Zagreb: Sljeme, Medvednica

Geneva I tell the Mennonite man it’s not the hills that I find daunting. Every hill has another side. It’s the wind that drives against you and you know it will continue relentlessly throughout the day.

I feel guilty and self-conscious around francophones especially those who are not Canadian. There is a reasonable expectation that Canadians should be bilingual, equally comfortable with French and English. The Québecois know better. My Croatian hosts are more comfortable with French than English but I freeze whenever they speak French to me. Walking this trail on Medvenica mountain the humidity is making me sweat. I decide to venture a statement in French. Trying to say the air is heavy (“lourd”) I say instead that the air is ugly (“laid”). Jadranka returns a look that suggests she is both affronted and confused.

I have been looking forward to going out for dinner with my colleagues as I haven’t been eating much due to my discomfort with dining alone. They order a wonderful brodet as an appetizer. Although I am enjoying it a great deal I stop filling my bowl as I realize I won’t have an appetite for the main course. After the tureen has been cleared from the table I realize that we will not be having a main course. Because the conversation is in Croatian I miss the discussion about the brodet being substantial enough to constitute the meal. I go home hungry yet again.