Today is a holiday in Croatia. It’s May Day. Since this is a mostly Catholic country, I thought it would be a religious celebration. When I was growing up in Catholic school, we always celebrated May Crowning at the beginning of May. It was a devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and we would carry flowers to the Mary grotto. One lucky student would get the honor of placing a crown of flowers on the Mary statue’s head.
When I lived in Hawaii, May Day was Lei Day, and it was a way to celebrate island culture and wear beautifully scented flowers.
Here, May Day is a public holiday more like Labor Day. It’s International Workers’ Day, and most businesses are closed. It also marks a feast day in the Catholic faith of St. Joseph, Mary’s husband, a carpenter and the patron saint of workers.
Sarge had the day off, the kids were off school, and I’m still on vacation from my job that is going to let me work remotely. So we decided to mark the holiday with a trip to Croatia’s Krka National Park, known for its seven waterfalls.
We drove for about an hour along the coast, and the view was stunning. Croatia has more than a thousand islands dotting the Adriatic Sea. We saw billboards for the “Island of Love,” shaped like a heart. Aside from the beauty of the landscape, it also warmed my heart to see so many elderly people out in the towns walking around. These are some hearty people. I think I’ve seen only one wheelchair since we’ve been here and no electric scooters in the stores. Either older people are healthier than Americans, or those who can’t get around just stay home.
Today, it looked like everyone was out with their whole families. The national park was packed. We saw lots of strollers and selfie sticks, grandparents out with their kin and even a group of nuns. Two older Italian women tried to ask me where I got a bottle of pear seltzer water. I wasn’t sure how to answer since they didn’t speak English. Sarge said I should have just said: “Supernova.” They have everything at the Supernova.
But I’m pretty sure the Supernova and the vegetable markets are closed today, and we have nothing in the fridge for dinner. So it looks like we’re going out. We saw and smelled some pit-roasted pork stands on the way back from the park. We’re going to venture back out and follow our noses.