Traveling Croatia? Bojan Masevski from Macedonia shares a memory he had from traveling to Zadar, Croatia
How many things do you think you can learn on a bus ride? A whole lot, if you are in the right bus and with the right co-passenger. That was the case on my ride from Zadar to Rijeka in Croatia. Me and a bunch of Erasmus students from Zadar accompanied by the president of the ESN- Zadar my dear friend Valentina were on a trip to Rijeka for the famous carnival. I went to sit alone since I was tired but the cruel force of destiny didn’t have that planned for me.
As the bus was stopping quite often, more people boarded the bus and occupied the seats. Soon, an older gentleman sat down next to me. He managed to stay quiet for exactly 5 minutes. Then he just pointed out of the window and said: “Look, that is a mouflon. To say that I wasn’t in the mood for conversation would be an understatement. Nonetheless, I asked him with my crooked Croatian, “What is a mouflon”? since I didn’t see what he was pointing at. A wild goat. That’s what it is. Beautiful creature indeed.
As he noticed that my Croatian language is not the best, certainly not native he became curious. I said I was from Macedonia and his joy and excitement were compared only to winning the world cup in football.( a feeling that I have no idea how it is expressed but I was just assuming) From that point on, this became a journey filled with so much information both useful and useless. For example, I found that that this man was participating in the building of many roads and buildings in Macedonia as he was stationed there during his service in the JNA.
Traveling along the coastline, there were “wall” like structures that made no sense to me but my wise old friend told me that those were build in Roman times. Some of them were house property lines. We kept on talking about the “old” days and how the life was then( not that I know that either). As we passed the city of Bakar, I had to ask about the name. You see the name Bakar means copper in Croatian. All my fellow passenger could tell me that it was once an important city and industrial center but now it was just a way to know that we are approaching Rijeka. As I learned a lot from this man( I didn’t ask him about his name) it was kinda sad to say goodbye. But at that point another kind of excitement appeared. This time it was in me.
Finally I am going to be a part of a carnival and a part of a great group strolling through the streets of Rijeka. The reason while we were travelling with the Erasmus students from Zadar was because we were suppose to collect all the Erasmus students in Croatia and then have the same outfit and join the carnival. Our outfit was chosen some time ago and it was a “red fox”.
The group from Zadar was put in a hostel but since I wasn’t an Erasmus student and Valentina wasn’t as well, we found a couchsurfer to host us. The first day we just had an organized tour around the center of the city and a joint dinner and some “James Bond” themed party in a local night club. Let me be clear with you, no one dressed as James Bond or any character from the movies.
Dancing with the Erasmus students from Zadar, I got to know and like them. Vale went missing so as any intoxicated friend would do- I searched for her for about 5 minutes before declaring that she is an adult and she can take care of herself. Eventually, I did find her, but it was the next morning in the center of the city as we were getting ready to put on the fox costumes. There were about 100 foxes and I soon became nostalgic for my own Erasmus semesters. Anyway we did some preparations and soon the show started. One of the girls in charge told us that our song is “What does the fox say” so as we go along the streets and stop on the 6 stages we had a choreography (which was basically dance like a crazy person) ready for each stop. Quite fitting for a group of hangover students. People were on the streets, cheering as groups joined and walked through.
Some called us Communist foxes, foxes on their period but all we cared was to have fun. There was a lunch organized after, but the songs, the party continued. Our group dispersed and I found myself walking alone just to take some pictures. Seeing other foxes on the streets we just would wink and continue with our business. The night came and we were together again. Going from one pub to the next just to end up in a huge warehouse where the live music was off the charts. A ton of people, with masks, without masks, but all happy and ecstatic. A drunken fox here and there. The songs were like on repeat so even some of the foreigners were learning the lyrics and singing along. I woke up my host’s kitchen with the fox next to me. It’s been over two years since that carnival but I carry that fox with me everywhere. It accompanied me in Malaysia and Poland and often when the occasion is right the spirit of the fox comes out and dances. Dances like no one is watching.
Guest Author: Bojan Masevski – Bojan is a new emerging author who comes from Macedonia. He has embarked on his journey as blog-writer just recently, as his friends liked reading his stories on his adventures around the world.
Bojan is graduated in the field of Security, Defense and Peace Studies at the Faculty of Philosophy in Skopje. He took 2 semesters of his studies in Brno – Masaryk University as an Erasmus student.
He has never had a real job, but is a person who has done all sort of things as a volunteer. For instance, going to New Delhi, India with AIESEC. Month and a half in Malaysia with an NGO called SOLS 24/7, and latest of his big journeys – an EVS engagement in Milicz, Poland where he had a stay for a full year as an assistant English teacher in high school.
Aside writing, Bojan loves to do some sports, chess, and read some good books from his private library that has over 1500 books.