coffee and trucks: just an ordinary day in Croatia

happy toddler - day 2 Split, Croatia : summer in EuropeDay two and we’re settling in. Right now Aki’s working, Mateo’s napping, I’m blogging. We’re figuring out a routine. We’re going to try to spend the morning/early afternoons out and about together, and our late afternoons taking care of “normal life in a different place.”walking-to-gingolaThis morning we hung out at a local café which caters to families. They have a little play lot and lots of toys for the kiddos to explore and well, essentially leave their parents BE. :) I immediately noticed a few things that I found interesting. Little things that made the experience a bit of a cultural study.

In Chicago we have a variety of adorable kiddie cafés. Same idea: happy, distracted kids equal happy (more relaxed) parents. These types of places also fulfill city kids’ need for free range play. The difference is that in Chicago, all of the kiddie cafés/play places cost $12 to walk in and the whole environment and experience is set-up for the children. That’s the point, right?

In contrast, this café was definitely geared toward parents. There is nothing on the menu for a child; the offerings include a variety of coffee drinks and alcohol (like any cafe around). The café is for adults. The toys are for the & espresso in Split, Croatia: play cafeI find differences like this really interesting. Subtle differences which speak to a cultural variance. I rather like the idea of catering to families as “adults with children.” That’s what we are, right? So often in the U.S., once you become a parent, you are no longer an “adult,” you are now a “parent.” New category. I think you can wear both hats at the same time.gingola-play-cafeAnother difference is that this play space is not slick, bright, “safe,” or sterile. Quite honestly I’m guessing that there would be about 37 health and safety violations if the same space existed in Chicago. But maybe  Americans could benefit from relaxing a little bit. ;)

Funnily enough, in our family, Aki (the Croatian national) is the hyper-vigilant “American” parent and me (the American national), I’m of the “he’ll figure it out” and “a few bumps and bruises are no big deal” philosophy. Okay, I know I am generalizing. Yes, there are something like 105 million American families, so of course “the American parent” spans the entire map. yep, yep.

Today is just an ordinary day. But it made me think about why it’s so important to travel. It’s not always about seeing amazing things. Sometimes it’s just about seeing a different perspective or a different version of ordinary. This is why I try to experience the local “daily life” when I travel. The simple activity of having a coffee at a local café can make you stop and consider the different ways in which we think and live. There is always a benefit to that.gingola-rocksgingola-playgingola-shoesgingola-cargingola-smileI know Mateo had a great time (while building his immune system, ha kidding) and Aki and I absolutely enjoyed our coffee and espresso with cream in peace. Best of all, the café is just a street over. Trucks, gravel, and coffee is a formula that works for us. We definitely plan to be regulars.croatia-day-2-editAnd in other news, Mateo fell down today and yelled, “Opaaa!” haha, looks like he’s feeling his Croatian roots and already becoming a local. ;)


It’s Friday, right? Yeah, pretty sure it is.


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8 Thoughts on “coffee and trucks: just an ordinary day in Croatia

  1. Elizabeth:

    Yay!!! new summer sandals. LOVE it! I miss the little bear bugging me to play, “auntie, auntie come on!” Awesome post. Love yah!

    • aww, he misses you tooooo! :) Don’t worry, he’ll be bugging you soon enough, haha. Can’t wait until you get here! And nice catch! Yep, found him sandals!!! :)

  2. Mary K:

    Ahhh…so glad you are settling in. I am looking forward to reading about all your big and little adventures in Europe:) You definitely make traveling with a toddler look like a breeze (and fun!). Very inspiring.

    • aww, glad you’re enjoying. I was JUST looking at a photo of your boys. Oh man, TOO CUTE.

      But haha, you know nothing with a toddler is a “breeze.” ;) Luckily we have a laid back timeline. So far, so good! :)

  3. kate:

    I absolutely agree that having an ordinary kind of day in a foreign place can be inspiring and rewarding in ways we might not understand until then. Even on shorter trips, I like having time to just hang out, do things that people in that neighborhood do, and often what happens is more interesting than touring some big architectural landmark or trying to find the best meal. Sometimes it’s just the little things!

    • totally Kate! :) Another reason why I love staying in apartments and not’s fun to pretend you’re a local for a bit. :) That and I don’t have a hotel budget, ha. And you know, it’s funny, sometimes we don’t even really need to travel…we can have the same experience if we just open up and TALK to someone who is different than us or who lives a different life. We just don’t veer off our normal routine as often when we’re at home, do we. hmmmm….


  4. JaeHi:

    What a lucky boy…to have so many love him…in love with him…especially his parents. Another place to be adored by Croatian side…baca, dida, aunts, uncles, great gran, cousins…wow what a life!

  5. gosh that little guy has an adorable little cheeky smile!
    Sometimes that’s my favorite part of traveling…stealing a few restful minutes in a cafe to watch the locals. Have you found that you try to stick to nap/sleeping schedule’s with Mateo while traveling, or do you ease up and just go with the flow of the day?

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