Day 123 – EU – Croatia [Novi Vinodolski to Sveti Juraj]

24th June 2020
Run: 32.5km

A beautiful run on the Adriatic coast – and some reflection on the country and its history

The landscapes were stunning throughout today. I am running along the E65, which happens to be very quiet in the morning. This route follows the coastal line and gives me incredible vistas of the sea and the islands that populate it.

It is also quite exposed to the wind, but I would call this a minor impediment so far!

As I grew up, my father often told us stories of his great road trip in “Yugoslavia” when he was a youngster (some 50+ years ago!). And as I sent my parents some pictures of the coastline today, it reminded him of his own journey. Of course it would. That bit would not have changed a bit.

What would have changed though… is pretty much everything else. Yugoslavia was back then a “super nation”, hosting different ethnies, languages, religions, cultures under one big roof. The death of Tito in 1980 triggered a chain of events, dramatic, that saw wars and conflicts that literally and brutally ripped through the area.

I won’t go into the details, which you can all find on Wikipedia or any other history books. But I grew up watching the news religiously, from a very young age. And the 80’s from my perspective were marred by wars, conflicts and the breakup of Eastern Europe. The lesson I thought, at a young age, I should draw from all this, was that 1 ethny, or 1 language, or 1 religion, or 1 culture = equates 1 nation. It seemed to me, sadly, that the events demonstrated it was foolish for 1 nation to host diversity.

Years later in my young adult life, I rejoiced at Europe. I graduated in European Law and was quite passionate about the idea of Europe, the unification, much needed. The many nations and their diversity cooperating together, for the greater good.

Later yet, I got to live in Singapore. A nation of 5 Million people, hosting a vast diversity of religions, ethnies, languages, cultures… living in “harmony”. I know there is much to say about how this is being achieved and there are some strong views about the Singaporean Government. Nonetheless, having lived there, I saw people who were respectful of each other. Regardless whether they liked their neighbors or not.

Anyway, what happened in these countries in the 80’s and 90’s has been quite formative in my younger years – and in my desire to travel the world too.

Check my daily run GPS data on Garmin or Strava (icons top right of your screen) – here is the map of today’s run: