Sunday, September 20, 2015

Magical: Our Croatian Odyssey

I didn't blog last week when we were on our cruise up the coast of Croatia. WiFi is the lifeblood of a blogger, and we didn't have much of it while on our voyage. The only times we were able to access the Internet were when we could find a few minutes at a cafe. 

But even if I'd had WiFi access, I wouldn't have blogged. We saw some beautiful sights, but I very quickly found that I wasn't as interested as I had been during the first part of our trip in taking cool pictures of old buildings or awesome scenery. Rather, I was caught up in living in the moment, and I reveled in it. In short, it was the people I was meeting, the friends I was making and the time spent with Mark that made the trip magical; and that, it truly was.

I wasn't impressed by our first port of call, Kotor, Montenegro. However, I found Dubrovnik enchanting. We spent the better part of the day on a boating excursion with others, visiting several small islands and swimming in the ocean. It was a beautiful day spent making friends and soaking up the sunshine and the atmosphere.

I would have liked to have spent another day in Dubrovnik, and I definitely hope to return there someday. Part of what made it special was that there were no other cruise ships in port. Our cruise director said that in the seven years she was been coming to Dubrovnik, our visit was the first time that she had seen no other cruise ships there. This good fortune would continue - as would the good weather - as we visited Hvar, Zatar and Rovinj in successive days.

This was our first gay cruise, and our first gay travel experience for that matter. I really liked what Mark wrote in his blog about how this travel experience was different:
"There was something wonderful about this trip. It was our first gay cruise. When I've mentioned to people we were going on a gay cruise, some people would respond quizzically as to why there had to be a special cruise for gay men. There doesn't. Most of our trips cycling or otherwise have been with straight people. For the most part there is no judgement or animosity but with some there is an obvious undercurrent of discomfort or disdain. On the cruise we were able to be our authentic selves. To openly display affection with a partner or husband without the undercurrent. To share stories and to support each other. To let down the guard. It was affirming."
We never had to be concerned while on the ship about expressing affection for each other. We were able to associate with people like us, share stories about people like us and party with people like us. As Mark wrote, it was very affirming. It was also freeing, enchanting and exhilarating. We made friendships that will endure, even though we may live hundreds or thousands of miles away from each other.

Thanks, guys, for a wonderful week. I'll never forget it.

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