My mom may say she’s younger than me at this point, but turning 30 was worth it!
Joining a new community of people right before my 30th birthday left me thinking I would ring in a new decade with a quiet evening celebrating by myself. I could not have been more wrong! These strangers who had entered my life less than one week prior made it a weekend I will never forget.
Happy birthday!! It’s so cool that your birthday just happened to fall on Cinco de Mayo this year!
I know, I’m so lucky it happens every year!
Following a late Friday night – at least, it was still Friday somewhere! – we gathered at WiP (the workspace) Saturday morning for our official orientation. We got the run down on everything we needed to know for the next four months and learned more about our travel buddies with some team building games.
Following the informative stuff, we each lost a shoe! Now partially barefoot, we sat down to answer some questions, helping us envision where we might be in six months, what we’ve accomplished and our outlook on life. We might not have the right answers, but in essence, it was a goal planning session. When time was called, we were on the hunt to recover our missing shoe. Discovering the newly created pair meant we had found our partner in crime, tasked with holding each other accountable over the next few months.
We ended orientation with…birthday ice cream! What could possibly be better than ice cream on your birthday? A wine tour of course!
After wrapping up orientation, our smaller group departed for an afternoon touring Trogir, followed by an evening of wine tasting. Trogir is a small town on an island not far from Split, and is on the UNESCO list of world heritage sites. It is yet another area rich in history and beautiful architecture – plus a fortress! We received a fabulous tour from our guide Mario, who told us the story of Kairos, a perfect fit for our group name.
According to ancient Greeks, Kairos was the god of the ‘fleeting moment,’ ‘a favorable opportunity opposing the fate of man.’ Such a moment must be grasped (by the tuft of hair on the personified forehead of the fleeting opportunity); otherwise the moment is gone and can not be re-captured (personified by the back of head being bald).
He was also kind enough to wait for me while I attempted to get some decent shots on my new camera…capturing that fleeting moment and all…
We then journeyed onto the Kairos vineyard, where Ljubo provided a brief tour and wonderful tasting. After discovering that Zinfandel is actually an indigenous varietal from the Dalmatian region of Croatia, his family founded the vineyard and now produces fabulous organic wines. The group helped me celebrate in style, insisting that I get the first taste and last drop of each bottle. We snacked on a fabulous onion jam and enjoyed stunning views of the Adriatic as a storm blew in before stocking up and heading home.
Ever heard of the band Simple Minds? I sure hadn’t. Remember the final song from Breakfast Club – Don’t You (Forget About Me)? Yeah, that’s them. And yes, I enjoyed a free concert, from the comfort of the balcony overlooking the beach with a lovely bottle of wine. What?!?!
If the day wasn’t already enough, my new friends also surprised me with MORE ice cream AND decorated my room! You can bet that all the decorations were on full display for the remainder of the month…
I was serenaded for the ump-teenth time, while we donned birthday hats and I attempted to blow out trick candles. As the concert came to a close, it was time for bed in preparation for the next day’s adventures. Because yes….there’s more!!
Rolling out of bed early Sunday morning brought together a sleepy group to enjoy a day on the Adriatic sea. We split into two speedboats for a beautiful day of island hopping adventures. While some were focused on preventing sea-sickness, I was excited to be back on a boat, seeing as I would be missing out on summer in Wisconsin. Our first stop was the island of Biševo for a visit to the blue cave. We piled into a smaller boat and ducked down low to access the small man-made entrance. Once inside, we saw a beautiful blue glow, caused by sunlight reflecting off the white sea floor and entering the cave through an underwater archway.
Next up was a another beautiful cave that allowed for a quick dip, followed by a swim break in a beautiful cove. While only two of us took to the cold waters in the glowing cave, we recruited a few more for some fun water ballet moves in the cove. However others didn’t get the memo on wearing a swimsuit…
We then set off for lunch at the Fisherman’s House, where we learned to eat artichoke soup and fresh fish. We gathered around for a family style meal, while the chef showed us how to eat the flesh from the artichoke in some of the best soup I have ever had. We then had a quick lesson in de-boning fish. Yes – I ate a fish full of bones, but I think the the biggest achievement of the day was that nobody adopted a kitten!
Following lunch, we were off to the island of Hvar, but we were on the sea, in a boat, for our first weekend in Croatia. Of course we were lucky enough to spend time with a school of dolphins!
After docking in town, we decided to split into two groups – the drinking crowd and the climbing crowd. You may not know that when in Europe, I climb to the top of everything I can! So up we went to the top of the fortress. The streets and alleyways were adorable with spectacular glimpes of the harbor and sea beyond. Once at the top, it was time to explore and we set about posing for group photos overlooking the fortress walls out to the Adriatic.
With a stop for gelato on the way down, our trip was coming to a close. With a day full of swimming, hiking, and food adventures in the books, I was excited to settle into the boat ride back and looked forward to a good night’s sleep.
The weekend was the start of some amazing friendships and experiences to never be forgotten. I may be 30, but this is just the start of the rest of my life.