By the end of our little trip to this side of Europe called Istria, we became more convinced that beyond the beautiful and glorious tourist sites, what leaves salt on our lips is mostly the bunch of people we meet along the way: a family, a friend, a connection. We take with us how a nation’s history still perfumes its old city and wounds still riddle some buildings, as well as the revolutions born over coffee or beer, the stunted vocabulary of its older generations passed through the youth.
How war has shaped a people. But we also see a nation of tenacity, of hard stuff, but with the kind of flexibility and welcoming disposition only people who have been oppressed for long could offer to strangers who came in peace. How art and statues have flourished in the arid earth that war has left. Goodness, too, is a tough weed, a vine in constant search for the sun, at least for a piece of the sun, climbing, breaking through walls until it wraps the whole wall green again.