The first things I noticed right from the plane was how green it was: so very deeply green. It was rainy but you could still see the bright turquoise of clean water around the little islands that decorated the coastline. Croatia: I’ve heard it called God’s crayon box because the colors are so surreal. 

I was staying in a little town by the airport, Cavtat. I took a taxi into town, ready to relax after a long day of travel. My shoulders ached from the suitcase and monstrous backpack. But as I entered the little town, I found myself wanting to explore again. The mountains rose up sharp and steep, directly behind a thin line of picturesque houses in the seaside village. A tiny classic church steeple rose in the middle of a small stone wall. The taxi pointed to it and told me that it was the old town, a good place to walk around. 

The lady at the Airbnb was all apologies. I had come at off season so there were only two small restaurants open, she explained. There wasn’t much to do except a long walk along the coast to the beach or around the old town area. And it looked like rain! But she hoped I enjoyed my stay and showed me the homemade rakija that her husband had made. There was a raspberry flavored bottle (a deep purple) and a pale green, herb flavored one. 

I set out towards old town at once. The movement of water splashing against and over stones was clear in the quiet air. The water was clean and I saw a lonely fisherman in his boat in the distance. The only inhabitants seemed to be one group of people chatting around a table at a brightly lit restaurant and some school children which ran here and there, their shouts echoing in the otherwise silent town. There were little signs everywhere that showed what a touristy town it would have been if I had come a couple months earlier. Menus in English displayed outside restaurants that were now closed, brightly colored day-trip advertisements hanging in now darkened windows, and a collection of souvenirs shops packed along the promenade. One of these shops was open, the lights shone brightly in the gray afternoon. As the sky finally opened up and the rain became to pour down in earnest, I ducked inside to purchase an umbrella. 

I felt ridiculously happy in the rain, a little child who splashed around in puddles as I explored my silent little treasure of a town, all to myself. I found the church doors open and slipped inside. There was St. Anthony in the corner and there was St. Nicholas by the altar (the church was named after him), and best of all there was the little red light flickering in the very front of the church. After months of being in a Greek Orthodox city, the familiarity of the tiny chapel in Cavtat was home. 

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