“Don’t fill your life with days. Fill your days with life.”
On October 7th I received an unexpected email inviting me on a tour through Croatia. They told me I would have to leave in less than a week. I didn’t think twice. I responded, “I’m in”. For years Croatia had been a country I had wanted to visit but I had no idea how magical this experience was going to be.
Croatia Full of Life tourism company explained that this trip was not going to be the usual coastal tourist attractions. Instead, we were going to see the “Undiscovered Croatia”. Places that are visited by locals but undiscovered by tourists. I truly believe every traveler should visit a few undiscovered spots in every place they visit. It is when you venture into uncharted territory you really discover yourself and others. That is what this trip became. A journey of self discovery through the joy of nature, wine, food and people.
The first day we visited Papuk Nature Park. Papuk is the largest mountain in the Slavonia region in eastern Croatia, near the city of Požega. Obsessed with healing crystals, I was delighted to discover this was also a Geo park. Stones is the park are over 400 million years old. We hiked to the most beautiful water fall and I was able to connect more deeply with my true nature. It was at this nature park that I felt an immense about of peace and gratitude for all the beauty that surrounded me. I hadn’t felt that kind of emotional high in a long time.
After our hike, it was vino time! When in Croatia do as the Croatians do. We went to one of the oldest wineries in the country, Kutjevo Winery. Founded in 1232, we tasted wine in their oldest underground wine cellar. They produce 5 million liters of wine every year. I love their Graševina white wine. Graševina is a famous white wine from this area. They call it their Italian Riesling. Our tour guide told us, legend has it that Ruling Queen, Maria Theresa, spent a year in this cellar drinking wine with a handsome soldier. 😉
We visited the open market in Osijek. Farmer’s markets in Croatia are a must. They are famous for their paprika, lavender oil, salts, etc. I ended up buying a pumpkin from this sweet old woman #suckerforcuteoldladies.
Our last day was a bit of an emotional one. We were taken to the town of Vukovar (boarder of Croatia and Serbia) were we learned the horror of the 1990s war between Croatia and Serbia. We visited the bombed hospital and bombed water tower. The people of Croatia had been so hospitable, warm and kind. I felt I had made a friend everywhere we visited. Hearing about the hell these beautiful people went through was a good reminder of how important it is to lead with our hearts, not our egos.
Here are some other highlights from my trip:
This is what happens after a private wine tasting…lol! Don’t think anyone has done yoga poses here before. At Vina Belje winery in the Croatian Danube region. This is the old cellar that was occupied by the ottomans in 1526. They also specialize in Graševina white wine. The soil in this region is full of minerals and this wine embodies that.
Principovac, Iločki Podrumi: Once owned by Italian nobility this majestic winery overlooks the Danube River and the boarder of Serbia. Those Italians knew how to pick a good spot. The vastness of the Croatian sky overlooking all this land makes me feel like a little princess.
One morning I woke up early and went for a run by one of the most historical rivers in the world, the Danube. Later that day, we took a boat ride.
I am so grateful for my experience is this beautiful country. The people are warm, the food and wine are delicious, the natural beauty is spectacular and the history is rich. If you are planning a trip, put Croatia on the list and visit some of their undiscovered places. I recommend contacting Croatia Full Of Life for information on travel destinations. Croatia has something for everyone. Remember, “Don’t fill your life with days. Fill your days with life”.