"
"It's probably behind us now. We've turned around."
"We came from over THERE!"
"Daddy, daddy, look! Another silver plane! And a blue one!"
"We're not going very fast!"
"We're moving to the runway. That's where we go fast."
"Is this the runway?"
"Not yet."
"I can see a BIG PLANE!"
"Because we're almost on the runway. We're about to FLY!"


The engines rev. The plane begins to rattle as we hurtle down the runway.

"Are we in the air yet?"
"Are we in the air yet?"
"Are we in the air yet?"
"Are we in the air yet?"

And I have to say, the excitement of the 3 year old boy in the row in front of us was somewhat infectious. Never again shall I allow myself to forget how exciting it is to be human - a terrestrial being not blessed by the gift of aerodynamics, built of the ground and designed to stay there - yet flying. We saw the world from far, far up above. We entered the realm of the clouds ("LIKE CANDYFLOSS!"), a vast and magnificent domain with its own mountains and ravines. We tiptoed over mountains. We looked down on the labyrinth of islands along the Dalmatian Coast, each surrounded by clear waters. And then we landed, in another country, mere hours after Luton, emerging from this miraculous metal tube.

"When do we get to Croatia?" the little boy asked.
"We're here!" replied his Mum.

For some, it's the journey not the destination.