We've made it to Split, Croatia, today!
It's a wonderful city, reminds Misha of Venice, but I've never been there, so it reminded me of Lviv - Lviv with the sea.
At first, I felt very disoriented: I'm too used to Turkey, haven't been anywhere but Turkey in the past decade, and here, before we got to the Old Town, the scenery was more or less like the Çanakkale area - and it's all South to me, of course, the awesome Mediterranean, the Promised Land! - but the language was so different, and I understood even less of it, because my ears, obviously, thought they'd be hearing Turkish once abroad...
Our first coherent conversation in Croatia was with a cab driver, in English - about football: the UEFA Euro 2012, which we are hosting with Poland - and which could've taken place in Croatia and Hungary instead, if we hadn't won the bid.
The driver also told us about last summer's wildfires here: on the way from the airport, it's hard not to notice the dead, black forest in the distance, at the feet of the mountains that wall off the seaside area. Very sad and scary.
The Old Town is, as I said, wonderful, but we were very upset to discover too many homophobic writings on the walls of the old buildings. I had read about the assault on the gay pride parade in Split just a few weeks ago, but seeing the hateful leftovers all around us was still very unsettling. I wish I didn't understand Croatian at all - the way I don't understand Turkish: I would've preferred to remain ignorant and more idealistic, and I feel terribly upset (though not surprised at all) that this amazingly beautiful place is suddenly so transparent - and that some of it looks so similar to our own part of the world, which is also filled with hateful schmucks.
I'm falling asleep as I type now, so here are the photos that I took today - both of the good things that we saw and of the bad: