Places are known for things. You know what I mean? Like Bonaire is known for diving and the Himalayas are known for climbing. But what’s really cool is to find things to do that places are not known for. Like the fact that Bonaire is a fantastic place to go land sailing. Maybe it’s just me…but have you ever thought that a multitude of sports occur at any given location at any time? I mean, did you ever think about going to Greenland to go biking instead of Italy? Or to South Korea to go hiking? Yes, South Korea is a plethora of National Parks. And Fiji has a very very cool zip line!
So just the other day I decided to go canoeing……in Croatia. Now, Croatia is NOT known for canoeing. In fact, when I went “canoeing” in Croatia, I thought that was what I was actually going to do…canoe. But I didn’t really. I sort of went “rafting”. Let me explain. Technically, I guess it was canoeing because we sat one in front of the other in the boat like a canoe. But it was an inflatable canoe and we went down a river through rapids like we were rafting. I’m sure it wasn’t the “world’s best” canoeing but I was here in Croatia and I had never canoed there, so what the heck!
At any rate, it was something I never thought of doing but it was a blast! The Cetina River, near the city of Split on the Dalmatian Coast was a great river to play on. Fifteen of us decided to give it a go. We piled onto a bus and drove about an hour out into the rocky, dry countryside. I guess our driver had never thought of canoeing in Croatia either because it took a few wrong turns on nameless roads to find our way to the river.
But finally we did. We were given wetsuits (Huh? I thought this was canoeing!) and dive booties, life jackets and helmets (helmets?) and taken down to our crafts. We enthusiastically climbed in. I was getting excited…..if they were giving us helmets and wetsuits this was going to be more than just a paddle in the park so to speak.
We started off along the shallow river on an easy paddle. Then after about ten minutes our guide gathered the boats and told us we were coming to the first rapids. Rapids????? Awesome!! He told us to follow his line through the rapids, what to do if we dumped the boat and how to float with our feet out in front of us. The guide then paddled off and disappeared over the rapids to re-appear a few seconds later downstream.
As the afternoon wore on we came to more and more rapids, zigged and zagged our way around trees, and got stuck on large boulders some of which required us to get out and pull our boats off. All the time, I’m thinking, “wow, I’m canoeing in Croatia, never done THAT before”.
It was a great way to see the countryside and the natural beauty of a country that we would otherwise have seen only from a bus window or from the deck of our ship. So my advice here is that when you travel, seek out what the country is known for and experience it. But also, seek out other things that the country has to offer, some which may be world class but little known. Croatia is not known for it’s superb river rafting and canoeing but I had a great time seeing a part of the country I never expected to see.
Get out there, get off the couch and have great adventures!