Our life of volunteers involves two training courses, where we learn about getting the most out of our EVS time and share our experience with other participants. The first one, the on-arrival training course, was organized in September in Orahovica, the eastern part of Croatia. The mid-term training took place last week in Split, a beautiful city on the Croatian coast. How was it? Read on…
Nenad: The training in Split was completely different compared to the one that we had at the beginning of our EVS in Orahovica. This one was much lighter, from one side, and much deeper from the other. Lighter because it was slightly shorter and with less stress on our back. Deeper because we had a chance to connect with each other, hear some new stories from our EVS comrades, live together for a few days and really be there for each other. To support, encourage and listen about how others use their days in Croatia.
The part that I like the most is “being a hero” – the power that is within us, waiting to be called and acted upon, the idea that the path of a hero is always the same and the steps are similar, just the surrounding is different, that either we step into adventure or the adventure comes to us, but it’s inevitable and it will happen sooner or later.
Oh, I also liked seeing everyone as a hero, a true Hero in their life, community and surrounding. Seeing others marching on the same path of growth, glory, and improvement, being in similar shoes and going together towards bigger and better us, a brighter future and happier people.
If there is one thing that I will like to keep from this training, this is it: “To see everyone in the World as a Hero, the Hero, now and ever, in every situation, circumstances, and moment. To support, understand and greet them with all my heart knowing that they are doing the right thing.”
Was it all about training? Of course not!
Henriette: Besides the training session, our free time was a vital part of our Split experience. We had the whole Thursday afternoon to explore the city and spend some time with our EVS friends. Along the shore of the beautiful city we made our way through narrow alleys up the Marjan hill. From a terrace half-way up, you can oversee the whole city, the snow-covered mountains behind and the sea with all its islands. Together with the smiling sun, this landscape created the perfect scene for many photos. Further up the hill, the narrow alleys ended and a forest of pine trees began. Because they are green in winter too, we were almost mistaking this day in February for one in summer. If we hadn’t been wearing our winter coats nobody could have guessed the season in the pictures we took.
On the way down to the old town we were unsuccessfully looking for a Banana-Split to split in Split. The good side of not finding any: we now have a reason to come back! Strolling through the old town, admiring the architecture we ended up at the shore just in time to watch the staggering sunset.
Back in the hostel we spent the evening calm and comfy with board games, as we were all tired from the previous night out in a club. Outside the summer season we had a hard time finding a place that is crowded on weekdays, so we didn’t complain that we had to walk 25 minutes to reach the club we finally found. There we spent the night with beer, Croatian live music and a lot of dancing. But you know how that goes… On the foot march back in the early morning, we enjoyed the quiet of the city which was only disturbed by some birds’ songs.
I love about my EVS that it offers me the opportunity to discover the Croatia from a completely different side than the tourists get to know it. Because who goes to Split in February?! I do! And it was damn worth it!
Ruxanda: Speaking of Split… Being a true “Game of Thrones” lover, of course, I can’t wait to go to Dubrovnik in the summer (for those who don’t watch the TV series – Dubrovnik is the Croatian city where they film a major part of the movie – the so-called King’s Landing). About Split I knew nearly nothing, except for two of their football teams – Hajduk Split and RNK Split – which I had watched playing against Dinamo Zagreb last summer (I was rooting for Dinamo, of course). I was, however, expecting a beautiful city. And it exceeded my expectations.
The first thing I said after getting off the train? “Oh my God, they have palm trees!”. The palm trees, the riviera, and the sea offer an incredible view to the off-season visitor. What else? Besides the fact that we were hosted right across Bačvice, the most famous beach in town with its marvelous sunsets, the city has its own story to tell. Or show. I had been wandering on the narrow, almost empty streets of the city and through Diocletian’s palace (yes, the Roman emperor) with a strong feeling of familiarity, and it was only later that it struck me (thanks to Instagram and a friend’s love for Game of Thrones) – I had been walking on the streets of Meereen! Modernized, yet so ancient, almost unreal.
Apart from all the GoT rambling, what can I say? If you have the chance to visit Split off-season, seize it!
As for us? We can’t wait to go back after our EVS project is over.